2021 Soul Train Awards - Show

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty

On Wednesday, Tristan “Mack” Wilds sat with Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere of TMZ Live to discuss the four-part Discovery+ docuseries he hosts, Profiled: The Black Man. It premiered February 12 and is intent on showing “the difficulties Black men have faced, both in the past and present-day, while also highlighting and celebrating the triumphs and resilience of countless extraordinary men.”

“As a young Black man growing up in America, we obviously are up against all of these stigmas that are constantly placed against us,” Wilds said during his interview. “I think, [in the past season of finishing the Broadway play] Thoughts of a Colored Man, I had a certain mindset and a certain thing I wanted to do for us as Black men. I wanted to be able to tell our stories, and I think I’ve based my whole career around that: telling our stories, making sure that we don’t seem one-sided, that people understand we aren’t a monolith.”

Profiled airs every Saturday through March 5, and it challenges the pervasive negative stereotypes that follow Black men, such as absentee fathers and the idea that Black men hate Black women.  Wilds added, “If you really think about just how people are depicted and the stigmas that are put on Black men – just by media or what people are taught – they go into the world with a certain mindset.”

The show is executive produced by Tina Knowles-Lawson, who was insistent that the show not air on Black-owned networks or be exclusively targeted towards Black audiences. “Ms. Tina is very calculated; you could call her a chess player,” Wilds joked.

“Her reasoning is that white people are the ones who need education, so Discovery+ fits the bill,” TMZ said in its recap of the sit-down with Wilds.

Ms. Knowles-Lawson said how much the show means to her though a press release issued last month. “Society has characterized Black men by stories told through biased and racially tinted lenses,” it read. “Profiled: The Black Man is a love letter to Black men telling them we see them and that they deserve to exist in this world in their fullness.”

But not everyone agrees with Wilds, Knowles-Lawson, and Discovery+ on the need to combat bad stereotypes.

On February 19, someone named Lexus Exodus drafted a Change.org petition to get the show canceled or that Discovery+ make another series “that spreads awareness about the brutality, victimization, and femicide that black women and girls are experiencing globally.” As a self-proclaimed Black woman and “classically trained journalist,” Lexus Exodus hinted that Knowles-Lawson must be a hypocrite if her son-in-law could be Jay-Z.

And based on the rate at which people have signed, it appears the Lexus Exodus is not alone in her sentiment.

“Black men are a menace to society. They are killers, rapists, pedophiles, absent to their children, pimps, liars, thieves, and nuisances to the planet. They have no money, and no education, and nothing beneficial to add,” wrote one supporter.

“This is shameful behavior for a [Black woman] when [Black men] are our greatest predator,” wrote another person, taking aim at Knowles-Lawson.

The petition has a target goal of 7,500 signatures, which it has almost reached at the time of this post.