QUEEN MOTHER

Queen_Mother_Moore

Soundtrack: 2Pac “Dear Mama”

I want to shed light on two most unfortunate results of our 450 year sojourn as Afrikans in the wilderness of North America. One result has been that we don’t recognize how rich of a culture we have; and we don’t celebrate our successes and our great ones nearly enough. Another related result has been that we have adopted our colonizers’ attitude toward women, and therefore we have never given the proper credit to our Sheroes and Heroines for their relentless work toward carving out a space in this Hell hole where we can feel like full human beings.

Fannie Lou Hamer is one of those Sheroes who has been overlooked by our community. She is sometimes mentioned as a footnote in the Mississippi freedom struggle for her role in creating the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. But we don’t generally talk about just how big of a deal it was to challenge the Mississippi Democratic crackers in such an open fashion. Nor do we ever see Black History Month presentations about the Freedom Farm initiative that Fannie Lou Hamer gave her entire life to, working to ensure that poor Afrikan people would never have to go hungry. We have to do better about honoring her legacy.

Another of our Sheroes is Ella Jo Baker. Ms. Baker first came into prominence in the 1930’s as a leader of the Young Negroes’ Cooperative League. The League was a national organizing effort to create cooperatively owned businesses and jobs with a livable wage for our people during the height of the Great Depression. Ella Baker later went on to be a mentor and counselor to the biggest names of the Black Liberation Movement. She was a field secretary with the NAACP throughout the 1940’s. In 1957, she moved to Atlanta to bring some organization to Martin Luther King’s new Southern Christian Leadership Conference. When the sit-in movement began in 1960 and evolved into the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, it was Ella Baker who taught them how to organize people and gave them the strategies that would make SNCC so successful throughout the South. Her influence was reflected in the nickname she acquired: “Fundi,” a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation. We do ourselves a major disservice by not showering Ms. Baker with the utmost of praise at every given opportunity.

But I was inspired to write these words at this time because yesterday, July 27th, was the 119th birth anniversary of the one and only Queen Mother Moore. She was born Audley Moore, in 1898, in New Iberia, Louisiana to Ella and St. Cry Moore.  Moore’s parents passed away before she completed the fourth grade.  Following their deaths, she dropped out of school and moved to New Orleans with her two younger sisters, supporting them by working as a hairdresser.

She continued to educate herself, reading the works of authors like Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois. When Marcus Garvey came to New Orleans to speak in 1917, an 18-year-old Moore was in the audience. She was carrying two firearms because Garvey had been arrested the night before and the community was determined that no further foul play would occur on their watch. After that day she became a very devoted follower of Garvey. She moved to Harlem in 1922 to work in the headquarters of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Though Garvey was deported in 1927 and his movement waned afterwards, Queen Mother Moore was just getting started.

In 1933, she joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). She was inspired by their position that a revolution was necessary in this country and she was interested in the theory they had about the Black Belt South. At the time, leading Communist theorists challenged Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa approach by saying that Afrikans in America should take control over the southeastern portion of this country where our Ancestors had lived and toiled and died for hundreds of years.

Queen Mother Moore ran as a communist for New York’s state assembly in 1938. She began to have tension with the communists throughout the 40’s as she pushed them to do more concrete work around the rhetoric of a revolution in the South for Black empowerment. She left the CPUSA in 1950 and founded a new group, the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women (UAEW); feminist and revolutionary and Black nationalist and Pan African.

In 1957, Moore and the UAEW began to push the issue of reparations for the oppression of Afrikans in America. They began a campaign to encourage our people to file a formal reparations claim with the U.S. government before the end of 1963 (100 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation). To advance this agenda, she moved to Philadelphia and led the National Emancipation Proclamation Observance Committee (NEPOC) in 1962. Tasked with planning the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Moore and her followers converted the commemoration into an opportunity to develop a national reparations campaign. The NEPOC developed a reparations claim for approximately 36 million dollars in back pay to be used for emigration back to Africa for those who chose that, and cultural and economic development for those who wanted to remain in America.

