The Outcry of an Outlier

The views expressed inside this editorial aren’t necessarily the views of or its employees. While I take pride in my heritage as an African-American, I have to proclaim that my precedent’s not Black.  Yes – my President is Black.  No – I’m not disowning my culture in favor of giving precedence to another one.  […]

The views expressed inside this editorial aren’t necessarily the views of or its employees. While I take pride in my heritage as an African-American, I have to proclaim that my precedent’s not Black.  Yes – my President is Black.  No – I’m not disowning my culture in favor of giving precedence to another one.  What I am saying is that I cannot support a Black business or public figure just because our skin color matches.  If it, him or her does not line up with my beliefs and code of conduct, I will not compromise my stance.  I have high standards that demand integrity and quality from people and products.  Period.

Case in point #1:  President Obama.  He is not my nor anyone else’s personal savior.  Yet and still, I do hold great regard and expectations for his remaining term(s) in office.  So while his accomplishment is obviously unprecedented and worthy of celebration, I’m not about to put all of my faith in this President just because he’s Black.  I’m not going to support a candidate such as Alexi Giannoulias just because Obama publicly endorsed him when I have misgivings about Alexi’s financial sensibilities.  I only put faith in one personage.  I only have room for one Savior in my life Who was neither Black nor White when He walked this earth.


Geez, He Said His Precedent’s Not Black!


Typecast Votes

I won’t support who

The President’s endorsed just

‘Cause Obama’s Black.


Case in point #2:  Black cinema.  I’ve been jokingly scorned by my friends for denouncing the “classic” status of The Five Heartbeats.  Personally, I feel that Robert Townsend misses the mark on the majority of his cinematic undertakings but I’ll reserve individual shout-outs for someone much more deserving in this field.  When it comes to investing my time and money, I expect a lot from the movies I watch.  In all actuality, because of the nature of this particular media which broadcasts images to those outside of my culture, the bar is set even higher for Black film production. 

Don’t broadcast statistical, stereotypical destitution as a socioeconomic norm for Black people (I’m talking to YOU CNN’s Black in America with Soledad O’Brien) or glorify being products of our environments (I’m talking to YOU, Hip Hop!).  I work hard enough to shift paradigms and spread positive images that reinforce the greatness of where I come from without having to fight the stereotypes bound to the primary color of my melanin skin.


That Brown-Sinned Fellow

This melanin I’m

In spins tales that blend my skin

Into tints of sin.


Sadistically Erred

Statistics are a

Sadistic satire that

Flat irons my heir.


Which brings me to the pinnacle of my “case in points”:  Mr. Tyler Perry, himself.  Brand wise, I will give respect due for the franchise and entrepreneurial strides he’s made as a producer and self-promoter.  But the consistently shallow character/plot development and propagation of typically typecast males and females in his movies leaves much to be desired.  The craziness of it all is that along with these elements, his predictably trite “dramedies” are the driving force behind his success. 

But Perry can’t take all the credit.  We empower him all the more every time we embrace a new movie by flocking to it in droves in support of Black business.  So to Tyler Perry I say:  “I am not impressed with your catalog.  Dare I say, it offends my intellect and affinity for good cinema.  Step your game up, sir – because I haven’t seen a movie yet that accurately depicts me, my wife or the family I come from.”

This is my outcry.  This is my stance as a statistical error in a world that gets its idea of who I am from how I’m reported in the news and depicted in movies and music.  I expect nothing less from The Great White Hopes of the world but to be rope-a-doped from my own corner knocks the wind out of me worse than any other contender could ever do.


Statistical Errors

It’s been sadistically reported that by 25

Black men are statistically less likely to be studied alive.

We’re subject to die by incarceration, narcotics or alcoholic consumption.

We’re unjustly defined to exhibit sessions of fratricidal rage

To justify inhibiting our essence within a latched and idle cage…

As bars from state pens and penned stats

confine our reign within fallen compunction.

But nothing is error proof, though.

Neither is nothing as unfair as untruthful polls.

Corrupted by human goals, any data can be tampered with.

Besides, how can numbers determine an entire demographic?

How are results unbiased when they

promote and demote the hapless?

Once ghettos were established, they were

sampled to ravage blackened averages.

But good men can’t be held down by weighted means.

Proofs of them supplant the hell-bound ranks we see –

We’re breaking the seams as the margin for error daily widens.

We utilize subtle standard deviations

To reduce the lies and double standards that grieve our stations…

As we crumble banners that impede our race’s

place in an era of shady horizons.

Rather, we’re erasing old labels

with high tides of solvent seas.

We’re men in the black – bad debts to society

are being written off the deed.

It’s high time we rise over long running tabs

of steep and slippery slopes.

We’ve been relinquished from being

simpletons and mortgaged freedman –

We are distinguished gentlemen like Morgan Freeman…

We know more, no more are we to be belittled and extinguished

like heathens as we’ve got potential to change history’s notes.

Instead of heavy chips, sons can now be

carried on proud and fatherly shoulders.

Instead of dead beat lists, a sum of gains can

be carried around by policy holders.

Forget clips and gun rounds bound for robbery holsters –

we’ve got heads without shame and slumped bars to hold up!

Rather, we’re raising the bars with our heads held high

By razing bar charts that bar our best with stealthy lies…

We finally got a piece of the pie chart to tell our side

without the bane that has thus far demoted us.

We fly in the face of convention whilst

riding on eagle wingtips stocked.

We defy a fate of contention

by decrying ego trip pit stops.

We’re not defined by an eagle or chip shot –

we’re ahead of the game filled with subpar quotas.

So don’t compare us to an Asian tiger –

we’re not an endangered animal!

Though we come from heirs of ancient sires,

we’re not unfaithful cannibals…

So don’t encage us like Hannibal,

engage us as radicals with uncharted focus.Reggie Legend  is a long-running contributor to For more of his work, go to His debut book “Steel Waters” is available now.