What Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman Teach Us About Respectability & Black Masculinity

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Props to RBOYLORN for writing such a poignant article on these two brothers who have bucked the system, stayed true to themselves, and still making millions in the process. Also the fact that golden boy Russell Wilson was given the chance to be the hero, in spite of Beast Mode proving he was unstoppable the whole game and especially the play before, shows that they didn’t want Marshawn to be the hero of the Superbowl. Sadly this strategy backfired and will haunt Pete Carol and his off. coordinator forever.

via Crunk Feminist Collective

Like 114.5 million other folk, I was watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the most watched show in U.S. TV history (shouts out to Missy Elliott’s halftime performance, yes gawd!). As a Carolina Panther fan I was not terribly invested in the outcome, but I was low key rooting for the Seahawks because I regularly root for the underdog and I live for the badassery of Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch. The badassery I speak of is not limited to their on the field athletic prowess (Sherman is a cornerback who attended Stanford, and Lynch is a running back who went to UC-Berkeley), but rather their off the field badassness. Both men are 20-something athletes whose unapologetic performances of black masculinity and resistance have left mainstream media perplexed and exasperated. Both men’s gender presentations fuel the stereotypic imaginations of folk who find black men intimidating and terrifying, while wielding enough charm and cockiness to make them fascinating and mysterious. With dark-skin, tattoos, and dreadlocks, both men simultaneously trouble race and gender politics by participating in a system that profits from them (and their bodies), while profiting them (and making them millionaires). They are assumed to be pawns but have proven to be more clever than onlookers originally thought. Both men have successfully flipped the script on notions of one-dimensional black masculinity and what respectability, in the context of black masculinity, looks like.

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