Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

The Definition?

I am Panama Jackson.

I am many things to many people and I am nothing to a lot of people. To many of you I’m black letters on a white background, and to others I’m a confidante and party animal extraordinaire who brings the party when he shows up and takes it with him when he leaves.

I am a son and a father. I’m a boyfriend and a partner (no Siegfried). I cry in the dark and I put my hands where your eyes can see.

I am a Black man.

And yet sometimes I don’t even know what that means. I know what comes with being a man. I’ve been that all my life. And while I’ve been Black all my life it means different things in different places to different people. To some being a Black man means being a monster and a boogie man that will take your Girl Scout and her cookies and leaver her looking like a wilted dandelion. To others I’m an object of study, an odd fascination and curiosity upon which studies and fear campaigns have been built.

My goal is to be a positive light in a community where some of the worst get all the shine. As a Black man in today’s day and age I walk a fine line between street corner hustler and corporate boardroom participant and leader. I live amongst men with nothing and no reason to continue other than to spite death. But I work among men whose sole purpose in life is to grow powerful enough that only God could command more respect.

I am on the lookout because at work I am the same person I avoid in the streets.

I am fear and pain but I’m love and compassion. My community means the world to me even if at times it refers to me as an outsider using its resources for my own personal gain. Ironic considering that my own personal gain is esteem at the hands of another’s lack thereof.

I am a brother and a mentor. I am an uncle and nephew. I’m a role model and a cautionary tale. I’m somebody’s strength and an infrequent picture of weakness. I’m a southerner with northern tendencies, raised conservatively with liberal leanings, and a bringer of the ruckus while usually hoping the problem resolves itself.

I’m strong when necessary yet unappreciative of rodents in my space. I’m a dreamer and a realist. I struggle with raising a child in a world I want while praying for change in the world in which I reside. I’m afraid of the police but rebellious in the face of unregulated authority.

I am a Black man with insecurities but unafraid of life. I appreciate The Doors as much as I appreciate Jay-Z. Ahmad Jamal introduced me to the piano and Eazy-E introduced me to the keys. I’ve got soul and I’ve got rhythm. I dance when I hear music even if no music is playing.

I’m like Che Guevara with bling on, I’m complex. But I’m transparent.

I’m too sexxy for my shirt, so sexxy it hurts. And I’m shy.

I shine on stage while fading into the background.

I’m Timbalands in the summer time and Chuck Taylor’s in the winter. I’m Kenneth Cole and Banana Republic. I’m tall socks and dog tags.

I’m fashion and an oddball. I’m the coolest geek ever. I’m the coolest cat you’ve never met.

He is I, and I am him. Slim with the tilted brim.

I’m the star of the story.

I am a lot and nothing. I’m something and a nobody. I believe I can fly even though I’ve never left the ground.

I go up on the downstroke but I’m down by law.

I’m Panama Jackson and I’m a Black man.

We talked yesterday about what a grown a** Black man needs to succeed in life, but we never defined a Black man.

How do you define a Black man?

Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3

Filed Under:
Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

    Cool ass post, bruh.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Monk, thanks homey. i do what i can on some tuesdays.

      • Blaze

        @Panama Jackson,

        Nice piece bruh..I’m sure a lot of brothers could relate to this joint.

      • Blaze

        @Panama Jackson,

        Nice piece bruh..I’m sure a lot of brothers could relate to this joint.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Monk, thanks homey. i do what i can on some tuesdays.

    • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

      @Monk,

      Co mothuh! fuhckin! sign

    • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

      @Monk,

      Co mothuh! fuhckin! sign

  • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

    Cool ass post, bruh.

  • http://www.theAudacityofHustle.com EbonyI

    Excellent, well thought out, complete post. Bravo!

    As a wife, daughter and mother of a son I think of Black men and their place in the world almost constantly. My Black man is loving though sometimes less than lovable. Unintentionally intimidating and consciously protective, of himself, and his family. Able to leap tall building, kill bugs and eat whatever is left but can become completely undone by a baby’s crying.

