So often I hear the myth being perpetuated that same gender loving men of color aren't interested in or capable of having long-term relationships. Well this next couple I'm about to introduce you to in our ongoing "Coupled Up" series defies that myth. Meet Atlanta couple Christopher & Shelton. After being introduced to each other by a mutual friend eight years ago they're still going strong and have extended their love to include a son, five year old Jonathan.
Chris & Shelton on past relationships and how they knew this one was different:
Chris:We had dated other guys in the past and those relationships were fun but always revolved around superficial things like partying. We both were looking for a long-term commited relationship with the "house in the suburbs with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids". It was very encouraging to know that Shelton was supportive in my "coming-out" phase as that was a stressful time in my life.
Shelton: I also admired that Chris wasn't just interested in sex alone and was willing to take it slowly with the relationship. We both became good friends before we became lovers and to this day we are still best friends and can confide in each other our deepest secrets.
On coming out individually & as a couple:
Chris: Shelton was always more confident in his sexuality and came out to his family while in college in his early 20's. His family welcomed him with open-arms and indicated that they had known all along and was just waiting for him to be comfortable in his own skin.
Shelton: Chris, on the other hand, was not openly gay to his traditional Caribbean family but I encouraged him to be honest with them and with my support Chris composed a letter to his family regarding his relationship with his "room-mate" (as I was know to Chris' family back then).
Chris: After the storm cleared both families have embraced us with open-arms and we both regularly visit Shelton's family in North Carolina and my family in Florida for holidays each year. Our coming out has definitely made us closer with our families. We both have also lost some friends after coming-out but realize that these were not really friends after all.
On obstacles they've experienced maintaining a healthy relationship:
Chris: Most definitely homophobia! We both enjoy traveling and dining out and find it challenging in our society to express public displays of affection. One of our most memorable vacations was our trip to San Francisco as it was liberating to walk in the Castro district while holding hands with each other. We love Atlanta but still wish that it was more liberal and accepting of same gender relationships.
Shelton: We have the same problems in our relationships like other couples but we have always maintained that communication and honesty is the key to our bond. We try our hardest to listen to each other's side of the situation and compromise on the resolution.
On starting a family:
We both have always wanted to have kids and knew that was not negotiable in our future. We actually tried for one year to adopt kids through the foster care system in Georgia but after numerous rejections by social workers because the "kids would do better with a mother and a father" we decided to go the route of private adoption and within 1 week of employing an adoption agency we were matched with a birth-mother that was pregnant.
Everything went really quickly after that and one week later we were in the delivery room in Louisiana at the birth of our son, Jonathan. Our families were both thrilled to have a new baby in the family and Shelton's mom was overjoyed that he was born on her birthday. Having a child changed our life and many of our gay friends found it difficult to relate to our "domesticated lifestyle".
Responding to anti-gay critics who say children are best raised by two heterosexual parents:
We tell them the same thing that we tell our son and even he understands the basic premise - children need a loving family and the world is made up of different types of families. We believe strongly that the success of raising a child has nothing to do with the parents sexual preference but more so based on instilling good values in the child.
Chris & Shelton tells loldarian.com "that over the past 5 years since his (Jonathan's) birth we have changed the minds of some critics that thought that we would not be able to raise a child. One particular critic was Shelton's cousin Darrell who left an amazing message of support on Shelton's Facebook page after having a change of heart:
"All I can say is I have seen first hand how much two people can love each other and a child regardless of sex. Shelton is my cousin and one of my best friends and we love Chris & Jonathan just as much. My children adore Jonathan and love his company- he is one of their favorite cousins. I can't imagine not having Shelton, Chris & Jonathan in our lives.
I used to be obnoxious, ignorant and rude to many things and Shelton helped me become a better person and grow to learn that love truly has no boundaries. I admire your relationship and respect your freedom of choice. Together you guys have inspired me and my family in ways you may never know. I fully support you in all your endeavors and wish you all the happiness life has to offer. Together you all have done so much good. I know the future only holds brighter days. I pray that life continues to bring you joy and you both continue to be a blessing to my lil cousin."
Many thanks to Chris & Shelton for sharing their family with us.
This guest post is cross posted via The Anti-Intellect Blog and loldarian.com contributor Derrick Mcmahon.
