Friday, February 27, 2015

Musings of a Philosophical Bear: Why Ask Why

I’m often thinking about the deeper questions of life, especially in those times when life gets hard. I want to know; what’s the meaning of it all? Why are we here? I was reminded of these questions one day when I was watching an old episode of Desperate Housewives. Susan was recovering from a kidney transplant. She was alive because of a string of events that at once could be considered lucky and tragic. One night, she found herself sitting in a casino at a high stakes poker table. She was up to $20,000 in winnings off of a $100 chip. She clearly had a lucky streak, but instead of being excited, she was crying at the table, bumming out the other players. When a neighbor came to console her, she explained that the chip came from a friend who had just died from the same kidney condition that she had survived. She didn’t understand why she gotten so lucky when her friend just died. She was asking why, as many of us would, when life isn't making any sense. And her neighbor told her of similar miraculous event in his own life. He was much older, maybe not the smartest man, but he had some sound advice. Why ask why? He was trying to get her to acceptance, but she was still stuck. Why do we ask such unanswerable questions? Is there an answer that would ever satisfy?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: Office Romance Drama

Would you date a coworker? If you had a friend who was in a relationship with a coworker, what sort of advice would you give them? In the latest episode of the M3 Bear essentials, Ja'Won Blackmon, Mark Estes, Breeze Vincinz and Malcolm Travers weigh in on the complicated nature of office romances. It's not that only are coworkers going to get into your personal life, but that your personal life will then be brought home with you. There's also the issue of seniority and promotions based on the unfair advantages that sexual relationships could provide.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Real Headaches of Television

Once upon a time, there was an entertainment blogger who was infatuated with all things Bravo. Andy Cohen, the boyishly cocky face of the network that could do no wrong, was basically “bae,.” and always knew how to treat me right, especially when it came to anything related to the bitchy juggernaut known as the Real Housewives franchise.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

M3 Bearcast Ep 5: Black and Gay Stereotypes

Episode 5: Black and Gay Stereotypes
February 24, 2015

Gay black men face a host of different stereotypes, and in our fifth episode of the M3 Bearcast I try expose some of those stereotypes and get at the heart of why some of them can be damaging to the gay black community. May gay men face discrimination because we’re expected to fit into a narrowly defined set of behaviors and attitudes. One mission of Male Media Mind is to show that black gay men have a diverse set of interests and backgrounds, and as we discuss these stereotypes that we’ve had to deal with, we hope to expose people to a wider range of the gay black experience. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: Hollywood's Race Problem

After the 2015 Academy Awards have come to an end, the M3 Bear Essentials discusses the state of racial parody in the award shows. Do you feel the black community was fairly represented among the nominees and award winners? M3 contributor Mark Estes discusses his article about how he felt he needed to push back against some of the hyperbolic protests of the award ceremony. While it is hard to say there is anything like equality in representation of black filmmakers, the depiction of the problem isn't always a clear-cut as some would make it out to be. M3 contributors Malcolm Travers, Breeze Vincinz and Clinton Jolliffi join Mark Estes in discussing the race problem in Hollywood.

Read Mark's article: Hollywood's Race Problem 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: Anatomy of the DL Man

During a recent #M3HotTopic we asked our audience, "In your opinion, why do DL men stay in the closet? Is it just because of homophobia, or does our community play a role in keeping them closeted?" While the spread of responses were wide and varies, M3 contributors Mark O. Estes and Malcolm Travers give their take on lives of DL men and  try to provide some clarity the difference between being closeted and being on the down low.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

M3 Bearcast Ep. 4: Homophobia in the Black Community

Episode 4: Homophobia in the Black Community w/ Mark Estes, David Vollin, Breeze Vincinz and Vaughne Smith
February 17, 2015

In this episode of the Bearcast we debate the origins of homophobia in the black community. Does the black community have greater levels of bias against gay people than that of the white community? First we challenge the assumption of black homophobia and then investigate the root of the problem. I invited M3 contributors Mark Estes, David Vollin, Vaughne Smith and Breeze Vincinz to discuss the issue. Fox's Empire sparked the debate by sending some of the black pundit class into a tizzy about the way the black community is portrayed in the show. Many commentators despised the depiction of former drug dealers and complained about an overemphasis on homophobia in the black community. We talked about one article in particular entitled Black People Are Not More Homophobic Than Anyone Else You can read the article to get a better idea of what we discussed in the podcast.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bear Essentials: Respectability Politics

Respectability politics refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream for its failure to accept difference. This is seen when women, homosexuals and African Americans contort their femininity, sexuality and culture respectively in an effort to gain affluence in a male, heterosexual and Eurocentric inclined world. And while some see the practice as resourceful and innocuous forms of succeeding in a prejudicial world, others view it as a cowardly surrender of the soul that does more harm than good or "selling out". M3 Contributors Malcolm Travers, Mark O. Estes and Breeze Vincinz weigh in on the great debate on which plan of action best incurs success for minority, reasonable compliance or unyielding cultural acknowledgment. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: When Enough is Enough

Could you walk away from a 13-year friendship with someone over a breach of loyalty? Do your friends need to take your side when someone comes for you? Mark talks about his article dealing with the sometimes complicated nature of friendship circles when one person of the group comes after you.

