Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, December 1, 2008

Urban Thought Collective

I'm proud to announce that I am now a contributing writer for the Urban Thought Collective (http://urbanthoughtcollective.com/).

My first post for the site is in honor of today - World AIDS Day. I'm excited about writing for this site because it will allow me to discuss LGBT issues in a place where thus far it has been omitted.

The UTC addresses so many different aspects of the African-American community, from spirituality and politics to advice on relationships and celebrity gossip to cooking recipes. Now I get to add my two cents to the collective.

Though many may try to ignore us, the black LGBT community is still a part of the African-American family. Yes -we are your fathers, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and play cousins. We go to church. We vote. And we hurt when we're ridiculed and dismissed because of who we are and who we love. And yes - it hurts more when it's your own family that does it. So I'm thrilled be able to drop just a little bit of knowledge.

I recognize that I can't speak for the entire black gay community. But I will try my damnest to relay our stories, our trimphs, and our struggles.

Please add the Urban Thought Collective to you favorites and check in every now and then to see what I and the other writers on the site are up to. I'm sure you will enjoy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looks Like We Made It

Well, we didn't get our 40 acres and a mule, but we did get 50 states and a White House. I'm so overcome with emotion (even on the day after) that I just don't know what to do with myself. So much to say that I don't know where to start. So let's just jump into it . . .

First off I want to say, this not a victory just for African-Americans. This isn't even a victory just for Americans. If you watched the tele last night or browsed the Internet, then you no doubt saw the celebrations that were happening in Japan, South African, and Australia. The world was ready for this change that has been promised by Barack.

Secondy, yeah - I said this isn't just a victory for African-Americans but don't get it twisted. We will probably be celebrating just a little bit harder than most others at the historic, monumental event. This means so much to so many different generations of black people. It means that my grandmothers that endured life in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement did not suffer in vain. The opportunities that many bled, cried and died for are finally coming into reality. And I can't begin to explain what this means for my young nieces and nephews. Now when we tell them you can be anything you want to be (even the President of the United States) we have an example to point to.

His speech last night was terrific. But what was most significant for me was his inclusion of the gay and lesbian community. This is unprecidented. Never before has a President included us in a speech of this magnitude. I truly believe that he will work on behalf of our community. I know he said he doesn't believe in gay "marriage" but he does believe we should have all the rights that are available to married couples. I'm okay with separate as long as it's equal.

I know the road ahead is still a very long, uphill one. The problems of the White House that Barack will inherit are tremendous. I don't know if he will solve all of our prolems in four years, but I do believe he will do his damnest to get us on the right path. I also believe he will do his best to develop relationships with other world leaders and restore our standing as a world power.

For the first time in a long time I'm excited about tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2008


To all gay ghouls and goblins - TRICK OR TREAT and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Yeah - Halloween is here. This is by far my favorite holiday. It's all about candy and costumes and having a good time. To everyone reading The J Spot, I hope you have a fabulous night planned. Have fun and play safe.

I'm still debating what I'm going to be tonight. My choices are down to R. Kelly (I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to pull that one off) or Serena Williams (I do look good in a tennis skirt). Any suggestions? And what will you be dressing up as tonight?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No on Prop 102 Rally

If you're available, please come and join the Vote No on Prop 102 Rally tonight. The rally will be held on the SW corner of Central and Camelback. Kickoff time has been announced as 5:30 but we just found out that Mayor Phil Gordon and Councilman Tom Simplot have a 6:00 appointment - so will probably speak exactly at 5:30 if not shortly beforehand. So you may want to arrive just a little early if you'd like to hear them.

Prop 102 is a deplorable piece of legislation that wants to rewrite the Arizona constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. There are several issues with this. One - in the state of Arizona, marriage is already only between a man and a woman. Two - the issue was voted on two years ago and rejected but for some reason the legislators didn't want to listen to the voice of the people. Three - there are so many real issues that we should be focusing on. It is a disgusting that we're wasting time and money revisiting this nonissue.

