About The Columnist
Eric S. Gray is a critically acclaimed traditionally and independent author, film writer, producer, father, and friend. “Bid For Love,” and “Bid For Love 2” is now streaming
on BET+ currently shooting “One Lyfe to Live” in Harlem
A POEM ABOUT STRUGGLING, CLIMBING, & TRIUMPHING
BY ERICK S. GRAY
I keep holding on and on even when the days are long, and my nights are cold; the trouble in my life seems to continue. I got these tears flowing from my eyes like a heavy rainstorm, climbing this endless mountain, trying to reach this heaven that seems so distant from me, trying to devise a peaceful solution to keep me from climaxing into a chaotic situation. My life… every day, I see a battle within my eyes, ball my fists tightly, tremble unbreakable, feel my blood boiling, struggling my best to hold onto my sanity. I wanna reach this mountain top and put back peace in my life, pull myself over and stand just above the heavens—reach out to touch the sky, but feel the foundation under me crumbling, even see a thunderstorm in the clouds forming, I look down at my long climb, and tell myself to keep on moving—hold on, hold on, trying to say to myself not to let go cuz you came this far. So I brainstormed, dig my nails into the dirt, embraced myself closer to this earth, pressed my chest against solid rock, and now I gotta grip in case I do slip. I’m looking up, trying to root myself in every staggering climb I take—tell myself don’t look down because I’m moving on now. So I continue to look up and see the clouds burst, thunder sounds, and heavy rains soon fall, trying to drench me with this misery, make my climb even more challenging and slippery, and make my ascend even more unbearable. But I continue to hold on—cursing and screaming, damn, when this storm will ever end! I’m not trying to be a castaway, shit, I’m trying to find my place, trying to hold on to some fate…I know I will have a long fall ahead if I let go now. So I continue to grip, with my fingers bleeding and sore, as they dig into rocks and dirt, breaking skin after skin. Damn, I feel so alone, hurt, shivering and cold, eyes bulging and all, and I wonder why I’m holding onto this mountain like a man without a soul; how the fuck can I hold on for so long—some days? I can’t even see where this climb ends, shit seeming so endless—some days I just wanna remain frozen, being scared to even move an inch, fearing one more step. I just may slip, crash, and fall….and then my long journey would be all for nothing. But I continue to hold on and on and take this shit slow even when it gets rough…I’m in it for the long stretch; determination builds within me with every challenging step, feel that there will be better days and always trying times—so as a man, I continue to move forward, clutch tightly to this giant mountain called life and make it feel like a molehill as I strengthen my grip around the challenges and troubles and weaken it with my bare fuckin’ hands. I know my troubles will never cease to exist. Still, I can fade them with the fortitude I will continue to push and carry on with my great climb. Someday I will pull myself up to the top, look down, and pull others up with me…but as I stand at the top—exhausted and bruised. Ah damn, I look up and see another long climb ahead, another long mountain to scale. My body is telling me to stop here…but my mind’s saying, life goes on, so let’s keep going… don’t stop, don’t quit no matter how hard things get.
So, in 2023 may your finances multiply. May your health improve. May your friends be blessed. May your family be loved. And may your worries disappear. Keep climbing and God bless.
And that’s what the “Eff” is going on.
First, let’s talk about GloRilla’s outlandish, ridiculous, and crazy statement telling women to be toxic and delusional while they’re in their 20s. Wow! She was serious, too. Ladies, if you follow that foolish advice, you will regret it years later. The one thing I agree with what she said is that You only get one life. I’m puzzled as to why would she make that statement. Why would someone thrive on being “toxic” before settling into maturity and then expect to change overnight? It doesn’t work that way. I understand when you’re young and in your 20s, you want to have fun and enjoy life, and you’ll make mistakes too. GLorilla is setting women up, especially black women, for disaster and failure. It would be best if you weren’t toxic and delusional in your 20s. You should be focused, productive, and have some plan. You should have fun in your 20s, and you’ll make mistakes, too (Shit, I’ve made plenty), but at the same time, your 20s should be a stepping stone and milestone for your future life…
READ MORE HERE Issue 26 is Here! – INTELLECTUAL INK
I remember the day, June 1st, 2013. It was the day my friend shot and killed himself. It was a traumatizing experience for me, fuckin’ surreal. I couldn’t believe someone I grew up with and who’d become my brother would take his own life. A decade later, I still wonder why my friend would commit suicide. It’s haunted me because his family and I will never know why, and I wonder what happened to drive him to that point. But my friend had his ups and downs in life, and like so many black men today, me included, we like to keep things in—keep our feelings and emotions guarded tighter than security at the White House and not talk about it. Everything is always okay with us, the Black man, until it is not okay, and we break, snap like a twig; can’t take this shit anymore, and the consequences become severe. So, to talk about it, mental health is like kryptonite in the black community. We choose to believe it doesn’t exist; black people don’t kill themselves. We’re strong and will continue to be strong no matter what because we’ve been through a lot and can handle whatever life throws at us. However, to be a Black man in American society is to be forced to deal with daily psychological stress. For most of us, seeking therapy is like seeing a unicorn; it doesn’t exist.
I want to talk about how Hollywood defines black masculinity—starting with Jonathan Major’s controversial Ebony cover issue and Russell Westbrook’s look about a year ago when he decided to wear a white dress. Where do I start? Now listen, these are my views, and this is my opinion, and not no hate speech toward anyone, race, sexuality, or creed. This is an opinion column with expressive views, point blank. Now, back to the regularly scheduled program.
Jonathan Major’s latest cover issue stirred up some criticism and controversies, some folks love it, and some hate it. One of the arguments toward his being shirtless with a pink coat draped over his shoulders, paired with blue denim jeans while sitting on a sofa with a pink background and posing with a pout for the camera is questionable. And then there was Russell Westbrook posing in a white dress over a year ago. Does it makes many of our men look defeated and weak? One can argue yes, and one can say no. However, I ask myself this, black men deciding to wear dresses and woman’s fashion is it by choice or subtle coercion?
Yeah, I can feel the backlash coming. Lol.
It is the month of February, meaning it is both Black History month and Valentine’s Day. And there’s so much to talk about. We’re a month into 2023, and so much has already happened. And one awful thing this year was the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five black cops. When I first heard the story, shockingly, you’re not as shocked because the death of black men, young and old, by the hands of cops sadly is becoming a common thing in this country. But when it was revealed that all five officers were black, I was disgusted. It’s bad enough that we’re being killed and beaten by white officers, but to become a victim by cops who share your exact skin color, I’m speechless. But should I be? There’s always been black-on-black crime throughout the country. And now these cops, I can’t even call them cops, but murderers felt it was their right to take authority into their own hands and savagely destroy a man’s life and his family because of what, a traffic stop proclaiming that this man was driving recklessly.
Only in America can a traffic stop escalate into a violent confrontation that ended with Mr. Nichols hospitalized in critical condition. And I commend the Memphis police department for quickly firing these murderers. But if these same murderers were all white men, would the same disciplinary action have occurred so quickly? And with all these murderers being black officers, would you consider this racism?