94379429437946slargeby Tuan N’Gai, Guest Column
“Ya know it’s haaard out here fuh a pimp”!  By now, seems like everybody in the world knows the song that won Three-6 Mafia (T6M) one of our culture’s most coveted honors; The Oscar Award.  I didn’t watch the Oscars, but once I heard that the group won, SHOCK was my initial response.  And after a minute of absorbing the news, and having it confirmed by reading the news, I was happy about it.  I applaud my fellow black bruthaz for making Black History.  But as I continued to read different comments on various websites and message boards about this historical moment, all I could ask way “What’s the F—in’ Problem?
It seems T6M’s Oscar win has a lot of black folk sippin’ on Hater-aid.  Some say their appearance, performance and acceptance speeches were “ghetto and embarrassing to black folks”.  Some even said someone should have sent the men to speech classes or charm school before letting them get on worldwide TV like that.  Others went on to say that they glorified everything that is negative in Black America.  Some lamented that the bruthaz were just straight up buffoons.
My question is, why can’t we just celebrate with these bruthaz?  I mean, who would have thought that Hip-Hop would one day be winning Oscars? Has nobody noticed that T6M made Black History?  Years ago, nobody would have thought about this happening.  But two years in a row, black men have defied the odds and got recognized for their talent and hard work.  And think about how T6M must feel; young black men from “da ‘hood” who were most likely impoverished, marginalized, disenfranchised, frowned upon, probably told repeatedly that they were triflin’, no-good, no-count, uneducated niggaz who would “never be nuthin” overcame that adversity and won a freakin’ OSCAR!  So what, they are ruffnecks.  It’s part of our reality.  They are a part of our community.  The media says their very image is negative.  But they are our bruthaz. 

And to take it a step further, some of the people that I’ve talked to today have launched vicious attacks on the bruthaz.  One of them said, “Dayum T, they just personified all the bad things white folks already think about us”.  What’s the F—in’ Problem?  No matter if we doing well or badly, white folk are gonna think what they want to about us.  No matter how much money we acquire, how much wealth we build, HISTORY has proven that to them, we ain’t nuthin’ but a bunch of niggaz ANYWAY!  To HELL with what they think about us.  We are NOT a monolithic people.  Bill Cosby, RuPaul, 50 Cent, T. D. Jakes, Allen Iverson, Rahsaan Patterson, Ramsey Lewis, Michael Irving, Terrance Howard and Michael Jordan have one thing in common…they are ALL BLACK MEN!  They aren’t the same.  They don’t think alike.  They come from different backgrounds.  But they are ALL our bruthaz.  Why can’t we celebrate them equally?
I even heard some women and Same Gender Loving (SGL) men say some harsh things about the T6M.  How they are just thugs and how dare they be rewarded for personifying the stereotype.  When all you have to do is look at some of these profiles and personal ads on certain websites (and we won’t call no names) and right there in ORANGE AND BLACK you will see “I want a thug; you gotta be a real a nigga; must be DL or straight acting”.  The same bruthaz who want to bed T6M and men like them will turn their nose up at a brutha who isn’t like them…will even write them off as FEM!  I mean, come on!  WE berate and speak “hater-ese” about the bruthaz for winning an Oscar, but we wanna screw men who are just like them.  Talk about confusion!  What message are YOU sending?  This is the type of man I want, but it’s also the type of man that we don’t want the public to see?  That just as dehumanizing as telling a transgender person, “I love you and desire you behind closed doors, but we can’t be seen together in public.” 
We’ve got a problem when a black man’s success can divide a community of black folks.  You’d think people who know what it’s like to be harshly judged, criticized, snubbed and discriminated against would be happy for a group of their own when they further break down the walls of “the establishment”, and are FINALLY recognized for being who they are, and being good at their craft.  You’d think people who for generations have been told that because they are black they are substandard would be happy when their own FINALLY gets something that says “you did good”.  I think T6M winning an Oscar is a victory for black people for generations to come…once again, Black History was made.  Maybe WE are the F—in’ problem.
© Biazo Ministries 2006

Tuan N’Gai is the author of “Will I Go To Heaven?  The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma”, Founder of Biazo Ministries (www.biazoministries.com) and Co-Founder of OPERATION: Rebirth (www.operationrebirth.com).  He can be reached via email @ biazomin@yahoo.com.