Blak King… You Are Everything!

Karen Allen writes about her mission to support Black kings and encourage greater communication, collaboration and compassion between Black men and women

Driving in my car, listening to ‘Superheroes’ by Stormzy, I found myself crying at the line: ‘Young Black King, you are everything and more…’ In that moment I thought about the countless Black kings who surround me, both young and old. As a mother of four young Black kings – aunty to one, godmother and advisor to many – it is a privilege to play a role in their lives. What often brings me to tears is the thought that my story could have been so very different….

The year was 2019, the month October, a Friday. I recall the day because we were preparing to do the fifth run of a community play I had written and directed, called The Countdown. My house was full of boys, nine to be exact, making a lot of noise and mess.

As I walked past the living room, mentally preparing myself for what lay ahead, my thoughts ran towards the brick wall that often left me feeling frustrated and furious. Where were the fathers of these boys? Why were they not present in their lives? Why did so many Black men think it was OK to be absent? In that moment I had an encounter that changed everything.

Within a month I started a campaign entitled ‘He’s Black, I’m Proud’. The purpose was to honour and highlight Black men who were doing incredible and inspirational things within their families, communities, churches, or in the corporate world. My mission was to challenge the norm and change the narrative of criticising and complaining about what Black men were not doing, by championing and celebrating what they were doing. 

The encounter I had on October 2019 was a candid conversation with God, who convicted me to focus on my desires rather than on my disappointment. My desire was to be an advocate and an arbitrator for Black men, ignore the “fools”, and illuminate the kings.

In February 2020, exactly one month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I hosted the very first ‘Kings Roundtable’ event called ‘Brave, Bold, Brilliant and Black’. The event aimed to provide a space where Black kings would be safe and celebrated, and they would also be served by women as a demonstration of counteracting the toxic culture of the Black male-female divide. There were over 100 people in attendance and it was revolutionary. 

That same year, I wrote and released my third book, Thou Art the Man, a spiritual memoir aimed at empowering and encouraging men – particularly Black men – and also enlightening women about the integral part they play in healing the hearts of their men. I absolutely love Black men, and believe wholeheartedly that Black women must be intentional in their dealings with Black men if we are to experience love and harmony according to God’s divine plan. God created the woman to be a helper suitable for the man and, in fulfilling our God-given purpose, it is my conviction that, by default, our men will experience healing and wholeness. 

Since that fateful day in October 2019, I have been criticised by some women about the way I “stick up for the men”. Many mistake my support for the kings as my excusing negligent or abusive behaviour. This is not the case. My mission is to lead a movement of people who share my passion to experience connection, communication, collaboration and compassion between men and women, especially within the Black community. 

In January 2024, I put out a clarion call for “Abigail’s Army” – women who will join me on this mission. The goal is simple: we are women who will use our weapons of spiritual warfare to wage war against the enemy who has since the beginning of time targeted our men. Men are not the enemy. Some women do not like to hear this, but we were the ones who “messed things up” in the beginning, so it is my conviction that we are the ones whom God has chosen to “fix up this mess”. 

I would like to dedicate this article to one Black king within our community who we recently lost, suddenly and unexpectedly: Ray Lewis CBE, founder and pioneer of Eastside Young Leaders Academy (EYLA). He was a king in both word and deed. Writing this with deep sadness in my heart has strengthened me to continue along the path to give Black kings their flowers while they are yet alive. Black King, you are everything… and more! This is my decree and my declaration. Too many Black men have gone to their grave without hearing those words, or similar words that could have given them hope or helped them to heal. I am on a mission. Kings, you can count on me. 

Karen Allen is a minister, personal development coach, and activist who is changing the narrative for young people and Black men. Visit www.karenallen.info

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