Dear Black Men, Your Lives Matter

Too many times, since the 2020 riots started, I’ve heard “we/they are yelling black lives matter, but we/they are killing each other”. No shit! Black Lives Matter is a term that can be used across the board. We are not only talking to white people and cops, but it is also a message to our brothers… YOUR LIFE MATTERS!

Image: “Riot” by Jon Fields feat. Joshua Ledet

As a black youth I was conditioned to believe that embracing our culture was worthless. Not only worthless, but even damning. I was taught that success looked like a white man in a suit. That if I wanted to “act right”, I’d “act white.” No lie, this seemed to affect me even subconsciously!

European culture has watered down our ancestral traditions and self-expression so much so that we can not recognize ourselves as being beautiful, intelligent, or creative without that white stamp of approval! Not only that, but European culture has sought to monopolize industries that cater to our people’s ability to express ourselves. For instance, white people are even producing the shea butter and dreadlock hair products we use! Gawt dammit man!

How many times have you gotten a black pride lecture from a negro in a monkey suit, speaking the king’s English, and telling you that you are perfect the way you are? I can’t take that type of man seriously—he knows “how to act” all the while telling me to be proud, even though he has no cultural expression.

You’re left wondering if he’s even ’bout this life? Walk like a duck, talk like a duck… Maybe he got his haircut in the hood?

American blacks have developed our own culture and it deserves respect. Why is it criminal for our people to express ourselves through bright colors, funky hairstyles, and lively music? It is not ok for the elements that make us who we are to be labeled taboo.

We are original. We are beautiful. We are not our oppressors and we have danced for their approval long enough. Our pride is showing and they are killing us for it. The problem is, we are also killing us for it. How can we be proud when we are still judging our own based on the standards of our oppressors? How can we build up our people when we can’t recognize ourselves?

When it has been drilled into your head that people who look like you are expendable, then when you see someone who looks like you, they’ll be expendable too. Our distrust, neglect, and distaste for our own culture fuels self hate. My people. We are beautiful. We are colorful. We vibrate high. We are loving. We protect one another. We are a tribe. We deserve to exist.

BLACK LIVES, OUR LIVES, YOUR LIFE, MATTERS.

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