Last night one of the hottest reality TV shows of the spring crowned its winner. Unfortunately this show is called Rupaul’s Drag Race, a show in which talented Drag Queens from all over the country compete to be crowned America’s next drag superstar. The show is executive produced by and stars one of the most successful African Americans in TV, Rupaul. The shows Season 1 winner (Bebe Zahara Bonet) as well as its newly crowned Season 2 winner (Tyra Sanchez) have both been Black.
And yet as of 1:17 PM not one of the following black blogs had a single post dedicated to the the show or its winner.
Now the aforementioned blogs don’t slack on their share of coverage for other reality shows like Tiny & Toya, Fantasia For Real, Flavor of Love, What Chilli Wants, or any of the other many shows featuring heterosexual African Americans. Despite these shows being no where near the success of Rupaul’s Drag Race the three Black Blogs listed shower them with coverage but couldn’t dedicate a single sentence to Rupaul Drag Race Season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez. Now don’t get me wrong the blogs don’t completely ignore the Black Gay Community. Crunktastical in particular has an affinity for offering up pictures of flamboyant gay men for public ridicule. The sites owner and its many members log on and hurl whatever clever thing they can muster about black gay men.
There’s a message being sent by black blogs and that message is clear. They are willing to cover black entertainment as long as that entertainment is predominately heterosexual. Of course they will include Dwight from Real Housewives of Atlanta in a post or two all the while rolling their eyes. But given the chance to dedicate a single post to the winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race, they couldn’t be bothered.
It’s interesting that Entertainment Weekly and Jezebel.com both sites that are predominately white have showered Rupaul’s Drag Race with coverage and love. But the very black blogs that pretend to exist to showcase and comment on Blacks making waves in the Entertainment business have failed to do so for the Black Gay Community. There homophobia is just a window into the treatment that Black gays face in the Black community.
It’s unfortunate that the Black Blogs mentioned chose to pretend to not know that Rupaul’s Drag Race had crowned it’s new winner but ultimately their exclusion affords us a sad realization. Blacks go on and on about how the mainstream media overlooks us and only cares about certain people (Whites), but when given the chance to be inclusive of all Blacks our Black bloggers turn around and do the same thing.
Here's the first look at choreographer Juel Lane's highly anticipated choreography in the upcoming all male Atlanta dance show LIFT: Men.Dance.Life. as reported on loldarian.com earlier this month.
Lane, a former member of Ronald K. Brown's Evidence Dance Company has created a beautiful pas de deux to the music of Sam Cooke with a black gay couple as the center of the piece.
"The concept of my piece is about just tapping into homosexuality between two black men", said Lane. "Just letting the world know that it's okay to be who you are."
"With this show I think it's definitely gonna make people feel really uncomfortable...which is good", he added. "Sometimes being uncomfortable is a good thing because it really opens your eyes".
LIFT: Men.Dance.Life. will grace the Hertz Stage at The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta for two performances on May 15, 2010 at 2PM and 8PM. You can purchase tickets here.
Watch Lane and partner in rehearsal in the video below:
Edge Contributor Matthew Pilecki examines one of the toughest dilemmas facing closeted gay actors; whether or not to come out and what effect will doing so have on their careers in a just published piece on Edge Los Angeles. Pilecki also called on loldarian.com to provide further insight into why so many gay actors fear telling the truth about their sexuality.
Edge LA reports:
During a panel held at Outfest in Los Angeles last July, Don Roos, openly gay director of Happy Endings and The Opposite of Sex, said that he does not believe it is in an actor’s best interest to come out to the press. He added that he favored actors who did not reveal their sexuality because he "prefer[s] more mystery," and that he believes celebrities coming out of the closet will not have any effect on homophobia.
Darian Aaron, editor of award winning blog Living Out Loud with Darian and contributor to Project Q Atlanta and GBM News, told EDGE that Roos’s comments discredits the intelligence of the audience.
"I believe Don is indirectly insulting the intelligence of moviegoers who are more than capable of separating the off screen persona from the actor who is playing a character on screen," Aaron said. "A brilliant actor will always be able to transcend his off screen reality and lose himself in the character thereby causing the audience to emotionally invest in the character and not the sexuality of the actor."
Yet, Aaron acknowledges that there are real pressures on actors and actresses to maintain a level of ambiguity in the public eye.
