Toxic masculinity and sexual assault have been the top topics of conversation in recent years, with soaring motions like the Times Up and #MeToo many are seeking answers, results and often – support.
Many celebrities have made it their personal mission to use their platforms and the privilege of shedding light on these issues in various communities, actor Terry Crews, is an example of someone who has worked diligently to be one of these celebrities.
In recent years, Crews has become an award-winning symbol against toxic masculinity and sexual violence. He spoke numerous times on these issues, testified before Congress on the need for better protection for assault victims and wrote a book criticizing perceptions and definitions of what "masculinity" means. His voice and his efforts have been vital, as not many high-profile men in any community talk about such matters, especially with regard to their own traumas.
In 2017, Crews presented his own sexual assault at the hands of a Hollywood executive. The vulnerable moment of the crews was received with the support of many, but not all. Many high-profile black men, such as comedian DL Hughley, and social media personality, Tariq Nasheed, actually downplayed their situation, especially with regard to Crews not physically defending himself.
During an interview on VLAD TV, Hughley hinted that it was Crews' fault that he was assaulted because he did not use his physical stature to defend himself. "Hey, Mom, God gave you muscles so you can say no, and say that," he said.
Nasheed also had this to say about Crews not getting physical with his aggressor:
I do not know why the actor Terry Crews is so mad at me.
He certainly did not have that same energy when he let that white man grab his crotch pic.twitter.com/2uandGTVwG
– Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) January 24, 2019
The crews went to Twitter recently to call some of the men who made their situation a joke, and more so they call their problem of sexual violence:
I've looked at you throughout my career as one of the most talented and funny people I've ever seen.
I remember when I saw you warming the crowd in the FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR and I thought "this man is a genius."
– terry crews (@terrycrews) January 27, 2019
Although Crews has approached these men for their specific toxicity to him and the subject of sexual violence, this issue is much deeper than toxic masculinity, in fact it is a matter of continuous anti-blackness.
Both men have built a reputation, audience and platforms in part for their views and call injustice and inequality against the black community. Often, many consider them "pro-black," a term that typically refers to a person who is focused and actively trying to raise the black community educationally, financially, and socially.
But, it has become increasingly evident that Hughley, Nasheed and many who support them are not interested in raising the whole black community, but in specific parts of the community. The two men made it clear that these parties generally do not include black women, black LGBTQs and black men who are not aligned with their views. Even heterosexual men like myself have received threats and attacks from their supporters, which are sometimes even worse than the racists because I do not meet the standards of their black challenge misognoir.
Nasheed is notorious for his misogynist and homophobic attacks on blacks with whom he does not agree, an example of this can be found in his frequent reference to black women with whom he does not relate as "prostitutes." He also stated that attacks on black manhood can be found in the empowerment of women and the LGBTQ community.
Hughley's apple does not fall far from the same problematic tree. He recently championed Kevin Hart's homophobic jokes that turned out to be an online word war with transsexual actress Indya Moore. This exchange led Hughley to eventually call Moore a "cunt."
Unfortunately, these types of interactions are not uncommon and give more context to their views on the way Crew handled their attack. Both men have developed followers of the black sect type who see them as resources and voices necessary for the black community to fight white supremacy and anti-blackness out of the community. But the very issues they are fighting often manifest themselves in their own rhetoric about members of the community, and their supporters vomit the same sarcasm as their black counterparts.
So, sir …
If you really feel it is a correct way to deal with toxic behavior …
Should I slap you? https://t.co/GmePqluEIX
– terry crews (@terrycrews) January 27, 2019
The division of these interactions and points of view has created a fracture between the black community and has inherently led to mistrust and separation at a time when we need each other more than ever.
People like Hughley and Nasheed drew a line in the sand and proclaimed what is and what is not their type of black. If you are the black type of them, it is worth fighting for and if not, you will face similar attacks used by whites against the black community.
These men have created a sphere of influence that is not only destructive but corrosive to the very idea of black liberation from the slavery of the social and systemic chains which they so vehemently claim to despise.
Both men punished Crews for not physically defending himself against his alleged assailant, simply based on the fact that he is muscular, tall and black. This toxic tone must sound familiar, since it is the same ideology that Hughley, Nasheed and his supporters argue against whites for daily use.
The notion that Terry Crews should have fought to break out of his attack because of his stature is rooted in the "Mandingo" ideology. They have developed an archetype of what is a black man that is directly aligned with the racist views of black men.
During his testimony in the Senate about sexual assault, Crews had this to say about why he was a black man, he did not feel able to defend himself during his alleged assault.
"You only have a few shots on success. You only have a few chances to become a viable member of the community, "Crews said. "I am from Flint, Michigan. I have seen many, many young black people who have been provoked into violence and have been arrested or killed."
Because of his toxic obsession with his physique and his blackness, it seems that he should have explained the complexities of white supremacy to Hughley, Nasheed, and his supporters.
Darkness comes in all shapes, sizes, joys and pains. Because of this, it is impossible to be "pro-black" and have agendas that do not include or protect all blacks. Even more, it's anti-Black to arm Blackness against other blacks because they do not fit into their blackness patterns.
Until Tariq Nasheed, DL Hughley and his supporters understand that there is no freedom for blacks unless all blacks are included. They will continue to be a regressive force similar to the oppressors they so often fight against.