Being real - I would like to one day see the day where my partner and I have the same rights as any married couple. But this piece of legislature will grant me no additional rights or priviledges. Even if this piece fails then we still won't have the right to marry. So I make plea to all lawmakers - stay out of marriage. We've voted on this before and we gave you our answer. Why won't you listen?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

10 Favorite Black Gay Characters

I’m loving the fact there were getting more and more gay black characters on film and on TV. With several movie projects due to hit the theatres (Ski Trip 2, Noah’s Arc, B-Boy Blues) African-American LGBT visibility is moving in the right direction. Gone are the days where we were the joking flamboyant sideshow or the but of someone’s joke. Black gay and lesbian characters have evolved through the years – the roles have become more significant and the parts have more substance.

So I wanted to take a moment to list my favorite top ten Black Gay Men on Film (my list of women will come later). These personalities are so vastly different – some are masculine and some feminine, some are totally out and some still struggle with their sexuality. There is an array of personalities represented.

Check out the list and give me your feedback.

Ten - Kyle on Get on the Bus. Isaiah Washington did a phenomenal job portraying this complicated, misunderstood brother in Spike Lee’s joint about a busload of men on their way to the Million Man March. He is oddly simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable with his sexuality. He knows who he is (although he may not necessarily want everyone else to know). He is accompanied on the journey to DC with his ex-boyfriend who forces him to really examine his relationships and his priorities.

Nine – Calvin Owens on Greek. ABC Family gets kudos of points for this one. I love Calvin (Paul James) so much he was seriously going to be in the top three. The only reason I had to push him further down on the list was because his role on the show is not as significant as I would like it to be. Calvin is a twisted mix of nuts. He’s out to all of his frat brothers but he’s still uncomfortable being seen in public on a date. When confronted by a Christian friend that wants to de-gay him he is able to debunk him with a smile (and still remain friends). He is a simple guy enjoying college and his fraternity. Plus he’s hot. I love that he doesn’t allow his homosexuality to define him – it’s just a part of who he is. If you've never seen the show please check this YouTube clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ORVSWqa7M&feature=related

Eight – Marcus on the DL Chronicles. There are many great characters on this series (and several not so great characters) but it’s Marcus that connects with me the most. I think it’s the hopeless romantic in me that draws me to this story. Marcus must decide between his love of his partner and his fear of being outed to his family. He and his partner are very cute together and it’s obvious to anyone watching that they’re very much in love. The acting is off the chain. Marcus is torn between the right thing to do and saving face. Now I won’t spoil the movie but I will say this about the ending – DAMN!!!

Seven – Antonio Fargas as Lindy in Car Wash. This movie gets two snaps up just for my favorite line of all time – “I’m more man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get.” Lindy works in an all male environment and has no problem sashaying around the car wash confident in his place in this world. Everyone (almost everyone) respects him for who he is. I must also add, Fargas will probably make my list of favorite actors (that list coming later) for this role and for his role in Next Stop, Greenwich Village.

Six – Taylor (Billy Porter) in Brokenheart’s Club: A Romantic Comedy. Not only is this one of my favorite characters, this is one of my all-time favorite movies. I swear I’ve seen it at least twenty times. Taylor likes to speak of his authority on gay coupling by beginning all of his sentences with, “As a person in a long term relationship . . .” But then his world comes crumbling down when – well, I’m not going to spoil the movie. Just go see it. I think I’m in love with this movie because it shows the power and value of friendships.

Five – Corey (Maurice Jamal) in Ski Trip. Corey is turning thirty and comes to the realization he has nothing positive happening in his life. He doesn’t have a man, he doesn’t have any money, and his attempt at launching his comic book has been tragically unsuccessful. He’s the classic pessimist – very woe is me. So his friends drag him away for the weekend on a ski trip. The drama that unfolds is all over the place. Pleasant. Depressing. Surprising. It’s a real rollercoaster.

Four – Perry in Brother to Brother. I’m in total agreement with j. brotherlove, “This is possibly the most important film I’ve seen in the past 10 years depicting black gay characters.” Anthony Mackie plays young Perry, a college student that works at the front desk of a shelter which includes as a resident Richard Bruce Nugent, a noted writer from of the Harlem Renaissance. The film’s ability to both entertain us and educate us is remarkable. This movie deals with some very real issues – family exile following coming out, gay bashing, questioning/ straight men, aging in the gay community. It’s powerful but not preachy. And it is a must have for all gay persons of color. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808534476/trailer