Read Mark's article: When Enough is Enough

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When Enough Is Enough

Picture this if you will…

You’re hanging out with your group of friends of ten plus years and everything is peachy keen. You guys have been together since freshman year in college. You’ve witnessed each other’s greatest achievements, celebrating with the appropriate amount of liquor (plentiful) and gut-splitting barbs about the next conquests for you all on the horizon. You’ve also seen each other at your lowest point imaginable, consoling the next man with tough advice and even more of the finest liquor you could get your hands on. In short, you and your boys are a single unit. You are a “team.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Male Media Mind Bearcast Episode 3: Bears and Masculinity

Episode 3: Bears and Masculinity w/ Mark Estes, David Vollin and Breeze Vincinz 
February 10, 2015

Why are faggots so afraid of faggots? It was the title of an anthology edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and is the question I posed to the panel of M3 contributors. Masculinity is one of the issues that touches every gay man at some point in his life. Either his masculinity is called into question or he is pressured to not associate with feminine men. On the dating site that many gay men visit, many ads are openly hostile toward fem men and still others are fetishized to ease their own sense of self-hatred. In the third episode of the M3 Bearcast, I speak with Mark about his history of being in the closet, and why he avoided feminine men for fear he might be outed. I then speak with David Vollin about the way gay men are stereotyped in the mainstream media, and then I speak with Breeze Vencinz about his experiences with effemiphobia.

Monday, February 9, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials:Attractiveness As A Relationship Issue

Self esteem and self awareness are issues that can affect all relationships. They can, however, be heightened in Bear communities where our appearance can deter certain members of the LGBT community and patronized to the point of mockery to others. During a recent #M3HotTopic we asked the question, "Have you ever been with a partner who was so attractive that the attention he received was a problem for the relationship and how did you deal with it?" M3 Contributors Ali Lopez, Malcolm Travers and Breeze Vincinz weigh in on the sometimes anomalous situation some Bears have of dating men who are perceived to be classically beautiful.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: Men In Black Dresses

Why does a black entertainer wearing a dress conjure up conspiracy theories about destroying black manhood? What exactly are we afraid of when a man acts like a woman?  M3 Contributors Malcolm Travers and Vaughne Smith discuss Breeze Vincinz's article about our fear of femininity.

Article: Min in Black (Dresses)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Male Media Mind Bearcast Episode 2: Bears and Coming Out (w/Mark O Estes)

Episode 2: Bears and Coming Out (w/Mark O Estes)
February 3, 2015

Coming out is one of those facts of life that almost every gay man has to experience at some point in his life. Not every coming out story is the same, but each of those stories has similar themes. First there's some form of self-acceptance. Not every man who has sex with men is going to consider it an act that defines him. Others will see him as essentially different, and one he accepts that it, he has to consider if the people around him will accept that difference as well. It's often a painful process having to defend one's masculinity and manhood. Often you have to come out, you often have a lot of work ahead of you, explaining your sexuality to those who are ignorant, sometimes over and again, and having to deal with hateful people. In the third episode of the M3 Bearcast, I talk with M3 Contributor Mark Estes about his experience with coming out. I hope that his story will inspire others to feel a little more comfortable in their skin.

Monday, February 2, 2015

M3 Bear Essentials: Attack of the THOT Trap

Dating can be an arduous task for anybody, but for Bears in a world with limitless technological advances, sometimes communication can be skewed whereas what you thought was an act of assertion and independence could be misinterpreted as thirsty and needy. M3 Contributors Mark O. Estes, Gerald Hogan, Clinton Jolliffi, Malcolm Travers and Breeze Vincinz discuss the often complicated task of making yourself available to date without getting caught up in the THOT trap of appearing desperate and out of control.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Is The Black Community Afraid of its Own Shadow?

Hiram R. Revels won Jefferson Davis's Congressional Seat in Mississippi Senate in 1870.  He was the first Black American elected to the U.S. Senate.  His predecessor was President of the Confederacy.
Originally Published on For The Brothas

Of the many challenges facing black men in America coping with the reality that they may be more likely to become the victim of crimes committed by another black male ranks as one of the most formidable stresses and contradictions within a social structure that would most benefit from gender and racial solidarity.  In a country more keenly focused on racial tensions between different cultures and races the phenomenon of black on black crime continues to go untreated by the Black American community perhaps because of the tough internal realities it will be forced to confront.  Many believe that the black community has never effectively organized itself against this problem attributing peaks of black on black crime statistics to shifting trends in economic opportunity and decreases in crime to attrition due to temporary incarceration and a troubling steady rate of homicide.  It is an historically unpopular view within the black community to place responsibility on itself.  Denial of its culpability continues to weaken the ability of the black community to sustain itself by effectively challenging mainstream culture and policy to revise prevalently latent vestiges of institutionalized racism set in place over hundreds of years.