"Despite the rapid progress and greater acceptance gays and lesbians have achieved over the past twenty years we still live in a homophobic society and the entertainment industry is a microcosm of the anti-gay sentiment that is found in the larger society," Aaron told EDGE. "The fear of losing one’s livelihood or being disowned by friends and family after coming out has been ingrained in our DNA. While an actor can hope that his artistic contributions will continue to be valued and judged based on merit without his sexuality being a factor, the reality is there’s a real possibility that a once promising career will either stall or fizzle completely once the truth is disclosed."
Aaron believes that many openly gay actors fall into the inescapable trap of typecasting. However, he cited Wilson Cruz, who played openly teen Ricky Vasquez on My So-Called Life, as an openly gay actor who has taken conventional typecasting to his advantage. Cruz has played a number of diverse and multidimensional gay characters on successful television shows including Noah’s Arc, Pushing Daisies, and The West Wing. Aaron stressed the importance of celebrities to be honest about their sexuality for the greater good, regardless of the barriers that may confront them.
"We live in a culture that glorifies celebrities and when they talk people listen," he said. "It’s been proven that those who know gay and lesbian people are more likely to support the fight for equal rights. Millions of people who watch Ellen DeGeneres on a daily basis and who may never have come in contact with an out lesbian now know one. They’re realizing while her bank account may be massive, she is not much different than the average woman who wants to live in a world where she is able to thrive professionally and personally. Sexual orientation doesn’t change that basic desire."
In related news: Loldarian.com reported on the groundbreaking panel discussion Flipping The Script: Beyond Black Homophobia in Hollywood in March that addressed this very issue but from an African-American perspective also considering the complex issue of race.
Watch a video from the panel below:
My apologies for the unplanned absence this week. I'll most likely be taking off the rest of the week to take care of some personal stuff offline. I take pride in being consistent and it's never an easy decision for me to take time off, but in this case it's much needed. Don't worry...I'm still here. Thanks for your patience.
Thirty years ago today I began living out loud...literally:-) My weekend is starting a little early as I'll be completely ignoring my computer and celebrating my birthday. Many thanks to all of you who left me messages on Facebook and Twitter. See you back here on Monday.
Atlanta based openly gay artist Anye Elite is back with his latest single "All That Matters", a mid-tempo groove from the new mixtape Sneak Preview.
You may recall reading about Anye Elite on loldarian.com last fall as one of the many talented LGBT performers headlining Atlanta Black Gay Pride where he brought down the house with his signature song "I Got Him" (which happens to be one of my favorites-try getting the hook out of your head).
Anye Elite is unapologetically gay in his music and through the visuals he creates for his videos. And it doesn't hurt that he has one incredible smile. Loldarian.com is proud to support an artist who views his sexual orientation as an asset and not a hinderance towards success.
Get into All That Matters below:
OUT Magazine has released their 4th annual Power 50 list of the richest, most influential,most feared gays and lesbians in America and two people of color made the list. Out comedienne and actress Wanda Sykes and Academy-Awad nominated director Lee Daniels.
Rounding out the top 5 were Ellen Degeneres (#1), Barney Frank (#2), Anderson Cooper (#3), Rachel Maddow (#4), and Adam Lambert (#5).
Out Magazine on Sykes and Daniels:
Aside from scoring her second HBO stand-up special, I’ma Be Me, in October, last year was a year of firsts for Sykes. Along with the debut of her own late-night talk show, The Wanda Sykes Show, the newly out Sykes, along with her wife, Alex, welcomed twins in April, just weeks before she became the first African-American woman and openly LGBT person with the coveted roasting duties at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner.
Daniels’s star continues to rise: Precious may not have netted the coveted best picture or best director Oscars, but it collected a couple of awards and, more importantly, elevated the director to the stage he’s long felt was his. Always a battler, never short of opinions, Daniels has charmed Hollywood. What he does next, though, will matter even more. Hugh Jackman recently let slip that he and Daniels are collaborating on the civil rights story Selma, due to begin shooting this spring.
The new trailer for Finding Me: Truth, the sequel to last summer's hit indie film Finding Me was released last night via the official Finding Me website and it looks like director Roger Omeus and the cast are upping the ante for the new project slated to be released this summer.
Loldarian.com has been a long-time supporter of Finding Me and with so few films containing positive portrayals of black gay characters we're anxiously awaiting this release. Hopefully the trailer will hold us over until the time comes. Get into it below.
Well to say that I didn't see this coming from Toni Braxton would be an understatement. Ms. Braxton is slated to release her new CD The Pulse on May 4th and the video for her new single "Make My Heart" is possibly the gayest video next to Lady GaGa's Telephone to hit the tube so far this year.
