“Aye quit crying” “You look weak” “you soft man what you crying for?” are some of the common statements I have heard being said to African American males throughout my lifetime. The stigma has caused an emotional imbalance in our culture, because it says that if you are hurt do not express it. I grew up in a home where my father was very expressive, but also a strong man, so I never seen expression as a weak trait. He would just say “handle you business as a man” “and everything does not deserve your tears.” He would explain to me that crying or expressing how I was feelings was not weak, but also not everything needed to be said. That balance allowed me to become strong man that did not feel confined emotionally, and not feel weird letting something off my chest when necessary. As a mentor to all aged men, I have seen the emotional imbalance run ramped and cause unhealthy relationships. A young woman caught my attention as I seen her book release set for next week, the title “Black Boys It Is Okay to Cry.”
Ebony Lewis, Author, Community Activist, wife and expecting mother (37 weeks) has had a desire to inspire change in the community her entire life. After attending King High School then Columbia College in Chicago, she retuned home to do just that. Working in youth development for over 10 years and as the Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, she has certainly made her mark. Black Boys It Is Okay to Cry is about the emotional state of our young men, highlighting some of the things we go through from a young age. Lewis’ inspiration has come from personal struggles, as she had to endure her cousin taking his own life in 2016. She also watched as her father battled with bi-polar disease her entire life. Lewis hopes that the book starts to enhance the conversation around mental health period, and specifically in the Black community as it is one that is underserved. The official book release party will be August 2nd, from 4:30to 6:30pm at 700 W Virginia Street. I will surely be in attendance, please stop by to support this much needed endeavor.