The Beautiful Black Man is a tonal poem that examines the generational trauma of black men. Mitchell comes from a family of growers, men who grow flowers in their hair. This has been the shame for every man in his family. So, they teach their sons to pluck themselves in order for their flowers not to be seen. Plucking is a bloody mess that causes physical and emotional harm. However, it is the cost of being man enough in society.
Content heads up: racism, internalized stigma, depiction of self harm, images of slavery
And damn our fathers and grandfathers, for damning us.
Let me see.
You wanna see?
[Narrator] Damn the woman that loves him.
The woman who realizes that beauty is not feminine or masculine.
It is beauty.
Damn the woman who bore him,
for forgetting what she knew because she understood
that the world didn’t know the truth,
and her Black son needed to be prepared
for a world that would hate him.
Damn the woman that understands
the Black man is the same color as the soil that God made Adam with.
The Black man is Adam.
And Adam is of the soil, and the soil grows flowers.
I’m tired of having to get blood stains out of the carpet.
Well I’m sorry, it’s too cold outside right now.
I’ll just put down a tarp next time.
Well how about you just don’t do it at all.
The world don’t want to see me as it is.
They cut they eyes every time they see me coming, and you really think they gonna want to see
my high yellow ass come with a wreath on my head?
You don’t have to hurt yourself in order for the world to love you.
The world aint never gonna love me babe. I know that.
But if it don’t respect me,
if it don’t respect me.
The first person to pluck the flower of a black man’s hair was a White man in Jamestown, Virginia.
Straight off the slave ship.
And that White man’s, White woman looked at that Black man,
looking like a God, with African violets in his hair,
and he was made an example of.
Redefined how he was seen,
what he grew.
In this country, nobody minds the trees and crops,
but damn the Black man that grows flowers.
Director: Calvin Walker
Calvin J Walker (he/him) is an award-winning filmmaker with the heart and pen of a poet. More importantly, he’s an artivist. In 2012, Calvin wrote and produced his first short film, The Most Beautiful Flower Blooms in Winter. Since that time, Calvin has produced work within several mediums: film, television, stage, and digital. His work has received acclaim domestically and internationally. He’s a sought after writer; working with producers in Denmark, Africa, and Atlanta. Calvin strives to tell stories that focus on social justice, spirituality, and mental health. He’s a self-taught filmmaker hailing from Dallas, TX. He is a husband and father to three.