Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Reality of Gay Marriage - Gay Divorce

Yesterday an Arizona judge announced than an annulment will not be granted to Brittney Griner. And this announcement apparently pleases her former partner Glory Johnson who stated she was "thankful the annulment was rejected because an act of marriage did occur."  

Please don't think this article is at all aimed at Brittney or Glory.  I actually don't have a personal opinion about their relationship except to say that I feel sorry that it must play itself out in public.  I am a fan of both individuals and I wish them nothing but the best in resolving this current matter and in all of their future endeavors. 

This post is really just to bring awareness to the reality of gay and lesbian marriages - and that is gay and lesbian divorce.  I am still very excited about the Supreme Court's decision to end the Defense of Marriage Act and grant marriage equality to the LGBT community.  Since that decision was announced, thousands of same-gender loving couples have rushed to their county clerks offices, picked up their marriage licenses, and exchanged rings and vows.  

As the kids say now, YASSS!!!  I loved seeing the pics of married couples across the country finally being able to do what their hetero counterparts have taken for granted.  It fantastic that we're finally receiving the same rights and privileges that come with the institution of marriage.

However, before you rush out to marry your boyfriend or girlfriend, please take a moment to ask yourself if you are indeed ready for this very serious, very intimate, and supposedly very eternal ceremony.  Just because you can now get married does not mean you should go out and get married.  

Do some real soul searching as ask yourself if you are ready.  If you are ready, then ask yourself if your current partner is the person you want to spend the rest of your years with.  And please remember, eternal bliss is based on more than just sex.  Do you and your partner share similar values?  Are you aware of each others' personal situations (i.e. health, finances)?  Do you know more about each other than just where she shops and where he goes to the gym.

There are consequences to rushing into a marriage that you are not ready for and that consequence is divorce.  Divorces tend to get real ugly real fast.  This person that you thought you spend forever with is going to call you every name of the sun, accuse you of every unforgivable act there is, and attempt to punish you by taking as much away from you financially as possible. I'm not saying it's right or it's okay, I'm just saying that this is the normal routine when it comes to divorce.  

So please, before you get down on your knee and propose, make certain that you are indeed ready marriage.  I do not have a magic formula for determining   if you are ready, but take step back and make sure you're ready before you say "I do!"

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Vigil for Kandis Capri Wednesday, August 19

And we have yet again another trans-person killed.  There have not been many details released regarding the death of Kandis Capri.  But it worthy to note that the Phoenix Police Department is trying to make the gay and lesbian community aware of this death by way of the Phoenix LGBTQ Advisory Board.

This Wednesday, August 19, there will be a vigil for  Kandis to be held at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Space, located at 424 North Central Avenue.  The vigil will go from 7:00 - 9:00PM.  

For those that express their support and love of the transgender community by praising Caitlyn Jenner and applauding Laverne Cox, I ask that you show your support locally by coming down to this vigil and demanding an end to trans-violence and transphobia. 

And don't get it twisted, transphobia is not something reserved just for the straight community.  We have quite a few lesbian, gay and bi folks who have disdain, intolerance, and hatred aimed at trans folks.  

I took a moment to read some of the comments on the FB post announcing this vigil and I came across this, "How does this happen in Phoenix?"  I guess it's nice to know some people still see Phoenix as a place where violence against the LGBT community doesn't happen.  This person must be new to the city or totally unaware of what's been happening here.  Please check out some of the links below as a reminder of just how "welcoming" our city is for LGBT folks. [Let it be noted: I do not think our city is exceptionally violent toward our community.  I just think that homophobia and violence towards the LGBT community exists here as it does everywhere else].

Some examples of violence against our community include:

Some examples of murder against our community:

Phoenix has been home to it's fair share of violence against same gender loving folks. Hope to see some of you there at the vigil for Kandis Capri on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Thoughts on Rachel Dolezal

I know I'm several days late on speaking on the Rachel Dolezal story, but  I usually like to process things for a while before I speak on them.  I will admit I feel a bit confused by the story.  Why in the world would a white women chose to identify as African-American?  She obviously did NOT do it for any type of advantage.  Being black in this country does nothing to get you ahead in anything. 