In 1960, Queen Mother started providing counsel to Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Even though she and Elijah Muhammad disagreed on many things, Elijah did adopt her idea of what has come to be called the “five-state solution.” Prior to that time, the NOI was very vague in their calls for separation from the whites of this country. Queen Mother Moore gave them a concrete solution of calling for the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to be given to Black people as a territory of our own, independent of the United States. Malcolm especially latched onto this idea and developed it even further after he broke away from the NOI, teaching in great depth about how land is the basis of revolution. That point became the prime message of those who sought to continue Malcolm’s legacy after his assassination; leading to the establishment of the Republic of New Afrika in 1968.

When a group called the Malcolm X Society brought together Black nationalists from all over the country on March 31, 1968, they decided to declare their independence from the United States, forming the Republic of New Afrika, and laying claim to the above mentioned five states. The name “New Afrika” was chosen primarily because it was what Queen Mother Moore wanted to call us. Her status as an elder gave her the cache to give the final word on what our name would be. She was also one of the first people to actually sign the declaration of independence. She was also the architect of the role that the call for reparations played in the overall program of the Republic of New Afrika.

Moore took her first of many trips to Africa in 1972 to attend the funeral of former President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. During that trip, members of the Ashanti ethnic group, gave her the title of Queen Mother. Everyone who knew her enthusiastically embraced calling her that for the rest of her life.

She worked tirelessly throughout the 70’s and 80’s, promoting the cause of reparations and helping Black people to see ourselves as the nation of people that we already are. She finally began to slow down a bit once she turned around 90 years old. Her last public appearance was at the Million Man March, at the age of 97. She was one of only five women invited to speak at that historic event. On May 2, 1997 Queen Mother Moore passed away at the age of 98 from natural causes in a Brooklyn nursing home.

When she was asked in 1995 how she wants to be remembered, Queen Mother replied: “I want to live forever.” And it is up to us to make sure that she does indeed live forever. We can never cease to lift up the name and the spirit of our Holy Ancestor, Queen Mother Moore.

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Malcolm X, Chokwe Lumumba, Black Lives Matter, and The Blueprint For Black Power

Republic-of-New-Afrika

Soundtrack: The Last Poets “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution”

My Spirit tugged at me to write these words when I saw this article, “Diddy on #BlackLivesMatter: ‘Black People Are Committing Genocide on Ourselves'”, while taking a break from writing my book. The article quotes one of Diddy’s Instagram posts:

“For the last couple of months we have experienced a lot of injustice and wrongdoings to a community. But there is a flip side,” wrote Diddy. He continued, “Yes #BLACKLIVESMATTER ! But no one will respect us if we as a people don’t have any respect for our own black lives. We are committing genocide on ourselves. We are always looking for scapegoats.”

Diddy added, “We as a people hurt ourselves more than anyone has ever hurt us. That makes no sense. We as a people including myself have to take accountability and do whatever we can do individually or together to stop the madness and realize that we are KINGS and QUEENS AND Must love ourselves and each other. I know I’m rambling a little bit. #BLACKLIVESMATTER SO AS A PEOPLE LETS PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH.!!! MAY GOD BLESS US ALL! Ii LOVE YOU!!!!!!” Combs posted on Instagram.

Oh, Diddy.

Didn’t that one semester at Howard University teach you anything? Apparently not.

I’m going to need Diddy to stick to ruining his artist’s careers instead of attempting some type of social commentary. It must be nice to be black, rich and oblivious to issues that plague society. Diddy, here’s a word of advice: Keep “Black Lives Matter” out of your mouth until you realize what it actually means. Take that.”

Normally I would ignore this. However, today is Malcolm X’s birthday, and I’m feeling some kind of way. Malcolm is my hero 365 days a year. I actually strive to live my life according to the example that he gave with his own life.

There has been a flood of popular opinion in the past year condemning what is called “respectability politics.” At the risk of greatly oversimplifying the issue I will define respectability politics as a strategy used by marginalized groups to say “if we make ourselves more respectable then bad things won’t happen to us.” Rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Common, Pharrell, and now Diddy have had the respectability politics tag hurled at them like a yo mama joke, whether they deserve it or not.

Opponents of the philosophy in the Black Lives Matter movement have raised the point that law enforcement officers, representatives of the State, will murder us no matter what we do. Whether we’re walking in the street or standing in front of a store or playing with a BB gun in the park or playing with a toy rifle in a Walmart or just riding a train, cops will find a reason to unjustly slay us. However, most people in this movement have shown themselves incapable of understanding the differences in nuance between a self-help philosophy and an attempt to win favor with the Establishment by being more like them.

