Thursday, August 12, 2010 Rewind - New "Man Laws" For Young Black Males.

[Editor's DVD Commentary: This post is a few years old, but somehow still gets lots of new page reads on the regular. I got slammed for what some saw as old man's thinkin', or worse, homophobia for some of what's said here. I don't rewrite posts as a matter of principle, but I can admit that some of this came out the wrong way.]

As ya'll know, AB Loves Da' Kids. This site's ulterior motive is to trick convince you guys to Take The AverageBro Challenge and spend an occasional Saturday morning with an impressionable Black youth. I know I talked hella greasy about Atlanta rapper TI for trying to knock off his community service by speaking to Atlanta-area teens last month. But reality is if more black folks who've "made it" took a moment to help others out, there would be no such need. Basically, if you're not doing anything to prevent the next Latarian Milton, Genarlow Wilson, or Bryant Purvis, you shouldn't say jack when the inevitable happens.

Stepping off my high horse, I witnessed something truly odd today when I went to the mall to grab some Mother's Day gifts. As I was getting out of my car, a gold sedan packed four-deep with young black teens pulled up in the spot adjacent to me. The dudes were typical suburban wannabe thugs. Oversized cubic zirconium earrings. Pinwheel New Era caps. Those stupid lookin' skater hoodies. This in and of itself is nothing notable, but what really hit me was the music they had blaring at 120 decibels from their stereo.

Deez bamas were riding four deep in the burbs, blastin' Moments In Love by Art of Noise.

If you don't know this song, just listen and you'll get my point.

All together now... "Ewwwww!!!".

Anyways, as I walked away shaking my head, it suddenly occurred to me just why male mentors are so important. Young dudes of Generation Xbox are more likely than any other to have not grown up with a father, uncle, grandpa, or some man in their lives to tell them it is emphatically not gangsta to roll four deep, or even two deep, blasting quiet storm-type slow jams with your boys. That's babymakin' music. That's Skinemax 3am flick music. That's Alphas humping the floor at a stepshow music. That's not ridin' four-deep with my homies to the mall music. Call me old, homophobic, sexist, or whatever ist/ic you'd like, but that idd'ish was just so wrong.

Since I can't personally be a mentor to all youngins, I figured I'd throw together a list of avuncular advice for this latest generation of young bucks who don't know no better. If you know a black male 21 and Under, feel free to cut and paste this post and send it to them. Since they probably won't bother reading it, title the email "Melyssa Ford Topless Photos" or some such nonsense to trick em'. While I thought that Budweiser campaign was jive silly, I have to liberally jack the concept to help steer our young black men from the path to prison and general mediocrity.

So in that spirit, here's a few more of AB's New "Man-Laws" For Young Black Males.

1) MySpace Rapper Is Not a Legitimate Career Option - The problem with rap music nowadays is too many damn rappers and not enough fans. Watch 106th and Park, cruise the comments section at XXL, or just drive around your nearest hood and peep the scrum stapled to every telephone pole. You'll see plenty evidence that MySpace Rapper is the new ghetto dream/hood come-up. The problem is, most of these rappers suck, and none of these dudes trying to rap have apparently noticed that music period, not just rap music, isn't even selling anymore! You'd be better off goin' to trade school, getting that GED, or just goin' back to hustlin' than you would trying to "get your label off the ground". There's only one Jay-Z for a reason. And guess what? You ain't him! Stay in school, fool.[1]

2) Bright Colors Are Not Your Friend - This trend is thankfully jumping the shark as I type this, but what the hell ever happened to wearing earth tones, or just plain black? Bamas will rock pastel polos, Crayola-inspired sneakers, and those stupid lookin' multicolored pinwheel baseball caps like they're 3rd graders. Enough already.

3) Be Nice To Johnny Law - My Pops taught me a very basic rule for dealing with the cops: Don't! 99% of the time, if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. So when a cop pulls you over, comply. Don't act a damn fool and end up in a pine box. Yes, there are some egregious examples of cops who blatantly abuse their power, but far more often, the catalyst for an ass whoppin' is some Negro who just didn't know when to shut up. Do what they ask you to do, take down badge numbers and names, and live to tell your lawyer about it the next day.

4) 'Shawty' Is Not A Term of Endearment - Learn how to treat and talk to women. One benefit of youth is having the room to experiment and figure out what you like about the opposite sex without tangible committments (ie: a ring and kids). So, by all means enjoy yourselves. But no woman likes to be catcalled and shouted at. "Ay Ma!", "S'up Shaaawwtaaay!", and "C'mere Girl!" are not proper ways of attracting young ladies. Learn how to simply smile, say "Hello", and introduce yourself. And if the girl isn't interested, no need to insult her by hurling an "Eff' You Beeyotch!" as she walks away. Just pick up your dignity and keep on' fishin'.