Toni looks absolutely amazing in this video and it's clearly obvious this heavy dance track is targeting her gay fans. There's plenty of voguing, duck walking, dipping, and spinning as Toni and the kids serve it.
The video is choreographed by Marie Davis and industry veteran Billie Woodruff and also includes cameos from America's Best Dance Crew alums Fanny Pack.
While Toni's dance skills don't compare to Janet or Beyonce the choreographers give her movement that she can pull off. Less is definitely more in this case. I'm excited about this song and of course the video.
Get into "Make My Heart" below:
It seems the entire country tuned in to see the second season premiere of FOX's hit TV show GLEE last night. There were even outdoor public screenings held for fans of the show in Atlanta. I must admit I'm joining the GLEE mania late and I'm still not completely onboard which is surprising given my musical theater background. But what I am onboard with is the fierce recreation of Madonna's Vogue video by Jane Lynch and the cast that served as the teaser for next week's Madonna episode.
Lynch and the cast served up an almost spot on recreation of the early 90's video that introduced the gay underground dance voguing to the masses. One particular unnamed dancer (who is not a GLEE cast regular) channeled his inner Jose Xtravaganza, a ballroom legend and original Madonna dancer(pictured below) and in my opinion was the highlight of the video. If anyone knows who this dancer is please let me know.
Get into Jane Lynch and the cast of GLEE's Vogue video below:
Every year there seems to be an online uproar over an effeminate young black boy who has chosen to impersonate his favorite diva and post it online for the entire world to see. You may recall the controversy that erupted when a 7 year old black boy uploaded his rendition of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and the discussion around the lack of male role models for young black men as the alleged number one cause of homosexuality in black boys.
Well another video has surfaced of a pre-teen black boy dancing to Rihanna's hit single "Rude Boy" on urban website WorldStarHipHop.com (which should be short for ignorant homophobic a**holes) and the reaction has not been pretty.
Loldarian.com guest contributor Derrick McMahon facilitated a heated discussion about the video on his Facebook page and offers up this quote as food for thought: "The black community sees little gay boys who dance to their favorite female artist as "dangerous" but hold the real dangers the drug dealers, the murders, the woman beaters up as "role models" and great examples of black men? Where is our perspective? Did we ever have any?"
Another Facebook friend of McMahon who is also gay offered his two cents and was promptly deleted.
"Im sorry but its no problem with him being gay but he is doing the most and on the internet. he is setting himself up in a ignorant, hateful, homophobic society for failure and putting a label upon himself. he is showing that the lack of a male presence in a home is the biggest problems in our black community. he is a reminder that its not a choice its a lifestyle but choosing to live the lifestyle at such a young age and at such an openness is ultimately gonna be his downfall. He is placing a Scarlet Letter not only on himself but the entire gay community by the rest of society."
Get into the video that has everyone talking below. I know you have an opinion so let it rip.
Now for one of the most ridiculous stories you may come across today courtesy of our favorite "ex-gay" (next to Donnie McClurkin) Pastor DL Foster of the virulently anti-gay website Gay Christian Movement Watch.
Foster has posted a series of videos to his website observing the 20th anniversary of his exit from the "lifestyle". What lifestyle is he referring to? I'm glad you asked. "You know it's all about the sex, parties, clubs and the friends and being seen", says Foster.
After an 11 year stint as a depressed and lonely practicing homosexual(cause deep down we're all lonely) Foster is now married with four kids and a wife and has completed the transition to full blown heterosexuality. He now spends his life spiritually assaulting the community he was once apart of and insisting that gays and lesbians do not have a relationship with Christ. And of course it's all done in the name of God.
Let's all congratulate DL(not to be confused with down low-although appropriate) on 20 years of conforming and self- loathing. Watch part one of his never ending testimony below:
Here's a little afternoon snack in the middle of this incredibly slow news day. I'm not sure about you but former football player turned model Brandon Parker is giving me a much needed boost of energy.
Our friends at Queerty tipped us to Brandon and his bountiful backside.
My gaydar is usually never wrong but according to some strong language on Brandon's Model Mayhem profile he seems to have no interest in the fellas. Sorry boys.
"I am currently looking to shoot some couples themes....with WOMEN, don't ask me to shoot implied homosexual themes. That's not what I'm about and something that I don't do."
Uhmm...if you say so boo.
