I spend way too much damn time on the internet. Not entirely an excuse, but according to my age group, I’m right in line with usage. Outside of working, research, and entertainment, the world wide web often finds me in the heat of social media debates. Similar to a nasty car wreck, I often keep unnecessary eyes viewing the wreckage. Just like auto accidents, you know when social media conversations are mild or a fucking tragedy. I’ve systematically weaned myself from gendered conversations, but the ones with Black men and Black women have always piqued my morbid sense of curiosity. Conversations around protecting Black women have become popular and polarizing. Once some of the finger pointing is peeled back, some underling solutions are for Black men to hold each other more accountable. Though I agree with the means of resolving the problem, I find myself often pondering on the how. I reflect on the ways my core group of friends make each other answerable to our actions and it’s not always pretty. Having tough conversations often forces our friend group to act accordingly when around each other.
As men we need to ensure that expectations are clear and violations are met with consequences. I don’t have any friends or close associates that aren’t actively in their children’s lives. Fact is, all of my friends are overly engaged in the lives of their children and take great pride in that. This isn’t some plea to gain adulation, it’s more of a declaration of what I come to expect from the people around me. I don’t tolerate absentee fathers, there’s no room for negotiation for that in my social circle. That’s accountability. Not that absentee fathers should become social pariahs, but oftentimes we’ve made it too accommodating for them to engage with social groups even at the surface level. Conversations must be had that are not only uncomfortable with one another, but increasingly annoying. Absentee dads should be pestered with questions on why they’re not engaged in their children’s lives, so much that they in turn refuse to come around. With family lawyers specializing in father’s rights, the excuses on why a dad is not around should be minimized. I’m not in the habit of counting another man’s pockets, but if it’s important enough, you’ll save the capital to obtain a component attorney. Accountability here comes in the form of routine check ins and even providing resources to help your brother with whatever he needs.
There was a time not too long ago where I was irritatingly dismissive when I needed to be “checked” on my actions. I often tried (unsuccessfully) to rationalize them away. Yet I’ve had men in my life that often saw through my bullshit and had to use some words with me that I won’t repeat. It was needed then and sometimes needed now. There’s a certain type of way we men speak to each other that often looks combative from the outside, yet is rooted in nothing but love. I want to acknowledge any brother, friend, mentor, or family member that’s pulled me to the side, corrected me, or even provided me with unsolicited advice. With supreme focus, we often are blinded to behaviors that can be detrimental to our overall well-being. It often takes forgoing our egos to listen to one another without internalizing the message as an attack. That comes with maturity, but also with trust. Trusting each other enough to understand that we have one another’s best interest in mind first and foremost. I’ve literally shed tears and blood with my handful of closest friends. I’ve matured to the point in my life that I welcome them ensuring that I’m answerable to my actions that aren’t on brand with Me, Incorporated. Accountability isn’t pretty when it comes to men. How we hold each other culpable won’t make for a good tweet or nice think piece. Often it’s more harsh and rude than loving words and exchanging pleasantries. More than anything, it’s effective when done right. It’s one of the few ways we progress. Before we go onward and upward, we need to close some doors and speak to each other in the most effective ways we know how.
Doing The Work
Kenyan innovator delivering clear water by air
Kennedy Odede founded Shining Hope for Communities or SHOFCO to address delivering clean water to impoverished neighborhoods in Kenya. Odede installed clean water kiosks in strategic areas where there is no water readily available. The water is sourced underground, filtered, then delivered via aerial piping. Odede’s kiosks were designed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet have been beneficial for sanitation to keep residents healthy.
Marshawn Lynch launches cannabis company
Former National Football League player, Marshawn Lynch has launched a new brand of “diamond-infused” marijuana products in the Bay Area of California. The retired running back partnered with Toronto company 2nd and Goal Ventures to create blunts that are infused with THC diamonds, a form of extract from the cannabis plant. The blunts will initially be available in only 24 dispensaries in the Bay Area with plans to expand in the future.
Morehouse helping Black men finish college after a hiatus
Morehouse College, one of the Historically Black Colleges or Universities, in Atlanta is providing Black men an opportunity to obtain their bachelor’s degree. Students have taken breaks from the classroom due to unexpected life events and expensive tuition, yet Morehouse is providing an opportunity to those students looking to obtain their degree virtually. Morehouse is launching Morehouse Online and is currently interested in applicants that are non-traditional, not fresh out of high school. If interested, click here.
What I’m Listening To
I’ve been anticipating the release of this album for a couple of weeks and it didn’t disappoint. The soundtrack for Judas and The Black Messiah was everything I needed sonically and soulfully. The album exceeded the car test (ask a black man what that is). The soundtrack included a posthumous song from Nipsey Hussle which included an increasingly rare Jay Z verse. Stand out songs include “EPMD”, “Welcome To America”, “What It Feels Like”, “All Black”, and “Last Man Standing”. Thank God for Hip Hop!!!
As we’re nearing March, we approach the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa. This battle was significant as it was one of the first victories by African forces over a European country. Led by King Menilek, Ethiopian troops were able to defeat Italian forces. The victory garnered respect for Ethiopia and helped provide a period of peace in the country.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” - James Baldwin