So I dressed up as Harley Quinn for Halloween, because I thought it would be funny as hell. And it was. I've never been one to take myself too seriously, because, well...I have my depressive bouts that do that for me, just fine.
I take time to laugh at myself and life in general because on a daily basis life gives us more than enough to cry about. Especially when you're a Black man. With that being said, the heat I've been getting from Black men about my Halloween costume has been something I need to address.
I've been told I'm "emasculating" myself for likes. That I'm a disgrace, that I'm desperate, that I'm everything but a woke, FREE Black man doing what the fuck he wants. Which is what this really comes down to: I'm free. Like Jaden and Willow free. Minus the celebrity and the millions. No backative and no limits. I'm truly free.
I'm not bound by notions of masculinity that are informed by a lack of knowledge of self / my ancestry. I'm definitely not bound by the myth of Black male hyper-masculinity that most Black men embrace (as a sign of strength) to counter the harms done to us by a racist society. I'm too educated in the matrilineal history of Africa for that.
"If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight until the last of us falls in the battlefield." ---Ya Asantewa, an Ashanti queen who led the resistence to British colonial rule in Ghana.
Even now, if we discuss modern social movements for Black Lives, it's Black women who are LITERALLY on the front lines.
As a Black man, I'm too woke to care if someone is offended by me wearing a dress, because I understand that some of the strongest people in human history have worn dresses: Black women like Queen Nanny of the Maroons, Harriet Tubman, Stagecoach Mary, Assata Shakur and even Marsha P. Johnson; a Trans woman of colour who started the Stonewall riots and the modern "Pride" movement.
I'm sorry, but there have been WAY too many people (women are people, didn't you know) who wore dresses who shook up this fucking world against all odds for me to think that wearing a dress "emasculates" me.
IF someone is laughing AT me, that's cool...I'm laughing AT me too. That's the whole point. I spent hours getting ready, drinking and celebrating my damn self before I even left my house. I spent the whole night sharing laughs with people, taking pictures (and getting accosted by women left right and centre, I might add. lol). I looked fucking ridiculous and I loved it.
I'm more than confident enough in myself, my sexuality and my contribution to this world to know that me taking a light hearted jab at myself to show up all the girls that will be rocking Harley costumes just ain't that serious. And if it IS that serious to you, my question is: What exactly are you defending? Are you that sexist that you think something "feminine" can't also be strong? Are you that uneducated in who and what it is to be a Black man, that you think some dude wearing a dress is a threat to "all" of you? Do you think me wearing a dress is bowing down to racist ideals of Black men? Isn't that what you're doing by thinking hyper-masculine tough guy bullshit is the pinnacle of who we are?
To all my brothers who were offended: tough.
I'm not here for tired notions of "masculinity", especially not ones that are built around denigrating what's perceived as "feminine".
I don't need to "act" tough, because life has toughened me just fine. Just ask the guy that tried to start a fight with me this very same night. I think the dress and cute pigtails distracted him from the fact that I was 6'3, 230lbs and a (former) martial artist with a nasty streak who used to fight regularly for a living (when I was a bouncer).
I let him know that it wouldn't look good on the gram when the video of him getting slapped up and down the street in front of his girlfriend by a Big Black dude dressed as Harley Quinn went viral.
He smartly walked away, because dress or not, I'm still a strong Black man, who idolizes strong Black women and I'm just not here for all the patriarchal, uninformed bullshit, boo.