The Associated Press reports on the widespread homophobia across the continent of Africa that has reached an all time high with some Africans committing unconscionable crimes against gay men even after death.
The Associated Press reports:
Senegal- Madieye Diallo's body had only been in the ground for a few hours when the mob descended on the weedy cemetery with shovels. They yanked out the corpse, spit on its torso, dragged it away and dumped it in front of the home of his elderly parents.
A wave of intense homophobia is washing across Africa, where homosexuality is already illegal in at least 37 countries.
In the last year alone, gay men have been arrested in Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and include capital punishment for 'repeat offenders.' And in South Africa, the only country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have carried out so-called "corrective" rapes on lesbians.
Diallo was an activist and a leader of a gay organization called And Ligay, meaning "Working together," which he ran out of his parents' house.
He was HIV-positive and on medication.
When the tabloid published the photograph, Diallo went into hiding, according to a close friend who asked not to be named because he too is gay. Unable to go to the doctor, Diallo stopped taking his anti-retrovirals. By the spring of 2009, he was so ill that his family checked him into St. Jean de Dieu, a Catholic hospital in downtown Thies, says the friend.
He was in a coma when he died at 5:50 a.m. on May 2, 2009, according to the hospital's records. Although the hospital has a unit dedicated to treating HIV patients, the young man's family never disclosed his illness, according to the doctor in charge.
Several gay friends tried to see Diallo in the hospital but were told to stay away by his family, says the friend.
When the AP tried to speak to Diallo's elderly father at his shop on the main thoroughfare in Thies, his other children demanded the reporter leave. One sister covered her face and sobbed. Another said, "There are no homosexuals here."
Hours after he died, his family took Diallo's body to a nearby mosque, where custom holds the corpse should be bathed and wrapped in a white cloth. Before the family could bathe him, news reached the mosque that Diallo was gay and they were chased out, says the dead man's friend. His relatives hastily wrapped him in a sheet and headed to the cemetery, where they carried him past the home of Babacar Sene.
"A man that's known as being a homosexual can't be buried in a cemetery. His body needs to be thrown away like trash," says Sene. "His parents knew that he was gay and they did nothing about it. So when he died we wanted to make sure he was punished."
In the world of dance very rarely do you see the energy, masculinity, and prowess of a company comprised of predominantly African-American male dancers and choreographers. As a result the stories of these men often go untold. There is a void. Daryl Foster and Terry Slade, two highly gifted choreographers are filling that void through an all male dance production titled "LIFT".
Foster and Slade have assembled some of the finest choreographers and dancers Atlanta has to offer for a one night only performance May 15th on the Hertz Stage at The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.
Utilizing ballet, contemporary, modern, and hip-hop choreography to explore spirituality, politics, sexuality, masculinity, fatherhood and community, "LIFT is a project whose time has come," says Foster.
"I'm excited about the fact that I can finally tell my own story", Foster tells loldarian.com. So I think what this is about...it's not about showcasing same gender loving; it's about black men being able to tell their stories...the stories that they share with other black men straight or gay".
Loldarian.com will be following the creative process of LIFT from rehearsal to opening night and will be providing behind the scenes footage and dancer interviews from this groundbreaking work over the next few weeks.
Watch Daryl Foster discuss the inspiration for LIFT and the six pillars that are the backbone of this theatrical experience in the video below.
Photography: Lynne Cymone
*Spoiler Alert* If you haven't seen Why Did I Get Married Too you might not want to read any further.
If you follow me on Twitter then you're probably already aware that I was just as excited about the release of WDIGM Too and Janet Jackson's performance as the dozens of church buses that I'm sure pulled up to theaters all across the country last weekend to support Tyler Perry and his latest film.
However, what I was not excited about happened towards the end of the film when Jackson's character Patricia Agnew showed up to her husband Gavin's( Malik Yoba) office with a birthday cake. A sweet gesture if it were actually Gavin's birthday and the couple weren't going through a bitter divorce. But the icing on the cake (no pun intended) occurs when a flamboyant black gay man(played by performance artist Jonte') dressed in a sequined spaghetti- strapped mini complete with a purple wig and exposed chest pops out of the cake in front of all of Gavin's colleagues causing looks of utter disgust.
And when you think it can't possibly get any worse Perry writes these lines for Jackson's character: "This is my gift to you. You wanna act like a bitch Gavin...well here's your man. Go ahead and run like a little girl Gavin...like the little bitch you are. You are a bitch"!
