“Non si può amare solo con la voglia di amare.
Con il voler amare.
Con il voler restare.
Con il crederci.
Con io lo amo.
Perché poi non basta.
Non regge.
L’amore non basta per amare.
Bisogna che ci sia la storia, per amare.
La vita, per amare.
Non bastano le parole, per amare.
Neanche quelle giuste, bastano.
Neanche le parole d’amore bastano per amare.
Dobbiamo fare una passeggiata.
Dobbiamo cenare insieme.
Leggere un giornale.
Andare a fare la spesa.
Fare una cosa insieme.
Che sia nostra.
Che siamo noi.
Io e te.
Non basta fare sesso per fare l’amore.
Ci vogliono i baci.”

- Leonardo Mauro (Frida Kahlo), L’Amore Non Basta Per Amare.

For cishet black men 4:44 was a Godsend. For the rest of the black population, however, 4:44 a curse. Almost immediately, a man who presented himself as feminist and activist posted a tweet thread about the pain and restrictions black men experience growing up, and how black women needed to be patient with black men who are still learning. When multiple black women responded that black women grow up under the same conditions with equal or greater constraints on emotional display, he gaslit and dismissed them. This is exactly what I feared. This is The 4:44 Effect in action, cishet black men sobbing about the emotional/empathic growing pains while expecting grace that was never afforded to black women. All the while, these same black men continue to “learn” by harming and discarding black women. They continue to learn by ostracizing queer black men, but then want easy access to the emotional spaces queer black men were beaten for entering. Cishet black men want the applause for finally gaining emotional depth that the rest of the black community had to develop as children for our safety and their comfort. The 4:44 Effect, I fear, will be particularly toxic in spaces once considered safe for black women. Cishet black male allies can can now dodge accountability under the guise of “still learning”. They can berate black women for not being impressed or wooed by their juvenile grasp on emotional intelligence. They can berate queer black people for not graciously allowing their casual queerantagonism because that’s “how I was raised.” The bar wasn’t raised, it was just repainted. Jay-Z and the other men in the Footnotes, in all their blissful enlightened ignorance, don’t realize the pandora’s box they’ve opened on the people they claim to now care about.
—  The 4:44 Effect  by Saki Benibo (@mrbenibo)