I am in love. I’ve known it since I was a teenager, looking with young brown eyes at his chocolate skin and easy smile. He called me shorty, and it was all over. I lived for his hugs, his daps, and my heart strings were tied to the soles of his feet. That love started out as a crush then, but it matured with me. And even now, I can definitely say I still love him. I’ll always love him.
I’m in love with black men. Brothas, to be exact. Nothing warms me up more than being around them. My daddy taught me what a man was by what he did. My baby brother taught me how to love brothas just because he was the first male friend to love me unconditionally.
Theorists call my brothas an endangered species, but they are the most vibrant, alive human beings I know. If black men are endangered, they live like they don’t know it. Dapping and hugging and reinventing the language all over the place. Brothas ball, play instruments, dissect atoms and write life. Energy crackles in their locs and dips around the waves in their fades. I love watching them twist their feet into equations other men could never decipher. You ever seen them smile? Brothas are my sunshine and sunset and cipher. Black and bright.
There is a particular shade of pride I feel when my brothas do well. Even ones I don’t know. They make things grow in me—roots. I feel like I could gain inches in height just to reach where they are. When they stretch beyond their beginnings, I want to meet them where they stand so tall. Brothas be my weakness and my strength.
Those who don’t know them feel threatened, but I never feel fear around brothas. They call me queen. They have made it their pleasure to scoop me into the palms of their calloused hands and protect me from the world. It’s ironic, too, because the world is against brothas. Plotting hand over fist over feet stomping to bury them. Brothas are black diamonds with blood at their centers—hard as rock, but Lord, if they don’t bleed. And sometimes we are guilty of painting them devilish, ignoring cries for help as they fight off their demons. Their pain matters to me.
Through it all, black men turn red drops into green. They invented the hustle, perfected it, then prepared it for mass market. They transform themselves from being on the market to controlling the market. My brothas may not always resort to legal means to survive, but at the end of the day, they’re alive; every cell on my skin sings for each day they steal a breath. Brothas are revolution, just by breathing.
Brothas ain’t perfect. I’m not either. But two imperfect beings can love each other to perfection. That means my brothas aren’t n****s to me. Sometimes brothas won’t let me love them, but I hold on from far away, still in love. The frustration and anger seems trivial compared to how much we need each other. Brothas tap the wells of my heart and keep me giving, and I will always give them myself. Deeply.
Originally written in 2006, but still 100% true for me.