I don’t know you. We’ve never met. I’m not sure just how much we have in common. The only thing I biographically know about you is that you’re from Philadelphia, you’re 35 with ten kids, and you did a porn movie with other men. And from one black man to another, I just want to say that there’s no reason for you to have to be apologetic or shameful for any of that.
Like I said, I don’t know you or anything about you, but if the news reports are right, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like when media was suddenly asking you about your sexuality. Why is it necessarily any of their business to begin with? Why is it any of the rest of America’s business anyway? Who you choose to have sex with is a decision made between two consenting adults; why should you have to offer an explanation of that. I can’t imagine what you must have felt when the first story got released about what happened, and then what it must have felt to come to the resolution it finally did. I really can’t imagine what it must have been like if your daughter told you to kill yourself.
It sounds like even prior to this very public moment in your life that you had been around some people who didn’t seem to care that you were sinking. You even contemplated suicide. It was rough and it seemed like no one was there for you. You said you were “down and out, I asked friends, they wouldn’t help me, so I did what I had to do.”
I get it.
You’ve apologized enough for this. I don’t think you owe anyone a public apology for your private life. If anything, the people around you owe you an apology for not being there where you were suicidal, for not being there when you need support both emotionally and financially. As someone who doesn’t even know you, my initial response is to apologize for them, but that would be empty words that do nothing.
From one black man to another, I’m more interested in making sure that you get to a place of being healthy and whole in who you be. My heart was hurt when the story finally came out because I can only imagine what it meant for such private part of your life to be so public–and so suddenly. You’re a boxer. It’s how you made a name for yourself. It’s an all-American sport and a sport that epitomizes how we see masculinity in this country. And single-handedly you caused a lot of folk to question how they view sex, sexuality and masculinity. That’s got to be a lot all of a sudden.
One of the struggles that black men have in this country is that we often times don’t reach out when we need help because it makes us seem like we’re weak. It pains me to hear that you reached out and no one was there to help you. I’m disgusted at the people and entities that took you at your lowest point and exploited you for their benefit.
Like I said, I don’t know you and I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I want to encourage you to still feel empowered to reach out for help if you need be. I don’t know about the neighborhood where you live, or who you’re staying with now, but don’t give up. Even though the last time you reached out to someone, they let you down, I hope and pray that you still continue to have the courage to speak up for yourself. If you need to go to counseling, go find one. There’s nothing wrong with it. White folk have been going for years. Whatever you need to do to get to a healthy spot, now is the time to do it.
I pray that you find healing; healing for the wounds both old and new.
I pray that you find peace; peace for a heart, mind and soul that may be unsettled.
I pray that comfort finds its way to you; comfort against the things that torment you.
I pray that you find victory; victory over the obstacles that lay in your path to wholeness.
From black man to another, from one stranger to another, I’m glad you didn’t kill yourself. Black lives do matter–including your own. I’m glad you chose life. And I pray that you keep choosing life.
From one black man to another,
The Uppity Negro
2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Yusaf Mack”
Pastoral care matters. Agape love matters, one for another. Good and caring post, thank you for writing it.
Keep on keeping it uppity, Uppity. Caring for others matters. Charity begins and home and spreads abroad; for real. We all fall down, we get up easier when others encourage us to do so.
I too commend you on the post. I am not familiar with Yusef Mack, I only know what you shared about him here. I do know that you showed a path to healing and Brotherhood that I rarely see online.