"Black Boys Embrace” Hashtag Goes Viral On Twitter & It’s A Powerful Reminder Of What Happens When You Reject Toxic Masculinity

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Toxic masculinity more than just a topic of conversation on Twitter. Toxic masculinity, which encompasses the behavioral standards our culture has set for men, has real-world implications that hurt people of all genders. Many people subscribe to the idea that a man must be strong and tough at all times, and that can lead to men not seeking help for health or other issues, promoting violence, homophobia, and other issues, as Suzannah Weiss wrote for Bustle in 2016. Because of toxic masculinity, some men feel uncomfortable showing affection towards other men, fearing that they will be ridiculed, but the viral Twitter hashtag #BlackBoysEmbrace is celebrating openness and sensitivity among Black men and boys, and it's a powerful example of what happens when you reject toxic masculinity.

Jermaine Dickerson, the creator of #BlackBoysEmbrace, described his struggles with showing affection towards other Black men to Blavity. "Growing up I just found it really hard to express intimacy with the male role models in my life, it was hard for me to express a certain level of emotion.” Dickerson, who is gay, wants straight folks to "be held accountable" for fostering heteronormative ideas of what male intimacy can look like. "As I got older and began to learn about heteronormativity and all these things that sort of negate intimacy among Black men, I took it upon myself to try to deconstruct some of those oppressive ideals," he told Blavity.

Dickerson invited Black men to help him to dismantle “the stigma surrounding Black male intimacy (platonic and otherwise),” and the results will bring a tear to your eye.

Not Embracing Other Men Can Be Isolating

Children change their parents' lives, and this baby changed his dad's life in a way he could have never imagined.

Media Representation Is Important

The media you consume impacts you more than you may think. Showing Black men embracing each other on television can help break the stigma toxic masculinity has created against male intimacy.

Big Brothers Set The Example

The relationship between brothers is a special bond. Big brothers can show little brothers that hugging it out is totally normal.

Squad Goals

Friends are chosen family, so it only makes sense to show them some love.

Embracing Throughout The Years

It's also important to teach the next generation that showing emotion and affection is healthy and normal.

The Kids Are Alright

Whoever is raising these children is doing a great job.

Loving Each Other Is A Political Act

Your friends will see pictures of you embracing before brunch and get FOMO.

Party With Your Bros

Openly embracing each other leads to better pictures and fonder memories.

Brotherly Love

Who said you can't show love to your brother on your own wedding day?

Embrace Queer Black Boy Love

#BlackBoysEmbrace is for gay and straight men alike.

Embrace All Black Boys

Have you embraced a Black boy today?

Pro-PDA

Public displays of affection amongst Black men are so important.

We Are Family

Playtime and bathtime are always better with familial cuddles.

#BlackBoysEmbrace is encouraging Black men to be affectionate and show the world that Black men can and do show emotion and sensitivity. And isn't that what dismantling toxic masculinity is all about?