Terry Crews is functioning as an exemplary role model for black men

Terry Crews is functioning as an exemplary role model for black men

Terry Crews is functioning as an exemplary role model for black men
January 31
00:22 2019

In a time when minorities are being pushed to the forefront of the public eye to celebrate our differences, empathy is necessary to ensure that everyone is comfortable and feels heard. Terry Crews, known best for his roles in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Old Spice commercials, has demonstrated an ability to empathize with communities he’s not a part of and speak up for them as well.

He has spoken up on many issues, most recently urging Kevin Hart to apologize for tweets in which he used several homophobic slurs. Hart was removed as host of the 2019 Oscars because of the tweets. Hart then went on “The Ellen Show,” not to apologize, but to tell his side of the story, furthering public disdain for the comedian.

Crews reassured Hart that he wasn’t being attacked and that people just wanted him to realize what he did was wrong — he hurt the LGBTQ community, no matter what he thinks, and that community deserves to be acknowledged. Crews understands the power that he and his colleagues hold and encourages them to be aware of it.

His support of social issues has resulted in him receiving ridicule after coming forward with his own sexual assault story. He went on to speak at the Senate, becoming an active supporter of the #MeToo movement last summer.

Crews has also denounced R. Kelly and even canceled an interview with Touré Neblett, a journalist who has recently been accused of sexual harassment.

The use of homophobic slurs is far from absent in the African American community — it’s extremely prevalent in rap music and brushed off as a mild form of disrespect. Ask yourself, how many times did you hear anti-gay slurs growing up, not only within the black community, but in general? Maybe it was deemed “okay” back then — things are different now.

When slurs are used liberally as “disses,” millions of kids around the world are affected — the kids who are consistently told they’re an abomination because of their sexual orientation and the adults who are reminded of the bullying they endured as children. We know the detrimental impacts of using targeted slurs.

Black men, especially older black men, take issue with homosexuality and femininity. This is exemplified with stars like Kanye West and Snoop Dogg coming to the defense of Kelly and Hart. Crews using his voice to speak up for these groups sets an example for other men to become allies for feminism and the LGBTQ community.

Toxic masculinity is something that our country continues to struggle with and by coming forward with his story and standing up for issues that don’t necessarily affect him the most, Crews is a pioneer for not just black straight men, but all straight men.

As a gay black man, the fact that a high-profile male figure who isn’t part of the LGBTQ community understands the group’s past and present issues is comforting. The world would be much better off with more outspoken men like Crews in the media calling out harmful behavior.

Featured Illustration: Shannon Quillman

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Octavius Williams

Octavius Williams

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