Ironically, many of the same arguments being used against Diddy and others on Malcolm X’s birthday were also used against Malcolm X when he was alive. Malcolm rose to prominence in the late 1950’s as the National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. As such, Malcolm was criticized for not taking an active role in supporting the many civil rights demonstrations across the country and especially in his home base of New York City.

There is a memorable scene in Spike Lee’s biopic of Malcolm X in which one of the Muslims was a victim of police brutality. Onlookers at the scene can be heard saying:

“So what you gonna do? He’ll rap a little. He’s a Muslim. But you ain’t gonna do nothing…but make a speech. Muslims talk a good game, but they never do nothing.”

That scene was partly fictional but the Muslims had this reputation because of Elijah Muhammad’s belief that you shouldn’t try to force your way in somewhere that you aren’t wanted. So if white people don’t want you at their hotels and restaurants and schools, don’t complain and protest about it, just build your own. Malcolm was the chief representative of this philosophy. He made countless speeches clowning Dr. King and other civil rights leaders for doing pretty much the exact same kinds of demonstrations that are being employed by the Black Lives Matter movement today. However, today the members of that movement are praising Malcolm and claiming him as an inspiration. Somebody is confused.

Malcolm didn’t believe in protesting. In 1962, Malcolm described an incident between the Muslims and the Los Angeles Police Department this way:

“In the shooting that took place, seven men were shot. Seven Muslims were shot. None of them were armed. None of them were struggling. None of them were fighting. None of them were trying to defend themselves at all. And after being taken to the police station, they were held for 48 hours and weren’t even given hospitalization. We have one now who is completely paralyzed. We just got all of them free last night. . . . And this happened in Los Angeles last Friday night, in the United States of America, not South Africa or France or Portugal or any place else or in Russia behind the iron curtain, but right her in the United States of America. . . .”

Malcolm didn’t want to speak to the media about this. He wanted to retaliate. To make a really long story short, he was ordered not to retaliate and he went to Los Angeles and spoke out about it as a Plan B. And that was the beginning of the end for the relationship between Malcolm and his teacher. Malcolm wanted some cops to die and it took every bit of self restraint that he could muster to follow the instruction not to go on a killing spree. However, neither Malcolm’s original plan or his back up plan included Black Lives Matter style protests.

The different philosophies and strategies represented by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in the 1960’s are still present today, in different forms. Just as in the 1960s, the nonviolent civil rights direct action side of the equation receives the majority of the media attention and acclaim. But the spirit and the legacy of Malcolm X are alive and well in 2015, 50 years after he became an Ancestor.

Even though #BlackLivesMatter was created in response to Trayvon Martin being posthumously placed on trial for his own murder, it has become mostly associated with the demonstrations and the energy that swept the nation following the spontaneous combustion of righteous indignation in Ferguson after the murder of Michael Brown. I put my life on hold to be a part of what was happening in Ferguson and unsuccessfully attempted to infuse that activity with some of the spirit of Malcolm X.

Whatchu know about Chokwe Lumumba?

The Republic of New Africa (RNA) is a Black nationalist organization that was created in 1969 on the premise that an independent Black republic should be created out of the southern United States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, which were considered “subjugated lands.” The group’s manifesto demanded the United States government pay $400 billion in reparations for the injustices of slavery and segregation. It also argued that the American Africans should be allowed to vote on self-determination, as that opportunity was not provided at the end of slavery when the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution incorporated American Africans into the United States. The economy of the RNA was to be organized based on ujamaa, Tanzania’s model of cooperative economics and community self-sufficiency.

Two brothers, Milton and Richard Henry, who were associates of Malcolm X, formed an organization called the Malcolm X Society, which was devoted to the creation of an independent Black nation within the United States. Milton and Richard subsequently changed their names to Gaidi Obadele and Imari Abubakari Obadele, respectively. The brothers organized a meeting of 500 Black nationalists in Detroit, Michigan in 1968.  Exiled former North Carolina NAACP leader Robert Williams was chosen as the first President of the Republic of New Africa. The group wrote a declaration of independence and established the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (PGRNA). The group anticipated that the U.S. would reject their demands and made plans for armed resistance and a prolonged guerilla war.

