Addressing the Dress: The Feminization of the Black Male Image

Updated: November 22, 2015

NOTE: This article first appeared on Black on February 28th 2010. But due to the recent Jolly Ranchers commercial featuring the St.Louis Rams’ first round draft pick (RB) Todd Gurley from Tarboro, NC, who appeared during the Carolina-Washington game, wearing a pink tutu and getting picked on by teammates for being a rookie.

“You’ve been hoodwinked. You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been led astray, led amok. You’ve been bamboozled.” – Denzel Washington in “Malcolm X”.


Historically Hollywood has always portrayed Black people in a negative light on television and in the movies.

Movie director Spike Lee tried to show us this in his satirical film “Bamboozled” in 2000 which was about a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors donning black face makeup.

By definition bamboozled means to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery or flattery. Well, I hate to say it. But we have been bamboozled once again.

Because instead of black-face makeup, today it’s lipstick, fake breasts, flowery dresses and high heel shoes. That’s right, the new black-face in Hollywood is dressing Black men in drag.

f2Shockingly, even the “ROUND MOUND OF REBOUND” Charles Barkley put an evening dress on for a Weight Watchers commerical last year and played a lebsian on Saturday Night Live.

With all of these cross-dressing Black men, I recall hearing Minister Louis Farrakhan state once, and I am paraphrasing “that when you put a Black Man in a dress you castrate him mentally.”

But despite that, Wesley Snipes dressed in drag in the movie “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything” in 2004. And Ving Rhames did it in “Holiday Heart” in 2000. And let’s not talk about what he did in Pulp Fiction.

Hollywood Hookers

Flip Wilson’s 1970 cigarette smoking, wise-talking character, Geraldine, however probably is the most famous Black male drag queen.

But due to his so-called success, other comedians, oddly enough followed suit or should I say “followed dress” to have themselves humiliated by Hollywood for cheap laughs and a few dollars.

For instance, Arsenio Hall put on a wig and lipstick and blew kisses at his best friend Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America”.Not to be topped by Hall, Murphy himself dressed in drag in “Nutty Professor I and II” as well as in the movie “Norbit”.

After Murphy, Martin Lawrence played a female character named Sheneneh in his hit TV sitcom in 1992 before stepping in some pantie hose with some fake boobs and a blonde wig for the movie “Big Momma’s House” in 2000 which he played a FBI agent.f1

White folks laughed so hard, they made a sequel.

The Wayans Brothers continued the destruction of the Black male image when they posed as white women in their movie “White Chicks” in 2004. Surprisingly, they, like Martin in Big Mamma’s House, were FBI agents.f3

Damn, this is starting to sound like a conspiracy theory on some cross-dressing J.Edgar Hover type-stuff.

Cointelpro is still in effect.

Comedian David Chappelle tried to warn us about this on the Oprah Winfrey Show, but everybody thought he was crazy.

Devil in a red dress

Oddly, cross-dressing comedians seem to be Holly-weird’s sacred cash-cow, because newly multi-millionaire born-again Christian Tyler Perry continues the trend.

Because he has black churches marching to the slaughterhouse like sheep in order to see his gospel plays and movies as he has taken his loud-mouth, gun-toting character Madea from the Chitlin circuit to the red carpet.

I also heard “through the grapevine” that Jamie Foxx and Martin Lawrence plan to both dress in drag in an-upcoming movie in which Foxx plays the female character Wanda, he made popular on the comedy show In Living Color in the late 90′s while Lawrence will play his female character Sheneneh.

The feminization of the Black male image has not only taken place in Hollywood but it has also taken place in the sports area as well.Everybody is familiar with the famous Washington Redskins cross-dressing, beer drinking HOGS.

f4But to you recall the ridiculous photo of Ricky Williams in a wedding dress pretending to marry Mike Dikita in ESPN The Magazine. After analyzing the picture, Williams was obvious the woman in the relationship.Not to be out-done by Williams’ Hollywood honeymoon, Dennis Rodman — aka the RuPaul of Basketball — sported his all white wedding gown in New York city in order to sell his book.

But I bet (no puns attended) you don’t remember when UNLV Runnin’ Rebels bad boy Larry Johnson, even with his signature gold tooth in his mouth, put on a wig and an ugly dress and dunked a basketball, in order to sell some cheap basketball sneakers.

The famous Grand-MA-MA ad was a success. But I know, LJ regrets that he ever did it, now. This, however, isn’t some HOMOPHOBIC RANT!! And I’m not having a Tim Hardaway moment.


I’m just keeping it one hundred percent real. I know, some people maybe saying I’m overacting but this is a serious issue. Where is the dignity and integrity that we as men pledged to display and have at the Million Man March in 1996.

