Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

This Embrace Between Brian Tyree Henry and Keith Stanfield Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week

Between Moonlight’s win and Tracee Ellis Ross going Peak Tracee Ellis Ross with her win and her speech and her joy and her dress (and her dress and her dress and her dress) and Issa Rae not winning (yet) but reminding us that we probably should get used to seeing her at these types of events and nominated for those types of awards and Viola Davis teaching America that we’ve been doing collard greens wrong this entire time and us (Black people) turning the repeated Hidden Fences gaffes into a thing, last night’s Golden Globes had quite a few candidates for the Blackest Thing that ever happened this week. Including, of course, Meryl Streep using her privilege and her position to make a room full of White people quite uncomfortable, which might have been the Blackest thing a White person has done in public since Mike Dean produced The Diary. 

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But while Streep’s speech was an example of what we need White people to do to prevent Trumpian politics to be some sort of normalized status quo, the embrace between Brian Tyree Henry and Keith Stanfield — ecstatic and vulnerable and visibly verklempt while watching Donald Glover accept his award for Best Actor (Television Series Musical or Comedy) — is an example of what we need to do to survive and thrive over these next four years.

It’s apropos that the image of these two men hugging each other would come a week after two of the biggest stories in pop culture were the levels to the fallout from Kim Burrell’s homophobic comments and the analog, Taco-Bell-beef beef between Soulja Boy and Chris Brown. Because you couldn’t find two better stories to articulate the type of toxic, regressive, and just plain fucking dangerous mores and beliefs about sexuality and masculinity that need to be taken out to a barn and shot in the fucking face, and you can’t find a better image to exemplify the type of love and embrace that needs to be loved and embraced than what Henry and Stanfield did last night. When I saw those two men — those friends and colleagues celebrating their friend and colleague — I saw two men who were free. Free to enjoy, embrace, and encourage each other without any care of how it might be interpreted. Free to just be, and willing to fight for that freedom. Free to be in love with your friend, a person who happens to be a man, with a love that reflects the ideal of genuine platonic love, which is to “inspire the mind and the soul and direct one’s attention to spiritual things.” Ultimately, this was the progressive evolution and distillation of “fuck them other niggas cause I’m down with my niggas.

And this is our path. Of course, we’ll continue to protest and disrupt and defend and protect and battle and bleed. But this is it. This is the type of love that’s worth fighting for to cultivate, shield, and maintain. This is who we need to be with each other. With a love that’s not unconditional — you need to earn this shit to receive it — but is unencumbered and unconcerned when it’s earned, given, and received.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • I’m voting for all those Black women coming out to the theater and Beating a Star Wars anything by about a million dollars…as a little Blacker.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      One of the ladies is an AKA; you gotta think they came out in droves to support a movie about their Sorror.

      • Penelope

        Be CLEAR, my Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., hosted screenings all over the country to support the movie and our Sistergreeks. #yassss #sistersandfriends

        • Nik White

          SkeeeeOoop!

      • Dmaclee

        While all of the ladies featured in the film are AKAs, the ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho also held screening events for the film. One of our Sorors is married to Katherine Johnson’s grandson and can attest that her 98 year old mathematical brain is as sharp as the movie portrays.

    • RagesAgainstMachines

      My mom, dad, little sister and her boyfriend, and I went yesterday. Made it a family affair! Then we ran into two separate groups of cousins lol. That theater was FULL!

  • cancergirl08

    Love this image. Black men are beautiful. Black male vulnerability is beautiful.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    That moment seems to be the Black male equivalent to when Taraiji was cheering for Viola after she won an award a few years ago. Both scenes were awesome and had me like https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9dea8d3bf817b02a2e5762961a14032f352d150e2a9df9e14e5052cd0f5ad92a.gif I love to see us celebrate us, how we celebrate us, unashamed like nobody’s watching.

    • Valerie

      Bron looking sexy in this gif. I normally don’t like him lol

      • Tasha Lawrence?

        Nah.nope. Noppity. Never. Noppity never

        • Valerie

          It’s the lip bite. I have a thing for it.

          • Tasha Lawrence?

            Mmmmk.

          • cyanic

            I like noses.

            • Tasha Lawrence?

              I like smiles.

            • Valerie

              Me too. I also like dark skin too. Jimmy Butler is currently my basketball crush right now.

          • Tam

            Reminds me a lecherous old man who hasn’t realised his days are wayyy, wayy over.

            • IAmMikeBrown

              You don’t know my life.

