Washington, DC – As the founder and national organizer of the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement for same gender loving (SGL), gay-identifying and bisexual African-descended males and allies, the actions of GLAAD raise great concern to me. A predominantly White organization, GLAAD may want to consider changing their name to the GLKKK as I continue to find many of their actions and reactions “Blackophobic” in nature. This new scenario targeting Roland S. Martin is just another case in point!
I believe that GLAAD, or the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has been using the media to lynch a disproportionate number of well known Black men in recent years. These men include Tracy Morgan, Isaiah Washington, Kobe Bryant, Barrack Obama, and T.I. along with several others. We can now add TV ONE host and CNN contributor Roland S. Martin to the list.
In reaction to an underwear commercial, featuring a scantily clad David Beckham – that ran during the weekend’s Super Bowl – Martin shared the following tweet with his followers. “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! ..If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the sh@t out of him! ” and “I bet soccer fan Piers Morgan will be in line at H&M in the morning to get his hands on David Beckham’s [sic] underwear line! LOL .”
According to TheGrio.com, GLAAD angrily claimed that Martin’s comments were homophobic and has demanded that CNN fire him immediately. GLAAD has not made the same request of the Black owned TV ONE network, where Martin hosts his own show. Is this because they perceive TV ONE in the same manner they tend to perceive Black people, as insignificant – until an opportunity to attack them (from their perspective) is presented?
Last year GLAAD created a controversy by misquoting comedian Tracy Morgan, claiming he said, “I’d Kill My Son If He Was Gay.” What Morgan actually said, as part of a comedy riff about Gay bullying was, “[If my son ever talks to me about being bullied, he] “better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little nigger to death.”
What Morgan actually meant by “gay voice” was a voice that was not “manly” or “masculine.” From my perspective, his rant was a problematic critique of how a man – especially one at risk of being bullied – should talk. It was not meant to be a critique of homosexuality. Morgan’s routine was inspired more by a self-conscious reaction to attacks on Black men and manhood in America than it was a direct attack on homosexuality. I don’t condone Morgan’s comments but I understand what he meant.
I also recognize why GLAAD opportunistically took the word “voice” out of Morgan’s comments, then re-wrote what he said for their own selfish, thus racist, purposes. On the contrary, GLAAD apparently found nothing wrong with Morgan calling his son a “little nigga.”
Unlike Morgan, who was successfully terrorized into apologizing by GLAAD for something he never even said, so far, Martin has not fallen for it. The jury is still out on whether CNN will terminate the only dark-skinned Black man seen frequently on their network.
Unfortunately, a perpetually silent voice during these GLAAD attacks on Black men is that of same-gender-loving (SGL) and bisexual Black people. Likely this silence is because many Blacks understand the culturally (if not problematic) context of Martin’s and Morgan’s words.
As an SGL Black man, I’m insulted by a disproportionately White organization like GLAAD misconstruing the words of Black people, and trying to have Black men, who already represent the first fired and least hired in America, fired! I am not down for anti-homosexual attitudes or behaviors, and yes, the Black community still has some work to do on this issue. Yet, we are still in the process of recovering from many challenges that have resulted from being Black in America. But lily-White organizations like GLAAD are not in the position to complain about alleged injustice from Blacks. They clearly are not culturally competent enough to accurately interpret the voices of Black people.
If anyone reading this wants to know more about GLAAD, go to their website http://www.glaad.org/about/board. There you will see for yourself how White they are, and given this reality, how unqualified they are to critique politically incorrect jokes about manliness from African American males. And I might add that anyone who doesn’t see anything wrong with this picture – smack the sh@t out of him!
About Cleo Manago
Cleo Manago is a socio-political analyst, behavioral health specialist, filmmaker, writer, public speaker and activist. He is the CEO and founder of the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to promoting healthy self-concept and behavior, cultural affirmation and critical consciousness among same gender loving (SGL), gay-identifying and bisexual African-descended males and allies and the CEO and founder of the AmASSI Centers for Wellness, Education and Culture. His groundbreaking film “I AM A MAN: Black Manhood & Sexual Diversity” is available for online viewing at http://vimeo.com/27859721 and on the Facebook page “I AM A MAN: Black Manhood & Sexual Diversity” by Cleo Manago (https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-AM-A-MAN-Black-Manhood-Sexual-Diversity-by-Cleo-Manago/261476843882298 ).” Contact him at Cleo@AmASSI.com.