Bur for some reason, here is a lady that identifies as black (even still) and chooses to immerse herself in black culture, black life, black academia, black institutions.  She was moving along just perfectly in her little world until her parents threw her under the bus.  This is the part that just seems so strange to me.  Parents are supposed to love, nurture and support their children.  These parents saw an opportunity to out their child and grabbed that chance to shame and embarrass her before the world.  REALLY?!?

The thing I'm most confused about has nothing to do with Rachel.  It has everything to do with most people's reactions to this story.  I get being curious.  I get bewilderment.  I get lack of understanding.  What I don't get is the anger that's being thrown her way.  So what if she identifies as black!  She has a doctorate in African-American studies.  She attended Howard University.  She is [was] president of the NAACP.  For some reason she has an affinity with and a connection to black folks. I don't know why, but she does.  

And it's not like she hi-jacked her black identity and did nothing with it.  Her doctorate in African-American studies is a tremendous accomplishment.  I'm sorry, but it is.  And apparently, she was very successful in her role as President of the Spokane NAACP chapter.  She did not idly hold her seat.  She was an active member of the black community in Spokane and did a lot for the community.  Now I have not researched her contributions to the community, this just seems to be the sentiment coming from blacks in Spokane that know her. 

So while I do not get where she's coming from, I still cannot say that she has generated any type of hostile feelings in me. I'm sorry but I ain't mad at cha.  It's an interesting story but I do not feel it is deserving of all the attention it is receiving.  I probably isn't even deserving of my simple little write-up.  But I had to share my two cents.  And there you have it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dancer Dudley Williams Dies at Age 76

I am a huge fan of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.  I am late with this news, but apparently four days ago, an elite dancer from the troupe, Mr. Dudley Williams passed away at his home in Manhattan at the age of 76.  Although no cause of death has been given, it has been said that there is nothing suspicious about it. 

Dudley was born and raised in New York City and became interested in dancing while very young.  He was waiting on his uncle who was taking voice lessons at a local art school and there Dudley witnessed one of the school's dance classes.  He immediately fell in love with the art of movement.  At the age of 12 he began training with Sheldon Hoskins school in Harlem and from there he would go on to train at New York's High School for the Performing Arts.  After graduation in 1958 he received a scholarship to Julliard.

Dudley performed with many illustrious dance companies including those of May McDonnell, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, and Marthat Graham.  Then in 1964 he joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater where he would showcase his talent with spectacular solo dances and dynamic performances with the troupe.

To see the wonderful tribute the New York Times did for this dancer, please go here.

And to see one of his terrrific performance, please see the video below.  Rest in peace and rest in power Dudley Williams.  The world will miss your talent.

The Prancing Elites Promote HIV Testing

I am really enjoying this first season of The Prancing Elites Project.  I'm not aware of how they are doing as far as ratings go, but I really hope people are tuning in and getting to know this fantastic group of young men that "just want to dance."

The dance troupe is made up of Kentrell (the captain), Adrian, Jerel, Kareem, and Timothy; and I must say I am loving them and I am loving the show. Maybe I'm biased because I am a native of Alabama and the Prancing Elites live in the bay city Mobile.  Maybe I'm biased because I used to do Jay-sette routines when I first came out and would go to the clubs or would go to house parties.  Or maybe it's just a great show with a fun and adorable cast  that are fun to watch week after week.

Several weeks ago Kareem got sick and was unable to perform with the elites; and he would not open up about what was happening.  He just simply stated, "I'm going through some personal stuff." As the show continued his health only got worse.  Then last week he finally revealed to the guys that he tested positive to HIV.  Upon his revelation, he was embraced with love and support.  After the tears, the elites shared that they loved him no matter what and that they would always be available to help him get through whatever he was going through. 

On tonight's episode of The Prancing Elites Project, the group decided to hold an event to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS.  They partnered with an AIDS Service Organization in Alabama and jointly sponsored the "Dancerama, No More Drama, Get TESTED, Tell Your Mama!" HIV Awareness event. I could tell from angles of the cameras that there were not many people in attendance of the event.  But as a person that has been hosting community events for years, I know that you're not always going to get the number of people you want.  And knowing the homophobia and AIDS probia that exists in Alabama, I can imagine that not many people wanted to attend knowing there was a great chance they would be broadcast on national television.