              • Tam

                I seriously doubt you go around trying to be James Todd Smith 2.0

              • Valerie

                Ummm…

            • Valerie

              Who you subbing with this reply? LOL
              But seriously the lip bite effect only works on attractive men for me. It’s not everyone’s thing lol

              • Tam

                Lol. That is what I think about when I see men do that . My other immediate thought is they need some chapstick badly.

                • Valerie

                  I feel that way when men lick their lips.

            • NonyaB?

              Yes!

          • Junegirl627

            Don’t worry Valerie i’m with you. Bron could get it if he looked like this all the time.

            • Tam

              Down vote. And i ususally agree with you.

              • Junegirl627

                Nah Bron Bron looks like he been drinking too much and I imagine i would’ve drank to much then some bottle poppin music would play. We’d drink and flirt and then i’d wake up the next day sore with a sweated out weave that has no hope of survival. Plus by that point Bron Bron would go back to being Lebron and help with my weave replacement.

            • Valerie

              Thank you, I knew I wasn’t the only one. LOL

              • Tam

                You two could be anamolies

                • Valerie

                  Nah Glo is on #TeamLipBite too lol

                  • Tam

                    Another one. Intervention is clearly needed.

                    • Valerie

                      Nooooooo lol

            • Cleojonz

              So long as he keeps the hat on. And the socks too from the looks of his weird pinky toe.

          • Glo

            I hate that I pause for the lip bite every time…but I do. *shrugs*

            • Valerie

              YES another one. I always pause lol

        • Tam

          Looks more creepy than anything else.

          • Tasha Lawrence?

            He never had that Je me sekwa factor going on for him. God bless all who think otherwise.

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          Ever!

        • miss t-lee

          Yeah, all of the no, plus 20.

        • MsCee

          Lol. I’m with you, girl. I don’t see it. Never will.

        • Right.

  • Me

    Can someone please post up links to the best of the show’s clips? I didn’t watch and I don’t facebook, so I didn’t know it was on, but would like to know what I missed. Please and thank you.

    • Or Google…. “sips tea*

      • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

        Queen on that Savage tip today. You get your gym in?

        • I did. Today was cardio (26 mins) tris/bis/shoulders/core (total 500 reps). Today is two-a-day-Monday. But my second round is almost all cardio.

      • Me

        Meh… I’m not trying to sift through hours of fluff and links to get to the major items. I’ll live without it.

  • Tasha Lawrence?

    1.) Congrats Tracy
    2.) Issa WERKED that dress
    3.) Meryl Streep, her speech and tears, unmoved me. Reality is, making them uncomfortable AFTER the fact, meh.
    4.) Congrats D Glover
    5.)Congrats Moonlight

    Basically all my congratulations are/were/will continue to be reserved for black actors/actresses

    • Valerie

      “Meryl Streep, her speech and tears, unmoved me. Reality is, making them uncomfortable AFTER the fact, meh”
      Girl I felt this way too. It’s like discovering you had a fraudulent charge on your PayPal account and finding out after 60 days. Yes they can cancel it and you might get your money back but is it really worth getting mad over after the fact? And yes I’m reaching with this lol

      • Tasha Lawrence?

        I rolled my eyes especially when the water works began. Whatever.

        • Valerie

          I liked how she told us where all the actors came from. That was cute, so was her dress.

          • Tasha Lawrence?

            Giiiirl, I didn’t finish listening to her speech.

    • Question

      In Meryl’s defense, given the timing of the election, she used the platform she had to make folks uncomfortable. We don’t and wouldn’t know what she did during the election cycle (if anything)…

      • miss t-lee

        She was a hardcore Hillary supporter.
        I think she did what she could with her privilege. I’m glad she spoke out, because she really didn’t have to.

        • I knew he would try to Ayesha Curry back and sure enough he did. I imagine Hitler would have been mad reckless on twitter.

          • miss t-lee

            Yup. I blocked him the day after the election, but like clockwork I still see the retweets. I knew something would be coming out in the middle of the night.

            • Never followed the his heaux-a$$.

              • miss t-lee

                I never followed him either. I blocked him on GP…lol

  • I felt that way the other year when Texas beat Oklahoma in and Charlie Strong was crying. Me and my boy was like “We’re proud as fcK to be black right now!”

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Sports give us dudes a pass to emote.

      • I remember after the Cavs beat the best basketball team ever last summer someone mentioned black dudes should cry more often than when we win the NBA championship and I was thinking that we’re just wired that way and that’s okay.

