by Emily Newman, Mirani, QLD
That was one of my first thoughts when the Men in Black went on stage to start singing for the Universal Medicine end of year celebration in December 2012. But what I felt when this happened was so much more than those three letters can begin to describe. I have never had so much fun watching grown men on stage! And, it was a choir. When I think back, it puts a big smile on my face. I would have loved to have seen the decision making process for these men when they actually made the choice to get together and be a part of a choir for everyone to enjoy. Making this decision to stand on stage and sing so openly to a crowd would take a lot of courage and strength within oneself.
Let me paint a picture for those who weren’t there.
Chris James was singing beautifully, like he usually does, and on his own this is fantastic. But then from the side, about 20 grown men walk up on stage and arrange themselves playfully into a group – some were a little nervous, others were stoked to be up on stage. These men then started swaying all as one and singing. They weren’t uniform and swaying exactly at the same time, but they were beautiful for who they are and what they were doing. It was an astounding men’s choir, coordinated by strength, care and dedication, supported by Chris James.
Have you ever seen children on stage? Really enjoying themselves and having so much fun? I love watching this, seeing the joy and sometimes shyness they have when expressing.
Well, this was like that, only ten times better because it helped me see that men can be amazing, and loving, and tender, and caring – and, I’ll put this in again… amazing. There was a certain pureness, as if all the hurts they have had when they were younger weren’t there anymore and they now had the freedom to enjoy what they were doing. They were like little children again, having so much fun without the grownup do’s and don’ts, with no restrictions. I am so proud to know men like this.
For me, it was a new experience to see men express in this way. I have not experienced many men in my life who are so open and willing to be playful and publicly show their very caring side. I have often experienced men who have been moulded by ideals of how men should behave, and there is often a hardness to this. In this, I have rarely seen men free enough to be able to express true love or equalness with females, let alone other males. Rarely have I seen men able to let go and open up, let themselves be and just have fun. To have seen the Men in Black go on stage and sing their hearts out meant a lot to me; it was a very beautiful and special experience.
It is so uncommon to see men working as one – with no competition and no championing, or trying to be ‘better’. They were up there, singing so beautifully together, and I was amazed. I never knew men could be so awesome and open, and willing to let themselves be. I have heard a lot of women at some stage say that ‘men are all the same’. Well ladies, I have found some that aren’t.
Thank you to all of the men who performed. Thank you to Juzzie Smith for being so playful with instruments and having the best of fun. To Chris James, just for being awesome. But especially to the Men in Black for putting so much time, effort and dedication into the choir for the night; and for opening up, being tender and allowing me to see that all men are truly amazing… and now I’ll be able to see this every day because I know it is there. I would also like to thank them for inspiring others: for being something other men can look at and go ‘whoa, I could actually be like that!!’
Chris James – thank you for supporting these men to return to their natural expression – it has inspired so many others.