Dispelling stereotypes has been a de-facto ‘calling’ of mavericks. Like a mantle not asked for, just bestowed upon your head to carry all your life. To borrow from Toni Morrison, it’s distracting. It distracts from proof of ability and passion. And it’s also exhausting. Imagine carrying the mantle of an entire race on your shoulders, or an entire gender, sexuality, tribe or nationality.

Tony Award winning writer and singer of Afro-baroque hooks Stew performed a brief rendition prodding at stereotypes. A brief piece, but a closer listen will get you thinking not just about the issues he raises but about many others you encounter on a daily basis, either in yourself or around you.

Black men go to Aspen and rent colorful chalets.

Giggle at the questions their mere presence seems to raise.

Get taken for men we don’t resemble in the least.

“Are you … ?” “No.”

It’s a winter wonderland in the belly of the beast.

And black men ski.

Black men ski.

Black men send back sushi with a scorned Yakuza’s flair.

We make postmodern art with bacon grease and hot combed hair.

We secretly play Beethoven inside our bassmobiles.

We can tell you how cool looks but cannot show you how it feels when black men ski.

When black men ski. 

Black men now are students of gay sensibility.

We wear ironic T-shirts drenched in code unknown to thee.

We get baptized in Walden Pond amongst a searing mob because the cleansing blood of Jesus could not do a thorough job. 

Black men ski.

Black men ski.

Chinese guys can jump real high and Germans cook soul food.

White boys rap and hippies nap their dreads up to look rude.

Jazz is now suburban it’s Marsalisly clean.

And now we’ve got Viagra everyone’s a sex machine.

So black men ski.

What else can we do?

Black men ski.

Black men ski. 

Black men ski. 

Some kids I’ll describe as friends say I am race-obsessed.

The luxury of your opinion shows that you are blessed.

See, I have poems about sunsets flowers and the rain.

I’ve read them to policemen but it was all in vain. 

So black men ski.

Black men ski … elegantly.

Black men ski.

Black men ski.