Is this what Tyler Perry thinks about gay men? Or is he simply incapable of including gay characters in his films that aren't reminiscent of In Living Color's Blaine and Antoine from Men On Film? And this is coming from a man who's assumed heterosexuality is about as convincing as Queen Latifah's which makes this all the more frustrating.
The images of white gay and lesbian characters on screen have come a long way, but sadly millions of black audiences who will watch Perry's latest film will have their stereotypes of black gay men reinforced because of Perry's poor judgement.
Openly gay rapper J.R., the self-appointed King of Gay Music and former Flavaworks model Mr. Saukei have teamed up to create the video for J.R.'s single "Will You Marry Me".
Shot between Chicago, Illinois and Tulsa, Oklahoma the mid-tempo track and video is a full out proposal that sweetly illustrates the theme of the song.
While the production quality of the track itself may be questionable, J.R. & Mr. Saukei make up for it with a tenderness expressed onscreen between two SGL men of color that is rarely seen. Black LGBT audiences are starving for positive images of our lives in the media and when one comes along no matter how small I think it's important to provide a platform.
Get into the video below. And for all of you Mr. Saukei fans (don't pretend like you haven't seen his work; I'm a fan. lol!) as an added bonus watch him talk about life after modeling here. (NSFW:Language)
Queerty points us to a new interview with NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous via BigThink.com in which the civil rights leader defends his organizations record (or lack thereof) on gay rights and explains why so many in the black community and within his organization are opposed to equality for LGBT's. Take one guess-religion.
"So, we had been involved, you know, gay people have been involved in the NAACP for a long time," says Jealous. "The NAACP has been supportive of a broad civil human rights agenda in this country, including rights for gay and lesbian people, for a long time and many of our most outspoken leaders are very outspoken on the issue of marriage equality and many are outspoken against it. And like any other democratic organization, trade union, what have you, it's being worked through. And the way that one side wins or the other is that they decide that they want the membership of the NAACP to be supportive of this one particular part of the agenda more than the other side does. And right now it seems to be a bit of a toss-up."
A toss up? So Jealous admits that there's black gay and lesbian people within his organization but apparently they must wait for access to full equality under the law until the majority is convinced that discrimination in any form and despite what their bible tells them is wrong? This is coming from the same organization who refused to take a national stance on marriage equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, which disproportionately affects black soldiers. Can the NAACP still claim the civil rights mantra in 2010 when they are clearly absent on two of the most significant civil rights struggles of the day?
As President of the NAACP and a personal supporter of gay rights Jealous is doing his organization a disservice by not bringing them into the 21st century and actually providing leadership on gay rights issues since it's painfully clear they need it.
Watch the interview below:
Ugly Betty fans be sure to set your DVR's for tonight's episode. The long awaited coming out of teenage fashionista Justin Suarez(Marc Indelicato) will be the topic of conversation around water coolers all across America tomorrow.
According to US Weekly: Once Justin's soon-to-be-stepfather catches him making out with his classmate Austin (Ryan McGinnis), Justin decides to make their relationship public -- at his mother's wedding.
You may recall last month Justin shared his first on screen same-sex kiss. Some latino fans of Ugly Betty are heralding this television moment as an important step in the right direction and an opportunity to challenge the myth that all hispanic families are homophobic.
What a shame ABC has decided to pull the plug on this great show. Get into a preview of tonight's episode by clicking here.
ESPN columnist and GLAAD Award winner LZ Granderson has penned a must read piece on cnn.com titled "Myth of the 'gay lifestyle' justifies bias" where he debunks the widely held belief that homosexuality is indeed a "lifestyle" that is so different from heterosexuality that it is to be feared.
The word "lifestyle" as it applies to gay and lesbian couples is problematic by itself as it was coined to create an "us" vs. "them" mentality and ultimately a successful means of demonizing LGBT individuals. Granderson speaks to this point and more in his article.
An excerpt from CNN.com
Too often, discussions about gay people and gay rights focus on sex, as if a person's entire being is defined by his or her Hollywood crush.
This fixation has been the crux behind attempts to link gay men to pedophilia -- from John Briggs, a state legislator from Orange County who introduced the proposed ban on gay teachers in California, to the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, whose recent attempts to excuse the church for its global scandal coverup by seemingly blaming homosexuality -- and it's a tactic that is evil incarnate.