The truth is, if there event encouraged just one person to get tested and know their status then the event was a success.  I wish continued success to the Prancing Elites and I pray that Kareem gets tied into the services he needs to help him live long and healthy after his cero-conversion.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the elites bring me next week.  

Blackesque: The QueErotic Music Tour

Blackesque, The QueErotic Music Tour is coming to Phoenix tomorrow night (Monday, June 8).  As a Black same-gender loving man, I believe in supporting all creative efforts by other members of my community.  As a resident of Phoenix, we rarely receive visits like this so I feel compelled to break my old man curfew and see the men and women (and trans folk if applicable) that make up this interesting troupe.  

Knowing nothing about the tour, the artists, or the history of Blackesque, I took a stroll through the Facebook invite I received. I found a burlesque performance that looked simultaneously exciting and frightening.  I found a hip hop artist flowing on par with the best rappers in the game.  And I found a girl and her guitar, fantastically strumming away on the strings and singing with a soulful and phenomenal voice.  These were just clips (running anywhere from 15 through 30 seconds), but I imagine they only want to give a snippet of what they offer in an effort to entice you to come and see the full performance in person.

Well, it worked.  I will be there.  And hopefully the queer community of Phoenix will show up and support.  I specifically want to encourage LGBT people of color to come out and support these artists because it's so important that we promote and support our own.

Blackesque: The QueErotic Music Tour will happen tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at The Gallery, located at 1229 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007.  You can learn more about the event by visiting their Facebook page here:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pop Artists Videos featuring Gay Couples

I am so in love with Jennifer Hudson's new video.  "I Still Love You" tells the story of a young gay couple getting ready for their wedding day.  The video opens with one partner calling his father and leaving a voice message, inviting him to the ceremony.  He states before hanging up the phone, "Inspite of everything, I still love you."  Powerful words that set the ground for a powerful video.

However, Jennifer Hudson is not the first mainstream, Top 40 artist to feature a gay couple in her video. As I watched her video, I started to think about other artists (specifically people of color artists) that have embraced the LGBTQ community. This is just a list of my top five favorite moments where gay love has been showcased in the video of pop artists.

5.  Murs is a rap artist, not a pop artist, but he still makes my list.  His video to "Animal Style" pre-dated Macklemore's "Same Love" and Frank Ocean's coming out.  I label him as one of the first within this genre  to help start the shift away from homophobia and transphobia towards one of inclusion.  More strides need to be made, but we have many great allies which include the likes of Jay Z, Russell Simmons, P. Diddy, and Will Smith.  Get into "Animal Style" below:

4.  Ricky Martin is getting hotter as he gets older.  Coming out has definitely agreed with him.  He continues to release great music.  His new stuff is very different from the "Shake Your Bon Bon" and "Living La Vida Loca" dance and sweat kind of songs.  This has more soul.  This tells a story.  This is more meaningful.  The song "Disparo al Corozon (Shot to the Heart) is from his latest, all Spanish album A Quien Quiera Escuchar.  The video features a newly married gay couple.

3.  Ashanti has evolved tremendously since she stepped on the scene.  In her latest project, Braveheart, I can hear how she has grown.  And in the video to "Never Should Have," I appreciate how the love of a gay couple is just one of several couples featured.  Seemingly showing that same gender love is no different from any other form of love.

2.  This is the video that inspired this list.  The song is just fabulous.  Poignant, catchy, dance-able. Jennifer Hudson has resonated with gay folks since her days on American Idol.  We really embraced her when she took on the role of Effie White in Dream Girls.  We loved her even more as Carrie's assistance in the Sex In the City movie.  Her vulnerability in dealing with the tragic loss of her family, her courage in publicly tackling her issues with weight, and let's not forget the fantastic voice have launched into the status of icon. And for releasing this wonderful video, Jennifer Hudson, I still love you.