5) Enunciation Is A Beautiful Thang - My Pops also taught me the importance of how to speak to grown-ups in a way that commands respect. Speak loudly, clearly, enunciate, and use direct eye contact if you want to be taken seriously. Don't show up for your job interview wearing aviator shades and mumbling to the floor like one enterprising young brother I observed at an H&M store in Philly last Summer. Discover the joys of code-switching, and learn the appropriate places and times for using words like "jawn", "young", and "tight". Eliminate the word "conversate" from your vocab altogether. If you're vexed, peep my epic The AverageBro Broken English Hall of Shame post, and it's accompanying comments for further guidance.

6) Pull Up Your Damn Pants - We already talked about the whole bright colors thing. But hues aside, make sure you're putting your best foot forward when the occasion deems to necessary. All pencil jeans should be burned immediately. Ditto for those skater hoodies. Pull up your damn pants. Liberace wore themed belt buckes. If you don't know who he is, Google him, then trash yours. And while I'm all for accessorizing, there is no rational explanation for wearing Air Jordans, a black and white pinwheel cap, aviator sunglasses, and carrying a walking cane when you're wearing a black suit... at a funeral. Exercise some common sense and dress according to your environment. And oh yeah, no more pencil jeans.

7) Leave An Open Seat - This is closely related to the No Slow Jams rule. If you're at the movies and there's enough space, for the love of all things precious, leave an empty seat between you and your boys! You are not on a date, you are watching a movie with friends, so space it out. You can communicate with each other just fine when separated by an empty seat, and who knows, if you're lucky, a nice young lady might want that seat. And you won't even have to call her "shawty" either.

8) Blunts Are Not A Nutritional Supplement - Your body is your temple; not an ashtray for roaches. Two Strawberry Swishers (or Phillies, whatever floats your proverbial boat) do not equal a serving of fruits and veggies. Recreational drug habits make it difficult to hold down a real job, rob you of pocket change, and permanently char your lips. If you've really gotta do this though, at least have the decency to partake in the sanctity of your Mama's basement, not while driving your Mama's car down Georgia Ave. in mid-day.[2]

9) Enough With The Feminine Grooming Habits - I'm a Kappa Man, so I understand the importance of looking good. That said, some of these young dudes nowadays are taking the whole Omarion/Ne-Yo I'm-So-Hood' metrosexual thing a bit too far. Baby hair is for babies. You shouldn't be using your little sister's makeup pencil to draw imaginary hair anywhere on your person. And if you've actually arched your eyebrows, or even remotely considered arching your eyebrows, just go ahead and stick your head in an oven right now.[3] Life isn't getting any easier.

10) Read A G.D. Book - This isn't strictly a young black male phenomenon by any means, but let's break this habit while we're still young. Every time I go to the barbershop, I hear all sorts of misinformation floating around. "Obama's a Muslim." "Ciara's a hermaphrodite." "The reparations checks are in the mail."[4] "Tupac is secretly living in Brazil." "John McCain is bringing SlaveryBack... yep." All untrue, and all easily refutable if you'd read something other than King Magazine and the Post sports section. Man Up! and get yourself a library card. Smart is the new cool, fool.[5]

Again, feel free to disagree and flame me in the comments. If you're on board, add your additions below. But whatever you do, don't ignore the message because you dislike the messenger. Either way, Take The AverageBro Challenge to help save our young black boys and girls[6] from a future of Flavor of Love casting calls, HPV, and commissary deposits. And if you can't do that, at least forward this post to your nephews. P.S.: don't forget the "Melyssa Ford Topless Photos" subject line.

Because we go to do better than those damn pencil legged jeans.

Question: Got any "Man Laws" you wanna contribute?

[1] No need to fake for you guys. I'm a huge fan of Lowest Common Denominator rap music. Of course I don't spend hard earned money on this crap, but between mixshows, podcasts, etc. I find plenty of ways to fill up my iPod with the latest snap and trap music. It's great filler noise for working out, or knocking out the "Honey-Do" List.

[2] Or whatever road is appropriate for your hood/burb.

[3] Word to DP.

[4] No seriously, some dude thought those $400 economic stimulus checks Bush and Co. sent out years ago were slavery reparations. I bet he is really hyped about the $600 checks that just went out. Barbershop K-Nowledge is not power! It's just ignant.

[5] There I go with the rappin' again. Seriously though, I do make beats if you've got money for em'. Holla at your boy!

[6] I can only write from an male PoV of course, but if you'd like to help me with a New "Girl-Laws" post, email me.

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