I am a fan of Russell Carrington Wilson. I like that he is soft-spoken, passionate about his job, and in love with his wife. It is most marvelous to see more healthy, black love in the public eye. I love it. I need to see more of it.
What I do not understand, is the backlash he and Ciara get. I don’t understand why the default position for black women is heart ache, and for black men hyper or toxic masculinity. I don’t get it. The more I try to understand, the more frustrated I get. It’s unfortunate how we as a community treat the soft-spoken black men. I don’t get it.
What I have learned is this–this country, the world through the lens of white supremacy and toxic masculinity, really don’t know what to do with the Russell Wilsons of the world. These men who aren’t defined by how many women they smash or the familiar veneer of flirting with misogyny. This nation likes to box in, redefine, and dehumanize black men. I mean, I remember how crazy the gossip mills were because Russell decided not to sleep with Ciara until they were married. That still boggles my mind…
America likes their black men as caricatures, as these impossible bucks, motivated by what a girlfriend of mine says, “money, pussy and weed.”
In this, we have a young man in love with his wife, who is making a life with her. He has decided to embrace the child she had from a previous relationship, and have one of his own, being husband and father to both children. For whatever reason or stake, Russell being with Ciara has unmasked this sense among men like Ciara’s ex-fiancé whom cannot believe or stand their former partners to be happy aside from their former sham relationships.
Take this for example which came through my time line this last week:
Why would he flip out? She’s happy. So, because female happiness is an assault on the fragile masculinity? Clearly. The one thing I adore about Russell Wilson is he doesn’t react to every dog that howls. He doesn’t let the craziness that comes with blended families to storm or steal his happiness. The fact of the matter is, that level of self control is not seen as synonymous with being young, black and male.
There is a sweetness to Russell, and to men like him which are overlooked or ignored in our own community. In not allowing the entire personhood of black men, we limit their ability to be and become entire persons. We limit the ability of black men while depicting them as a binary conformity. There is room for black men to be both strong and quiet. There is room for joy when black men fall in love with women whom have children. There is room in the black male diaspora to be an atypical black man.
I am overjoyed to see Russell and Ciara together. I am overjoyed when I seem them together! The Russell Wilsons of the world are needed, the secret heroes of blended families and communities. They are the ones who are often overlooked as pillars, as friends, and at times, worthy lovers.
It doesn’t make a black man soft to take care for his family, making his wife a priority and fighting to maintain his family. It doesn’t make our beloved Russells soft or lames because they don’t fit the esthetic which makes the country more comfortable and suspicious. He is a football player afterall.
So, for the Russell Wilsons of the world, to them, I say thank you. I thank you for being yourselves amidst the noise of the world. Thank you for being strength, for being quiet places for your wives, lovers and friends. Thank you for your boldness in ignoring the storms and foolishness that swirl roundabout your lives. Thank you for being the reassurance, the rock, the soft places to fall apart. Thank you for not playing into the hand of those whose
natures you surpass simply by knowledge of self.
Thank you for being all you are, when the world demands you be different. Your wives, lovers, friends and children love you for all you bring, all you are, and all you will become.
Sometimes the strongest of men need to be reminded of how appreciated they are. Even then, those two words are not sufficient–indeed, they are a noble start. Thank you.
[images from Google and author’s social media timeline]