Book Review: Do Men Know What They Want By Michael Baisden

A Book Review by Katrina Taylor

First, a quick history about the author.

Michael Baisden is a radio talk show host who blew up on the national scene in 2007 with his advocacy for the controversial case of six black students convicted of assaulting a white student in Jena, Louisiana known as the Jena 6  Using his radio platform to draw attention to the case, Mr. Baisden’s call brought over 20,000 people to Jena for a rally to support the families involved.

National figures like the Reverend Al Sharpton were in attendance and it was a peaceful protest against injustice in spite of local white residents’ fear that so many black folk would be a problem. I was also there and the crazy story of my journey to Jena is a book in and of itself so I can attest to the fact that not even a scrap of paper was out of place when the massive crowd left.

I found out about Michael Baisden through a friend after complaining to him about the lack of quality radio stations in Georgia. My radio dial had been set to NPR or another black station that left me less than inspired. Upon his suggestion I tuned in and was instantly surprised and refreshed by Mr. Baisden’s lively and authentic presence.

Also known as The Bad Boy, when he started spinning sounds that took me back to my coming of age days, I was hooked. Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Cameo, Heavy D, Chuck D, DJ Kool’s subtly driving beat, “Let Me Clear My Throat” had me jammin and boppin my head on my daily commutes with glee. I was like a woman in a cultural bandwidth desert who had found a musical oasis. Mr. Baisden’s continued and growing efforts on behalf of those without a voice very much inspires me and I plan to write more about that part of his work in the future.

I was unaware at the time that MB was an author of five books, non fiction and the fictional Maintenance Man, Malcolm Tremell, all exploring how we relate to one another. He was never shy on his radio program about issues of sexuality which is rare. Considering the space that sex takes up in most peoples’ lives I’d say it’s a conversation we all need to be having but our insecurities, obsessions and phobias and mainly, fear of what others will think, keep us from talking honestly about such personal things.

When Mr. Baisden gave his book Do Men Know What They Want as a free download on Valentine’s Day, I had to take advantage of the offer. His witty tell-it-like-it-is style sucked me in right away. When I can’t put a book down, that means a lot and I was compelled to keep turning the page even though there were other things that needed my attention. For my writer self, that’s a stellar testimony.

He had me at the dedication where he expresses his love and devotion as a father to his now-teenage daughter, signing it, “Love, Dad”. I guess my own lack of such a presence in my life is why this pulled particularly hard on my heartstrings. And it’s just an indication of the depth with which MB is willing to take us in exploring such vital issues as fatherhood, cheating, interracial relationships among many others. His is a necessary  and stabilizing voice during changing times. This is no ordinary how-to book but a series of interviews with everyday people willing to be honest about what drives them sexually and the things that frustrate them in their relationships. MB says:

I realize that some people will always consider my views to be controversial and over the top. But the truth will always be controversial. But this book is not about my truth, these stories are your stories, from the CEOs to the stay-at-home moms. I promise that you’ll be enlightened by the stories on all sides.

He speaks the truth and the exchanges he records in this book are a refreshing reminder that sex is ok. So many of us walk around with guilt and shame driving what should be considered a natural human function which causes all kinds of psychoses and perversions. Religion and societal “norms” have tried to box in and manipulate this powerful urge since forever and we can see for ourselves the damage that’s caused.

The truth is a healing balm if you’re willing to face it and obliterating the boxes of conformity are my thing so this read was right on time. The TOC includes things like Food, Sex and Silence, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and Men 101. The chapter on the Smooth Operator details the tell tale signs that a man is cheating and more importantly, examines the reasons behind this epidemic and historically consistent act. Surely MB ruffled a few feathers with that one but the truth shall, indeed, set you free.

The state of marriage in America, particularly in the black community, has a failing grade and many relationships aren’t much more than  fodder for reality tv. Michael Baisden rightly calls it out in this book. Who is responsible to fix it? I say, since it’s just us here, it’s up to us and MB is a wonderful example, blazing the trail towards that understanding.

Anyone willing to take up the torch of truthful debate and discussion will find Do Men Know What They Want a welcome change from the humdrum appropriateness that fills so many bookshelves and digital libraries. I can almost guarantee you’ll find yourself among the pages of insightful dialogue along with a few answers and maybe the courage to take an honest look at yourself and how you’re truly effecting the space.

I’ll be posting future reviews on Michael Baisden’s other books. As a fiction writer I’m excited to get into Malcolm, The Maintenance Man’s world and share with you the treasures I know I’ll find there.

To be continued …

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~ by katrinataylor44 on February 23, 2013.

6 Responses to “Book Review: Do Men Know What They Want By Michael Baisden”

  1. Real men know what they want, and don’t need a book to guide them in how to achieve that goal. 😉

  2. […] Book Review: Do Men Know What They Want By Michael Baisden […]

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