By now, you've read part one and two of this series. You've spent 15 minutes gazing at lines on the screen nodding your head, and shouting in your head "girl, yes" with a slight raise of the prayer hand. Maybe you even through a quote by my all-time favourite Joanne the Scammer and said, "Iconic."

On the other hand, you may have read and disagreed with what I said. What others said or felt. Even with my initial disclaimer, your feathers may have still been ruffled. You may have closed the screen in anger, but yet here you are again.

Congratulations. You've been scammed.

Regardless of the disclaimer, I wanted you to feel some type of way. I was able to achieve my goal: The conversation is being held.

Where Do We Go From Here, My Love?
It's time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don't we'll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies that make the babies
- 2 Pac, Keep Ya Head Up

Speaking with both men and women, the varying reactions and thoughts generated a level of uncomfortableness with topics and how to actually solve it. Imagine being at a dinner party where you and your ex have both shown up with the new people that you are dating level of uncomfortableness. Jabs were thrown, and side eyes were given, but what both sides did agree on was that understanding is needed.

"We need to try to comprehend what the other goes through. Stop feeding into stereotypes and giving them life, especially the whole 'black men aint shit' narrative. While it might be a joke, it gets old hearing it and can push people into just being able to play that role and accept it"  -  Bobby Christmas, Detroit, MI

"Part of the repair process needs to include black men seeing how we are damaged by their psyche and working to repair it with us because only they can. We also need better examples of the media and other places. We often are just seeing the anger, ratchet and sexualization."  -  Jenai Davis, Chicago, IL

"When we ask questions or don't understand don't attack us. Don't just expect us to get it. How you react to us trying to understand is important. We aren't going to be willing to try if we are just met with disdain."  - Michael Finn, Philadelphia, PA

"It's very quixotic and easier said than done. Men have to stop being hard headed and learn to listen, forgive, and move on. In turn, we have to stop faulted for us not understanding or not being emotional. It's a process."  - Brendan Francis, New York, New York

"At a very very root level- when black men hear black feminism, their immediate association is equality, which everyone can get with; however, most men have a tough time reconciling that with the 'value' roles placed on them when it comes to constructs of say, mating. The media tells black men we aren't worthy unless we can afford $300 dates- that's exacerbated by the sheer fact that frankly, from a socioeconomic standpoint, black people statistically aren't well off financially." - Fred Greene, Washington D.C.

"We need to stop trying to one-up one another on 'who has it worse.' I understand that I am not a black man so I will never fully understand, but being reasonable and having empathy is important and vice versa."  - Stephanie Hart, Chicago, IL

"Black women face so many black and women specific obstacles. Unless you are understanding of those obstacles, and eagerly engaging in using your privilege to remove them, you still got work to do. We all do. There is nothing wrong with that. We have to also start by learning how to talk to one another" - Morgan Malone, Chicago, IL

"It can be difficult to have these conversations because we are expected to put our race above our gender. It can be hard for men to see the privilege they have. In my opinion, a lot of the disagreement comes from people not knowing the work of a black feminist and womanist vs mainstream feminist".  -  Chanel Jackson, Hyattsville, Maryland

***

There is no blanket answer to how people feel or how to solve this. The biggest thing we can do is to keep on keepin' on. Keep discussing it. Keep trying to understand. Keep working on it. Keep working on ourselves. Keep working for one another.

Keep the conversation going.

Credits:

Bobby Christmas (yes...that is his real last name) is a dashing engineer that recently relocated to the Detroit area. A Morehouse man, he loves getting people together to have a good time and takes genuine interests in supporting the community. He also sounds like Drake which gives him a few bonus points.

A native of Chicago, Jenai is an auditor and licensed CPA. A natural hair enthusiast, she can be seen hopping around from continent to continent spreading her Black Girl Magic internationally. In her spare time, Jenai likes to be creative and is forever interested in learning new things. Edamame is one of her favourite snacks.

Michael Finn is currently studying business in the ivy leagues. Known for being the captain of the turn-up, the former consultant is an educated, wise guy from New York. He prides himself on being internationally known and making moves. Outside of travelling the world, Finn is an avid music lover. "Maria, I'm drunk" by Travis Scott can be heard on replay from him at all times.

A New Yorker that relocated to Chicago, IL Brendan Francis is risk management analyst as well as a graduate student at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Proud of his island heritage, Brendan is often having people over to his newly purchased home (claps) to delight themselves in fellowship and Caribbean cuisine. He also is heavily involved in the community with several organizations including being a youth football coach.

Fred Greene is a real estate developer and investor based out of Washington D.C. A graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, he's also the co-founder of an education venture that teaches urban youth ownership and turns them into owners by way of real estate. In his spare time, the recently engaged Fred enjoys thinking of ways to take over the world with his future lawyer bride( *snaps for black love*) in addition to listening to Migos.

A graduate of Indiana University, Stephanie Hart works in IT in the Chicago area. Often having to travel out of the country for work, Stephanie has dedicated this time to going on a "Pizza World Tour" to be an international pizza taster in her down time. She is also one-third of the podcast, UnWine, with her childhood best friends Jasmine and Jazmine.

Chanel is a graduate of Spelman College. She is currently a diversity and inclusiveness liaison and 3rd-grade teacher in Washington, DC. She is a lover of all things food and social justice. Chanel is one part Cardi, one part Coretta, but all parts womanist.

Morgan Malone is a devoted public servant, winetrepreneur, and imagineer. A DMV native turned Chicago transplant; you can find her raving about Black womanism, participatory governance, and the latest JohnnySwim project. When she's not plotting and planning, you'll find her with a glass of Beaujolais and a host of friends planning world takeover.

Brittany Bullock is a writer of random life stories and lessons via her Medium platform as well as a serial event goer and photo taker.