A picture of two black guys who look like they just got done fucking is hardly a progressive statement, at a time when I can see images of black men being emasculated whenever TF I feel like it (i.e. never lol). A truly progressive cover of the Fader might entail an image of one (or both!) of the guys from Rae Sremmurd in a sweaty, post-coital embrace with the daughter of one of the CACs who own the magazine.
Hear me out!
The two brothers in Rae Sremmurd appear on the cover of the June/July issue of the Fader looking like they could be a gay couple. Neither of them has a shirt on. The more light-skinted of the two, who has gay face, looks directly into the camera, with a blank, bimbo-like expression akin to something you might have seen on the cover of Playboy back when Hugh Hefner was still banging all of the models. The more masculine-looking of the two, relatively speaking, lays his head on his brother's shoulder, with his eyes closed and his tongue sticking out of his mouth as if he's just received a powerful blowski, possibly from his own brother.
On Instagram, Young Thug remarked that the cover was "sexy," which proves that this is something that would interest gay men.
This Fader cover follows a similar controversy, having to do with an image of Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler–the star and director of Creed, respectively–that appeared in a recent issue of Vanity Fair. In it, Jordan grips the back of Coogler's head as if he's about to force the director to give him a knob-shine. Coogler almost looks like he's being held captive, like he hasn't done this enough times to be able to suppress his gag reflex, while Jordan's facial expression evinces the world-weary resignation of someone who's been to his share of parties at Will Smith's house.
"You know the drill..."
An article the other day in the Undefeated, ESPN's new black-interest silo, discusses both the Rae Sremmurd Fader cover and the image of Jordan and Coogler in Vanity Fair, suggesting that criticism of both images, from the black community in particular, was a matter of the fear of intimacy between black men. The author describes an experience in which, after hearing of Pimp C's death, he found it difficult to text his black male friends to tell them that he loved them, in case they OD'd on lean and Valtrex in their sleep. Ultimately, he decided against doing so, which was probably for the best, since it almost certainly would have been viewed as some sort of confession.
It's an interesting enough article, but I'm not sure if I buy the argument that black male objection to suspect images of black men has to with a fear of black male intimacy, if only because straight men don't desire intimacy with other men. I don't need it in my life, so why would I want to see it on a magazine cover? Some of my very best friends are people I only see once every few years. Meanwhile, some of my least favorite friends have been people I've had to work closely with, because I didn't try hard enough in school, and people I had no choice but to live with, because I couldn't afford to live by myself at the time. I don't feel a need to gently caress any of these people.
As a man, your best friend is the guy who actually answers the phone when you try to call him from jail. The guy who's constantly telling you he loves you and trying to hug and kiss you is either European or a closet case trying to take advantage of you. Such displays of affection are of no use to a straight man, because the last thing a straight man wants to do is touch another man. Similarly, a man can never really be friends with a woman, because the thing a man needs most in life is to touch a woman in various ways/places, and if a woman isn't willing to give a man the thing he needs most in life, though she's capable of doing so, what kind of friend is she, really?