"Only Nixon could go to China."

    Last Saturday night I participated in an impromptu discussion with Oshay Duke Jackson, LAR Movement and Solo84 - they were discussing a recent incident in New York City involving a short of stature man's angry ranting at a popular bagel joint (which, by now, I am sure all of you are well-aware of). So, the topic was about that and by extension, how short(er) guys successfully navigate today's dating and mating environment - which, let's be honest and as the NYC short bagel guy bears out, can be particularly brutal to us shorter guys. On Sunday afternoon I watched ODJ do a followup livestream entitled, "You Cannot Be A Top Dating Coach Without These 4 Things" - and in it he makes the case that in his opinion, NO Black man who calls himself a dating coach or relationship expert, is in fact one who hasn't written something on the matter. He considers it a test of said Blackman relationship expert's intellectual mettle. Being a man who always rises to the occasion - even though I've only been a dating coach for a mere few days - count me in.

"What?!?", you may ask? "Obsidian ain't no damned dating coach!", LOL. Well, I fully admit that I'm an unlikely candidate, to be sure - but, as I noted in last night's discussion, I've been basically drafted into the position - "by popular demand", so to speak. What am I talking about? 

I've been doing podcasting and talk radio show hosting now for four years, quite successfully at that; despite the hills and valleys of the business, I've been able to build up a dedicated following of listeners who tune in every day - at present, my live shows pull in about 500 live listeners on average an hour. And that has not gone unnoticed, let me tell you. 

I say that because - and this ties into the notion of being drafted - quite a few people, both Black men and Black women alike, would tell me things like, "Obsidian, you should be using your talent for the betterment of/uplifting "da communitah"; you should be mentoring "da youf"; you should be offering solutions instead of constantly whining/complaining about "Black Female Fuckery", etc. I've heard this A LOT over the past few years in particular. On top of that, in the wider Black community, especially online, Black women can be heard constantly complaining about the "dearth of eligible" Black men - and their demands that Black men "make/create" better Black men who could qualify as quality mates. In fact, this line of (un)reason has been heard and can be easily documented reaching back easily three decades or more(!) - with no end in sight. 

Then, I attended a "Self-Love Summit" event here in Philly back in May, which was really "The Derrick Jaxn Show". The place was packed with over 900 Black women in attendance, standing room only, to listen to Jaxn, Stefan Labossierre and Ace Metaphor - in that order - prattle on giving nonsensical answers to equally silly schoolgirl questions. It was all a thinly vieled dog and pony show for the ladies to ogle Jaxn - the right from central casting star of the show. Since I've been ribbing the guy something unGodly in my podcasts for easily the past few years, I've had the chance to do quite a bit of research on him; in one of his livestream chats, in response to one of his fangirls as to what qualified him to be a relationship expert, Jaxn, in a rare moment of clarity and frankness, responded with one word:


   Jaxn went on to say that he was just giving his opinions on matters of the heart and said, that if you go on stage at a standup comedy club and make people laugh, well, you're a comedian by definition. And you know what? Mr. Point Break in Blackface's gotta point. 

Because, the truth of the matter is this - and I should know, having studied the matter intensely for the past whole decade - is that what I have coined the Black Male Relationship Expert Industrial Complex (BMREIC) is shot through with guys with absolutely NO formal training or credentialization in marital counseling or relationships whatsoever. Some, like the famed (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Steve Harvey, have very colorful, if not outright controversial marital and relationship backgrounds themselves (he's been married THREE whole times and has admitted to cheating on one of his exes). This sobering fact didn't stop Harvey's book from spending more than a year on the New York Times' bestseller's list.  Hill Harper, another New York Times bestselling author, has a razor thin resume' in the relationship and marital department as well; like me, he joins the nation's largest cohort of confirmed bachelors - Black men 40-plus. This and the fact that he loves Black women so much that he got an Asian one to be on his arm, doesn't disqualify him from dishing on "Black Love" - with Black women being his biggest financial supporter.

And the beat goes on. Bottomline, there ARE no "qualifications" to be a Black love doctor - well, none in a formal, empirical sense that actually speaks to, you know, actually getting into and maintaining a functional, healthy Black relationship or marriage. For real, the only "qualifications" you need to have are one, have a following on social media and two, either be really conspicuously handsome and/or seriously funny/loaded. And boom! You're a relationship expert/dating coach/self-love ambassador! And what's even better is the fact that the aforementioned names: Jaxn, Harvey, Harper and many more - are Black male relationship experts for BLACK WOMEN - thus far, only a mere handful have been out there representing for the brothers (and by ODJ's stated criteria above, the only Black dating expert for Black men I can think of off the top of my head is Alpha Male Strategies!). That means there's a seriously golden opportunity for someone like me to stake my claim and plant my flag. 

Think about it: as I've said above, I am a part of the country's single largest cohort of confirmed bachelors in the United States - Black men aged 40 and over. That's according to the US Census. According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 52% of Black men are single and childless. Recent figures have shown that more Black men are attending and graduating college and university than ever in the history of the Union and there are currently more Black men in school than in jail, much to the chagrin of the Sistahood - shoutout to Prof. Ivory Toldson of Howard U! The current Trump administration has seen Black male unemployment figures drop to all-time lows since such records have been kept. And, according to BlackDemographics.com, a full one third of the Black male workforce are blue-collar workers and tradesmen, something I would know quite intimately, since that's what I did with all my adult life prior to my early retirement due to workplace injury a decade ago at the age of 40. By the way, as a result of Black men being overrepresented in the blue collar trades - still America's most dangerous, most arduous work and still heavily male-dominated - more Black men are disabled, like me (it isn't as bad as it sounds and I've actually made my disability an asset out on the dating/mating market!). Put that together with the fact that more Black men are closer to my height of 5'7" than Jaxn's at 6'5" and yea, I'm sitting on a heck of a goldmine of a targeted demographic market - single, educated, hardworking men who might need a bit of assistance navigating the 21st century world that is the Black American dating savannah. 

Nevertheless, there will be those - surprisingly enough so far, largely Black men(!) - who will question my bona fides and fitness to dole out dating and mating advice, despite my oft-repeated statements about being a lifelong confirmed bachelor and self-described hedonist - but that's OK. If there's one thing I've learned in all my years is that the best way to convince anyone that you're for real and the real deal, is to simply show them. Which is always better than to tell them.

This, then, is the first of a series of columns here at the Negro Manosphere - laying out the "Obsidian Method", if you will. It is a work in progress that will eventually be compiled into an actual textbook manual at some point in the near future. I invite friend and foe alike to come on into the shop, kick the tires and take what I say out on a test drive - and let me know the results! Like any good prototype, this baby needs honest, tough critics. Iron, does sharpen iron, after all. 

So, yes - yours truly has officially thrown his hat into the dating and mating ring, by popular demand. Be careful what you wish for, folks...

...You just might get it!


-Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster and talk radio show host focused on Black men's issues and can be heard daily on YouTube and Black Avenger TV. He's also a semi-professional pest.