Everything Nothing at Once

Everything Nothing at Once


For readers of Heavy, Punch Me Up to The Gods, and A Little Devil in America, a beautiful, painful, and soaring tribute to everything that Black men are and can be.

Growing up in the Bronx, Joél Leon was taught that being soft, being vulnerable, could end your life. Shaped by a singular view of Black masculinity espoused by the media, by family and friends, and by society, he learned instead to care about the gold around his neck and the number of bills in his wallet. He absorbed the "facts" that white was always right and Black men were seen as threatening or great for comic relief but never worthy of the opening credits. It wasn't until years later that Joél understood he didn't have to be defined by these things.

Now, in a collection of wide-ranging essays, he takes readers from his upbringing in the Bronx to his life raising two little girls of his own, unraveling those narratives to arrive at a deeper understanding of who he is as a son, friend, partner, and father. Traversing both the serious and lighthearted, from contemplating male beauty standards and his belly to his decision to seek therapy to the difficulties of making co-parenting work, Joél cracks open his heart to reveal his multitudes.