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12 #blackboyjoy Moments That Have Us Loving The Men In Our Lives

I always seek out moments that keep me amazed at our resiliency.

Culture & Entertainment

As a full advocate of the progression of black people, I always seek out moments that keep me amazed at our resiliency.

I recently read an article that discussed the death of Kobe Bryant in relation to the vulnerable side of black men that we often don't get to see. And with the media attaching us to negativity as often as they can, as a black woman on an empowerment platform, I accept full responsibility in welcoming any moments in the culture that eases that image.

In, comes along the phenomenally revolutionary hashtag #blackboyjoy.

Coined by The Root, and made popular by the #blackboyjoy king himself, Chance the Rapper, the hashtag became a centralized hub of black boys and men who were happily being themselves outside the confines of the media's portrayal of gangsters, criminals, or the latest victims of police brutality.

I decided to list 12 moments where #blackboyjoy had us smiling ear to ear.

Enjoy!

Matthew Cherry Wins Oscar And Takes De'Andre Arnold To The Ceremony

Matthew Cherry, a former NFL player, decided to write a short film titled Hair Love about the trials and tribulations of combing his daughter's hair. This film took off from there and remained highly-rooted for with the help of a manifested vision.

Cherry went on to win the Oscar, joining the ranks of the likes of other former athletes, such as Kobe Bryant, who also retired and explored the film industry.

On top of his Oscar win, Cherry took DeAndre Arnold, the young teen from Houston who was told he could not participate in graduation due to his locs, as his guest.

As our sis, Shellie R. Warren put it, "Matthew A. Cherry reminds us that celebrating Blackness is always worth it."

Always.

William Bilal Plays The Trombone Like You've Literally NEVER Heard Before

In 2016, William Bilal was at student in high school standing in the bleachers and playing his trombone during rehearsal. What was recorded became history, and 1.6 million views later, he continues to blow what seems like the entire internet's wig all the way back. The passion, the level of difficulty, and the effortless way he made his trombone sing—at THAT age—you just had to know that the ancestors were watching and losing their wigs too.

Bilal has since gone on to attend Benedict College in South Carolina, and has other (clearer) videos floating on worldwide web. But this is where it all started.

Sidebar: the song played is Al Jarreau's "Black and Blues", which is a very popular among HBCU marching bands.

Fair warning, you will not be able to watch this just once.

The Viral Black Man Skincare Thread

@SoOulzZz/Twitter

It all started when Twitter user @SoOulzZz said: "Let's start a thread of black men doing skincare here pls."

And boy, did Twitter deliver.

What followed were men openly sharing their skincare routines, offering tips, and as an amazing turn of events, allowed the ladies to just sit back and watch in awe.

#skinisin

The High Fives Of A Lifetime

I mean...come on!

Men Openly Show Off Their Love On Twitter

Twitter user, @KeyKey_Shepard, asked Black men to "upload a picture of the Black woman that you're treating right, having sex with on the regular, and making happy." Hundreds of men of all ages blessed our feeds with a tribute to their partners that will give you all the feels.

"Say Less," one reader responded.

You have to see the best responses, they're hilariously sweet.

Everything About Shaquan Parson, Who Is An Entire Mood Every Time He Lands A Trick

Shaquan Parson is training and competing to be the best self-proclaimed power ranger in the game. The stunts, the tricks. Whew. You have to see for yourself.

But the best part (at times) isn't even the acrobats.

It's his reaction after each successful landing.

If you don't root for yourself, who else will?

The Top Quarterbacks in the NFL Are Black And ESPN Coins 2019 the #YearoftheBlackQB

In a notoriously...let's just say, “conservative"...league, for the first time ever, the most statically superior, and discussed, quarterbacks in the NFL were all black:

Patrick Mahomes

Russell Wilson

Lamar Jackson

Deshaun Watson

ESPN took notice and created the television special “Year of The Black Quarterback" with a panel of key components to commemorate.

Go crush the field in 2020, fellas!

Black Lawyers Casually Create A Multi-Million-Dollar Room

A group of Chicago lawyers were captured during their quarterly dinner to vent about their work, offer each other support, and to discuss ways in which they can use their platforms to move the culture forward. The magic came in them assembling in a room, and quietly creating a buying power larger than what we're often exposed to outside of athletes and entertainers—which is a celebration within itself.

I don't know about you guys, but all I see are successful black men smiling, laughing, and being carefree Wakandian Warriors. #kanyeshrug

A Couple Friends Enjoying A Quick Dance Battle

Sometimes, you just have to pull your friends into your silliness with you, and sometimes being black AF on dance cam is necessary. My mans, @neversayneveraj, is a legend at both.

A Young Prince Sings "Standby Me" For His Class

It was Mr Sorto's classroom's tribute to the late Ben E. King for their Black History Month performance. The moves, the commitment, and the microphone stand for him...omgggg.

The preciousness is too much to handle.

Send this baby some love, he did his parents and teacher proud!

*sings along*

This Guy Took An International Solo Trip And Had A Great Story To Tell

Vandyke’s entire trip was a wild ride of randomness, from renting his Airbnb for four nights for only $120, to hanging with locals, to surviving on $5, and being invited to his neighbor's 87th birthday party (who didn't speak a word of English). He truly had a trip to remember.

I personally read the full story in a travel group, but the photo caption details more. There's one thing for sure, he knows how to have a good time, regardless.

Live your best life, king!

A Head Football Coach Learning Chemistry For His Students

Coach Darrell LeBeaux, Head Football Coach of Pleasant Grove High School in Birmingham, Alabama went the extra mile to literally re-learn the chemistry lesson of his player’s class. He was captured in full student mode—all while each of them were beaming in their magic.

This football season, Pleasant Grove went on to be ranked #1 in their region, and are nationally ranked as a program to look out for—and we can see why. We're forever rooting for any educator that shows a little more effort in developing young boys into men, through example.

Great job, Coach LeBeaux!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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