The internet needs more pictures of black men smiling. Here are 11.

When we see black men represented in TV or films, they're often angry, stern — or even worse — completely emotionless.

We rarely get to see black characters experience emotional arcs that include joy, spontaneity, or anything resembling a care-free moment.

But in reality, we know that's not true. Black men are just as dynamic, hopeful, fun-loving, and happy as the rest of us. They just don't always get the space or opportunity to share those dimensions of their humanity with the world — until now.


The hashtag, #BlackMenSmiling, is the perfect antidote to representations of black men as long-suffering, mean, or cold.

The trend began after a simple request from from comedian @Felonious_Munk.

Black men came through with beautiful selfies and carefree moments with friends and family. Women chimed in too, sharing pics of the joyful men and boys in their lives, and the occasional picture of President Barack Obama and Prince too. (Why not?) The results are so simple, and yet so powerful.

1. Black men stepped up to challenge stereotypes and push back on tired tropes.

2. And improve their corner of the internet, not just for themselves, but for their kids too.

3. Some of the best submissions came from men who don't usually smile for pictures, but put themselves out there to participate.

4. And the fellas with those perfectly imperfect smiles joined in too.

As they should!

5. A few men have been waiting on this hashtag for years.

They were born ready!

6. For some, it took a little digging to find a photo with a smile.

Which is only motivation to smile more.

7. Because there's so much for black men to smile about.

8.  From life's biggest moments ...

9. ... to the little things that make an ordinary day extraordinary.

10. This hashtag is a celebration of black men.

11. And a beautiful portrait of the well-rounded, joyful, people we know and love.

#BlackMenSmiling is more than a throwaway hashtag, it's an act of resistance.

It often feels like we live in a country that doesn't want to see black men healthy, successful, and happy. They're considered a threat when they're driving in cars, walking into their own homes, or even playing outside. It would be easy to shut down, to be mad at the world. But they don't.

So every grin, every toothy smile, every bright eye and cheerful dimple is an act of resistance. You can't dim a black man's shine. You cannot tame his spirit or claim his joy. Not today, not ever.

And sometimes, you just need a hashtag to remind the world of that.

Anyone who has gone through the process of disentangling themselves from an addiction knows it's an ongoing, daily battle. It may get easier, and the payoffs may become more apparent, but it's still a decision someone makes each day to stay detached from their substance of choice.

Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

"Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free," Lowe wrote on Twitter. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo"

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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