  • BlackSpartacus

    So when we getting I ? Bad n Boujee Black Girls the series?

    • MsSula

      I second this!!! We need an update. Bad n Boujee is where it’s at, fam!

  • Valerie

    I love to see US celebrate each others accomplishments. So many queens represented last night!!! Congrats to Hidden Figures beating Star Wars.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4868ff8274e6e547eb8077520f8bc9be7821be85004814754653a501e1a50e85.gif

    • Glo

      This gif is everything.

      • Valerie

        You are welcome to use it. It’s my mood for 2017.

        • Glo

          Already saved.

      • MsSula

        Everything I tell ya.

    • IAmMikeBrown

      *ogles one mo’gen*

      • Strawberry03

        Lol.

    • Mary Burrell

      I love that Serena gif.

  • That’s the “niqqa we made it” embrace. I’m happy to see it. In my life I only tend to see men show vulnerability like that at the funeral home, the hospital, or the cemetery.

    In between marriage, work, hunting for a house (hopefully Mrs. MM and I close this week!), and grad school (4.0 GPA for the first semester), last night made me realize how much I’ve fallen behind TV culture. I binged Insecure over my winter break and I still need to start watching “Blackish” and “Atlanta.”

    I’ve been a fan of Ross since “Girlfriends” and I’m so glad to see her at this stage of her career!

    • Photoshop’s a helluva drug

      Its was beautiful to see us winning and able to embrace it and be emotional about it. This has been a great year for black people on tv and on so many platforms! Blackish on network, Atlanta in cable, Insecure on pay cable and Luke Cage on streaming. We are coming at them from every angle!

      • What I love about it all is the product. Like, I don’t know what compromises are made backstage to get these shows to air. But you’ve got soror references on Luke Cage (Harlem, New York), a middle class black family being middle class and very black on Blackish (Cali), black professionals of all educational levels and professions on Insecure (Cali again), and unabashed black culture on Atlanta. Put Queen Sugar in there to rep for the South.

        These shows are being released and showing the diversity and beauty of Black life that can’t be denied. We are everywhere in this nation and everywhere in this economy and this year’s entertainment made it undeniable.

        • Cleojonz

          And even where it’s black characters on mainstream shows they are being created in more nuanced ways. Look at Sterling K. Brown’s Randall on This is US. He’s a weather trader, brilliant and very good at it, but you really see his human side as well. I thought he was going to win again for Charles Darden, but oh well.

          • I always struggled with watching Black people specifically, and minorities generally, on mainstream TV. It’s almost always obvious when white people have too much voice in crafting minority characters because it feels like they believe that we are just like them, only with a different skin tone.

            The shows that are winning are showing that no, we are different, and we don’t care what you think of us, and we will be respected because we are citizens; and it’s only in that vein where we will choose- and we won’t if we don’t want to (#niqqanavy is a hashtag that’s only going to belong to us and we will gladly set sail alone in an ocean of white tears)- to meet y’all wypipo in the middle. The shows tell us that compromise will only originate from people whose political lives have been molded by compromise, and on terms we dictate.

            • Cleojonz

              You should see This is Us if you haven’t. One of the central parts of the story line was Randall not wanting to shine (as the only black one in the family) even though it was so evident early on just how special he is. I think they’re doing a good job addressing the fact that we are different but ultimately want the same things in life and for our families.

              #niqqanavy had me SCREAMING. I’m always a day late on trending topics but I love that black twitter is able to do this. I love how the irony is always lost on wypipo. “Oh it’s so offensive what if we did that blah blah blah. So predictable. Instant white tears lol. .

              • Can I catch it streaming?

                • Cleojonz

                  It’s on hulu the next day. I don’t think it live streams unless you have sling or something like that.

                • TheUnsungStoryteller

                  You can literally go to NBC using your Roku for free (if you have that). I think it’s on NBC online as well.

              • TheUnsungStoryteller

                I JUST started watching the show yesterday…MAN! I had to rewind the show from the beginning once the episode was finished. I was like “Woah…did they just…wait…so you mean to tell me that…Awwww….that’s why that man was allowed smoking in the hospital!” LOL…I am sooo late to the party.

                I love the show already.

                • Cleojonz

                  I love the plot twists in this and how they go back and forth in the timeline. NBC did a great job keeping it under wraps that it was partly a period piece.

          • sharitaatx

            I love This is Us! I really like Sterling’s character on the show…but his WIFE!! I love how she is written! She is not some after thought! I was like she is written like a REAL black woman! Not like a general background character that can be filled by anyone.