To make another really long story short, Chokwe Lumumba would eventually serve as Minister of Justice and Midwest Regional Vice President of the PGRNA.  Along with other New Afrikan revolutionary nationalists from the PGRNA, House of Umoja, and Afrikan People’s Party; Chokwe founded the New Afrikan People’s Organization (NAPO) in 1984 to further the aims of the RNA. He became the Chairman and primary spokesperson of NAPO for 29 years. Subsequently, NAPO founded the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement as its mass association in 1990.

This movement most directly carries the torch for Malcolm X, even more so than the Nation of Islam which made him famous. In one of the most amazing and largely ignored victories for the Black Liberation movement in recent decades, Chokwe Lumumba was elected as mayor of the city of Jackson, Mississippi on May 21, 2013. Let that soak in. A man who founded the Malcolm X Center at Wayne State University when he was a law student there…a man who defended countless revolutionaries and political prisoners in the courts of his colonizers…a man who helped to found the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America…this man became the mayor of a major United States city in the most racist of those 50 states. How did he do it? And what lessons can the rest of us learn from him in our efforts to improve our communities and keep there from being new Mike Browns and Freddie Grays?

The idea to run Chokwe Lumumba for city council in 2009 and then for mayor in 2013 was a part of what is called the Jackson-Kush Plan to win self-determination, participatory democracy, and economic justice in Black majority counties in Mississippi. Without using a lot of big words, this plan developed by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is basically that Black people should take control of the areas where we are the majority of the population. Because there is no one who can stop us from doing so. The Achilles Heel of the United States system of white supremacy is that they set up their system as a democracy. Majority always rules in a democracy, if they choose to. We can choose to use our colonizers’ system against them, for our benefit.

If you live in a majority Black city or county and the people organize themselves to function as a group then you can take control of the budgets. The people can decide where the tax dollars go, who works in government positions including police and district attorney and judges, what the school curriculum is, so on and so forth. The basic idea is very simple.

In places like Ferguson and Baltimore where more than 60% of the population is Black, what excuse do we have for allowing other people to dominate us to such a degree that a Mike Brown or Freddie Gray can happen in the first place? Especially when we’ve been blessed with a man as great as Malcolm X to teach us the benefits of doing for self; when people inspired by him like Huey Newton and others have taught us that Power is always in the hands of the People; what excuse do we have?

Frederick Douglass told us in 1857!!!!, that “power concedes nothing without a demand; it never did, and it never will.” We can take back the power over our own lives and our own communities. There is no need for us to ask anyone else to give us justice.

Making this kind of a stand would start with us deciding that we are going to value our own lives. In order for us to TAKE control over own communities and our institutions and our dollars, we have to first believe that we deserve to have that level of power and self sufficiency. We have to love ourselves and each other enough to do whatever it takes to make this kind of a plan work. If we can’t stop slaughtering each other in the streets like pigs, then how in the hell are we gonna take power from the most powerful country on the planet, and give that power back to ourselves?

When Kendrick said this he was absolutely right:

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

Picture this: we’re in an auditorium. The seats are full of American Africans, 60 of them. 30 white people are on stage. And sitting on a table, on the stage, is Freedom. The American Africans are asking the white people to take Freedom off the table and throw it into the audience. The white people are refusing. The people in the audience are getting upset. In their frustration, they start fighting each other. One of them gets killed in the fighting. Some of the white people in police uniforms come down off the stage and beat up the audience members in the process of arresting the killer. And this same scenario keeps playing itself out for 40 years. All the while, the audience members could choose to just walk up on the stage and take Freedom.

This is what has happened in America’s inner cities since the collapse of the Black Power movement 40 years ago. How long are we gonna stay stuck in this cycle? As long as we can condemn Diddy or anyone else for insisting that we need to love ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for fixing our condition then we will never get freedom or justice or equality.

Over the weekend, at the Malcolm X Festival in Atlanta, The Last Poets performed “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution.” Damn right.

Why Are Black People So Afraid of Homosexuality?

gay men

Soundtrack: Macklemore “Same Love”

The other day marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. Rightfully so, this day sparked a lot of discussion of the man and his legacy. In the land of Facebook, I made a post that ruffled a few feathers. I resurrected the ghost of Professor Manning Marable and I asked a question based on a portion of his 2011 biography “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”.
“Why is the possibility of Malcolm X having sex with a man at some point in his early life so reprehensible to people?”