And furthermore, do you think Malcolm X, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), or Marcus Garvey would have ever put on a dress for the delight of some white advertisement executives or Hollywood movie producers?

As I said before, “when you put a black man in a dress, you castrate that man in the eyes of the world.”

Remember historically, the United States has never wanted the world to see a strong, independent Black man, who they didn’t control, create, or manufacture.

Besides, “A picture is worth a thousand words” but how can we as Black men be taken seriously or respected when the world sees us as women?So what if President Barack Obama decided to address the Nation or the U.N. with a wig, lipstick, a red dress and a pair of high heel shoes on? What would we think or say?

Wouldn’t the United States be considered the laughing stock of the world?face2

You can decide that for yourselves.

But honestly, do you want a drag queen leading the country, I guess we will have to ask Rudy Giuliani in 2012 when he runs for President again.

Didn’t the Mayan Calender say the world is coming to an end in 2012!

Shameful, Sinful, and Stupid

Because just recently, just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, former boxing heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield continued the mental massacre of the the black male image when he put on a dress for Taco Bell.

Why in the hell would you wear a dress to sell some nasty Tacos from Taco Bell!! I know, you may need the money to pay for your mortgage and pay child support and the country is in the worst recession in US history but come on Holyfield, you are suppose to be a “good Christian.”

Plus, I thought Bishop Eddie Wrong (oops) I mean, Bishop Eddie Long taught you better. Remember the scripture from Deuteronomy 22:5 that plainly states “neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination (disgusting) unto the Lord your God.”That’s plain and simple, but maybe Holyfield has been hit in the head too many times and needs to retire from boxing. I mean, the boxing community almost lost it’s mind when they saw Oscar De La Hoya with fish net black pantie hoes on which we found out later was photo-shopped. (Yeah, right)But this cross-dress sh#$ gets uglier.f6

Why? Because,even Shaquielle O’Neal, yeah, Shaq Diesel, was seen last year with a wig on and make-up pretending to be Beyonce’.Seriously, I don’t get it.

Because, while people tried to make a big deal out of the Charolette Observer cartoonist, drawing Cam Newton with a Hello-Kitty shirt, many people forgot that Cam dressed up as Tinker Bell while at the University of Auburn. (And let’s not forget, that odd press conference with the Carolina Pink Panther wearing those tights)

Plus, NY Giants’ defensive end and Super Bowl champion Michael Strahan, who was named Regis Philbin’s replacement, continued the same pattern when he dressed up as Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Perry’s character Madea on Live with Kelly & Michael’s annual Halloween costume show in New York on November 5.

As you can see, the cross-dressing phenomenal has many actors, comedians and even politicians hiding cheap WalMart dresses in their closets but has it tip-toed across the street in six inch heels into the locker rooms of Major League Baseball, America’s favorite past times.

High-heels and Hollywood

Shockingly, even Barry Bonds shamefully stepped up to the plate with a dress on while being accused of taking steroids during his home-run crusade to brake Hank Aaron’s record. Bonds, in fact, collapsed to the peer pressure and put on a wig and some “pumps” for his ESPN reality show. Miss Halle Berry, I mean, Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds can deny taking steroids, but he can’t deny making a fool out of himself by putting on a dress.

I guess Barry was taking advice from the Cuban-born home run bomber Jose Canseco, who has also put on lip stick and a bikini to the delight of Holly-weird and reality show producers.

But the reality is, this has become a real ugly trend.

As my grandmother used to say, “it must be something in the water” because even ex-Miami Hurricane defensive tackle Dwayne Johnson aka “DA ROCK” aka the People’s Champ danced with the devil in drag on Saturday Night Live.

Not once, but twice.

And now, he is in pink leotards as the Tooth Fairy.

Mr. Johnson also played a gay character in the movie BE COOL that starred Andre’ 3000 of the rap group Outcast, who is known to sport a blonde wig or two and John Travolta, who played a woman in Hairspray. As you can see, this wig-wearing, cross-dressing s*** is getting out of control.

But if anymore Black professional athletes, actors, or politicians, who are thinking about putting some high heel shoes on, it is definitely not cool and it doesn’t help the image of the Black males, regardless of what RuPaul said.

That goes for you too Carl Lewis. There is no exception to the rules.

f9So, if you are going to be a man, be a man.

And I’m sorry Steve Harvey. I wish you must success on your new book, but I am not acting like a lady. That’s some bull—-, player.

Why can’t I just be a strong Black Man? Now that would be cool.

Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at or go to

Eric D.Graham can be reached at

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