"The vast majority of the victims are post-pubescent," Donohue recently said on "Larry King Live." "That's not pedophilia, buddy. That's homosexuality."
Actually, Bill, sexual predators whose victims are 13- to 17-years-old are called hebephiles -- a la Joey Buttafuoco, Madeleine Martin and Heather Kennedy -- not homosexuals. And that still doesn't explain why the church opted to save face as opposed to, in the words of the infamous anti-gay figurehead Anita Bryant, "Save our children."
Being gay doesn't dictate how people live their lives any more than being straight does. There are gay people who go to church every Sunday and straight people who do not believe in God. There are single gay men who believe in the sanctity of marriage and married straight men who apparently do not -- such as Gov. Mark Sanford, ex-Sen. John Edwards and Sen. John Ensign, to name a few.
The truth is the only thing all gay people have in common -- you know, besides being gay -- is that we face continuous rhetorical, social and legal attacks for simply existing, thus potentially making something as mundane as bringing a date to a work function a fight-or-flee situation.
In 29 states, people can be fired simply for being gay regardless of their education, experience or job performance; servicemen and women can be dismissed from the military regardless of their qualifications, dedication and courage; and partners are unable to see their better halves in the hospital regardless of the love, commitment and life they share.
It's sad. We're such a great nation, still full of great hope and promise and yet we keep being tripped up by ignorance, which leads to fear and then eventually hate. Being gay isn't a choice, but being a bigot certainly is.
My day is just getting started. Late flight back to ATL last night. Posting will resume shortly.
Multimedia Maven B. Scott becomes the latest public figure to be lensed by Atlanta based photographer Derek Blanks for his popular Alter Ego series.
Blanks has photographed such notables as Michelle Williams, Jennifer Hudson, Academy Award winner Mo'Nique, Rockmund Dunbar, and the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
B. Scott had the opportunity to be lensed by the in-demand celebrity photographer during his appearance late last month during Morehouse College's first PRIDE Week where he was a featured speaker.
Looking fierce B!
Erykah Badu's controversial video for Window Seat, the lead single from her new album New Amerykah Part Two: Return of The Ankh may have been the best thing to ever happen to the neo-soul singer in terms of publicity, but with all of the attention comes a healthy dose of criticism and critics are not only targeting Badu's artistic decisions but her personal decisions as well.
A mother of two children, a son named Seven by rapper Andre 3000 and a daughter named Puma by 80’s West Coast rapper The D.O.C. Erykah has never been married and herein lies the problem according to many.
Badu took to the okayplayer message boards to respond to her critics who say she is a "walking stereotype of an irresponsible black woman".
Read the full response via Brown Sista here. Get into an excerpt below:
every relationship i have been in was because i loved the person DEARLY and was dedicated to us “exclusively” FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.
the fathers of my children are my brothers and friends .
we have a great deal of respect for one another and always will.
WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN TO NO END.
we took our own “vows” and CONTINUE TO UPHOLD THEM.
AND THAT IS WHAT THAT IS .
WHAT IS MARRIAGE ?
WHO IS THE JUDGE?
WE ONLY UNDERSTAND THE EXAMPLES WE ARE GIVEN ( well sort of)
WOULD IT “LOOK BETTER ” TO MARRY AND DIVIORCE AND MARRY AGAIN ?
WOULD THAT BE MORALLY CORRECT ?
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE ? the government’s involvement i guess.
IDEALLY , IT WOULD BE EXCELLENT TO FIND THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO FULFILLS YOUR SPIRIT AND STAY FOR EVER AND EVER ( thru sickness and health till death do us part ) AND HAVE HEALTHY STRONG CHILDREN AS A RESULT OF A HEALTHY AND STRONG UNION.
(this CAN happen … we need much training , however.)
IS IT REALLY “GOOD” TO STAY IN A RELATIONSHIP WHERE BOTH PARTIES ARE UNFULFILLED , LONGING FOR RELIEF , BRINGING one another down as a result of improper training , creating BAD ENERGY AND EXPERIENCES FOR THE CHILD TO REPEAT ?
(not to mention breeding deceit and anger and resentment )
SEEMS TO CREATE FEARFUL CHILDREN WHO TURN INTO FEARFUL ADULTS .
HOW MANY OF YOU GREW UP IN 2 PARENT HOMES THAT WERE MISERABLE AS FUCK ?
OR 2 PARENT HOMES THAT WERE NOT PERFECT BUT WORKED?