I asked the question because I saw the subject mentioned somewhere on social media and I was reminded of the whirlwind of arguments and denials surrounding the subject when Marable’s book first came out. It took a full day for me to get around to actually going back and reading the excerpt from the book that speaks about this subject. Marable never actually claimed that Malcolm engaged in homosexual intercourse. Here is what he said:

“…[Malcolm] first returned to New York City and subsequently to Boston, desperately trying to survive through a variety of hustles. It was during this time that Malcolm encountered a man named William Paul Lennon, and the uncertain particulars of their intimate relationship would generate much controversy and speculation in the years following Malcolm’s death. …The ‘Autobiography’ describes sexual contacts with Lennon, except that Malcolm falsely attributed them to a character named Rudy:

“[Rudy] had a side deal going, a hustle that took me right back to the old steering days in Harlem. Once a week, Rudy went to the home of this old, rich Boston blueblood, pillar-of-society aristocrat. He paid Rudy to undress them both, then pick up the old man like a baby, lay him on his bed, then stand over him and sprinkle him all over with talcum powder. Rudy said the old man would actually reach his climax from that.

“Based on circumstantial but strong evidence, Malcolm was probably describing his own homosexual encounters with Paul Lennon. The revelation of his involvement with Lennon produced much speculation about Malcolm’s sexual orientation, but the experience appears to have been limited. There is no evidence from his prison record in Massachusetts or from his personal life after 1952 that he was actively homosexual. … In his Detroit Red life, he participated in prostitution, marijuana sales, cocaine sessions, numbers running, the occasional robbery, and, apparently paid homosexual encounters.”

I have very little interest in trying to prove or disprove Marable’s conclusion. Although I do think it is entirely possible that Malcolm attributed this story to “Rudy” because he couldn’t bring himself to admit that he was really the one doing these things with Mr. Lennon. However, I am very interested in the community’s reaction to even the possibility of this being true.

The great Langston Hughes was a gay man. The great James Baldwin was a gay man. The great Richard Pryor admitted in his stand-up comedy to having had sex a with a transgender man. All of these men accomplished feats of artistic genius and showed examples of Black dignity that most of us can only dream of. Homosexual leanings or homosexual endeavors had no impact on their work or their greatness. Yet, the sexuality of these men doesn’t generally get talked about when their names come up. Why is that? Why am I told by my peers that I should be ashamed of myself for even mentioning the possibility of Malcolm having had a homosexual encounter at one time in his life?

The actor Tyler James Williams portrayed the character, Lionel Higgins, last year in the movie “Dear White People”. Tyler spoke to the folks at HuffPost Live about his character. “I feel like the new stereotypical character[s] are gay characters, where you can’t just have a regular everyday guy who just happens to be gay, just like many people that I know,” he said. “You don’t automatically need to see and know that [the character is] gay just by his mannerisms. That’s not everybody.” Tyler also added that “whether we like to address it or not, the African American community is notoriously homophobic. We have been coming up on this rough side of the mountain, as far as civil rights issues go, but we haven’t necessarily addressed the fact that there is a whole other side to that civil rights coin, which are gay rights.”

When I got involved with the Hands Up United crew based in Ferguson, there was a lot of internal discussion about making sure that the LGBT members of the movement don’t get ignored or marginalized. Initially, I was taken aback by this because I didn’t see why anyone’s sexual orientation needs to get mentioned at all. But they were so adamant about it that it caused me to step back and reflect on my attitudes toward the subject.

I realized that I was doing to my LGBT brothers and sisters what many white liberals do to Black people. When you are in the majority population, you don’t have to think about your status. Being in the mainstream gives you blinders. It causes you to think that everyone is having the same experience you are. It allows white people to say things like “there is no more racism in America.” Because they don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. Many Black LGBT people feel like they are marginalized in this way, within the Black community. We act like they, and their unique experience, don’t exist. I have been guilty of this.

People like the good folks at Millennial Activists United (MAU) have opened my eyes to this situation. It is past time for the Black community to take a long, hard look in the mirror regarding this subject. Because, it is killing us.

