i love the color purple. it’s in my top three favorite movies. it’s black history. and that does repeat itself. you can watch it from any character’s angle and learn something new every time. the other night i watched from the perspective of mister. he needed a lot, but what that brotha really needed was a hug. a big hug from his daddy. it would have done so much. simply, it would have affirmed.
one of my favorite poems by yrsa daley-ward reads “you have to break, take breaks or both.” i want black boys (of all ages) to embrace that. in the summers i volunteer at a grief camp for kids who’ve lost a loved one. most of the male campers are black. the trauma many of them have experienced is unimaginable, yet true. i also advise college students – some are black men. the daily grind they face of managing academics, thriving at a predominately white institution and just being a black man in a white ass world can be challenging (especially on my campus these days). so it’s glorious when i get to see them (finally) open up and be vulnerable knowing they’re in a safe space in my office. for some of these black boys, at camp or college, it seems they, too, have been waiting to exhale. to break. and i let them. when those moments arise, if welcomed, a hug says so much. it says i see you, it’s okay and you can feel…whatever you’re feeling.
right after harpo married sophia in the color purple, the families gave their respective congrats. sophia’s sisters huddled around her while sophia hollered “i’s married now! i’s married now!” mister woke up, stumbled over and leaned into harpo. but neither could bring themselves to hug. that had to be passed down from daddy to daddy to daddy… i think mister and harpo spent their whole lives emulating and pleasing. they were never allowed to be broken open, didn’t want to or sadly didn’t know how. it was…and still is hard to watch. and not just in the movie.
every time i see my uncle keith he hugs me, kisses my cheek and says “wassup man.” he does the same for his other nephews. i adore it. the world gives black boys so much. if you can’t give him a break or let him break, at least give him a hug.
a boy who loves – j. darius greene