HOW MANY GREW UP IN ONE PARENT HOMES WHERE THE MOTHER WORKED HARD TO MAKE SURE YOU WERE CARED FOR BUT SHE WASNT QUITE HAPPY?
HOW ABOUT A HOME WHERE THE FATHER WAS THE MAIN CARE GIVER AND DID THE BEST HE COULD -LACKING NURTURE?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE A SIBLING THAT HAS A DIFFERENT FATHER OR MOTHER?
DOES HE OR SHE MEAN LESS TO YOU?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE MORE THAN 1 MOTHER OR FATHER OF YOUR OWN CHILDren ?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAD /OR / ARE PARENTS RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN ,THAT DONT QUITE FIT ANY OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS?
HOW MANY OF YOU STAY IN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS FOR FEAR OF GOING TO HELL?
HOW MANY HOS OUT THERE … THAT HAVE KIDS TO GET A PAYDAY?
HOW MANY PEOPLE GETTING THEY ASS KICKED AND ARE FORCED TO SUBMIT CAUSE YO MAMA GOT HER ASS KICKED?
THEN WHAT is CORRECT?
In related news: Badu appeared on The Wanda Sykes Show over the weekend to discuss and perform Window Seat. Sykes also surprised Badu with a hilarious parody of the Window Seat Video. Get into the clip below:
Window Seat: Performance
Engaged volunteers needed!
I am looking for volunteers for a study of attitudes towards marriage and parenthood among engaged couples. The study consists of a 25-30 minute online survey. To qualify for the study, you must be 20-35 years old, live in the U.S., and plan to marry or have a commitment ceremony within the next 365 days. You and your romantic partner must not have children, and this must be the first marriage for both of you.
-Help a doctoral candidate;
-Increase the pool of scientific knowledge;
-Support research on marriage and families; and
-Spend some time thinking about your relationship!
I am working with Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. This study has been approved by the University of Virginia Institutional Review Board #2009025800.
If you and/or your romantic partner are interested in participating or want further information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send you a link that you can use to access the study.
University of Virginia
We've all complained at one time or another about the lack of representation of LGBT people of color on television, well that's all about to change.
Seanmichael Rodgers Chairman of Embrace Media Networks along with a talented team of dedicated artists are gearing up to launch 'Embrace Network', the first 24 hour network exclusively serving LGBTQQI communities of color.
"We are living in a generation of change, and the time is now for the people of color in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQQI) lifestyle to be provided with content that addresses and encompasses who we are, and shows the world the incredible and vast diversity within our community", says Rodgers.
EMBRACE TV is wholly owned and independently operated by EMBRACE Media Networks. Television markets and cable providers airing EMBRACE TV will be announced in August, 2010; and the channel will begin 24-hour broadcasting on October 10, 2010. Programming and cast information will be released throughout the spring and summer.
“Expect new faces, new formats, and new images that respectfully and responsibly display the lives of our community. Expect the unexpected;” says Rodgers.
The portrayal of people of color in the LGBTQQI community is incomplete. Yes, there are gay male hairdressers and choir directors. Yes, there are masculine lesbians and lipstick ones. But that’s only the beginning. The truth is we work and live in every walk of life. We are doctors, lawyers, pastors and politicians. We are married and committed, raise families, and yes, we entertain as well. So here’s your chance to embrace your community; embrace your future; embrace your image. Embrace...our place!
Our friends over at Black Gay Gossip have an exclusive interview posted with recording artist and actress Macy Gray.
Gray is one of a handful of black celebrities that has signed on to star in Tyler Perry's film adaptation of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf".
Absent from the music scene over the past few years, Gray is scheduled to return June 22nd with the release of "The Sellout". The title stems from the commercial album Gray intended to make but quickly realized it wasn't who she was as an artist.
A mother of three teenagers she also dishes on how she would react if any of her children ever came out as gay.
Kudos to Black Gay Gossip for landing this interview. Get into the full interview as well as outtakes below:
Can't get enough of Trey Songz? Neither can I. The "Invented Sex" singer continues to tease with leaked photos of his photoshoot from the April issue of Vibe Magazine. I'm beginning to believe Chris Brown's unfortunate anger management problem was the best thing to ever happen to Trey Songz. Could he be the next R. Kelly minus the penchant for underage girls and home videos?
Whatever you're doing Trey please don't stop. The girls and the boys love you for it.
Get into a behind the scenes video of Trey Songz' Vibe shoot below: