In this series on Black masculinity, we speak to a number of Black men on what masculinity means to them, what they have learned or are in the process of unlearning, and how Black manhood reimagined has presented itself in their lives and work.
Toronto’s renaissance gentleman Adhimu Stewart is an artist and creator at heart. Well-known and loved in the city, Adhimu first made a name for himself locally under the name Mindbender, where he spent time as a rapper in Toronto’s early hip-hop community. Later, his work included capturing Toronto’s hip-hop scene as an independent journalist and archivist.
After a transition out of hip-hop, most recently Stewart has been a model, sex worker and performer working in adult film under the moniker Malcolm Lovejoy. He is actively engaged in sex-education work and activism and challenging misogyny in adult film.
What is Black masculinity?
Black masculinity has so many representations. I have seen so many types of Black men, it blows my mind, and I keep learning about how infinite and diverse we are.
What did you first learn about Black manhood?
My father was deported when I was about one years old as a result of his domestic violence towards my mother. So what I can say that I learned about fatherhood and masculinity and being a boy and a man is I have based pretty much all of my life path on not doing anything that my father did.
His Black masculinity and his power was unchecked and uncontrolled and he just thought he was above the law, that he could just be with whatever woman and just be irresponsible and be violent and ignorant.
And even though people say ‘Oh, you look like your father,’ and I have some of his gifts as far as my voice, like he was a singer and I have his physical frame. I found out that he was also a life model, I am a life model now too so I do take after my father, but my primary lesson is not to follow him. The man that I am is not any of the monsters or beasts, soldiers, vicious and less than civilized men that I see dominate the world.
“I may not be rich and famous, but I’d rather just be a happy, peaceful Black man.”
Listen: Malcolm Lovejoy: My Porn Work Breaks Down Gender Walls. Story continues below.
What are you presently learning or unlearning about Black masculinity?
In many ways, hip-hop was the kind of father that I never had. A lot of the early heroes were my fathers and a lot of them were the people that taught me what I wanted to aspire to be as a man: LL Cool J, Rakim, KRS-One, Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, definitely people who guided my growth and I watched them grow and they raised me. Hip hop was incredibly interesting. I could relate to it as far as wanting to attain freedom and self-actualization and being poetic and beautiful. It let me express my whole identity, but I never ever really paralleled hip hop’s problems with sexuality with my life.
Whether it was 50 Cent or it was Mos Def, many of them had problematic issues with how they treated women and how they saw women and I couldn’t relate to them. There was a point where hip hop stopped serving me.
“There [are] issues in Black masculinity that really have to get addressed and that’s why I do sex work.”
First and foremost, sexuality is political. Sexuality is everything: it is political, it is scientific, and it is essentially spiritual. That is the primary reason why I am getting into it, to not separate the spirituality from sexuality. Because I think that is the first reason that people have body shame and that’s why people are not so comfortable in their flesh. Religion has just poisoned sexuality for thousands of years. I want to do my porn as sacredly as possible.
Listen: Malcolm Lovejoy: Sexual Rights Are The Civil Rights Of The 21st Century. Story continues below.
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