Believe in Black Men.

I hope you get annoyed by me pushing this agenda as often as possible. I truly do. But, please believe in Black men.

The most impactful moment from service this last Sunday was when my pastor briefly diverted from his message to harken on the importance of the Father and consequentially, the importance of fathers. He made a plea into the stratosphere for men to become true fathers and perform fatherly duties as demonstrated by God the Father and other biblical representations of fathers.

The responsibilities of fathers as demonstrated in the Bible were that Father(s):

  • protect.

These are attributes that God vibrantly demonstrates over Jesus, His firstborn Son, as well as us, the adopted ones.

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5.)

I got a lot of dreams and goals but the two weightiest ones, which also double as my greatest fears, are being the best father and best husband I could be. I think I’m obsessed with what that picture looks like. Of what pure, genuine, committed and devoted fatherhood might be. Of what an excellent father might look like. And equally so, what an excellent, fully in love, fully committed and devoted husband could look like.

For this reason, over the last couple of years, I intentionally invested time in several families I’m connected to, just to catch glimpses and ideas of what a quintessential father and husband could look like. If you’re any of those families, just know, you mean the world to me, and I am eternally grateful for how you’ve accepted, trusted and poured into me. Thank you.

I’m passionate about doing this right not just for my own future family but also for any younger boy or girl that I might have influence over. While I was privileged to have a dad at home and other older men in my life to provide some measure of fatherly grace, I know the vast majority of my friends and peers in my neighborhood weren’t so lucky. And I saw many of those guys I grew up with suffer in various ways because they lacked that relationship.

For my numbers folk: according to Kids County Data Center, in 2019, 64% of Black families were single-family homes, disproportionally 14% more than the next ethnicity. This doesn’t necessarily depict the ratio between fatherless or motherless homes, but it’s clear: Black families have historically been at a disadvantage.

Part of the disadvantage is that so many sons, brothers, husbands and fathers don’t make it home. Within this last year in the pandemic, we’ve seen this harsh and sad reality play out at a greater clip than ever before. From Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 to Demetrius Stanley, killed on June 2, 2021, Black men have often not made it home to their families. This is a big cog in the systemic structure of Black oppression in America.

We touched on another proponent of this Black fatherlessness issue during Sunday’s service: the Willie Lynch letter — a speech by a slavemaster giving other slavemasters instructions on how to properly break Black slaves and keep them under subjection for hundreds of years. A TL;DR summary of the letter: break the Black man, destroy whatever semblance of family and security they have.

It’s been a tried and true method at work for centuries but I’m hoping to make a dent in destroying this disease.

After service, a few of us grabbed some dinner. When we were done, we witnessed an altercation between a group leaving the restaurant and some officers that very much likely could’ve ended like one of the stories we’ve become greatly accustomed to as of late.

The young man in the group felt the need to step up for one of the ladies, who was being mishandled by an officer. Before we knew it, the officer and the man got into a shouting and jostling match. Thankfully, I and the other brothers in my group were able to intercede and did our best to assuage the situation. We were grateful because we may had perhaps saved a life, or at the very least prevented another young Black man from experiencing unnecessary harm for what should’ve been a very minor incident.

But if I’m honest, the 20 minutes or so of that altercation gutted me. I was angered sick and wasn’t totally encouraged by how the night ended. The experience itself was traumatic knowing that so many other stories like this happen frequently and don’t turn out so fortunate.

Black men in America continue to live with targets on their backs and are forced to live and play by unfair conditions. These structures continue to cripple and destroy hope and vision for Black boys and men.

The goal of this essay is simply to encourage you to Believe in Black men. We need it. We need the hope and the inspiration. We need to know that there are people rooting for and believing for us even when we can’t do so for ourselves. We need to know that our futures and dreams are real and attainable. But I think what’s most pivotal right now, is that we all make it home.

Father, I thank you for your love and grace. I thank you that see and understand our pain, our anger and our frustrations with how this world treats your sons and daughters. God we need you. We need you to continue to protect and cover these Black sons, husbands, brothers and fathers. We need you to continue to protect these families. We also need You, Father, to reveal and remind us of who You say we are, so that we can be all that we’re meant to be. I pray for grace and wisdom for the groups and people fighting for these. Grant them divine blueprints and instruction on how to advance in the growth, protection and cherishing of Black men. Father keep us. I love you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thanks for reading this. Please feel free to share this. But even more so, please remind a Black man that he’s capable and loved.

Thank you,

Jum.

JOYBOY.

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Jum Owookade

These letters are probably a compilation of a variety of focuses. I’m a Sports Writer who loves God, comics, and storytelling.