David Beckham, Honorary Black Man?

Africa

David Beckham pays a visit to Nelson Mandela during his team's first match in South Africa in 2003. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

Many of my friends joke that David Beckham followed me to Los Angeles, a claim that I am sure his wife Victoria would not appreciate.

That aside, I have to say, the fascination of U.S. tabloids with the Beckhams has left me with a sense of deja vu. I went though all of this palaver almost 10 years ago when it was announced that an up-and-coming football star David Beckham, who everyone (now known in the U.K. as just "Becks") was soon to marry Posh Spice (aka Victoria Adams), one-fifth of the biggest girl group in the world.

No one could have predicted how "major" he would become. (If you saw Victoria Beckham Coming to America, you'll get the reference). And I certainly would not have predicted that so many people (myself included) would come to love Becks in spite of ourselves.

And I am pretty sure that very few people would have thought about naming David Beckham an honorary black man. That was until one journalist, Paul McKenzie, produced a documentary, called Black Like Beckham (geddit the play on the phrase "Bend it Like Beckham"??!). For a while, a few people were confused.

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Victoria and David Beckham Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

Well, lets face it, Beckham isn't black, is he? And no amount of cornrowing his golden locks is going to change that fact. McKenzie claimed that he produced the documentary to celebrate "a new urban Britain where young black and white people are getting more and more comfortable with each other by the day and where black people for the first time ever are comfortable having a white man as a role model."

OK, so Beckham doesn't hide the fact that, for example, he has many black role models; some of his favorite designers are black (Wale Adeyemi, for example). And when black members of the English football squad were subjected to monkey chants in Spain during a football match in 2004, Beckham spoke out against it, and people appreciated it. Fair enough, he was the captain of the national squad at the time, so he had to. But you get my point! He could have been much less vocal about the whole issue.

That said none of this maketh a black man of David. He's cool. We could probably hang out, he would probably have my back if someone hurled a racial insult at me. And if I was a fly (is that what the kids say these days? LOL) fashion designer, maybe he would make me rich by buying my clothes. But I am not. But either way, David, call me ...

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We live in a society in which David Beckham is dubbed as an "honorary Black man" because he wears cornrows, has a few black associates, and stands up for what is right, while the so-called "Blackness" of Barack Obama is repeatedly called into question because his mother is not Black. This is little cuckoo, if you ask me.

Sent by Emille K. Davie | 3:01 PM | 7-21-2007

I agree w/ u Christanel & vehemently DISAGREE w Paul McKenzie. Was Paul's documentary a kiss up to Beckham?

Davis may wear a Nigerian designer, dress 'urban', and braid his hair all the way to his toes... but he does not live as we do nor face the hardships that we do.
A good role model he is thought: great futbol player, family man....

Sent by lilkunta | 8:12 PM | 7-21-2007

Are you sure the title of McKenzie's documentary is not a referencce to journalist John Howard Griffin's book Black Like Me?

Sent by V Lewis | 3:07 PM | 7-24-2007

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