The above tweet was referring to Ivan Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks… proud member of the B.I.W. (Black Ivans of the World).

So what’s the old saying? You learn something new everyday. Yes, well I guess that I learned last night that amongst the other things that Black People don’t do, wear, say, play or participate in… they don’t name their male children [gasp] Ivan. Yes, I know there are not that many of us around, but we are a proud bunch we Black Ivans lol!

So if you are keeping score with me at home let’s see what is it again that Black don’t do according to the rules set forth on the back of your “Black Card” (it’s the fine, fine print.)

1. Black People play don’t play guitar.
2. Black People swim.
3. Black People like don’t like Classical Music.
4. Black People like to don’t read.
5. Black People love hate Science.

I could keep going on and on but this exercise is actually boring me truth be told. What I’ve learned over these last 4 decades of being a “Black Ivan” is that just because you (the collective: we) don’t experience something or are not familiar with its existence doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. The logic behind that type of rationale is as ludicrous as it is limiting. People (as we all full well know) name their children a plethora of names for a myriad of reasons: familial and otherwise. I want to live in a world where people are empowered to explore their hearts desires, not where they don’t even start the journey because “We don’t do that!” What is this 1862?

Am I offended on behalf of all The Black Ivans of the World? No. Do I think statements like the particular tweet above are laughably asinine? Perhaps. I left “Group-Think” a long time ago, but in this one little instance I would like to posit a retort on behalf of all my Black Ivan Bredren…

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.