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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.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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