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Guest Post: AB’s New "Man-Laws" For Young Black Males

9 May 2008 8 Comments

AverageBro speaketh the truth. Since I tend to hang on his every word and I’m travelling, I’m thrilled to feature this guest post from him. It has a little in common with my classic The 7 Worst Things to Happen To Black Folks, which makes me quite glad. Enjoy!

As ya’ll know, AB Loves Da’ Kids. This site’s ulterior motive is to convince you guys to Take The AverageBro Challenge and spend an occasional Saturday morning with an impressionable Black youth. As greasy as I talked about TI for trying to knock off his community service by speaking to Atlanta-area teens last month, 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. CZ 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 X 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. Call me old, homophobic, sexist, or whatever ist/ic you’d like, but that 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 them. 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 post, and you’ll see plenty evidence that MySpace Rapper is the new ghetto dream/hood come-up. The problem is, 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 hell, 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 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 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. Part 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) Learn How To Talk – 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 its accompanying comments for further guidance.

6) Learn How To Dress – 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 buckles. 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 Dietary 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 Marlboro Pike 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 More – 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, or if you’re on board, add your additions below. But whatever you do, don’t ignore the message because you dislike the messenger. 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. Either way, Take The AverageBro Challenge to help save our young black boys and girls 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.

[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!


  • Thembi said:

    I could comment for days, but have to point out that I HAVE in fact overheard two dudes in the corner store decided what kind of Now & Laters to get. One of them refused “the blue ones” because he was “in the mood for fruit.”

  • Izzy said:

    Girl I gotta say I’m experiencing a bit of “Shock and Awe” after reading this guest post. On the one hand I completely agree with half the things AB has said about etiquette, eloquence, realistic goals, ambition and helping the community. But at the same time I don’t think what he had to say was so revelatory that you allowed him to espouse, as he admits, homophobic rhetoric and just plain rejection of self expression. Sitting next to your boys in the movies and cleaning up that uni-brow does not make you gay. Wearing bright colors is, in my opinion, a cross-cultural phenomenon dating back to my tribes and yours that I pride myself in embracing bright colors. For someone so insightful AB lost credibility in showing how trapped he is in his own prison of identity.

    XO, Izzy — an ivy educated, professional gay man of color who enjoys wearing pencil jeans and bright colored sneakers once in a while

  • StillaPanther2 said:

    Sister Thembi—excellant posting. In response to your allowance of further contribution to your post, young Black males could benifit greatly by having an older Black neigbor as a resource person. Me being 57 and a Black male, I have never been to prison nor experianced many negative encounters with the police, even though I have had my share of DWB and WWB (walking while Black), I have also gone thru a war, finished educational goals and have worked in the American system. I have the knowledge to know what will or will not work in Amerikka. The young Blacks now get a lot of social bagage from peers.. a sign of the absent of other resources. In my neighborhood young men refuse to even have basic greeting skills. The youngest should readily say “good morning, Mr. Armstrong” not me having to initiate,which could foster how to respect another Black man who in not in competition in any manner. Another thing, I feel the Black race should have a moritorium on competitive sports at all levels until our homocide and assault rate decrease. P.S. as a teen in the 60s I know these small things are now labeled “ole school” which connotate something that is passe’. Replace that phrase with “smart schooling” because that what got me/us here.

  • THE 78' MS. J said:

    Two snaps that was excellent each one teach one.

  • THE 78' MS. J said:

    Two snaps that was excellent each one teach one.

  • Kim said:

    I’d like to add to the list, that unless you are a rapper, play a rapper on TV or movie, take out those cot dang cornrows!!!! More than likely you are gonna be asking some white man for a job, and he will take one look at you with those cornrows and think “ex-con or future con”. Go to the barbershop and get a decent cut along with bootleg DVDs, mixtapes, fake rolexes etc.

  • Qucifer said:

    Good Goddamn girl!! If i didn’t sit here amen-ing and yelling preach in my own lonely house like a crazy old church lady!!

  • Regina said:

    What an excellent post! I am in agreement, but I would like you to add something to your list…
    Whether in your house or in your car please turn down your darn music! The people in the house next door or in the car next to you do not want to hear your crap rap blasting at the highest volume you can find. Show some common courtesy to people around you!

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