Outside Farmer Joe’s Market, Oakland, CA.
There is something kind of amazing about a cool soul brother. Now, if you’ve spent any amount of time looking at the drawings on this website, you probably know that I also have much love for the not-so-cool brothers. In fact, to say that I have an affinity for Afro-geeks and Black nerds would be a understatement.
That said, the sight of a cool brother is affirming in it’s own distinct way. It’s a reminder of our power and resilience as Black people. The cool brother is the embodiment of one of our greatest survival skills, the ability to create our own sense of power and beauty out of and in opposition to the limited resources we have been given.
Consider these words from Black feminist scholar bell hooks:
Once upon a time black male “cool” was defined by the ways in which black men confronted hardships of life without allowing their spirits to be ravaged. They took the pain of it and used it alchemically to turn the pain into gold. That burning process required high heat. Black male cool was defined by the ability to withstand the heat and remain centered. It was defined by black male willingness to confront reality, to face the truth, and bear it not by adopting a false pose if cool while feeding on fantasy; not by black male denial or by assuming a “poor me” victim identity. It was defined by individual black males daring to self-define rather than be defined by others.
—bell hooks inWe Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity