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NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 01: Rapper/actor Bryshere 'Yazz' Gray attends 2016 Essence Festival at Louisiana Superdome on July 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Why is black masculinity is so fragile, we can’t even receive a half-ass non-compliment without making sure we spend the next ten minutes asserting our love for pussy? It’s honestly perplexing.

The annual Fourth of July free concert of the Philadelphia parkway (Wawa Welcome America!) was held, well…yesterday, on the Fourth of July.  I was offered VIP tickets, and was seriously planning to go as the idea of being within  vicinity as Tony Award winning, Philadelphia Native, star of the hit musical Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. excited me.  Ultimately, my disdain for heat and people in general stopped me from going (the fact that I’ve already seen Hamilton three times and had a private audience with Leslie helped).

I won’t spend too much time talking about the concert (which was abysmal).  But it was baaaad (Mayor Kenney needs to contact the Roots NOW for next year’s event).  But, I digress (seriously.  Kenney.  Call The Roots. NOW).  I want to talk about an interview that occurred before the concert.

As one of the breakout stars of Fox’s hit show Empire, philadelphia’s own Yazz the Greatest (who plays Hakeem) was part of the lineup for the concert. Now, from the start I have never liked the character of Hakeem (Full disclosure here: I watched and really enjoyed Season 1 of Empire.  I couldn’t get past the second episode of Season 2).

He comes across as a spoiled, entitled brat. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say the character is just…annoying as fuck.  And I have always got the feeling that the character does not greatly differ from the actor playing the role.

So ANYWAY…Yazz was getting interviewed by Tim Furlong of NBC10 and he spoke a little about growing up in West Philly, being on Empire, etc.  Then Furlong did the one thing that you apparently do NOT do.  He complimented Yazz.  On his good looks (The only video clip I could find was the one below from the beginning of the interview, not the portion where this happened).  The conversation went something like this:

Furlong: Now, listen, you’re a good looking guy an-

Greatest: Woahhh, woah.  Pause.

Me (at home watching in the air conditioning): *side eye*

Greatest: Pause…pause. *laughs nervously*

Furlong: *laughs nervously and tries to continue interview* Well Empire ha-

Greatest: (interrupting Furlong) SHOUT OUT to all the ladies….all the sexy ladies out there.  Shout out to all the ladies.

Me: *turns off TV*

Again I ask – why is black masculinity is so fragile, we can’t even receive a half-ass non-compliment (because, I promise you, Furlong was not hitting on Yazz) without making sure we spend the next ten minutes asserting our love for the ladies? It’s honestly perplexing.

Now before anyone says I’m reading to far into this (and I might be) I would like to point to this interview where (at 9:10) he proclaims “I’m the most heterosexual man you’ll meet in your life.” What…does that even mean?  How does one quantify straightness?  Do you assign a numerical value?  Is it like a sleep number?

Back in May, Yazz was a featured artist an an Anti-Hate rally where a group of Philly drag queens were his opening act.  After the even, he refused to take a photo with them.  Really?  At this anti-hate rally you can’t take a picture with these drag queens because…it’s some sort of affront to your manhood?

Do you not realize that the show which catapulted you to semi-fame has gained notoriety for (at least attempting to) reducing homophobia within the black community?

Grow-up. Do better.

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