            • I didn’t know he was married to the sister who plays the mom that Mandy Moore goes to for black boy advice in real life.

              • Madam CJ_Skywalker

                Oh wow. Didn’t know that either. Dope

              • Cleojonz

                GET OUT! I totally missed that.

              • sharitaatx

                I didn’t know that either!! wow!

              • Mary Burrell

                I saw that too. I screamed when she told Mandy Moore’s character that she needed to do something about his grooming and to put lotion on him for because he was ashy.

            • Cleojonz

              I LOVE his wife! She seems like any one of your professional girlfriends in real life. I wonder how much she ad libs because they couldn’t write in the way she delivers he lines.

              • sharitaatx

                I got my mom hooked and we both were like…who is writing this for her. She has to be be helping them, if so she needs some writing credits! There was the scene when his co-worker was about to kill himself and she came up and he was like no stay back! She was like you don’t tell me not to come up here! I laughed so hard because that was real! lol

                • Mary Burrell

                  When Randall’s oldest daughter was playing Snow White in the school play, were the white people laughing? Because i saw the expression on Randall’s face he looked angry and it made me angry. I always felt like Kevin wanted to call Randall the n-word. Because he was so resentful of him. He felt neglected. I kind of feel sorry for him.

            • She almost did a number on his dad though, lol.

              • sharitaatx

                yeah! she was on him from day one!

            • SPG

              She’s my fave! She’s so real on that show. And the actress who plays her went to HU in real life.

            • Mary Burrell

              It’s great. I binge watched all Sunday evening up to Sunday night. I hope Toby is not dead. And I love the Randall story and I love the family. The wife is so down to earth i like her and the two little girls are adorable.

              • sharitaatx

                Toby better not be dead!!!

                • Mary Burrell

                  Well they left us hanging. I would hate that for Kate.

                  • sharitaatx

                    Right! She finally gets someone that is affirming and he dies!?!?! Nah…son!

                    • Mary Burrell

                      I hope not too.

                • Cleojonz

                  I don’t think I could handle it if they killed him off already. He’s so perfect for Kate.

          • Me and Moneypenny love :This is Us”.

            • Cleojonz

              So glad it’s back tomorrow!

              • Mary Burrell

                Yes, I want Toby to live.

            • miss t-lee

              My sister’s been telling me about it. I definitely need to check it out.

              • Its worth the look.

              • Mary Burrell

                It so good binge watched all Sunday. Check it out.

          • Mary Burrell

            Sterling K. Brown as Randall is excellent and the brother from Luke Cage who portrayed Fish is Randall’s father who was unrecognizable and is a wonderful actor as well. I binge watched This Is Us last night. It’s a great show.

          • SororSalsa

            He and Courtney Vance already won Emmys for People vs OJ, so I wasn’t sweating them not winning last night. The Golden Globes are random as hayle. Aaron Taylor-Johnson winning over Mahershala??? Mmm, okay.

            • Cleojonz

              I wanted a clean sweep lol.

              “The Golden Globes are random as hayle. Aaron Taylor-Johnson winning over Mahershala???”

              This one definitely p*ssed me off. I thought the room was pretty well shocked. And that guy is cute. He was very cute in Godzilla, but he was obviously so ill-prepared for his win. I actually turned part way into his speech.

              • SororSalsa

                He definitely is cute. Maybe someone in the HFPA wants to fcuk him. Or perhaps they were trying to get some variety since no one else gave him an award.

                • Lisss

                  I’m not sure he deserved it more than Ali but he most certainly put in a worthwhile performance; its more than just good looks in this particular case. I just watched Nocturnal Animals this weekend and i’m still reeling.
                  I read somewhere he said he felt like he needed therapy after that role and im not surprised.

            • Strawberry03

              I love Mr. I Can’t Pronounce His Name! His essence is so attractive.

              • SororSalsa

                I loved him in Hidden Figures as much as I did in Moonlight. I first noticed him in The Place Beyond the Pines. He definitely has a presence that is undeniable.

                • Raspberry04

                  Girl, I agree! I loved him in Moonlight, and was pleasantly surprised when he popped up in HF.

                  Have you seen Kicks? That’s the movie that I first saw him in and he promptly took my breath away. ?

                  • SororSalsa

                    I saw the trailer for Kicks last year and thought it looked amazing but never saw the movie. I’ll definitely check it out!

