Friday, March 03, 2006


i love watching men on the mic. it's like, if never, ever, in the rest of the moments of their life, do they ever get to shine, they at least get to shine right there on that mic. the mic gives them the ability to be the center of attention of a room full of people with open eyes and open ears. we look and listen and feed them with energy. and each of them has his own way of manifesting that energy, coupling it with the brainchild on the tip of his tongue... and it's beautiful. beautiful to watch their expressions change and paint pictures, beautiful to watch the way they grip a mic, or stand off of it to let their own voices project on their own strength. it's beautiful to sit there and know that at some point, before he got on that stage, he was off somewhere, spending time alone, just his mind and his pen. whether he writes it all in his head with memory or scratches it out with a pen and paper, or takes the time to type it up, then take it to his bathroom mirror, look himself in the eye, and go through the trouble of learning the veins and muscles and spirit of his brainchild, it's beautiful to see he cared enough to share the contents of his mind's journey with us. exuding the masculinity i adore, they pace, they stand firm, they use their arms and movements and countenances to give us something. knowledge, entertainment, mind, heart, history, future. it takes bravery to get behind that mic and share your creativity with a room full of people.

now mind you, i know what women go through with that. i am a woman. i get on the mic. i get that, and respect it. but i ain't talking about us. i'm talking about men.

men, men, men... i love them! their creativity and their bravery makes me proud. their skill makes me proud. the intelligence it takes to arrange words like they do makes me proud. their positive presence behind the mic makes me feel good. no matter how many statistics anyone throws at me about our men, no matter how many songs are made (by either gender) about the negative stereotypes of men, even no matter how many times i've been hurt or disappointed by a man, there is always hope. hope in the men who use performance to exorcise their demons, instead of substance addiction, or violence on another man, or violence on some woman or child. hope in the men who understand and believe that all we want is for them to step up and fill the role of a man as best they can. hope in the men who want to be the change that they want to see, and who use their performances to uplift, to exhort, to teach, and to edify their audiences. i see the married ones and thank the Creator for their wives who love and encourage them. i see the others and know that as long as they continue to grow, some good woman somewhere who doesn't even know about him yet is in for a precious treat when he finds her. i see the fathers and thank my God that there are children who have such men to look up to and learn from. not perfect men, mind you. they, like i, have flaws. but they're trying men. often, faithful men. and, most certainly, inspiring men.

i am thankful for the width of their shoulders. the resolve in their fixed jawlines. the focus in their beautiful eyes. the many shades of their skin. the way they speak with their hands. the music in the spread of their smiles. the pleasant tones of their laughter and the depth of their voices. and i love them. each one. when they get on the mic, when they open their mouth to speak, i offer my full attention as often as i can. i encourage them with my amens, my nods, my eye contact. anyone behind a mic soon finds that whenever they need to connect with the audience, and people are looking some of everywhere, there is that one girl, who always sits in front of the mic a little off-center, whose eyes are trained on yours - and whenever you need that is-anybody-listening boost, you can look at her and know that someone cares about what you have to say. i have to care - someone has to care, because with no audience, the world will miss out on the truth they drop - the evidence that they embody that shows that our men are kings.

now, i joke on them. shoot, sometimes, depending on the person getting on the mic, i get a little light heckling on. and yes, my mind and attention tends to wander sometimes when they pull out their tired, "for the ladies," p**** poetry, though i know it's all just a part of the game. and yes, too many of them talk too much smack, and too many say things 'cause they sound good and not because they're sincere. and too many fall short of the mark. but yes, i am a poetry groupie, though you must understand that in this case, groupie doesn't mean whore. but if there's anything i can do to encourage or help these men, i do it. ax about me. it's because i love them. i want them to keep growing as artists and keep growing as men. because we, as a community, need them. because i need them to strengthen my faith in the existence of my own special man. because they need lovin too, and i have plenty to give. and because i'm just thankful that they are more like my daddy than like the other lesser men who often overshadow the fact that there are good men, even in my generation, like him.