#BlackBoysEmbrace: The Viral Movement Celebrating All Forms of Black Male Intimacy
Jermaine Dickerson is on a mission to dismantle toxic hypermasculinity, one image at a time.
Intimacy between black men, particularly gay black men, has always been cause for pause within the black community. While outward displays of toughness and "manliness" are celebrated, open demonstrations of sensitivity and affection are more often shunned.
Straight black men and women need to be held accountable for how they uphold heteronormative and homophobic precepts - especially how they respond to black male intimacy.— Jermaine 🏳️🌈 (@jermainedesign) December 17, 2017
Otherwise, we'll continue to see more ridiculous responses like the ones we got to this picture. pic.twitter.com/3IqGRjboEO
Many scholars point to the emasculating indignities suffered through slavery as a root cause of this phenomenon. Whatever the case, the effects are very real and in many cases, detrimental to the emotional, mental and sometimes the physical health of our community. As a gay black man, Jermaine Dickerson knows this all too well.
"Growing up I just found it really hard to express intimacy with the male role models in my life, it was hard for me to express a certain level of emotion," said the Michigan based graphic designer. "As I got older and began to learn about heteronormativity and all these things that sort of negate intimacy among black men, I took it upon myself to try to deconstruct some of those oppressive ideals."
Dickerson created #BlackBoysEmbrace to break down those walls.
I'm inviting all Black men to join me to help dismantle the stigma surrounding Black male intimacy (platonic and otherwise).— Jermaine 🏳️🌈 (@jermainedesign) December 18, 2017
Share a picture of you embracing a male loved one and use the hashtag #BlackBoysEmbrace.
S/O to @gianorama for inspiring this idea. pic.twitter.com/kN3cwYNCDZ
"With #BlackBoysEmbrace, I really want to encourage more black men to be expressive and intimate in a romantic and in a platonic sense," Dickerson said. "I definitely want to make sure that queer men have a space in this conversation, but I also want to provide spaces for other people -- fathers, brothers, friends, cousins to know, it's OK to be affectionate." This open call for participation does just that.
Black men, share pics of:— Jermaine 🏳️🌈 (@jermainedesign) December 18, 2017
- You holding your son
- You embracing your brother or cousin
- You hugging your father
- You holding your boyfriend/husband
- You with your arm around your best friend. #BlackBoysEmbrace https://t.co/dpYyRl7RNk
The responses came flooding in.
Black Queer Men came through and blessed the feed.
One time for this throwback.
Dickerson is no stranger to expanding the conversation around inclusion. As founder of Hero Nation, he's a huge advocate for minority representation in superhero culture.
RT if you want to see more gay superheroes on film. https://t.co/RSM6eCrhEf— Jermaine 🏳️🌈 (@jermainedesign) December 13, 2017
His Hero Nation comic con event held in Ypsilanti, Michigan attracted hundreds of participants this summer.
Kudos to this real-life superhero for helping to reshape our perception of what intimacy between us means.