Uncle June Bug: The Hyper-masculine Uncle

Michael Strahan guest stars as Uncle June Bug in Blackish. Him and Dre grew up together before Dre made it out of the inner city. Dre is portrayed as the middle class father who has a great marketing job and June Bug is the criminal gangster uncle who is wearing a wife beater, bulletproof vest, platinum chains, and Timbaland boots. Uncle June Bug walks in the house and greets the whole family but when he starts to talk with Dre they begin to roughhouse. As June Bug is chocking Dre he begins says, “I see you still got that little girl windpipe” and laughs. He then greets Bow, Dre’s wife, and complements on how lucky Dre is to have her. He makes another insult to Dre’s masculinity buy saying, “Hey kids, here’s another fun fact, your father is so weak he has a strength of a woman with small bone disease”. The kids laugh but June bug proceeds to hit Dre again and he says it’s not a big deal they we’re just playing around.

The gangster image of the hyper-masculine black man June Bug is portrayed no stranger to television and media. In, Sociocultural Knowledge and Visual Re(-) Presentations of Black Masculinity and Community: Reading “The Wire” for Critical Multicultural Teacher Education, Brown and Kraehe use the HBO drama series, “The Wire”, to analyze the hyper-masculine image of black men. The men in “The Wire” are thugs and criminals who intimidate and terrorize others in their community to show their masculinity (p. 83, 2011). The characters continuously make references to one particular characters sexuality because in the black community if your are not heterosexual you are an outsider. Being an outsider mean that your masculinity was always in question. The same with June Bug making statements to Dre about being weak and not being able to fight back. June Bug was testing Dre’s masculinity in-front of Dre’s children and wife establishing his position as alpha male in Dre’s own house. Dre’s daughter even said that Dre always wanted them to learn how to fight back against their cousins because he never knew how to. Dre, knew that his children would be outcasts to their community because they did not have those masculine traits.

In the end Dre’s children do fight with their cousins, not physically but with their words and their children come to a compromise and don’t repeat the same generational curse.

Barris K. (Writer) (2015). Jacked o’ Lantern (Season 2 Episode 6). Blackish. Location: ABC Studio.

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