Brothermen is my love letter to black men. It is for the black men, both known and unknown to me, who brought me and continue to bring me safely across.
If I were to believe the hype, we as black men and women are at war, or at best a cold peace, with each other. But to paraphrase the words of mother Maya Angelou, we survived the middle passage together, we stood on the auction block together, and we took the lash together, so how can we not stand with each other now?
So now it is time for me in my own way and in my own discipline to say to my brothermen, thank you.
Thank you, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, for helping me to keep the faith and to know that, even as I was sitting in a New England prep school, my experience — though not reflected around me — was always there through your music.
Thank you, Pops Staples and sister/daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleo Staples for teaching me the values of always respecting my family tree and always remembering to call on the ancestors, because they would be there when no one else was.
Thank you, David Roussève, for helping me to understand the cost and price black men paid and continue to pay because they were not allowed to protect their own and yet still stayed open to love, hope, gentleness, and grace.
And thank you, Chester Higgins, Jr., for reflecting back to myself — starting many, many years ago in your first work that I discovered, 'Black Woman' — that in your eyes, we as black women are beautiful.
Finally, I'd like to dedicate BrotherMen to a brotherman who entered and exited my life in two minutes and touched it forever. I was walking home from grocery shopping in Brooklyn when a man yelled from a truck, “Hey, sister, can I help you?” I smiled and said, “No, brother, I'm fine.” He said, “I know you're fine; that's why I asked can I help you?” For you, wherever you are, and to all our brothermen, thank you.
Demetria Royals, Producer
Louise Diamond, Producer