GREGORY WALKER, co-founder and managing director of the Brothers' Network, wants to assure you that he and his friends are not cornball brothers.
Still, that's how some folks might try to label them. After all he, along with a crew of 276 local African-American men who are part of the network, routinely read books, visit the theater and have lofty conversations about world events.
Their pants don't sag beneath their butts, and they aren't big fans of film director Tyler Perry.
They come from a wide swath of professions. Members range in age from 19 to 80 and include nationally regarded academics - and a 70-year-old house manager at a local theater. Besides the active members, another 1,000 follow the group online.
What they all have in common is a love of intellectual discourse.
Oh, and - sorry Rob Parker, the recently fired ESPN commentator who recently brought the "cornball" slur to the national spotlight - some of them do date white women. And like Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, whose racial identity Parker called into question, some of them also may be Republicans. But none of that takes anything away from their blackness.
"We are misjudged," said Walker, 49. "If we are well-spoken, well-traveled, somehow that falls out of the notion of what blackness is.
"That only shows how much we have to continue this work, to continue to reframe and change the narrative."
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.