The Men in Black Choir: A True Expression

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.

159 thoughts on “The Men in Black Choir: A True Expression

  1. A gorgeously written blog of heartfelt appreciation Emily and I agree “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.”

  2. Men in their essence are every bit as beautiful as women. It’s sad in current society we’ve made men to be only tough and hard, when they are super tender and sensitive too.

    1. Thank you Meg and Greg, we don’t often associate the word “beautiful” with men but they are absolutely gorgeous when they are able to live from their true inner essence.

  3. “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.” Gorgeous. Chris James is amazing in the way he supports everyone to open up, let go and sing from their hearts.

  4. It is rare to see such publicly expressed care and tenderness between men let alone in mass like that, a true pleasure to behold and be inspired by…. and be embraced by what is possible between us.

  5. The other beautiful thing about this event, if I recall correctly was that they were very welcoming of another man who felt to join them on stage, without being an official part of the choir. They all just move to create space for him and then very naturally and very beautifully shared song sheets to support him. Men being themselves, no competition. Super lovely to feel and reflect back on.

  6. As a woman, I’m always super touched too when I see tenderness and connection between men. We often think of men as being so much tougher and rougher than us but it simply isn’t true. It sounds like a wonderful occasion.

  7. Thank you Emily for sharing this. It certainly put a smile on my face feeling the joy of men who have come back to their tenderness, allowing themselves to freely express from that.

  8. It is true we don’t often see men open and tender with each other let along anyone else. There is a power and strength in being tender and loving, such power that many men choose to shy away from. Knowing for myself the power in being truly loving and delicate with people around me has shown me the amazing power I have as an individual to make a difference and make my make on many modern men issues such as Domestic Violence. For if every man were tender and loving Domestic Violence wouldn’t exist, so why do push so hard to say men aren’t naturally or suppose to be tender and open?

  9. Your appreciation and joy is palpable. I have also watched men on stage singing at a Universal Medicine events and I cried with joy to feel the quality of it and witness men being powerful, tender and playful. It was healing for me to be part of. My relationships with men are more true and deeper for it.

  10. Not competing with each other, that’s the keyword for me with men. The moment I get to know a man I feel the instant checking: “is he a potential threat?” and then the connection doesn’t take place because only two protection shields bump into each other, hence the bumping on each others shoulders etc. As a man in true expression there is no protection shield, just a strong vulnerability and tenderness that invites everybody in.

    1. So true, I have noticed and felt very strongly how men size each other up when they first meet and you are now expressing that the words “is he a potential threat?” came to mind. How different is it when men are just who they truly are and drop all that accumulated garbage; it takes courage though to just stand there in their awesome tenderness and vulnerability which is such an amazing strength.

  11. I sounds like a wonderful time was had by not only the men on stage but also by those in the audience. Well done everyone and thank you Emily for providing me with this picture that has brought a smile to my face as I was reading your blog. Lots of little gems in there for us all to take notice of and for me the one I will take for today is to express joyfully with everything I have.

  12. It sounds like these men laid down a way of being that we can build and expand on. I was going to say new, but realise it is not new, but has just laid dormant waiting for the right time and men to come along. Thanks for sharing this Emily it sounded wonderful.

  13. It was truly amazing to see these ‘men in black’ performing with such tenderness and love, thank you for this beautiful reminder Emily.

  14. Men in their natural expression, that sounds very beautiful and congratulations to these men involved. Singing in our true essence brings out such joy and seems to expand us beyond our comfort zones and beyond our ideas of control. What a treasure these men are.

  15. If men can be like this on stage, imagine what potential there is in life if men were to live this each day with other men and woman in all they do.. Wow!

  16. Emily, thank you for this most heartfelt account of what sounds like an incredibly beautiful and touching event. Simply by reading your words and feeling your heart my heart too is filled with so much love and gratitude for these ‘gentle’ men singing, loving, sharing and playing, breaking society’s mould. Wow!

  17. Emily you have painted a great picture, so enjoyable to read and feel. The usual facade men put on, the hardness, defence, playing out roles, I understand how powerful to see then just open up and be tender and playful and sing!

  18. I was at that concert at the end if 2012. It was beautiful to feel the men’s choir letting themselves be seen and working together to bring forth the music. It was amazing to feel the connection between this group and the absence of comparison.

  19. And thank you Emily for sharing it in this blog. A true blessing to read. Letting go of these ideals how men are and seeing them for who they truly are is a gift to yourself and all others. I say this because I know also how it is to not let go of ideals and stubbornly ignoring what is truly there to be seen. I am now learning to see what is really there and to surrender to this.

    1. Beautifully said Lieke, we have to let go of the ideal and beliefs we have about man such as “they are all the same” before we can see and value the beauty of what is being presented here and, as you say, it is such gift to ourselves when we can surrender to the truth that is in front of us as it allows us to feel that we are equal and the same.

  20. How beautiful to see men not being afraid to fully express all their tenderness and having fun together. In harmony not only in their singing but also in their joy of being together.

  21. Thank you Emily for sharing the joy of witnessing the sensitivity and fun of the Men in Black choir. I could feel your ‘Wow’ as I read your blog appreciating a very special event. It is beautiful for men to open their hearts and share their true sensitive selves and allow themselves to be the loving, tender small boys they were and still are.

  22. Could the divine expression of the ‘Men in black’ in fact lay the foundations to be the ‘new black’ for all men??

  23. Wonderful reminder of the “men in black” on stage- “They were like little children again, having so much fun without the grownup do’s and don’ts, with no restrictions”
    Their joy and playfulness was palpable and it indeed put a big smile on my face too.
    How beauty-full to see grown men being themselves, not needing to prove anything, or be perfect. Loved their tenderness and courage.

