In the first paragraph of my book “Why He Hates You: How Unreconciled Maternal Anger is Destroying Black Men and Boys,” I wrote, “I hate writing!” I love making movies, and I love running my mouth in front of audiences. The whole writing thing just isn’t my cup of tea, or cup of coffee in my case.
After a couple of conversations and some arm twisting by iask founder Sophia Nelson, I agreed to contribute a column to the famed “weekly message from a sister” which I understand is now also “ weekly message from a brother”. Sophia asked me to provide a man’s perspective, guidance and insight to help young black women navigate and negotiate the triumphs and challenges that surely await them as they come of age.
What I decided to do was provide excerpts, call them pearls of wisdom, from the subjects of my latest film “We Need To Talk” and expand upon what these words mean and how they resonate with a man. I also wanted to write these with a personal point of view and to frame these posts as letters to my eleven year old daughter.
Quote from the film:
“Sometimes we as women create this fantasy. In our minds we are in this great relationship, that it’s committed with a man who loves us, but the truth is we’re home alone, by ourselves, until it comes time for him to get what he wants from us.”
As I sat across from her with camera on tripod, trying to hold steady, her words ran all through the fabric of my existence. Why? Because (in my former life) I was about as guilty of this crime as any male. I have been that dude. The male with multiple girlfriends, on daily rotation, leaving women hanging onto the hopes of a possibility of a maybe and encouraging their false perceptions to satiate my own indulgences. And as Anika stated later, in my mind these “relationships” could never blossom into anything more than what they were, strictly a series of late night rendezvous, with no prospect for anything beyond sex.
As a male (not a man), we want our cake and want to eat it too. We want to have the milk, and the cow, without having to pay for it. We want everything without compromise and negotiate with our fractured sense of morality to achieve the ends of self-satisfaction. I lecture to crowds around the country, especially women on how to spot this preacher of false hopes, and how to differentiate a male from a man. It’s relatively simple and a quick bible reference will help put things in perspective.
I Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Simply replace the word “love” with the word “man” and it will start making sense.
A man is patient
A man is kind
A man does not envy
A man does not boast
and to spot a male replace the word “love” with the word “male” and the actions with the antithesis;
A male is impatient
A male is unkind
A male is envious
A male is boastful
Now think about the men you have come across in your life, as well as the males and understand the greatest challenge you will have in your dating life is that the world is attempting to program you to have an attraction to the quick, the fast, the in-a-hurry, jealous, sticking-out-his-chest, never-opening-the-door, will leave you stranded if he can’t have his way male. And understand that this guy was once me, and that I had no comprehension of what love truly was.
Love is a verb, and it is quiet supportive selfless actions of someone who cares more for others than themselves. Lust is that dude that calls you at 1:17am and asks “what are you doing” (and understand he does not care what you are doing or about you) because he wants something from you, and deep in his heart does not want you. Lust will let you down, disappoint, break-your heart, get you an STD, and never truly fill that void you feel inside. And on the converse, verse 8….Love never fails. Sisters, honor and value yourselves—if you can do both of these well—I promise you: true love will follow.