Three – Holiday Heart. Kudos, kudos, kudos for Holiday Heart. When a friend told me to see a movie with Ving Rhames playing a drag queen I have to admit it raised an eyebrow. I’d just seen Rhames in Baby Boy and could not picture him and all his bulk in a dress. But I give props where they’re due – Ving is brilliant in this role. I think the name of this movie also. Holiday has the biggest heart in the world. Another favorite of mine, Alfre Woodard, also stars in this fantastic film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3CYmdco5-M

Two – Spin City’s Carter Heywood. When I saw the first episode of Spin City I was blown away by this character played by Michael Boatman. I was instantly a fan of the show. Many may question my decision to place him this high on my list (and if you a problem with it – then make your own list). Carter ranks so high with me because I saw so much of myself in him. I’ve always been a politically active person. In Carter I saw a black gay man that reflected my morals, my activism, and my pride. He’s knows the importance of being out and working on behalf of the LGBT community. I was so impressed with Carter that he was almost my number one pick – but you know who that goes to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv1B2O9W8LQ

Drum roll please. Number One – NOAH. Thank you Patrik Ian-Polk for creating this show. On behalf of gay black men everywhere – thank you, thank you, thank you. When I heard that Viacom was working on a network (Logo) strictly for the LGBT community I have to admit I had no interest. I just imagined there would be tons of shows targeting gay white men. Then I heard about Noah’s Arc. I immediately called my cable company and requested this channel. And I never looked back.

I was one of those people watching every week within a room full of others. All of us giddy that there was a show about us and for us. All of us excited and anxious to know what Noah was going to do, say, and wear next. Though disappointed that we were given only two season, I’m still proud of Patrik, Darryl Stephens and the rest of the cast, and the Logo Network for giving us this groundbreaking show that gave the world a glimpse into the lives of black gay men. Were these men a reflection of the diversity within our community – probably not. But I’m still happy with the product they gave us. Now I'm on edge waiting for the movie to hit theaters.
So now I need your feedback. Who would you have on your list that I didn’t include on mine? Is there anyone on my list you would not have included? Holla back and let me know.

Oops - They Did It Again!

The Men of Libra (Kevin, Rod, Corey and Lamar) just served Phoenix with one of the most fabulous weekends we've seen in a mighty long time. This is the fifth consecutive year they have hosted this party weekend which is a culmulative celebration of all their birthdays. Without a doubt the Black Party is the biggest thing that happens for the African-American LGBT community here in the valley.
This was a weekend filled with all kinds of fabulous stuff - club hopping, pool partying, BBQing at the park. Black folks were out and we were looking good. I met people from all over the world (yes there were international travelers that made the pigrimage for this event) and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was no (well very little) shade being thrown.

If you ever considered visiting Phoenix, you may want to schedule your visit to coincide with this. The Men of Libra's Black Party Weekend measures up with most other Black Pride celebrations I've attended - if not surpassing them. I could tell there was a lot of work put into this weekend and everyone in attendance benefitted from it.

Thank you Kevin. Thank you Corey. Thank you Rod. And thank you Lamar. Happy birthday to all of you. Kudos for a fabulous, well planned and well executed weekend. I loved every minute of it.

Here are some pics from our evening in the park.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Fresh Princess?

The things I learn from the kids at Queerty. According to ianundercover.com - Will Smith has been hiring male prostitutes from a discreet madame for years. The madame (who according to the site relocated from L.A. to Manhattan this year) says that Smith has been a client of hers for quite some time. This discreet madame, who is never revealed in the article, says that when she first met Will he was very concerned about discretion. When he was finally convinced that everything would be done in the strictest of confidence, he became a client. His request - a man.

Okay, so I have several issues with this. My first concern is that this so called discreet madame that doesn't reveal herself has now disclosed Will Smith as a client. I just find that so hard to believe. If Will Smith were a discreet client of mine - you'd bet your britches I'd be taking that tidbit to the grave.

My second problem with this article is that Will Smith is apparently sleeping with a man and that man ain't me. He promised me that I was the only one he loved.

But seriously - I'll be the first person in the world to say that I think Will plays for our team. But I don't believe there is a bit of truth in this. You mean to tell me that there is a madame that has Will Smith as a client and she chooses to tell the media about it (I don't think so). Unless there were threats of jailtime who in their right mind would get rid of that cashcow.

