J. Cole Confronts The Concept That “Boys Don’t Cry”

Written by Nomsa Motale

“Boys Don’t Cry” a term we are all familiar with. A term that has been displayed through several generations.

The first time a boy is told not to cry is because he has been taught that a “man” is not allowed to show vulnerability. A man is to keep himself strong for the family. He is groomed from a young age, to carry a certain ideology of never displaying any form of emotional weakness. If he does. He is then viewed as not “tough” enough or different. In this day and age we have so much mental strive that we face as human beings. We are dealing with depression, anxiety and emotional turmoil from different sphere’s in our lives. If boys are taught from a young age to bottle up their emotions. How then do they release their frustration? How do they sit down and open about depression and addiction, without feeling judged?

J.Cole released an album KOD where he clearly speaks about some of his experiences and opens up about his emotions. Most of his songs display a pattern of breaking down the concept that men do not have emotions. Him as a rapper has chosen to say “This is how I feel as a man, this is how I face addiction”. He has broken down the thought pattern that “men don’t feel or go through anything.” His music has challenged (hyper and toxic masculinity) and has shown us that whether you a man or woman we are first all human.

He has chosen to scrap out the normality that as a male rapper or man you cannot display or speak about real life experiences. His music forces us to confront our own thoughts about what is normal or not in society. There is no such thing as a topic for only men or womxn. That men’s emotions are valid like everybody else’s. When more men understand that toxic and hyper masculinity is what makes them use their frustration on the wrong outlets and sometimes end up using womxn to take out their frustration which ultimately leads to abuse.

The black man needs to identify with self. If he is broken let him find help and break down patriarchal thoughts of what a “man” should be.


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