                    • Raspberry04

                      I’d be interested in your thoughts. :whispers: I may or may not have seen it for free on YT. ?

                    • SororSalsa

                      Well then…I’ll just have to get over there Asap!

          • Mary Burrell

            When he went to his daughter’s Career day and embarrassed his daughter. That was great I had no idea what his job was i just knew he had a nice white collar job and he made a very nice living providing for his family. He always said he was going to have money and Kevin would live in a box. Which Kevin messed up his career on a show he was miserable working on and ends up in Randall’s basement. Again Kevin is in the basement.

          • I LOVE THIS SHOW. My husband put me on to it.

        • King Beauregard

          The most optimistic thing that keeps me going in the pending Age Of Trump is, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Trump and his will try, and they’ll have short-term successes here and there, but it’s too late for them to roll it all back.

          • Anyone who has studied Reconstruction would disagree with this statement.

            I don’t want to be rude. But temper your optimism. We are in for the harrow.

        • Question

          The TV comedy nominations were more Black shows than not (Atlanta, Blackish and Insecure). I know its not much, but there was an entire tv segment (from commercial to commercial) where Black folks were the only folks up on stage.

          And they’re based on said diversity. Its exciting. I’m hoping we continue this momentum into 2017 (and beyond)…

          • TheUnsungStoryteller

            I know I am so excited this year. What a great (okay, maybe bittersweet considering Jan. 20th) time to be alive!

          • SororSalsa

            I was happy that Viola won best supporting actress in a movie. When I realized that 3 of the 5 nominees were sistahs…I loved Fences, but I really thought that Naomie Harris in Moonlight was outstanding. I kind of wished that she’d won.

        • Gibbous

          I have not watched the show “This is Us” but this article made me want to take a peek.

          At last, ‘This Is Us’ captures the simmering rage of a successful black man in white America

          http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-hollywood-values-updates-at-last-this-is-us-shows-what-it-s-1483652692-htmlstory.html

      • Yahmo Bethere

        It’s ALMOST overwhelming. I need to read a d/n BOOK, not binge watch.

        Am I terrible for clapping like a dolphin at the Luke Cage sountrack?

        • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

          Clap like a seal?

        • Nope. Soundtrack was fierce.

        • JBusy

          Loved the soundtrack…I was a bit disappointed at the show. It could have been so much better.

        • Mary Burrell

          the music was great

    • Question

      “And at 44”.

      • Which is fine with me. As a college counselor, I deal with lots of 18-21 year old students determined to make “young money.”

        In real life, your 40’s and 50’s are the years where your salary and power rises to their highest levels. And to get there, and in most cases, you have to learn how to grind and rise in your 20’s and 30’s.

        • Question

          Deleted.

          • Valerie

            Yes. Goals for sure.

        • Question
          • I’m HAPPILY married.

            Women like her sometimes- in moments of weakness- make me wish I was happily something else though.

            • grownandsexy2

              Ms. Ross was slaying the hayle out of that dress tho.

          • NomadaNare

            You are my new favourite

          • IAmMikeBrown

            *ogles unabashedly*

          • Glo

            Her body is fantastic.

            • Question

              Right? Goals, I tell you! Goals!!

          • Strawberry03

            Give ’em what they’re asking for, TER!

    • Cleojonz

      Hey congrats on the house. Crossing fingers for you, I know closings sometimes have issues.

      • We’ve already had two closings fall apart on us. So hopefully third one’s the charm!

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Ross is the dopest. I want to be like her when I grow up. It just seems like she’s getting better and freer every time I see her. That’s refreshing.

    • Congrats bro!!!!!

  • lissen after Tracee & Donald won b2b I called @otherguy and told him about the white tears shed during that 3 min time span. I thought that was the blackest thing that happened last night. For goodness sake Donald thanked the for Bad & Boujee (which maybe my fav ratchet song at the moment). You could’ve filled lake superior with those tears.

    And Meryl… This is how you use your privilege for good.
    And meanwhile every time a POC won they were looking like this and prolly thnking man i thought we had this on lock. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38f5c851b168a88807975de7ea91dae0db9b6bfb86fa8098c6ef5f202cfd500b.jpg

    • [Insert Creative Name Here]

      Nice avi

    • Yahmo Bethere

      That pinched-face dog never fails to make me laugh.

      • Every time my sis says something to me crazy I send that & the taking school pictures in his pjs.

        The innanet never lets me down

      • Mary Burrell

        IKR

    • Take it easy!!
      Got me at work hollerin’!!!

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