 1.  As much as I love Ms. Hudson, I love the following song just a little bit more. Marsha Ambrosius' "Far Away" features a black gay couple and brings attention to suicide within the LGBT community.  I've been a fan of hers since she came on the scene as one half of the neo-soul duet Floetry.  I continued to support her in her solo endeavor.  This video served as a public service announcement, bringing awareness to homophobia and bullying against, and depression and low self-esteem within gay men.

Honorable mention to diva Toni Braxton.  This performance is from her 1998 Billboard Awards performance.  The video quality is not the greatest but it's the only version available on YouTube.  I remember my mouth hitting the floor watching this performance when it went from ballad to uptempo dance hit.  Featured front and center was a gay couple dancing.  The cameras tried hard to avoid the couple but Toni 's strategic placement (dead center) made this impossible to do.  This was very taboo for this time.

A big kudos to all of these artists.  I sincerely believe efforts like these play a significant part in shaping the public conscience and making the world a more friendly place for lesbians and gay folks. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Queen Latifah Becomes "Bessie" Smith on HBO

On May , HBO will premiere "Bessie" and I'm so excited I could just spit.  It will star Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues and one of the biggest artists to come out of the Harlem Renaissance.  It will also star Mo'Nique as MaRainey, aka "Mother of the Blue."

A little known fact, but the aspect of these individuals that perks my interest, is that Bessie Smith and MaRainey [along with several other blues singers from the Harlem Renaissance] were same gender loving.  As I look at the trailer above I realize that this film will resonate with members of the LGBT African-American community.  

Queen Latifah has never publicly come out, but the black SGL community has always celebrated her as one of our own.  Mo'Nique has always been an ally of the community and an advocate for HIV/AIDS issues.  Plus the film will feature Michael Kenneth Williams whose character Omar, from The Wire, introduced the world to the "homo thug."

If you not yet done so, please put May 16 on your calendar.  With the talent that will be on display in this project, I am sure Bessie will be a movie to remember.  Please check out the trailer below . . .

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Top 10 Greatest TV Moms

In honor of Mother's Day I thought I would take a moment to countdown the 10 greatest TV moms of all time.  I was raised by a phenomenal mother (Ms Linda Green) who had a little bit of all of these in here. Moms are there to nurture us and encourage us and with the love and support we grow up to believe that we can accomplish anything.  So in honor of Mothers Day, and in honor of my mom, here goes . . . 

10. Wanda McCullough from The Bernie Mac Show (played by Kellita Smith).  RIP Bernie Mac.  I can still hear him screaming "Waaaannnda."  Wanda was raising kids that weren't her own, a challenge that many modern moms share.  Although these kids were not biologically hers, she was amazing at being there to encourage and support and discipline when needed.  Kudos to Kellita Smith for making this stepmom so adorable.

9. Mabel Thomas from What's Happening (played by Mabel King).  Mabel Thomas was such a strong mom that when she disciplined Roger, I got scared.  She knew how to give you that look that would make you straighten up and act right without saying a word.  She was the epitome of the strong black single mom and she did is so well.

8. Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son (played by LaWanda Page).  Though technically not a mom, Aunt Esther still needed to go on this list.  When Lamont lost his mom, Esther seemed to step in and play the role of mom-pro-temp.  She was always there to protect Lamont from himself (and sometimes there to protect him from his dad) because he most definitely needed the guidance.

7. Helen Willis from The Jeffersons (played by Roxie Roker).  By the way, did you know this TV mom was also the real life mom of rocker Lenny Kravitz.  I know people may be wondering why Helen Willis and not the star of the show Weezy Jefferson, but Weezy worked my nerves.  It was always Helen that was the smart one, the nurturing one and the fun one.  Weezy was okay but for me, Helen was the best mom on the show.  

6. Harriet Winslow from Family Matters (played by JoMarie Payton).  I simply loved Harriet Winslow and the entire Winslow klan.  I think I loved Harriet because she was amazing in every role she played.  Loving wife, terrific mom, supportive sister and caring daughter-in-law.  In case you weren't paying attention she was the hub of the show and was amazing at it.
 5.Rochelle from Everybody Hates Chris (played by Tichina Arnold).  Of all the moms on this list Rochelle is probably the most similar to my mom (although my mom has characteristics of them all).  Rochelle loved her kids but she made sure she kept her kids in check.  I know the title was Everybody Hates Chris, but rest assured he knew Rochelle loved him by the way she treated him.

