12 Woke Baes Who Stimulate Your Heart And Mind
Fine, Black and doing it for the culture.
by Nia Decaille
April 05, 2017 at 4:29 pm
If you’ve ever thought finding a partner with sense was a long and drawn out process, full of arbitrary signs (because in your head, if they like three of your photos, y'all do go together), you’re absolutely right.
Better yet, finding a partner who understands how identity can shape your experiences without being told, “Oh, babe you’re just overreacting” or “You’re being too sensitive,” is even harder. If you’ve tried the dating apps, sliding in DMs or try to find someone the old fashioned way, it isn’t crazy that you’ve thought about sending applications or standardized tests to make sure you won’t waste your time on a class A dummy.
Thankfully, there is a little hope that you can find a woke bae, who can try to understand your position and even stand up for you when those layers of oppression play out. There’s still hope!
Gather yourself. These men are fine, black and will most definitely pass your test!
1. Kofi Siriboe
I mean, you saw this one coming. Your mentions were filled with heart eyes when Queen Sugar actor, Kofi Siriboe, took a clear stance on how black women are the backbone of the black community, and deserve to be on a pedestal. The love is real for Black women and his skin is everything. I won’t debate this.
2. Jesse Williams
If you didn’t see his speech shutting down so called “allies” at the BET awards this past year, open a new tab and resume this listicle at a later date. Williams got to heart of the “progress” in this country by saying, “The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander”
3. Colin Kaepernick
He can stand, kneel…whatever, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pour my heart out. This past year has been quite turbulent for the San Francisco 49er, who received lots of backlash about his commitment to supporting Black Lives Matter. If his commitment on the football field doesn't make you swoon, his interest in giving back to the community might.
Bonus: Don't you just love a man who can seamlessly rock corn rows, a fro and a clean cut unapologetically?
4. Barack Obama
And I'm not just talking about Obama before we knew him in 2008. How many more times does Barack have to show us that he would be nothing without Queen Michelle? Even if we don't agree with his policies, Obama has humble roots that go back to community organizing, and during his presidency, he spoke out about racial injustice and the flaws in our criminal justice system. I’m ready to risk it all when I say that Obama’s new post-White House glo’ up is on "zaddy" status.
5. Idris Elba
Even if you don’t believe in God, you know there is something divine about Idris Elba. He’s sweet, sweet eye candy and isn’t afraid to make it known that he’s not paying attention to who you think he should be dating. However, he has a special place in his heart for black women. If you've slept on his interesting opinions, he's shared his thoughts on the lack of representation in film and used his good looks for a good cause — to empower women.
6. Mahershala Ali
If Moonlight didn’t make you take a second look, maybe his spread in GQ did. What’s even better is his love and dedication to his wife, and an understanding of what time it is. His speech at the Oscars pretty much summed up how behind every successful Black man, is an even more powerful woman. Moreover, his popularity has also opened up discussions about discrimination and experiences of the Black muslim community.
7. Donald Glover
A true renaissance man, Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino) showed us in 2016 that he could do it all. Not only did we laugh watching (and rewatching) his hit TV series, Atlanta, but he successfully brought funk back for the children on album, Awaken My Love. His art has celebrated blackness and the impact of black youth on culture.
8. John Legend (and Chrissy Teigen)
You already have him on your black wedding playlist, but there are other reasons to love this Grammy award winning artist. First, Chrissy Teigen (obviously) and watching how he's always down to be #relationshipgoals. But Legend also isn't shy on his views about Donald Trump, his first-hand experiences with racism and the dehumanization of Black men and women.
9. Frank Ocean
A free spirit and talented songwriter, Frank Ocean has used his music to make us feel some type of way, and even unintentionally create space in the hip-hop music scene for gay men. He always gives us the free black boy wave over Radiohead tracks, and shows us that masculinity doesn't have to be so fragile.
10. Ryan Coogler
Photo credit: Getty Images
Our excitement for a black superhero (finally) hitting the big screen is just the tip of the iceberg for why Coogler is bae. Not only has he taken on Marvel's coolest, blackest superhero during a time that seems definitely necessary, but he has also articulated just how much we need women behind the camera.
11. Andre 3000
Oh, Three Stacks. While another album wouldn't hurt, you helped bring to the hip-hop fold a level of dopeness that set the trend for young black men nowadays. You bait us with features, but your style and lyricism has always done it for the culture. From OutKast to Idlewild, you've given the kids inspiration on how the imagination can push boundaries about masculinity, and speak the truth about life, love and culture — all to a bop.
12. Jussie Smollett
What would Empire be without Jussie Smollett? Arguably, still a solid show because of Cookie! But Smollett's character adds depth and diversity to the troubled family narrative we've seen before. Outside of the show, Smollett has been candid about being openly gay in Hollywood, and how we should never be afraid to embrace our blackness.
Bonus: Matt McGorry
I won’t say I have jungle fever, but this feels pretty close. If I’m not completely smitten with his character Asher cuddling up to Aja Naomi King on How To Get Away With Murder, I’m always ready to RT his tweets about racial injustice. Don’t worry Asher, if Michaela won’t love you, I will!
Let this serve as a bit of inspo' if you ever consider quitting the dating scene, or calling your best friend to complain. These guys show us that there's still hope, and that it's OK to dust it off and continue to shoot your shot.