R.I.P. - Bernie Mac. Thank You.
If you haven't seen Bernie Mac's famous stand-up routine I'll paint the bold beginning. A large black man struts past Martin Lawerence, wearing a uniquely 90's White and Cultured collar shirt tucked into denim jeans. With unwavering confidence and message wrapped in vigor that he knew the people need. He smoothly snatched the mic off of the mic-stand and proclaimed... "I ain't scared of you mutha****s!" And whether it be from stun, offense, or the holy ghost the entire crowd became joyous from Bernie Mac's asserting that there is no fear in this room, and especially not from him. He then started telling the audience how he loved sex, then went into comedic episodes of his frivolous sexual encounters. Because of laughter, we missed his brief signal of maturity and omission that he no longer participated in such behavior despite being fully free and equipped to do so. Sign's of a real man, and the mastery of a comedian. He told a story about how if sex was in a can he'd blow off his friends to simply be chilling with a bottle at night. He gave instructions on how to get your lover off of the phone during intimate times, and ended talking about the Violence in Chicago, and how we should not allow our lives to be imprisoned or stopped by not calling out those who have wronged us in our pursuit to a better our community. (Video Below)
I didn't know that I needed this message from Bernie Mac. I didn't know that I needed to laugh before I said it. To release the anxiety and fear. I didn't know that someone said it before me, and paved the way for me to talk about sex, violence, voices as a black man. Now that there is no fear... allow me to say this.
"I Ain't Scared of You Mutherf*****s"
There is a cycle of sexual assault that I want to be completely free from. I'm a southern man, Atlanta raised, and the theme of my city is Chocolate. Chocolate, an aphrodisiac. Atlanta: Home of the booty shakers, strip club capital, and former home of the freaknic. The infamous "A" perhaps leads to a set of definitions to the city. A, over sexualized city. A, hub for sex trafficking. A city long overdue to check it's sexual implications and exploitations. Yet, and still, it is a beckon for many other reasons so people from around the world come.
I was raised here around over-sexualized beings. Fridays were freaky and hide-and-go-get was a game. In 5th grade my friends and I auditioned for the school talent show as singers. We song, "Somebodies Sleeping in My Bed" by Dru Hill, only to be placed in a larger group to sing, "I believe I can fly" by R. Kelly. Forgive me. I have not known what I do. Perhaps, my teachers did not either.
In my life-time, I have committed acts of sexual assault without even knowing what defined the act. Through my childhood and college years, I recall touching same aged peers without permission sporadically. These are not acts that I commit as a man learning how to be a better citizen to my community and to women.
I'm not scared of my own convictions, my eternalized horror stories down to even sharing my zenith joys. I am both a victim and a fan of sex and my voice matters. My experience matters, and I am an ally to the solutions to ending sexual violence despite any part of my past simply because I choose to be. My experience as an young boy priding himself on his relations with an older neighbor at age 4 matters because there are still young boys who believe the advances from older women are all warranted. My experience and dedication to youth drives me to better myself to insure a better now, and tomorrow that makes their yesterday's not seem so bad and misguided.
As a male I must I admit, it is scary. To only look up and see tales of you and those who look like you be labeled as perpetrators. I can only imagine the horror of being a woman. Perhaps, a piece of guilt and frustration resides in us all, and that makes what is in our closet's that much more frightening. Again, let's not be afraid of these muthaf****s. Let's be brave and address them. Let's allow everyone's voice to be heard, and create real dialogue around our experiences that lead actions that end rape culture.
Full disclaimer, I'm not afraid of talking about sex, violence, and voices nor sharing my past experiences as a perpetrator, victim, and advocate of ending sexual violence. However, I do not define, nor will I allow anyone to define me as anything other than an advocate. I'm striving for excellence in this advocacy and the things that I've learned I'm applying to better my ability to end a cycle that is not worth repeating and to protect the men, women, and children in my community.
Bernie Mac ended his routine talking about how a man was imprisoned for not talking about the transgressions of his sibling, and how it effected the entire community. I've been there, and while I choose to privately talk with friends about behaviors that don't edify our purpose of creating a safe and prosperous community, we must address them as seriously as any root issue with major implications on how our community functions for all, especially our women and our youth.