4. Mary Jenkins from 227 (played by Marla Gibbs).  Remember the theme song - "There's no place like home, with your family around you, you're never alone.  When you know that you're loved, you don't need to roam, cause there's no place like home."  Mary Jenkins was one of the best moms we ever saw on TV.  She always seemed to have the best advice for Brenda, even when Brenda didn't want to listen.  She loved her husband and she loved her neighborhood (I even think she kinda cared for Sandra Clark).  

3. Vivian Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (played by Janet Hubert).  I'm talking about the origiinal Aunt Viv, not that replacement Aunt Viv that just did not cut the mustard compared to smart and sassy, loving yet stern original that we grew to love.  It may sound odd but it's my reality, sometimes when Aunt Viv was talking with Will, I felt as if she were talking to me.  She made Will feel that in spite of his background, in spite of where he came from, he was just as good as everyone else in Bel Air.  She is the reason that I can talk with governors and senators and CEOs and not be intimidated by them.  She is reason why I can stand in front of a room and speak with confidence and authority.  She was inspiring and awesome.

2. Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show (played by Phylicia Raschad).  Let the record show that I had a extremely difficult task narrowing down the top few slots of this list.  But I knew that Claire would have to be in the top two.  Beautiful, smart, articulate, strong, educated, successful, brilliant.  Claire Huxtable was supermom.  The Huxtable family was adored by all but it was this mom that kept the whole family together.  But as much as I love Claire, I must give the number one spot to . . . 

1. Florida Evans from Good Times (played by Esther Rolle).  DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! if Florida wasn't the greatest mom ever.  Family first and God fearing, Florida somehow always managed to keep her children (and her husband) principle centered.  The Evans family may have struggled paying the rent but you would swear that the family wanted for nothing.  Florida always made sure there was food on the table.  She always made sure that her husband felt like the man of the house.  And every episode I watched, although she never said it, you could feel her implying to her kids, "You is smart, you is kind, and you is important."  For her ability to make everything out of nothing, Florida Evans tops my list of greatest TV moms.

So there you have it.  Hope you like it and I would love your feedback.  Who else should have made the list?  And is there anyone on the list you feel should have been omitted?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'm From Driftwood: Sharing Our Stories

I just discovered this series of videos on the LGBTQNation site. The series is called "I'm From Driftwood." It is just a simple series of normal, everyday lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals telling their stories. Each post lasts only several minutes, but the stories are powerful in their uniqueness. Everyone has a different story to tell and it's wonderful to hear these stories from queer folks from around the country. You can find all of the videos on their YouTube page:

I have to express my thanks to this site for truly showing the diversity of the LGBTQ community. Their are stories from people of color, their are stories from the trans community, their are even stories from our allies. The videos are all very touching and intimate and I invite you to do your self and favor and review them. I've shared a few of my favorites below . . .

In this first video, Angela Gabrielle Lewis is sharing her story. She identifies as trans. When she was a teenager, her mom kicked her out of the house when she read text messages from Angela's boyfriend. Mom was not going to allow that "lifestyle" in her house. However, Angela had a strong will and a determined mind. Although she struggles immediately she would eventually return to school, receive her diploma and get into college. A very inspiring story indeed.

The story below is hit me very hard because I can relate to Eric's story. I have been very fortunate. I have a family that is accepting of me and my partner. When I came out in college I had a support group of friends that were there for me and allowed me walk in my truth and were there to support me if ever there were coming out pains. I am now very comfortable with who I am and I'm out in every aspect of my life. Although I realize how blessed I am, I have too many friends that do not have a similar tale. I have friends that have been kicked out their church. I have friends that no longer talk their family. I have friends that live double lives because they fear that if they revealed their truth similar consequences would befall them.  

And the story below is of Shara Dae. A profound, important moment in her life happened when she was asked the question, "How do you identify?" She was initially taken aback and had to ask for clarity in what the question meant. Shara was being asked if she identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. It was first time she faced the question and in doing so faced herself. That same afternoon she would return to the home of a friend (someone she was hoping to develop an intimate relationship with)and her conversation was overheard by the friend's mom. Shara was then labeled the lesbian threat. Shara received a phone call that the entire neighborhood was at the home of Shara's friend discussing the fact she was a lesbian.  

