by Jacquie Johnson, founder of Jacquie ooh
Black men have been beaten down since the beginning, subjected to mental and physical torture during slavery and now at the hands of their jobs, the media, and even the police. This constant beating is literally exhausting. Throughout history, black women have always been a source of stability and support for our men. We are mothers, wives, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters. From us comes life and it’s in our nature to birth hope and promise in the lives of our men. If we don’t support or uplift our black men who will.
Mainstream media many times portrays the black man as someone who stays in trouble, has nothing going for himself, and doesn’t take care of his family. While there are some who may not be doing what they’re supposed to be doing, there are many who are taking care of business and they should be appreciated and honored. It is up to us to let our men know that they are powerful beyond measure. We understand what they go through daily because of the color of their skin. Many of us were raised by a black man, have raised a black man or have one living in our home so we see daily the struggles that they face. And if you are a boy mom like me, we’re constantly praying for them and sharing knowledge with them on how to handle different situations to keep them alive.
I believe every black man has a story about how his grandmother, mother or wife “held him down” to make and keep him great. We have heard the phrase many times that, “behind every successful man is a woman”, that statement is very true. When we support our black men, we are supporting our community. We’re showing up and letting them know how much we need them and love them. And we’re showing up to let them know that they matter and their lives matter.
What are some ways we can uplift instead of tearing down our black men?
- Make sure your cup is full: you can’t pour into someone if you are empty. Take the time to be whole and happy yourself so that you can graciously pour into someone else.
- Don’t tear down, build up: it is true that life and death lie in the power of the tongue. Black women are intelligent creatures and have the witty ability to cut anyone down with words. But does this edify? Positive words and encouragement are critical in the life of our black men. It may be the only positive thing they ever hear.
- Be that shoulder: men often must put on a tough guy persona outside of the home. They don’t want to cry or appear weak. Create an environment where your man feels comfortable enough to be emotionally vulnerable with you.
- Be a safe place: in addition to being comfortable with vulnerability, creating a safe space for black men enables him to truly be himself and release the weight of the world off his shoulders.
- Really listen to what he has to say: it is important that we give our men room to talk, vent, and release whatever it is that they are going through. This ensures that they don’t hold on to harmful thoughts and habits.
- We all need space: sometimes our men need space to process their feelings. Allow them to space they need to clear their mind and negative thoughts.
- All men want is respect: the world disrespects our men regularly. If we disrespect them too, how can we expect them to feel empowered? Be careful how you speak, watch your tone, what you say/how you say it, and never embarrass your man in public.
- Honesty is key: supporting our men also means telling them the truth. Telling the truth in love will make them better in the long run.
- Where’s the accountability: supporting our black man involves holding them accountable. We cannot let them get away with any and everything. We must hold them to a standard.
- Taking one for the team: sometimes we must sacrifice our needs to support our black men and ensure that their success. This should never be the case all the time, but we just must remember that we’re all in this thing together.
Contributing Writer, Jacquie “ooh” Johnson
Jacquie Johnson is a native Texan who resides in Denton, TX with her husband and two daughters. She has two older sons who reside in California, and one grandson. Jacquie is the founder of Jacquie ooh an online resource hub for women. Her goal is to provide resources to help women think well and live well. She is the creator of the Glow Collection by Jacquie ooh, an organic skincare line where she provides gourmet food for your skin. Jacquie is heavily involved in her community where she has been sworn in as a precinct chair for the Democrats of Denton County. She is also an author to two books: Glow Through It 21 Day Devotional Journal for Women and Dare to Sparkle Entrepreneur Startup Guide+Dream Big 4 Day Devotional. For more information on Jacquie “ooh” Johnson please visit her website at http://www.jacquieooh.com.