My final problem with this article is the continuing need for some to force people out of the closet. Let's be real - coming out of the closet is not a simple thing. Sometimes people have to weigh the stakes. And for Will and Jada there is a lot to lose. I'll be the first to admit that we're in dire need of a high profile African-American celebrity to come out as gay or lesbian. There are some great potentials on the horizon (in addition to Will and Jada). Queen Latifah and Diddy are just some names that come to mind.

The backlash that accompanies coming out can be horrific. Will and Jada both have stellar careers. Could Will still demand tweny million a movie if he admitted he were homosexual? Would people still fill up the theaters for his opening weekends if they knew he were gay? So if those are the consequences - what is his motivation for coming out?

Keeping it real - I don't hate the player. I hate the game. I live my life very openly. I'm out to my family and friends and I'm out on the job. And fortunately I haven't lost anything in the process. But I can't say that this is true for everyone I know. I do know people that lost there jobs after coming out. I do know people that have been exiled from family after coming out. I commend the celebrities that have come out and sustained successful careers (Elton, Ellen, Rosie). But can a black celebrity do the same? No one wants to be the first and I'm not going to demand that sacrifice of Will Smith. I wish it were a perfect world we lived in - but it isn't.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Black Party is Here

I'm so excited. Another event for the African-American LGBTG community here in Arizona (we don't get many). The Men of Libra are once again having their annual celebration. This is the weekend of the AZ Black Party. This party which is actually a culmination of the birthdays of all four individuals will go through the entire weekend. It kicks off tonight with a meet and greet at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn on Osborn. Following the kick off party, the group will then leave the hotel and launch a tour of the town, stopping at several clubs throughout the night.

On Saturday there will be a pool party and the official Black Party. And Sunday will be a barbecue in the park. Since the first party by the Men of Libra 5 years ago, I've only missed one year (and that was not by choice, I was just out of town when it happened). But I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend. There is sure to be lots of fun and lots of new faces.

Please visit the official website for all the upcoming events and all the details . . . http://www.theblackpartyaz.com/index.html Hopefully I'll see you there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Hooray! Today is National Coming Out Day. For me it doesn't really mean much - I live my life very open. I'm out to family, friends, co-workers, pretty much everyone. If you know me - then you know I'm homosexual. About two weeks ago I got a new neighbor and I had to come out to him (I just couldn't fake the conversation about the big booty on the girl that lives between us).

But there is a reason for this day. Everyone is not at my level of comfort with their homosexuality. There are many in the LGBT community that disclose discreetly. Only some family members know or only one person on the job knows (or so they think). Let me be the first to tell you - if one person on the job knows, they probably all know. People can't seem to keep their mouth closed about this kind of thing.

I have three separate coming out stories that were significant to me. Telling my mom, telling my twin brother, and telling my best friend. Let me first mention, I didn't come out to myself until I was eighteen. It was during my freshman year at college (with the support of some really close friends) that I finally was able to admit to myself I was sexually attracted to men.

The conversation with my mom was probably the most difficult. This was the most difficult because the consequences were most severe. Rejection from my mom would have devastated me. I was very fortunate. I still remember my mom's words, "If you're happy then I'm happy for you." I have to tell you (at least this is how it was for me), once Mama knows, the rest of the world doesn't matter.

Telling my twin brother was simple (but intersting). Crazy thing about twins, they do know you very well. We were the only two at home one day and we were watching the talk show Jenny Jones. Just before a commercial break they made the annoucement, "If you have a twin brother that you'd like to tell that you're gay or that you're a drag queen, call us and you can be a guest on our show." That's when my brother looked at me and said, "I think you need to get that number." Sounded like he was ready to hear it to me. So I confirmed his suspicions.

Telling my best friend was also interesting. Victor and I had been very close friends since elementary school. We were almost inseparable during high school. I was probably closer to him than I was to my twin. However we ended up going to different schools for college. So one weekend I get a visit from him. During this visit he starts to tell me about how much he had been partying in Atlanta. Now he didn't know that I'd discovered the punk clubs in Hot-lanta too. I pretended to be naive and asked what spots he'd been going to. He basically came out to me without knowing it (or maybe that was his way of coming out to me). Whatever the case, I soon admitted I'd been to all the same spots and came out to him also.

It's the early coming out moments that are difficult. Once you have a few under your belt it gets easier and easier. Hopefully you use (or used) this day to come out or helped someone come out.

For me, I love hearing coming out stories. If you have any interesting coming out stories please share them in the comments section. If know any coming out stories that went terribly wrong or that went surprisingly well, please share them.

