Breaking the barriers of what society deem as “masculine” & redefining the essence of black masculinity
New Age Masculinity is the ability to embrace oneself to his fullest potential and have strength in any form or fashion; Artistically, inventively, inwardly, or physically. He is cheerful, adoring, shows feelings and "muddles" black masculinity and tests sexual orientation standards. Regardless of any situation, you remain true to yourself and have the strength to be yourself even when no one wants you to be. The true beauty of embracing your internal self and not giving a damn. Being a “masculine” man isn’t always about the exterior, the tense muscles or being the toughest. It is based on loving yourself first and believing in your intuition of doing things that are right in your eyes, rather if its looked down upon or not. There isn’t a specific guideline on “how to be a man” or “how a man should be”. So, what is the problem exactly? Boys are born loving creatures, but at a very young age we are taught the traits, diminutive language, and mindset that aligns them with society that has construct a quixotic definition of what is presume as American masculinity. This only a social construct that was here before I, and I refuse to abide by a “tradition” that I consider overrated. This term New Age Masculinity, derives from generation X, the individualistic millennials that are out breaking barriers that are considered norm. Traditional ways are cliché, and highly overrated so why settle for the norm, when you can be eccentric? Living in 2017, we are all advancing as individuals. Consistent advancing and adapting to new things each second of the day, there is no space to think so straightforward in a nearby disapproved of state.
The Manliest Men
The artists that are displayed above are the true definition of New Age Masculinity, effortlessly slaying while rocking clothes that are considered “feminine”. The fact that they are pulling off such erratic styles amazes the me. The self confidence is beyond vibrant and they honestly don’t care about the opinions of others. They are representing new exciting ways of challenging ideas about masculinity. Since black boys are stereotyped and judged before they even speak, it is in fact considered peculiar seeing men dressed in feminine clothing, having painted nails, colored hair or anything out of the ordinary. Young thug, shown on the left, is a big hip-hop/rap artist in the industry who is in fact considered weird. People can’t accept the fact that the ideas of black masculinity has widened broadly. To see a black man in a dress made for men makes him homosexual? I don’t THINK SO! But hey, of course it didn’t stop him because that is his album cover and he also wore dresses on many other occasions such as a Calvin Klein ad and red carpet events/shows.
Seeing men act like someone that they are not and hurting people because they are hurt internally is much more “gay” to me.
Jaden Smith is one young black male in Hollywood who has challenged the hetero-norm and gender labels society has constructed. His fascinating looks, and his unique style has attracted me to him and I love that about him. Jaden wears women clothes for a specific reason, more so for a good cause. In reference to ‘Complex.com’ Jaden said “I’m going to take most of the blows for my fellow MSFTS,” the 17-year-old told NYLON. “So, you know, in five years when a kid goes to school wearing a skirt, he won’t get beat up, and kids won’t get mad at him. It just doesn’t matter. I’m taking the brunt of it, so that later on, my kids and the next generations of kids will all think that certain things are normal that weren’t expected before my time.” In a harsh society that regards youthful black men hyper-forceful and hyper-manly and instructs young men over the range to cover their emotions, being joyful in any way is an approach to push against those unjustifiable desires. I do consider these young men as trendsetters, and yes, they inspire me to continue to break the norm and not to conform to what society deem as masculine. I will continue to be carefree and love myself unconditionally and be a role model for the younger children and to all the individuals who are afraid to be themselves and would like to let all the men know that IT IS OKAY TO BE YOU, MAN!
A special thank you to the photographer who helped me envision this and bring this to life.