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Made of Shade: Weekly Reflection on Pop Culture


By// Quassan Castro

A lot of things perturbed me this week but the two things I decided to focus on this week are the wayward thinking of  Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta’s Stevie J and Joseline, as well as the limited perceptions folk carry about young Black males.

Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta

“Bitch, your a** and t***ies are fake. I was going to give you a contract,” said Stevie J to his mistress jump off girlfriend Joseline.

Note to Stevie J: Stevie J, the same a** and t***ies you deem as fake in a tired effort to shame Joseline were the same a** and t***ies that caused you to deceive your long time girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend) Mimi, and possibly the many other women you were probably playing like a yo-yo. The power of the p causes many weak willed men to step out of their relationships due to lack of self-control. But for you, Stevie, issue remains on your deep professions of love for women followed by your deep hatred for them at the same time. Let go of your misogyny and pain your mother caused you so you can heal.

Note to Joseline: You are one of my favorites on Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, and not for reasons every other male professes to love you. I haven’t figured out for the life of me why I like you, but I do. It’s often disturbing to watch you humiliate yourself every week, at the hands sneaky Sleazy J. I say this with love. You claim to be a bad chick, yet have the self-worth and self-esteem of an undeveloped tween girl. Real bad chicks are able to exude confidence and strength that invites self-respect first then respect from others. I gather the tolerance from Stevie J’s disrespect is to garner a contract. Really? The value of a contract should never surpass the value of your self-worth. No contract is worth having your name and reputation picked apart by someone that clearly will never be faithful to any woman. I think you’re talented enough to make moves without Stevie J as clearly, he really doesn’t seem enthused about launching your career. Powerful men like Stevie J use contracts as a way to get p**** and control p****. Build your worth on the inside. Look at yourself in the mirror and see the beauty that goes so much deeper than a contract.

Travon Martin and Perceptions of Young Black Men 

As a Black man, I cringe each time I hear adults tell young Black men to appear non-threatening in a society as they go about there business of being themselves. “Now don’t offend white folks or any other folk that think you’re a dangerous criminal. You don’t want to be hung or shot, now do you?” It’s the message Black parents told children during times of segregation even slavery. Today as it stands, the so-called threatening behavior is often made synonymous with a style of dress or a particular attitude.

In the wake of the Travon Martin tragedy, and Jordan Russell Davis–and the list goes on–young Black males are being told across the world to not wear sweatshirts with hoods attached in the face of unenlightened folks that see the stereotype every single Black male as dangerous. Have we gotten to a point where our children can’t even dress a particular style without being looked upon with limited lens?

Telling young Black men to appear non-threatening simply because of a style of dress that is very universal for casual wear, actually positions them to assume a position of inferiority. We need to challenge the thinking of society and those that remain unenlightened about who are young black men are. They are not criminals. They are achievers. They are our sons. They are so much more than what they wear or the type of music they listen to. Stop making these boys fearful, as they become men in society or we will raise a bunch of fearful men.  It’s easy to impart the “be a good negro as you go about your day-so you won’t be hung or shot” speech but more beneficial is it to speak to the group that still hold these limited ideas of who are young men are so when they go out, they don’t have to feel inferior to groups that carry narrow lens.

Quassan Castro is a news and entertainment journalist.

Follow him on twitter: @Quassan.