David Beckham, the world’s number one football (soccer) star, partnered with European fashion retail giant H&M to develop an exclusive line of body wear. The sexy ad campaign debuted a commercial during the Super Bowl to over 110 million viewers. Clad in only the most revealing boxer briefs, Beckham appeared super-toned, tatted, and confident. Amid a sea of traditionally sexist Super Bowl commercials, millions of women agreed it was (truly) one of the best ads of the night. Popular CNN correspondent Roland Martin did not share the sentiment, however.
Rowland Martin tweeted, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
Well, many were grossly offended, particularly The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who immediately responded via Twitter and the next day called for Martin to be removed from CNN.
Some on “Black” Twitter quickly defended Martin for “giving his opinion” about “gay sh*t,” particularly several Black men. The ad included no man on man action, insinuation or public service announcement associating H&M with gay-anything. Beckham even flashes tattoos of his children and his wedding band. It was simply a (stunning) sexually provocative ad that succeeded in gaining the attention of millions, a marketing plan seen over and again as in Victoria’s Secret commercials. Why the hypersensitivity Black men?
Martin’s tweet contained a violent undertone though he attempted to spin as comedic or a dig at soccer players. Poor judgment from a public figure on Twitter happens more often than not, but Martin’s intolerant reaction also speaks to a deeper issue. Black men in general struggle with understanding homosexuality, as it remains a weirdly taboo issue in our greater community. Weird in that few honest discussions are held in public platforms to dissolve perceived stigmas, yet reference to any homoerotic activity or behaviors are frequently met with knee-jerk homophobic reaction. Why the hypersensitivity Black men?
Calm down for 30 seconds (length of the ad) and consider that within the large viewing and even NFL player statistics, homosexuals exist in the numbers. American football, arguably one of the most homoerotic sports in the world, remains the most watched. Yet a boxer brief sighting sparks irritation? Some men may have been attracted to Beckham’s image, but ultimately what difference does it make? H&M simply aimed to take advantage of the largest viewing audience in recent Super Bowl history. So the question remains, why the hypersensitivity Black men?
Martin has since apologized for his tweets, but GLAAD is still calling for CNN to remove him from the network (he has since been suspended). Based on the reckless commentary and widespread reaction, a better resolution may be for Martin to lead a public discussion about diversity, acceptance, or homosexual stereotypes promoted by media images and influence. In the least he should have to take a class on social media etiquette, as few will support “machismo” tweets, no filter.