Much like the instantaneous, fame-adjacent status he procured by being shown wearing trendy clothes that showed off his ankles on the internet, the older black gentleman known as “Mr. Steal Your Grandma” has hastily fallen from many folks’ good graces. Much of it has to do with a since-deleted Facebook status in which Irvin Randle laid out a few ground rules for the younger Negroes.
"I have a message for my young African-Americans if y'all want to succeed in this life and stay out of trouble," Randle wrote. "I know being successful doesn't spare us from getting killed but most of the times, it keeps us out of trouble."
These tips included going to school, not wearing baggy pants, covering up that body with more articles of clothing and forgoing the option of “calling yourselves bad bitches.” Well, as a certified bad bitch who doesn’t typically mind the sight of sagging, let me just say, I’m glad many of the blacks respectfully told Randle to go back to watching old episodes of Sanford and Son and stop doling out “respectability politics.” Y’all gave that man too much for simply being an AARP-age man wearing tight-ass clothing anyway.
Unfortunately, Mr. Steal Your Grandma’s impact has already guaranteed that other pop-pops are about to storm your social media feeds with shots of them in those tight, black Adidas pants. In fact, I’ve already seen screenshots of older black men in their 50s and 60s more or less trying to “do it for the ’gram.” OK, Facebook, for the most part, ’cause old folks love themselves some Facebook, but you get it.
Sadly, the stampede cannot be stopped. Nonetheless, I can help you cope with the growing old-head movement happening online.
Step 1: Be like French Montana and don’t panic.
Listen, my grandparents have gone on to glory, so while I miss my pa-pa terribly, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about him showing up in my feed wearing tight shorts he got from a J.C. Penney or Macy’s sale trying to show you he’s still got it. For those of you that do, though, do not stress yourself out. We’re all black, so we really needn’t play with our heart rates like that—especially if we eat Popeye’s.
Breathe. Breathe some more. Exhale. Shoop shoop. Pace yourself.
Step 2: Think of Blanche Devereaux.
I’m not into cat daddies like some of my nasty friends are, but I do think there’s something to be said for respecting older folks who want to be seen as desirable. Yes, that denotes sexuality. Calm down. I know it’s your grandpa, older daddy, great-uncle or just someone who played one of those roles growing up. The point is, older chaps have always lived their lives despite growing older, only now, social media has made it more apparent. You need to accept this.
Step 3: Know that they are Ms. Evelyn, but you are Toni and Tamar.
By that, I mean you must acknowledge that one day, you’re going to be that older person who wants to still be fly. It’s fine so long as you don’t get carried away.
Step 4: Be ready to ring the alarm.
Listen, I’m all for respecting our elders, but where Randle got the game mixed up was that he thought a whole bunch of likes on Facebook and Instagram made him immortal. No shade, but that’s a very stupid millennial way to look at life. Now, should your pop-pop or, hell, meemaw/nana starts poppin’ on social media, do not let it go to their heads. Be ready to reel them in but, like, in a very respectful manner. Don’t say anything that would compel them to force you to go and cut a switch. You know that generation majorly feels no one is too old for a whooping.
Step 5: Just break their smartphones on purpose.
And change their Wi-Fi password. Pour water on their keyboards. Pour bleach on their clothes. Hell, do what you gotta do to remain strong. SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR THING, NOT THEIRS. THEY GOT THE JACKSON 5, SO THEY DO NOT GET TO TAKE THIS FROM YOU.
Or you can just block them. Whatever.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.