Crossing Fences Traverses Many Spectrums

MoAD Stories partnered with Oakland’s Oakstop to bring Crossing Fences: Telling Our Stories Our Way to the public. The event talked of black masculinity as a defining point in the lives of all black men in different situations. At this event, we saw varying versions of masculinity: There was a talk from a Mississippian man named Gino who grew up without a dad and practiced ballet in order to learn dance; A short film about a black, gay man from the Bay Area who has had to struggle with both sides of his identity for most of his life; and another short film about a Chinese-African American man from the Bay Area who uses capoeira, a Brazilian dance-martial art, to help connect with his African heritage. The talk by Gino and short films were very informative and showed the audience the journey of Black masculinity through the eyes of three men.

The event also included the musical talents of East Oakland hip-hop group Los Rakas. Born in Panama, their music is energetic and mostly done in Spanish. The style and content of music ranges from dance hall/reggae to immigration experiences to celebrating Afro-Latinos. One their songs, “Sueño Americano” or “American Dream,” matches their cultural upbringing of fun, freedom and diversity. To listen to their music go here.

The panel concluded by emphasizing, “…whatever a man does, he should be proud. Living should have no regrets.” An example that these black men exemplified at Oakstop.

Ryan Martin is an intern from California State East Bay. He plans to complete his master’s in Anthropology, Spring 2016.

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