To all the Black men I’ve ever loved,
Thank you. Thank you for consistently showing up in my life. Thank you for making space for me. Thank you for the countless text messages, the countless hours on the phone, the unconditional love, the friendship, the heartbreak. Without you, I wouldn’t be me.
I’m sorry for how long it took me to acknowledge and appreciate you. How you’ve shown up for me. How you’ve always encouraged me. How you’ve loved me in a way that only you could.
Lately, I’ve been wrestling with my purpose here on earth, and these last six months have not been easy. At all, and yet, I can look back at so many times where you, Black man, created space for me, you listened to me, you let me BE, in the state of confusion, worry and doubt, you encouraged me to be me. Me, a biracial woman. Quiet, yet powerful. Shy, but social. Simple, yet complicated. Introverted, and friendly. Even if you didn’t love me back like the way I loved you, you still made me who I am today.
Just so you know, there’s still more to come. Dear Black man, I’ve only just begun.
To my father, who has been my number one since day one, even when I didn’t know he was always on my side. To my brother, who pushes all my buttons and who I thought was my biggest adversary, yet is one of the most passionate people I know and one of my biggest fans. To the uncle who watched me cry at his dining room table and still calls me to reach higher, for all the right reasons. To the boy who was my first kiss, you’ll never know how beautiful you made me feel even when you said I could do better than you. To the Black men in college who cheered me on from afar–you know who you are and I’m so thankful for you. To the man who asked me for my number and became one of my closest friends, who reminds me that I matter–you will never know how much your friendship means to me. To the man who saw me for me, bright and sunshiny, even when I felt all gray, you broke me into a million pieces and yet, here I am, head held high because I know I’m worthy of love, belonging, and joy. To the Black men who consistently text, call, DM me to ask how I’m doing or engage with me on social media–I see you and I’m thankful for you, please don’t ever stop. To the Black men I haven’t met yet, I can’t wait to see how you shake up my world and inevitably make it better.
Dear Black man, you are unmatched.
I’m so sorry for how the world treats you. I wish everyone would experience you, the way I do. In every way. Your joy, your pain, your anger, your passion, your love, your soul, your leadership, your you. But for some reason, I can’t get it through my head why they’re so threatened by you. As every man’s name starts trending on social media because their life was taken from them too early, I fear you might face the same fate. And it won’t matter how genuinely beautiful and honest and wonderful you are, because your name will most likely just get lost in the long list of names that we continue to chant to remember.
Dear Black man, you are enough. You are why I can love, why I hope. I am so proud of who you are, what you have overcome. The person you are to your spouse, your siblings, your parents, your kids, your community, your friends–yourself.
Yes, yourself. Yourself. Because despite the stereotypes, you have opened yourself up to those around you–maybe I’m just seeing things from a different vantage point. But you are full of emotions–emotions the world could only be so lucky to see and experience. I hope they do.
The odds are stacked against you because this world is unfair, but continue to fight. Fight against the headlines. Fight for what’s right. No matter what they say, your life matters. It always has and it always will. We need you. We want you to fight alongside. We need you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot about myself to manage without a man, but I want you alongside me. Speaking up. Being present. Taking care of yourself. Being honest. Right now needs you. The future wants you.
You matter. Do not give up, dear black man.