What we femmes hear a lot from Black men – and the general public – is that we don’t do enough to reaffirm masculinity.
And we femmes all know that’s bullsh-t.
But in the spirit of the holiday season (and the spirit of all those open letters to Black women from the brothers who are overly concerned about how we feel about our hair), I would like to deliver a message of love and support to my brothers, which I hope will help to free them in some way.
So without further adieu:
Dear Black men,
It’s okay to love George Michael.
Love your sista,
Yes, I’m being serious here. And yes, I do understand some of y’all are too young to love George Michael. To the latter, I say sit this one out. Everything doesn’t always have to center on the millennials.
For the rest of us, George Michael was the man. He was a gay man. And nonetheless, still the man.
Ain’t no denying that.
Yet I see so many refusing to pay proper tribute to a much beloved singer.
And it’s not just the out (closeted) and proud homophobes who attribute everything, including liking George Michael, to a gay cabal, which is secretly trying to turn Black men into mere effeminate shells of their former masculine selves. I’m talking about the Black men who don’t speak like that, yet remain silent during this national time of mourning. The ones who try to pretend to be disaffected by the news of his passing, even though we know you loved George Michael too.
We were there, remember?
We were the ones you used to attempt a quick feel during slow dances to Father Figure.
We were the ones who said nothing when you “borrowed” our Careless Whisper tape and locked yourselves in your bedroom to sulk about the girl who broke your heart.
And we were the ones who struggle-sang along with you as you tried to hit that high “ooouuu” in One More Try.
We remember, Black man. We most certainly do.
But now after all these years; after all of this social conditioning, brainwashing and peer pressure from other brothers who, too, are not as secure in their own masculinity, you can’t find the space to shed a tear, or even a word of sorrow, for a musical icon?
Never mind how much you used to love George Michael. What will your homies think? Because what will your girl think? Because what will society think?
Well I am here to say brother, I love you. And I love the fact that you love George Michael.
And while I wish you would get over your homophobia and awkward feelings about affection and emotions between men, I do understand. So much of masculinity is wrapped up in the appearance of not looking gay.
But if there is any solace, I empathize with your struggle.
And if my words of encouragement are not enough, look to GAWD. Look to George Michael whose own masculinity and sexuality was threatened and exposed in the most humilating of ways.
But he did not bend. He didn’t care that everyone knew. He did not let other people define him.
George Michael liked George Michael as he was.
He had freedom. And so should you.