Looking forward to hearing from you and Happy Coming Out Day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rainbow Festival

So today Chris and I attended the annual Rainbow Fest and I must admit that I enjoyed myself. I ran into some friends that I haven't seen in ages (some of them it seems like I only see them at the Rainbow Fest or Pride). It was the same old booths and the same entertainers - but I have to say I loved every minute of it.

The countless over-priced booths all looked as though a rainbow had just exploded over Heritage Park and sprayed spectrum colored paint everywhere. You could buy rainbow bracelets, necklaces, rings, socks, bikini briefs - if you could adorn it, you could buy it. And I loved it. Of course I had to purchase another pair of unneeded but fashionable pair of sunglasses (they were too cute to pass up - damn the economic crisis, they made me look fierce).

There were many faith based organizations (I remember when we used to call them churches) represented at various booths. It's great to see this new trend - people starting to realize that you can be gay and spiritual. Unfortunately these groups are in the minority. I did have the pleasure of running into one of my favorite members of the clergy, Rev. Charlotte Strayhorne of Casa de Christo Evangelical Church. Her feature in each issue of Echo magazine if my favorite reason for reading the mag.

The entertainment stage was great. My friend RJ Shannon kicked off the entertainment on the main stage. She is a great pianist and vocalist and I love hearing her sing. The DJ was terrific - I was able to shake a tail feather. And the drag kings and queens were all just fabulous. But what was most fun was just seeing the parade of people walking around laughing and talking and just having fun. The community was out and the community was happy. It was seeing the fellowship and the socializing that just did my heart good. I met a few new people and connected with some old ones.

To the organizers of the Rainbow Fest- great job and keep up the terrific work. The community not only appreciates it, the community needs it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Craig and Patrick

Last Wednesday, I attended the wedding ceremony of two friends, Craig and Patrick. Although they currently live in Houston, TX - Arizona is home for both of them. They held their ceremony here so that friends and family could attend. Then they proceeded to Santa Barbara where they could legally exchange vows.

The two of them reminded me so much of me and my partner. They've been together fifteen years. Chris and I have been together for twelve years. They're an inter-racial couple. Chris and I are an inter-racial couple. As Craig was reading his vows he expressed how he's been with Patrick for almost half of his life. The same is true for Chris and I.

So fifteen years later, the two of them finally have the opportunity to legally exchange vows and be recognized as a committed couple before the state of California. They were so excited to finally have this opportunity and I was excited to be apart of it.

Unfortunately that recognition they will receive in California will not be shared here in Arizona or in Texas. This drive by many to protect the sanctity of marriage has forced many states to pass constitutional amendments outlawing partnerships between same gender persons. I was very pleased when Arizona became the first state in the U.S. to defeat such a measure. But here we go again - it will be on the ballots again this November.

What is so disturbing is that passage of this amendment does absolutely nothing. Same-sex couples already can't get married here. Proposition 102 will amend the Arizona constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. But gay and lesbian couples already can NOT marry here. It's like they're trying to pass this amendment out of spite. It just seems to me this is being done to force us back into the closet and to again live lives that are invisible.

There are also similar bills happening in California and Florida. If the bill is passed in California it will repeal the LGBT marriage rights the state approved earlier this year. This means that Craig and Patrick's ceremony would have been in vain.

Let's talk about this sanctity of marriage that will be destroyed if same-sex relationships are recognized (and remember Prop 102 will not recognize same-sex couples). Craig and Patrick have been together longer than anyone else I know their age. I don't know of any heterosexual couple in their 30s that have that much tenure in their relationship. And I know lots of straight couples. We're denied the right to marry but trainwrecks like Britney Spears can marry for less than 24 hours and then annul the partnership. We're the ones that will destroy marriage but Elizabeth Taylor can marry so many times that we lose count. Please - LGBT ceremonies can only help restore the institution of marriage that has been destroyed by years of divorces, annulments, extra-marital relations and domestic violence that has run rampant among hetersexual couples. I'm not saying we won't experience these same nuances, I'm just saying - the thing called marriage ain't as sacred as people make it out to be.