  • African Americans accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older) in 2010, despite representing only 12% of the US population; considering the smaller size of the African American population in the United States, this represents a population rate that is 8 times that of whites overall.
  • In 2010, men accounted for 70% (14,700) of the estimated 20,900 new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent African Americans. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for African American men (103.6/100,000 population) was 7 times that of white men, twice that of Latino men, and nearly 3 times that of African American women.
  • In 2010, African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men represented an estimated 72% (10,600) of new infections among all African American men and 36% of an estimated 29,800 new HIV infections among all gay and bisexual men. More new HIV infections (4,800) occurred among young African American gay and bisexual men (aged 13-24) than any other subgroup of gay and bisexual men.
  • In 2010, African American women accounted for 6,100 (29%) of the estimated new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent African Americans. This number represents a decrease of 21% since 2008. Most new HIV infections among African American women (87%; 5,300) are attributed to heterosexual contact. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for African American women (38.1/100,000 population) was 20 times that of white women and almost 5 times that of Hispanic/Latino women.

hiv chart

What can we learn from these numbers? Homosexual men are the driving force behind the spread of HIV in the United States. 7 out of 10 new HIV infections are men and the vast, vast majority of those are men who have sex with men. No demographic is catching HIV nearly as much as Black men are. And no group of women is catching HIV nearly as much as Black heterosexual women.

So gay/bisexual Black men are catching HIV at alarming rates, and they are having sex with unsuspecting Black women. What is driving this behavior?

The reaction to the possibility of Malcolm X having a homosexual encounter explains why gay Black men are doing so much high risk behavior with such unhealthy consequences. In the Black community’s imagination, it is impossible to be powerful and masculine and gay, all at the same time.

Cyrus Beene, the fictional Chief of Staff to the President of the United States on the television show Scandal, could never be a Black man. A man who is shrewd and domineering and takes charge and brokers power as well as anyone in the world and just so happens to be gay…Black people couldn’t fathom something like that. Again, that is an impossibility in the collective Black imagination. That is what Tyler James Williams was speaking on.

During the period of physical slavery in these United States, Blacks held in captivity had very little to be proud of. However there were a couple of positions that slaves could attain that gave them a sense of worth. One of these positions was the House Slave, those who got to live in the master’s house and wear fine clothes and be the master’s personal servant. Another position was the Stud, the biggest and strongest man who was chosen to mate with the women in order to make big and strong slave children. Over time, this characteristic of being virile enough to attract and please many women became an integral part of the collective Black imagination’s heroes. This shows up constantly in the first Black films produced in the 60s and 70s. Superfly, The Mack, Truck Turner, Black Caesar all had this same dynamic. Many women. Beautiful women. Helpless in the face of their virile masculinity. There is no room in this picture for a powerful Black man to be sexually interested in men.

Combined with that is the fact that most of the Black community’s sense of morals and ethics comes directly from Christianity, and Islam to a lesser extent. And Black people believe in these religions much more fervently than the people who gave them these religions. So, the end result is that homosexuality is the ultimate sin for Black men. You cannot be a man and be gay at the same time.

So Black men who find themselves having homosexual leanings have to hide that fact at all costs. In order to protect their position in the community, they have to appear to be heterosexual as much as possible. Often that means having a woman just to keep up appearances. The unfortunate flipside of those arrangements is that these men act out their homosexual compulsions in ways that are not thought out very well. They can’t bring themselves to seek out healthy relationships with other men, complete with communication and trust and respect. They have to have quick and meaningless sex that allows them to deny the act, even to themselves. They have to find places to go to in their own mind that allows them to tell themselves that they’re not gay. I only let men give me oral. I only have sex with men who look like women. I only penetrate other men, I don’t let them penetrate me. Whatever the case may be. The end result is a group of people engaging in secretive and risky behaviors that are driving the spread of HIV infections.

As we said in our blog about polyamory, cognitive dissonance is solved by either changing our behavior or justifying our behavior by changing our beliefs. The existence of homosexual activity in the Black community is not going to change. It is time for the Black community to accept this fact and start to change our attitudes toward homosexuality. It is possible for a man to be homosexual and still be masculine, be a leader, be rational, and be powerful. Our LGBT brothers and sisters are full fledged members of our family and they deserve to be treated as such. If a person engages in gay sex, it doesn’t make them less of a human being and it doesn’t mean that they can’t contribute great things to the world. It feels ridiculous to even have to say this in 2015 but it is what it is. We have a long road to travel on this topic. But we have to do better.