First, Kaepernick. Don’t have much to add here. My father, uncles, cousins, good friends are all veterans so I’ve always stood for the national anthem out of respect for them. But if the man doesn’t want to do it, and he’s expressed why he doesn’t want to do it, I’ve been there too. And I’m the last person to tell someone to do something they don’t want to do for the sake of appearances.
My original topic for this Sunday was going to be ‘black masculinity’, and how everyone from Nate Parker to Jaden Smith are making us think about what that’s meant, historically and what it means right now. As I sit here, my thoughts feel like a work in progress and not a fully formed idea. Not yet anyway.
So today is as good of a Sunday as any to say ‘Thank You.’ The more personal impetus behind the masculinity idea I’ve been thinking about this week is I had to ask someone for help. Out of all the demons I’ve beaten, my ego and my pride are the last two I haven’t yet fully conquered. Everyone has that problem to a degree, but there’s a deeper complex black men are given at birth about not looking ‘weak’. A lot of brothers with much more serious problems than I’ve ever had never ask or seek out the help they need because they don’t want to look like a ‘punk’. I promise I’ll come back to this topic (on a large scale) before the year is out.
A lot of trial and error, but swallowing my pride is easier for me now because I’ve spent a significant part of my life surrounding myself with quality people and attracting like minds. Ali passing at the beginning of Ramadan and the rise of Trumpism took me from year 4 of my 5 year plan to be a more vocal advocate for my community to year…11; but the pieces of my life had already fallen into place before things beyond my control happened.
So thank you to all of you who contribute to, support, and encourage me to be ‘MALIK AZIZ.’ The Wyandotte folks, the Jayhawks, the Trojans, the Ummah, the Frat; the music geeks, the film geeks, the nerds, the artists, the activists, the politicos; the Romantics who work for true love and friendship over notches on an imaginary belt or friend list, the old heads who worry for the kids coming up behind us and are determined to do what you can to make it easier for them than it was for us.
You all matter to me and I appreciate you. I carry the public image of a loner, but I’m reminded daily how many people have my back.