  24. It is an event worth celebrating. It is also worth pondering why that there is not more experiences of men expressing with with playfulness.

    1. Great point Joel, as a society we have stifled men’s natural expression preferring them to fit into our pictures instead of being who they truly are – no wonder so many men are having a hard time being in the world.

  25. Emily, I can relate to the joy and appreciation you felt watching the Men in Black Choir. Seeing the men get on stage and sing at a Universal Medicine event last weekend was really something. I was touched by their sweetness and the way they sang with their hearts, just being themselves… no tough exterior.

  26. I loved reading the deep appreciation you have for such a gorgeous moment that I will never forget. I don’t ever remember being so touched by seeing a group of men sing. There was such beauty in the way they were together, a strength in tenderness that brought tears to my eyes… so very different to the male bravado and rough and tough pack energy experienced when men usually come together – not even a hint of it in sight. A deeply beautiful moment to behold.

  27. Emily the joy I can feel you have for these true men is so wonderful, and agree the open and natural tenderness of a man on display is very beautiful to experience.

  28. Thank you for describing the power of men’s natural expression so beautifully Emily and for your heartfelt thanks to the Men in Black ‘for opening up, being tender and allowing me to see that all men are truly amazing’.

  29. I love how you have shared this experience with us Emily, especially those of us who were unable to be there; I can feel the joy that you felt. I did though have a similar experience at one of Chris James’ combined choir practice a few years ago, when the men’s choir sang to the women who were there. As they sang, with such tenderness and love, the tissue box was passed up the rows, from woman to woman. A moment in time that I will never forget – men truly expressing their innate tenderness. So very beautiful!

  30. Thank you Emily for your blog. It has made me aware that I have never experienced this way of ‘BEING’ with any of the men in my life previously. It has exposed that the impression I have been holding has locked in this way of seeing and believing. Something has been exposed here and I feel amazing about going forward with a new openness and awareness around the fun, playful, heartfelt loving centres that are within all men just waiting to come out. Great Blog.

  31. I loved your playfullness Emily and how you expressed the Joy you felt. The expression of Joy is so catchy. The unimposing delicate way it has touching people’s hearts. It is wonder there are not schools to bring back Joy !!

  32. Sounds wonderful Emily. It’s beautiful to see men being playful and freely expressing their natural love and tenderness.

  33. Yes Emily- they were amazing!- I remember seeing the Men in Black choir on stage swaying out of sync but it didn’t matter because the voices that came of their mouths was so exquisitely beautiful- harmonious, tender and loving. They were indeed a sight to see and hear. I had a smile from ear to ear, and felt so blessed to witness such tenderness and grace from men, which I never knew was possible.

  34. Sounds like an amazing experience – your words paint a vivid picture and I can totally relate to watching children on stage being completely free and at ease, and can imagine how beautifully it would be to see men being the same – tender and open.

  35. A beautiful expression of appreciation Emily. I agree that it is absolutely inspiring to see and feel when men allow themselves to be open, tender and playful, together, without competition. Seeing this did melt me as their joyful expression reverberated through song. Chris James and the Men in Black choir thank you for reflecting that there is another more joyful way for men to be and celebrate the gorgeousness of who they truly are.

  36. How beautiful. I wasn’t there, but from the picture you painted, I can feel how amazing it was. And how incredible for this group of men to be able to express with such tenderness up on stage.

  37. Thank you Emily for acknowledging this standout event. I was deeply touched seeing the men all together on stage and could feel each and everyone of them as the beautiful men that they are.

  38. It surely was a great expression of love and tenderness displayed that day as the men in black we were , thanks for the awesome confirmation of what was lived and felt by all.

  39. I agree. I absolutely love to watch men being truly loving and sensitive. I does feel amazing.

  40. Gorgeous Emily. Reading your blog transported me back to that day and you covered exactly the true beauty of what we were presented with by the choir. The loving looks between the men said it all – how incredibly liberating and amazing it is to be able to be a real man and express true love with a brother, with no connotations of anything other that true connection. The singing was awesome and the beauty of the experience had tears of joy pouring down my face. Extraordinary. Well played Chris James and the MEN!

  41. Emily, I wasn’t there in person, but I was smiling and felt joy in my body just from reading your blog. I think it is special also that it has been a couple of years since this event but the magic of what these men produced is still being felt.

  42. I agree Emily that most men struggle with an image or role that society tells them they must be or subscribe to and this creates a huge tension inside them because deep down they know it does not feel right. And this comes out as a hardness and guardedness. This is how it has been for me anyway. But simply connecting to that natural gentleness and tenderness within, and beginning to understand that this is in fact normal and natural for a man to express in this way is so liberating.

  43. I never fitted into the role model of the tough, hard and competing guy that modern society so often does portray. That has made me have quite some self-doubt for the majority of my life. Through the inspiration of Universal Medicine I actually could see and feel that all that I had felt and known deep inside of me was 100% true: I am incredibly gentle, loving, caring and tender. Now it’s about letting this out into the world to be seen and be inspired by.

    1. Fantastic Michael. As more men are able to do this, the ripple effects become larger and larger as then more and more men are given a different example of what a man can be.

    2. So lovely to hear you didn’t sell out and conform to the stereotype that men are hard and driven Michael and that you kept your tenderness and gentleness. There is nothing more beautiful than to see a caring gentle man. If I had met you 20 years ago I would have probably dismissed you as being too soft (harsh I know) but that was because I didn’t see or understand that these are the true qualities of a man and it is in fact what women respond to most.

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