Perspectives on the Black Male Experience

Some 150 Black men answer questions about race, class, sexuality, and much more in Question Bridge: Black Males.

The multi-screen video is edited to simulate a face-to-face conversation, although many of the participants were never in the same room. Read on for a selection of some of the distinct perspectives the project highlights.

What is common to all of us that we can say makes us who we are?

I think, because we are not monolithic, that the thing that we have in common—and I’m not being facetious when I say this—the thing that we have in common is that we are male, and we are Black.

I keep wondering, suppose, for example, I prefer to listen to classical music or I prefer to travel to places where there are no black people ... am I still black?

I think it makes us crazy to run around thinking, well, if I don’t listen to hip-hop, I’m not Black enough. If I go to rock concerts or something, I’m being White. If I do this or do that, I’m not seen as being a full Black person in the Black community. I’m Black. I’m proud of that. And I don’t have to adhere to all of these cultural norms in order to prove that.

Black man, who are you? Who are you as it relates to your purpose with humanity here on earth?

I’m a Black man. I’m a father in the community, a father in my household. I’m a husband, I’m a son, I’m a nephew, I’m an older brother, I’m a good friend, I’m a working man. What I’m here to do is what I’ve done. Not the bad, but the good, and that’s how it should be looked at.

Do you think both black straight men and black gay men should all come together, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya”?

Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act.

Are you really ready for freedom?

A lot of us are afraid to be free every day of our lives. I think in some ways we are regulated by being Black. I think there are certain things that are assumed and expected of us, not only of White people, but of ourselves. So if we really want freedom, if we really want to be free, we have to get ready to be ourselves.

Photography: Stills courtesy of the artists.

Question Bridge: Black Males is sponsored by the Bay Area Video Coalition and supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Institute: Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The Tribeca Film Institute, the Sundance Film Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab, the LEF Foundation, The Center for Cultural Innovation, UPM, DualStar Digital, and The California College of the Arts; and in collaboration with transmedia production partner Innovent, Inc. and general production partner farWord, Inc.


Question Bridge

OMCA’s new addition to its permanent collection examines life through the eyes of Black men in the U.S.

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