Actor Andre Pitre talks about struggles as a Black man to the audience after the production of The Black Man, The Play at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston.
Actor Andre Pitre talks about struggles as a Black man to the audience after the production of The Black Man, The Play at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston. Credit: Laura Onyeneho.

Black Men and Masculinity

The expectation surrounding Black masculinity and mental health is a hot topic in the Black community. The traditional ideas tied to how society says Black men should move in the world have caused them to struggle with vulnerability and transparency about mental health challenges. I had the opportunity to attend a play written by the iconic actress and producer Charnele Brown – famously known for playing Kimberly Reese on the hit 80s sitcom “A Different World” – and created by her business partner Andre Pitre called “The Black Man.” It delved into the thoughts of Black men and how they navigate the world. It is not only informative but emotional. The audience was moved to tears, and it revealed a painful truth men suffer with on a daily basis. The play was timely considering the genius press run by actors Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors with the movie “Creed III” and the vulnerability and brotherhood each of them displayed leading up to the premiere. The images of Black men as overly masculine, hypersexual, aggressive, and strong is shifting, and I’m glad to see positive examples of this.

Chris Rock Netflix comedy special takes low blows

FILE – Chris Rock appears at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2020. Rock will be the first artist to perform on Netflix’s first-ever live, global streaming event. Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP File

Have you all seen that Chris Rock Netflix special “Selective Outrage”? Chris is still riding that Oscars slap wave; let me tell you, it was an earful. Comedy has been on the chopping block in the cancel culture era. No longer are the days when comedians can get away with outlandish jokes without the harsh backlash of the auntie and uncles of the internet. Rock didn’t care what people would think about people’s reactions, even though many thought his attack on Jada was of poor taste. How many times will you call someone a B—h and what did she exactly do to you to warrant this energy? He used the Oscars incident to secure the bag with Netflix (not mad at that), and this was more of a venting session to me. He did make some good points about selective outrage, and I had my share of laughs, so I’ll give him that. Black Twitter roasted Will Smith and Jada before this, so the jokes didn’t hit as hard as they did on the internet. I guess “Everybody Hates Chris.”

Tamron Hall is trending … and it’s not good.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 08: Tamron Hall poses backstage during the National Board Of Review 2023 Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 08, 2023 in New York City. Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for National Board of Review

I enjoy tuning in to the “Tamron Hall Show” – when the opportunity presents itself – for the interviews, the news updates and the fashion. Recently, the internet has been in an uproar about her tough interviewing style with former co-host of The Breakfast Club Angela Yee and former “Real Wives of Atlanta” star Portia Goubadia. One thing Hall is going to do is question you like a proper journalist and she asks questions that most may not be comfortable saying out loud. If a PR team gives a celebrity the green light to go on the show, the star better be prepared because baby girl does NOT play. Can you imagine this energy with Oprah, Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters? If you want softball questions, there are other places to interview. I’ve seen these interviews, and yes, it is a tough pill to swallow, but that’s Tamron’s M.O. Tamron’s style cuts through the BS and asks those uncomfortable questions, with that southern charm. Ultimately, all this attention equates to ratings, so it’s a win for the Tamron Hall team.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...