The Black Manosphere is a subculture within a subculture.

-Aaron Fountain

Mainstream conversations about online misogyny keep neglecting The Black Manosphere, and it’s because of misogynoir

by Aaron Fountain

On his weekly podcast, The Brother Pill, Sacramento-native and now Poland-transplant, Oshay Duke Jackson, conducts segments, interviews, and discussions about the issues faced by Black men. Occasionally, he talks about these things alone, but on most episodes he speaks with various often recurring guests. Videos range anywhere from ten minutes to over three hours and bring in around ten thousand views.

A significant chunk of the content is about Black men and their relationship with Black women. Some episode titles include “Why Black Men Deserve to Have Side B*tches!!!” and “Do Black Women Create The Men They Complain About?” Listeners call in during live broadcasts to concur with the guests or point out areas of contention. Others donate money.

Alongside his podcast, Jackson created the website Outlining the motivation being the creation of the site, he asserted “It is about DAMN TIME Black Men in the Western World have a voice… We deserve to have our own preferences, our own thoughts, our own media, and our own VOICES!” Contributors to the site hail from around the world and articles range from uplifting themes about self-improvement and physical activity to pieces that openly blame Black women for single motherhood, promiscuity, and allegedly raising “weak Black men.”

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The Black Manosphere formed out of a notable goal, but at the cost of a vulnerable population: it seeks to uplift Black men, but does so by demeaning Black women. The Brother Pill claims to intend to provide social guidance for Black men and aims to help to help them improve financially and socially, but contributions use the platform to regularly engage in misogynoir and promote narratives about Black pathological behaviors, often viewing Black women as distinctly different from all other racial and ethnic groups. Contributors allege that Black women are too masculine, lack femininity, and refuse to “know their place.”

There is one notable difference between the Black Manosphere and its white counterpart. While white men want to see traditional gender roles returned out of fear of a declining social status, Black men, as New Yorker writer Doreen St. Félix noted, are invested in these same gender roles because they want male privilege on par with white man, which they believe has been historically denied to them. These men must frame Black women as disobedient and too masculine because, in their minds, it explains why they feel that their own masculinity is being undermined.

The Black Manosphere is a subculture within a subculture. It’s not on the radar of journalists who have documented the larger, ostensibly white Manosphere, even creating numerous online glossaries to explain its terminology. Interestingly, it adopts the same language and similar ideas to its white counterparts, but members of the Black Manosphere believe the ideology of mainstream groups falls into defeatism.

They view Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) and incels as groups who have waved the white flag on women and dating. Indeed, MGTOW encourages men to do away with women altogether. The Black Manosphere, on the other hand, demand “solutions” to the things they see as problems, but when assessing dating culture, the Black Manosphere insists that Black women are to blame for almost everything “wrong” with dating and Black culture in general. While some commentators disagree, the majority of members constantly allege that Black women have poor taste in men for going after “Pookie and Ray Ray,” caricatures of Black men with “thuggish” behaviors. They accuse single mothers of coddling their sons, who then fail to live independently.

Although the Black Manosphere’s intentions are much different, their claims ironically resemble Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”. Moynihan linked racial inequalities to family structure, argued that civil rights legislation alone could not alleviate racial inequality, and blamed Black women for the troubles of Black men. He alleged Black women were overeducated, overemployed, and agreed that the Black women favored their daughters over their sons for school and work.

Donovan Sharpe is a prolific writer in the Black Manosphere and routinely makes harsh judgements about Black women. Acknowledging how hated he is, his bio on one site quips about him being a “sexist son of a bitch who objectifies women by keeping them on their toes, their backs, and their knees where they belong.” Twitter and YouTube banned his accounts (he unfortunately created another YouTube account), which led him to upload content on his own website as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

While critiquing Black women, he frequently upholds white women as better dating partners. He views Black women as occupying “the bottom of the sexual totem pole.” In one article outlining five reasons why he no longer dates Black women, he states that they are not submissive, only desire Black men because they cannot attract men of other races, refuse to perform fellatio, don’t know their place, and have high expectation that they cannot meet themselves.  

White women hold a strong allure within the Black Manosphere (and outside of it). Although members agree that white women aren’t perfect, they view them as easier to approach, more open to sexual exploration, more feminine, lacking an attitude, and willing to perform duties as housewives more efficiently than Black women. Even so, there are questions about why many Black men seem to date “unattractive” white women, as well as why Black women supposedly only date “thugs.”

Dating coaches often encourage young men to get “Beckies,” a caricature of a respectable, college-educated, middle-class white woman, and avoid “bottom shelf Rebecca,” which refers to white women who “act Black,” or who only date Black men (Ironic). Oshay Jackson, although he maintains that he does not date interracially, argues that Black men flock to white women because they look at “other characteristic in selecting a man” beside physical attributes and personality, such as “education, work ethic, goals, and achievement, in contrast to Black women in America.”

This subculture includes other groups as well. Black incels routinely upload videos railing against Black women for not dating them, despite claiming to be “good guys.” Black pick-up artists have created YouTube channels, blogs, and websites to teach young men self-improvement, how to stop being simpletons, and of course how to pick up women. A user called Alpha Male Strategies, who calls himself the “best Black dating coach on YouTube” and once said women “are all sluts,” accumulates income through his channel and his terrible book. Like most pick-up artists, he claims modern dating has changed because of social media and believes feminism is the biggest “culprit in the dating world.”

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It is difficult to assess how many men are part of this subculture within a subculture. These YouTube channels vary from a few thousand views to over one hundred thousand. Some Black Manosphere articles receive little attention and others get hundreds of comments and engagement. Regardless, it’s a swirling pit of hatred directed squarely at Black women, and several of its leaders have benefited financially from it, profiting on their misogynoir.

Although this sub-subculture has never influenced anyone to commit an act of public terrorism like incels have, as far as we know, its existence is still troubling. With the Black Manosphere constantly circling us, Black women constantly find themselves, to borrow the subtitle from historian Deborah Gray White’s 1999 book, in “defense of themselves” in the face of sentiments brimming with misogynoir, as they always have been. The continued overlooking of the Black Manosphere in mainstream discourse about online misogyny reinforces how mainstream feminism neglects misogynoir and its impact on Black women’s lives.

Aaron G. Fountain Jr. is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  His writings have appeared in Al Jazeera America, Latino Rebels, The Hill, Black Perspectives, and Occupy.