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