 Thank you to LGBTQNation and to "I Am Driftwood" for these stories and for all of the terrific videos you have documented and archived.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Yes Lord, please check out this article discussing the Real Preachers of L.A.:

So apparently there are pending lawsuits that could cause these preachers that live such an extravagant and luxurious life to lose their tax exempt status.  Can I just say this - WOW!!!  These preachers decided it would be a good idea to go on TV and floss their millions, showoff their fabulous homes, drive their expensive cars, and wear their designer clothes and they didn't have the foresight to see that the IRS may be paying attention.

And since the IRS (and many others) were paying attention, there may be some consequences to this show.  For years, preachers have been able to use their religious affiliation to claim tax exempt status.  When we see preachers living lifestyles as the ones showcased on Real Preachers of L.A., it causes us to wonder.  Why have we allowed this to go on for so long?  What is the point of giving these allowances when the only benefit it gives the clergy is a faster trek to a the life of rich and famous?  Now I'm wondering if the era of ballin' Baptists may be coming to an end?

What I'm really wondering is, how many poor people are going to come running forth claiming that these men deserve the millions they are making off their flocks.  People who can't afford to pay their rent will give all of their money to the pastor with a smile and then their left wondering how they are going to keep the lights on.

Now don't get it twisted, I know there is value in the church.  I'm a product of the church.  I grew up in Alabama, the heart of the bible belt.  I learned some very valuable lessons in that church that have carried with me well into my adult life.  But I have seen way too many people give beyond their means in an effort to keep their pastor living extravagantly.  And I've always took issue with this.  

Churches have evolved into big businesses and they need to be treated as such.  I am taxed on my income and they should be taxed on theirs.  I'm just saying . . . 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

28 Films All Black Gay Folks Should View

Black History month is an opportunity to appreciate pioneers and trailblazers of the African-American community. Those pioneers do not have to be exclusive to the LGBT community. As we celebrate this month, lets take some time to appreciate films that can be enjoyed by members of both communities. Please take a moment to enjoy this list of 28 films all black gay folks should view. And please let me know what films I omitted or films that should be removed from the list.

2014 Invisible Heroes

So it's finally behind us.  The 2014 Invisible Heroes program is complete and I can breathe again.  The event was such a wonderful evening of positive people, inspiring stories and great LGBT individuals collaborating to celebrate Black History month.  This was the four year anniversary of the program and it was fabulous to hear from those that have attended previously that they think it gets better and better with each passing year.

Once again our hosts for the event were Babe Caylor and Arcelious Stevens.  Beautiful and brilliant, these two remarkable people are the epitome of what this event is all about - out, accomplished LGBT African-Americans that serve as a example that you can embrace both your LGBT identity and your black identity.  Audre Lorde once said "I cannot divide myself from myself."  This is the message were trying to get all black same-gender loving individuals to adopt.

The four individuals we remembered/honored at this years event included Alain Locke, Lorraine Hansberry, George Washington Carver and Bayard Rustin.  Alain Locke was considered the Father of the Harlem Renaissance.  His ushering in of the New Negro Movement (circa 1925) started a era that would showcase notable great gay writers like Langston Hughes, Richard Bruce Nugent and Countee Cullen and phenomenal lesbian jazz legends like Ma Rainey, Gladys Bentley and Alberta Hunter.  Lorraine Hanberry was an author and playwright most remembered for her masterpieces A Raisin in the Sun and Young, Gifted and Black. George Washington Carver is a botanist famous for developing hundreds of uses for the peanut and the yam. Bayard Rustin was a pioneer in the civil rights era that was mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr and the organizer for the 1963 March on Washington.

