Why I cried while reading my Voices Of The Year article at #BlogHer15

I’m a grown-ass man.

And grown men don’t cry. Can I get an AMEN from the grown-ass man section of the blogosphere?!

My assertion was flipped on its head last Friday when I took the stage at BlogHer15 as a Voice Of The Year Honoree to read an article I wrote after the decision to not indict the officers who killed, yes, killed, Eric Garner was announced.

Why did I cry?

When proofreading the article before submitting it to SheKnows.com, every time I got to the picture of my son at the end, I would shed a tear. So, I knew there was a chance it might happen when I read it live, in front of hundreds of people.

Here’s the picture:

My favorite picture of my son and me.
My favorite picture of my son and me.

The photo was supposed to show up at the end of the article, but it appeared in the monitor a little early, and when I looked down and saw it, the emotions around the frustration I feel about helplessness when it comes to being able to protect my son from the police as a Black male, in this America, came pouring out.

What did I learn?

The response from the audience was amazing. I received a standing ovation, which I could barely see at the time because of all the water in my eyes. Afterward, so many people, men and women, Black and white, came up to me and shared their frustration about the situation and said they don’t know what to tell their sons either.

And grown-ass men admitted I made them cry, too.

Without further ado, here’s the video. I hope it touches you in some way.

P.S., Special thanks to my new friend, Rita Arens, of BlogHer, and my old friend, Pauline Campos, for telling me they were gonna come on stage and finish reading the article for me if I was unable to do so on my own.

Why I cried while reading my #VOTY article at #BlogHer15 @BlogHer @SheKnows Click To Tweet
Feature image credit: SheKnows media

50 thoughts on “Why I cried while reading my Voices Of The Year article at #BlogHer15

  1. James, my tears are falling along with yours. I promise to find the right , good words to talk to my sons about loving, protecting and standing up for their black brothers. To instill in them the knowledge that the innocence and simple love they have for everyone, regardless of color, that they have inside them now needs to carry on through their lives. That if we are to have a world that doesn’t see color but rather persons, they must stop seeing the outside and focus on the in.

    The second time just wrecked me again. Hugs those babies of yours. Congratulations on your VOTY.

  2. Oh James and I just watched the whole video and seriously I just wish I was there Friday night to give you a big, old hug after your most beautiful reading of your poignant article. Seriously, so glad I did though get to give you a belated hug Saturday and still you are amazing my friend always. Huge congrats once again!

  3. It was a gorgeous, important moment, and as a fellow VOTY, I am honored to have witnessed it in person. Thank you for being a grown ass man full of that beautiful combination of strength and vulnerability. Your words — and tears — took my breath away. XO

  4. Sharing our sadness about true situations that are very real is the ultimate manliness. Very proud of you.

  5. I was a judge this year and I remember reading your piece and how very, very moved I was by it. Glad you were picked to read. Congratulations, and thank you for writing it.

  6. Was sitting at the table right in front of you reading. It was the most moving few minutes of the conference for me. We weren’t going anywhere. We were right there with you, and we were gonna stay with you for as long as it took. Mad props and respect to you, sir, and boundless love and limitless kisses to your sweet boy.

  7. Real. Authentic. Scared. That was human emotion spilling over onto the page and into the audience. I was humbled and honored to hear your words and tears in person. Together, we will work to fix this fucked up world. Tell your son that. xo from Newtown

  8. You reading at VOTY was one of the most powerful and heartfelt moments of the conference for me. Thank you for your words and congratulations on your award!

  9. Congrats on the recognition of the importance of your voice!

    TBH, I would have lost it in the same exact scenario. But you were among a great group of people, so it didn’t cost you a thing to be true.

  10. I was in the audience crying. At first I tried so hard to fight back the tears, but it was a lost cause. I was so in to your piece that I hadn’t realized every other person at my table was crying until we all stood up at the end. Just thinking about that night is brining tears to my eyes and I haven’t even rewatched the video yet! Thank you James. Thank you for so eloquently stating something that I wonder daily…. what exactly am I supposed to tell me son?

  11. I cried along with you, because I know what you’re saying is hard and it’s true. I am listening and learning about how to become a better ally, and it’s people like you who are helping me see. Thank you for this, James. You are brave and strong, and I’m proud of you for getting up there and owning the crying, too. You did a wonderful job.

  12. It took a lot of courage and cajones to stand on stage and cry. Kudos to you, man. Who knows? I may have done the same thing and I don’t really care about what any other big ass man thinks and says. As for me, my wife is black and hence, my sons are bi-racial. They will be exposed to the injustices (and more) in life soon enough.
    Good job, keep it up.
    Jeff Jackson
    aka @DaddyisBest

  13. it was one of the most moving moments of the conference.
    having a toddler boy myself, it hit me especially hard.
    no one loves and fears as much as a parent does – and i thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Like I said James, you brought it. You moved everyone to tears at BlogHer and now beyond online. Do please tell your son that things will change. They have to. They must–and damn soon. Your voice is huge and the issue so big. Let your amazing words spread!

    1. Thanks, Blake. I’m working on something to bring more people into the conversation. Please subscribe, so you’ll know when I make the announcement.


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