Masculinity in the Eyes of the Black Male.

The following is an article pertaining to Masculinity in the Black community. This article correlates with the movie “Fences” to be an example of how the typical Black male defines masculinity. Enjoy!

The 2016 edition of “Fences”, directed by Denzel Washington, is based of the Pulitzer Prize winning screen play written by the late August Wilson.

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington from “Fences”

“Fences” is nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. After the dry spell of recognition of Black Films during the 2016 Academy Awards, “Fences”, as well as other Black films, have made their mark in the industry.

“As we all know, the very nomination for an Oscar is an extremely political and nuanced process; yet in this year, the cast of one of the movies has arguably this milieu two best actor/actress (e.g. Denzel Washington/ Viola Davis) and used a play from one of this century’s best playwright’s (August Wilson),” said Hayward South Alameda NAACP Advisor Todd Davis. “Moreover, the actors and actresses in the other black films definitely deserved all the acclaim and recognition that they received this year, as was demonstrated by Oscar nods , SAG awards, Golden Globes, and other forms of recognition.”

“Fences” highlights two main themes that have always been hot topics within the Black community, fatherhood and masculinity. There is a ongoing stigma in the Black community that all Black children grow up without a father. Although this isn’t 100 percent factual, it is still an issue in the Black community nonetheless. The relationship between Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) and Cory Maxson (Jovan Adepo), although it was rocky, displayed the efforts fathers go through to make sure their son has a proper upbringing.

“It’s one thing to instill good values, but it’s always good to see them in action and demonstrated. I think those things are important in the upbringing of men,” said Mark Quinn, Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship.

Quinn proudly showing a picture of his two sons

“The sentiment of being hard on your child is carried on by a lot of people. Most parents want to see their children do well and do better than what they’ve done, defiantly with Black men.”

Troy struggled to be a good father as well as a good husband. These task are embedded into Troy’s standards of being a man which was originally installed in him by his father. But Troy’s definition of being a man, being the provider and lacking compassion, is a concept that is prevalent in the Black community.

“Equating masculinity with bread winning and emotional masking promulgates toxic, hyper-masculinity practices,” said Kevin Foster, a senior Political Science major at Xavier University of Louisiana. which  ultimately weigh on an individual’s mental health and manifest in self destructive behavior such as infidelity, drug use, domestic abuse which we observe disproportionately plaguing Black communities, so I definitely don’t endorse that association.


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