While it is important to remember those significant figures from the past, we felt it was equally important to recognize those individuals that are still great work for the LGBT community.  This year there were three award recipients.  The Imani "Faith" award recipient was Christina Floyd.  Christina is a member of the Black AIDS Task force and has been instrumental in 1) making sure the black gay voice was being heard in all outreach efforts and 2) getting the message of HIV/AIDS prevention into the Black church.  Lawrence Moore was the recipient of the Umoja "Unity" award.  Lawrence just recently stepped down from his position as Chair of the Board of Directors of Phoenix Pride.  And the Nia "Purpose" Award went to Antonia D'orsay, transgender educator and activist.  She is the current Executive Director of This Is H.O.W., a transgender halfway house.

I did not truly feel the energy of the evening until the conclusion of the event.  It seemed that no one wanted to go home.  There were so many "great jobs" made to the presenters, so many individuals exchanging information and getting to know each other, and just an overwhelming feeling being in the company of some great people.  I can't wait to see what the five year anniversary will bring.  If you'd like to see more pictures, please visit this link:


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My LGBT History Month Soundtrack

Today is October 1 which means we have officially stepped into LGBT History Month.  October has always been one of favorite (and busiest) months.  The Phoenix Rainbow Festival happens this month.  National Coming Out day happens this month.  The AIDS Walk happens this month.  And last but not least - HALLOWEEN.

I figured I would begin the month by generating my own little list of songs to help me celebrate the month. You can call it my personal queer soundtrack, call it songs that give me life, call it whatever you want but it is my top ten list of songs to help me celebrate LGBT History Month.  I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions.

10.  VOGUE.  For many Madonna was their introduction to the ballroom scene.  For a lot of us, Vogue-ing crept into our vernacular when we saw the phenomenal documentary Paris Is Burning.  Nevertheless, Madonna does a wonderful job channeling the energy of Willie Ninja and Pepper Lebeija in this fantastic video.

9. For the past few months this song has been on heavy rotation in my house.  I love Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for flipping the script on Hip Hop and creating this anthem for Marriage Equality.  There was no way this list could be completed with "Same Love."

8.  I remember the first time I heard this song.  When I was growing up when didn't have cable so there was no MTV. If we wanted to see music videos we had to wait for the weekend, stay up late and try and catch Friday Night Videos.  That was the first time I heard this fantastic song (and witnessed the totally campy and fun video).  The Weather Girls earned the number eight spot with their classic "It's Raining Men."

7. Jennifer Hudson was amazing in Dreamgirls, simply amazing.  But I still have to give love to the original Efie White, Ms. Jennifer Holiday.  And you, and you, and you (big ghast), you're gonna love me!!! And I'm telling, us gay folks, we ain't going nowhere.

6.If you didn't know it, this song plays during the closing credits of Sister Act 2.  I remember working concessions for the movie theater on campus when I was in college.  When this song started playing I couldn't help myself.  Child I was in the lobby just dancing like I was in the only gay club.  And I remember leaving that night thinking to myself, well if they didn't know before they most certainly know now.

5.  Yes Gawd Nessa, it's Ms. Patti Labelle.  She has so many great songs but the one I chose for the list is going to be Over The Rainbow.  I love watching her singing, kicking off her shoes, rolling around on the floor and serving hair to the Gods honey.  If birds fly high, why can't I . . .

4. "At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side."  Well guess what, I'm a survivor, I'm not gone give up, I'm not gone stop, I will love harder.  Yes, I love the Survivor anthem by Beyonce and her backup singers, but the song that makes the list is the original anthem of sustaining, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."

3. I'm gonna give you just a little bit of advice, sometime the only way we get through this called life is with a little help from our friends and a lotta help from our family.  And guess what, biological don't always matter.  Sometimes family are those people you accept into your life when the biological has let you down.  That's why the number three song on my list is Sister Sledge's "We Are Family."

2.  I don't how this little nugget escaped me when it was released in the 1970s.  I think it was because America just wasn't ready for it and it did not get the kind of exposure it really should have received.  But Carl Beans (who would later become Archbishop Carl Bean after he found the Unity Fellowship Church) gave us one great song when he gave us this one.  Number two on my list is "I Was Born This Way."

1. Ya'll know I love me some Diana (call her Ms. Ross).  And my number one song for celebrating LGBT History month could be no other than her hit "I'm Coming Out" and for reals, I want the world to know . . .

So that's it, that's my little queer list of songs to help with celebrating LGBT History month.  What songs would you have added?