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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Black Men

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Even though my dudes still get way less screen time, the show gave me something I didn’t know I was missing

Ivan and Tayshia on “The Bachelorette” on December 8, 2020. Photo: Craig Sjodin/Getty Images

For 18 years, I successfully avoided the rose petal-strewn road to Bachelor Nation.

LEVEL Best Man 2020

Growth can’t happen without loving yourself, so let’s celebrate us

Photos courtesy of the contributors

To say 2020 has been a tough year is an understatement, and that’s even more pronounced for Black men. Between external pressures like systemic racism and a global pandemic, the internal pressures we bring upon ourselves, and the toxicity of some of our own brothers, it’s felt at times like we were under siege from all sides. Recently, LEVEL asked its readers to look within, and to share with us what they see when they look at themselves. Growth and evolution can be sparked by many things, but the processes can’t continue without self-love and confidence. …

It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it’s an important one

Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris has a problem with Black men. Rather, Black men have a problem with Sen. Kamala Harris.

Black purchasing power is growing far faster than its White counterpart — and now we need to figure out how to leverage it

Photo: Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

Since March, when New York City first shuttered its offices, restaurants, and most retail, I’ve done virtually all my shopping online. I was never an online shopper, but now I don’t know how I existed this long. This has been a vast shift in my spending patterns. Before, I traveled often, and ate out on a daily basis even when I was home in New York. Now, I cook — which is only possible because I ordered my first set pots and pans online. (Don’t judge me.) I even watch cooking competition shows on Netflix.

The single barely cracked the Top 40, but more than a dozen years later continues to ring off—a legacy fueled by the fandom of Black gay men

Photo: Al Pereira/WireImage

Eve wanted back on the charts. It had been five years since the Philly rapper’s third album, Eve-Olution, topped Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop category. In the meantime, the multiplatinum music star — born Eve Jihan Jeffers — had taken an acting detour, doing a three-year bid on a self-titled sitcom and representing for apple juice fiends everywhere in the 2002 movie Barbershop.

The social trend is watering your timeline with much-needed tranquility

Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Nearly two years ago, Nelson ZêPequéno posted an Instagram video of himself transforming a cerulean Nintendo 64 controller into a planter for succulents. A childhood relic becoming an artful vessel for growth is a common theme in the artist’s work; he’s also transformed a rotary phone, a clock, and a record player into homes for his plants.

Men can no longer impress us with looks or financial stability. You need to make mental health a priority.

Photo: mediaphotos/Getty Images

My name is Elisabeth Ovesen, but you may know me by my pen name, Karrine Steffans.

White folks aren’t the only ones who need to be atoning right now

Russell Simmons. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

I’ve been shocked, if not dumbfounded, by White people across America suddenly recognizing that racism is not a figment of Black folks’ imagination. It only took 400 years and three pandemics to get them to concentrate long enough, but something has finally shifted. (Hold your applause. They don’t deserve it. And don’t let them just turn Juneteenth into a new holiday weekend for so-so sales either.)

Dear Level

Showing compassion in perilous times

Illustration: Janet Sung

Over the past six months, Dear Level has covered everything from body hair and sex toys to the importance of using lube. It’s a safe place for everything related to sex and relationships. But here’s the thing: A Black man named George Floyd just lost his life in Minneapolis. A Black man named Christian Cooper could have lost his the same way in New York City’s Central Park.

On behalf of the women in your lives, thank you. For everything.

Photo: Abdulrasheed Yusuf/EyeEm/Getty Images

I don’t have anything to say about what’s happening right now. I’m spent. All I can say, on behalf of myself and the men and women I represent, we love you. We need you. We respect you. We honor you. We love you.

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