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6 comments | Thursday, March 24, 2011

New York City based poet and performance artist Yolo Akili returns with his latest video for "Are We The Kind of Boys We Want?" taken from his studio album Purple Galaxy.

“Are We The Kind of Boys We Want?” is a montage of provocative interviews and commentary from numerous black gay men on gender and desire intermixed with a cadre of well known Atlanta activists performing the title poem. The poem reflects the sexism of gay men, the gendered stereotypes or sexual roles and the challenges of romantic relationships.

"I wrote this poem in college after realizing that me and my friends, who would definitely be considered “feminine”, not only never liked boys like us, but often seemed disgusted at them," Akili tells loldarian.com. "I began to wonder what it meant when a reflection of you walks by and you are repulsed. The poem is about just that, pondering what that kind of behavior means for our own self esteem and self image in the context of gender and sexuality."

Akili is an loldarian.com favorite and his work has been featured on this site in the past. You may recall seeing the sensual video for the poem "Concretely" a few months ago co-starring dancer Juel Lane. Akili was kind enough to invite me to participate in "Are We The Kind Of Boys We Want?" and it was a wonderful experience. Atlanta activists Michael Brewer, Anthony Antoine, Khalid, Anye Elite, Chase Andrews, Jarrett Hill, Tobias Spears and a host of others are included in this video.

Check out "Are We The Kind of Boys We Want?" below:


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is a wonderful piece. I'm still in tears.

March 24, 2011 11:16 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian, this piece is so profound and will provoke interesting but needed dialogue.

I, myself, have had major difficulties dealing with effeminate men and accepting them as men, including myself in the past; during my high school years, it dawned on me (through me) that these difficulties were actually baseless and reflected my difficulty in accepting that I am a same gender loving men but somewhat inbetween that of what is perceived to be feminine and masculine according to society. It reflected my internal homophobia.

I worked to suppress my expressions when I was in high school when my conflict with my sexual identity was at its worst. My expressions include a lightness of touch with my fingers, my sitting position, and my voice (I have a fairly soft voice manner, particularly on the telephone). You can't tell by simply observing.

But since then, I have worked on being more open to how I express myself and to allow my expressions as they come to me. I think being true to self, having that confidence factor is really what makes a man stand out from a boy.

Now, I agree with Yolo. I wasn't the boy I wanted back then, but I am certainly the man that I want, one who is honest, loving, supportive, and will challenge myself to grow.

March 25, 2011 8:50 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This documpoem has touched me in so many ways and caused so many different thoughts to spring up in my head (all good thoughts by the way). I'm almost getting a little teary-eyed from this. Thank you for posting this. I am on the road to becoming the "man that I want."

March 26, 2011 8:10 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This piece was done in a beautiful way but it was a serious topic for me.
I think the gay men here in Pennsylvania (especially Black gay men) have made it difficult for feminine men to prosper at all and have any good feeling about oneself.
I'm a proud Black snapper, clapper and head-roller from way back. I'm 38 and I have been told I don't look at day over 28 because Black doesn't crack. Honey, I'm aged like a fine bottle of wine and proud of that fact.
Granite, I wasn't always so confident and have been 'Work In Progress' for some time. I can now honestly say that I know that I haven't been the kind of man I wanted for some time either. I have been fooled and hoodwinked like so many others because I was forced to believe that feminine guys like myself, were less than men. The even scarier part of this is the facts that I was told this by people that I was involved with, as well as family and so-called friends. Especially Black queen like myself, we were considered undesirable, undateable (if that is a word) and laughable only. I grew up around the time of Men On Film (In Living Colour skit) and everyone would kid and say that I reminded them of those two guys.
It's a tough pill to swallow when everyone thinks your nothing but a joke.
I was always open for a relationship with someone like myself but I had these feelings that always stayed brewing in my head that two queens wouldn't get too far in this world.
I know it was a cop out for being afraid but in Pennsylvanina, I'm pushed to the back of every line.
I was completely all about dating Black men who were into Black men and that even became a struggle here in Pennsylvania.
I would somehow evoke such angry in men of all colors that I had to keep my mace open at all times and ready to use and my fight game up to par because dudes would see me and instantly swear I was a punching bag or someone that they could relieve their stress out on by telling me how they didn't like faggots.
Like I said, I was queenie when queenie wasn't the thing to be.
I don't want to say that I wasn't a dating nightmare myself because I was. There was this time that I thought if I dated another Black gay man like myself, I wouldn't have too much to fret about. The ole' saying: "If he can't use your comb, don't bring him home", made sense to me and my psyche.
However, every guy I met was about the 'HomoThug' or the guy that could pull off being straight. Sorry to say but I was losing that race. That just wasn't me.
Granite, I could lower my voice for a moment and give a few "what ups" and even walk with a bit of swag for a hot New York minute. That was all I had because then it was back to the drawing board with me. I was flagged.
Black queens like myself get last billing on everything especially in my hometown and even by other Black queens.
They would rather take a chance dating Billy, Carlos or even Pheng then date me. I was almost throw off, by how everyone was overlooking Black queenie guys that I decided to overlook them too. I started to be a UN (United Nation) dater myself. That somehow always would end up bad because I became a bit of a novelty act to most.
I really started to dislike the person I was and that isn't right. I was settling and compromsing everything I believed in. I had this serious cloudied judgment of myself and it was merely based on everyone else's thinking of what and who they thought I was.
I don't know why but I thought that they were right about me or at least that is how I was brainwashed to believe.
I gave up a few good men (who were equally as queenie as me) because I didn't want them to have to deal with all the drama I dealt with on a regular basis.
It's funny that most of the so-called masculine men are the biggest queens and the feminine guys are normally the most masculine types.

March 28, 2011 11:49 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is one of, if not THE MOST, BRILLIANT "pieces" to come along in quite some time. I saw it all over Facebook and in discussion groups and I'm sure it will be in all of those places for some time to come. It's an old conversation, but it's a classic conversation - and this time it's for a new day. Hopefully, we won't have to keep having it but until we do........BRAVO!

Like a lot of black SGL men, and all things considered, I fall somewhere down the middle of the scale between genders for the most part. My partner is totally masculine, but like a gentle giant with a soft side. God forbid I should have to ever look for someone else to be with, but if I ever had to, I'd date myself. I've seen some phione, badd-ass bruthas who are simply brilliant, sexy, totally CAPTIVATING - and FEM to boot!

April 03, 2011 11:34 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

all of my friends are talking about this...it made for great conversation and self-relfection

April 12, 2011 5:20 AM


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