    I imagine it must be a challenge to be you… and rock Banana Republic, skater shoes & a wicked hat. But only yall can :) And I love you

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @EbonyI, the good thing is that despite its challenges, its great. we get to set trends and be the subject of a CNN special every 6 months.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @EbonyI, the good thing is that despite its challenges, its great. we get to set trends and be the subject of a CNN special every 6 months.

    • Leila

      @EbonyI, “Excellent, well thought out, complete post. Bravo!”

      Co-sign! Really well done Panama.

    • Leila

      @EbonyI, “Excellent, well thought out, complete post. Bravo!”

      Co-sign! Really well done Panama.

  • http://www.theAudacityofHustle.com EbonyI

    Excellent, well thought out, complete post. Bravo!

    As a wife, daughter and mother of a son I think of Black men and their place in the world almost constantly. My Black man is loving though sometimes less than lovable. Unintentionally intimidating and consciously protective, of himself, and his family. Able to leap tall building, kill bugs and eat whatever is left but can become completely undone by a baby’s crying.

    I imagine it must be a challenge to be you… and rock Banana Republic, skater shoes & a wicked hat. But only yall can :) And I love you

  • legitimate_soul

    My partial definition of a black man is: the epitome of masculinity, my father, my brother, my protector, my partner, my love, a king, a counterpart, balance, simply and with complexity-Superman.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @legitimate_soul, I think Superman works quite nicely.

      Though I prefer Green Lantern myself.

      • legitimate_soul

        @Panama Jackson,

        Well, I didn’t want you to be susceptible to yellow :D

      • legitimate_soul

        @Panama Jackson,

        Well, I didn’t want you to be susceptible to yellow :D

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @legitimate_soul, I think Superman works quite nicely.

      Though I prefer Green Lantern myself.

  • legitimate_soul

    My partial definition of a black man is: the epitome of masculinity, my father, my brother, my protector, my partner, my love, a king, a counterpart, balance, simply and with complexity-Superman.

  • LuckyRed

    I lurk around verysmartbrothas.com all the time and never post but…

    Panama, I believe you have asked the most simple question that has been bound with fear and many black people or the world for that matter wants to know.

    This was definitely thought provoking and peaceful all at the same time! How do you define a black man? Not what makes him successful or what validates him. When a man of any race understand who they are and master that then therefore we can give a list of adjectives the man possess. We use society to categorize men and what they are supposed to be and never take time to understand who they are. You know I could go into a whole post about it but I will not.

    Define a black man or any man by what God says!
    Just a thought…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @LuckyRed, You know I could go into a whole post about it but I will not.

      perhaps you should go on ahead and do it, pimpin.

      and welcome and thanks and all that good sh*t

      • LuckyRed

        @Panama Jackson, Well sir I shall do that! I will email it to you when it’s done. Oooh I’m excited lol!

      • LuckyRed

        @Panama Jackson, Well sir I shall do that! I will email it to you when it’s done. Oooh I’m excited lol!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @LuckyRed, You know I could go into a whole post about it but I will not.

      perhaps you should go on ahead and do it, pimpin.

      and welcome and thanks and all that good sh*t

  • LuckyRed

    I lurk around verysmartbrothas.com all the time and never post but…

    Panama, I believe you have asked the most simple question that has been bound with fear and many black people or the world for that matter wants to know.

    This was definitely thought provoking and peaceful all at the same time! How do you define a black man? Not what makes him successful or what validates him. When a man of any race understand who they are and master that then therefore we can give a list of adjectives the man possess. We use society to categorize men and what they are supposed to be and never take time to understand who they are. You know I could go into a whole post about it but I will not.

    Define a black man or any man by what God says!
    Just a thought…

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Look at you edifying the Black man. Hahaha.

    <3 you p!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Liz, i gots to edify. if i don’t…who will? Plies?

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @Panama Jackson,

        Please, God, no. Not Plies!

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @Panama Jackson,

        Please, God, no. Not Plies!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Liz, i gots to edify. if i don’t…who will? Plies?

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Look at you edifying the Black man. Hahaha.

    <3 you p!

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