“Heavy D – Progressive Black Masculinity Options” by T. Hasan Johnson, Ph.D.

Last week I watched the beginning of the new season of TV One’s Unsung, starring rapper Heavy D. I was happy to watch it, and glad to learn more about this brother that I’ve always felt a kinship with but didn’t know why….

heavy-dI’ve been listening to Heavy D, also known as Dwight Myers, from Mount Vernon, since high school. I’ve always dug his style, his confidence, and his positive attitude. The show illustrated for me that I didn’t know the depth of his positivity. A good man who would hire his friends out of prison and take them on tour, a man who would urge his friends to stay faithful to their wives in the face of women offering sex to anyone affiliated with the group, and a fierce friend whose pain at the death of his friend was palpable for two more albums afterwards–in other words, he wasn’t hampered by a definition of manhood that wouldn’t allow him to tell his boys he loved them, nor one that wouldn’t allow for him to grieve the death of his friend publicly. 1290119-heavy-d-617-409

Hell, I would’ve watched this week’s episode just to hear Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s classic “T.R.O.Y. – They Reminisce Over You,” an homage to Heavy D’s dancer “Trouble T-Roy” (Troy Dixon). Damn that song still gets me misty…

Anyway, Heavy D always exhibited a masculinity that was constructive, positive, and an open challenge to stereotypes of Black male savagery, hypersexuality, and violence. Thanks, Dwight, for reminding people that Black males are human beings that routinely exhibit the range of human expression.

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