Creed III: Right-hook to Black masculinity

I had never really been the type of person who enjoyed the realms of boxing or even liked to watch movies about boxing.

It’s conflicting considering I come from a family that embraced the game of Rock’em Sock’em Robots and grew up with the boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, and the iconic Cassius Clay and his famous saying, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I even know of some old pairs of boxing gloves my granddaddy gave to my four uncles packed away in storage, along with their countless debates over the Rocky Balboa franchise.

Nonetheless, watching and understanding the themes surrounding boxing was not my forte until I had the chance to sit and watch the third installment of the Creed franchise. Starring and directed by actor Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and starring the rising actor Jonathan Majors, the film casted a talented Black team. I will admit that seeing Majors on screen was a significant factor in going to see the film.

However, I was shocked to find there was more to the movie than just two good-looking men battling it out in the ring.

The film took a chance in touching on the most common issue within the Black community of starting the conversation of how we view Black masculinity through the lens of a male-dominated and aggressive sport. Of course, the elements of masculinity are shared among all cultures. However, Black masculinity is often challenging.

At a young age, Black men are forced into a box of being shamed for talking about their feelings and frustrations, or even expressing love toward other Black men in fear of being seen as weak, especially under the watchful eyes of racism.

“Creed III” tackled this issue one punch at a time by embodying the struggles, conflicts and relationship effects of facing the stigma around Black masculinity. The film crafted a safe space to address the differences and changes that can be made to normalize Black men freely speaking about how they feel and still being seen as the worthy men they are.