Congratulations to the happy couple. Craig and Patrick, you two are an inspiration for all couples (gay and straight). People just don't seem to stay together long nowadays and I'm happy that you two have stood the test of time.
I need everyone to vote no on Prop 102 on the big election day. And FYI - this is the final weekend to register to vote if you have not done so yet. I'm going to close with a quote from Wanda Sykes, "If you're opposed to same sex marriage, then DON'T MARRY SOMEONE OF THE SAME SEX." It's just that simple.

LGBT History Month

For those that don't know - October is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History Month. This is the month where we have the opportunity to spotlight and hi-lite events that are significant in the history of our community and individuals that went (and are going) above in beyong in helping us achieve our equality. Being an African-American gay man, it's important to me that we recognize those LGBT people of color that contributed to the betterment of our community and the world at large.

The individuals in this slide show are just some of the invisible heroes I hold up as role models. All of them were accomplished in their fields. All were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Not all were open (but you must ask the question - would they have been successful if they were open). If the slide show has ended, just click on the X in the top right corner to replay.

Individuals like Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Langston Hughes and Octavia Butler should have a special place in the hearts of all LGBT people of color. Their successes were exceptional and we should hold them up as role models. Unfortunately their names are not commonplace and their stories continue to be told in part (if at all). The fact that one of the greatest organizers in the African-American Civil Rights Movement was a same-gender loving man is a story we should celebrate. The fact that the first science fiction writer to win the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant was a African-American lesbian is profound. These stories enrich our community.

I have a challenge for everyone this month. Find someone that you can hold up as a role model and learn their story. With the help of the Internet this homework assignment should very easy to do. Find an individual, learn his/ her story, and if you would - share that story with someone. You'd be surprised how little we know about our historical figures. You'd be surprised how often I hear, "What - you mean James Baldwin was gay?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Losing My Family - Losing My Mind

Hey guys - I know I've been missing in action for awhile but I've been going through a bit much. A few weeks ago I got the phone call from my mom in Alabama. My grandmother (her mother) had passed away. My grandmother was an amazing woman. Ulee Welch raised sixteen children on her own. Yeah - that is a one followed by the number six. Sixteen kids. I've always been amazed by that fact. People nowadays struggle with one or two kids. I have a contest I play with myself some days - it's how many aunts and uncles can you name. It's a struggle listing all of my mom's siblings (I don't even try to keep track of all my cousins).

Several years back my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Her battle with dementia was not too bad in the beginnnig, but if you know how the disease works, it progressively got worse. The decision was eventually made to place her in a nursing home. I know this is true of most diseases, but Alzheimer's is a disease that effects everyone in the family. I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate that I didn't see her in her later days. My mom would share stories with me about how she often didn't recognized any of her own kids. It has to be hard on you when you visit your own mom and she has no idea who she's talking to. I think I'm happy I didn't see her like that.

I didn't have time to grieve from the funeral when more bad news came my way. My best friend Myoshi (I call her my sister) called me the day after we buried my grandmother. She'd come home and found her husband dead. This hit me hard. Her husband was a good man and a great friend. He was always smiling and joking. If you were in a bad mood Gary was the person you needed to see. He always had me laughing. He was only 44.

The loss of my grandmother leaves me a bit perplexed. I'm saddened at the loss but I'm happy that she is no longer suffering. She lived a long and happy life. The loss of Gary is one of those things that makes me question God. He was young. He and Myoshi have a two year old son. It just seems to me like his purpose here was so unfinished.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama Mama

I saw this video over at Queerty.com and just laughed my ass off.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shirts and Skins

On September 15, Logo will premiere the anxiously awaited series Shirts and Skins. The show follows the lives of the San Francisco Rockdogs - winners of the gold at the international gay games in basketball. The team has been re-united in an effort to defend their title in national tournament wins. The team disbanded following the gay games for various reasons that included animosity among team members and desires to pursue personal lives. But now they're together again.

The show has so much going for it. I'm not a fan of reality TV but I am a fan of documentary TV. I love the fact that logo is capturing their story on film and recording this history. Also I'm happy that were looking at a part of the LGBT community that we don't address often - our athletes. This is quite fitting on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. But the greatest factor thats going to yield to the success of this show is the Hotness factor. All the guys on this show are hot. Now that alone can't sell a show but it certainly doesn't hurt.
I will tuned in when the show airs and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the skin presented in Shirts and Skins.

Time For A Change

Loved this video and just wanted to share it with you.

Jim Morris - You Inspire Me

Jim Morris, the first out gay man to win Mr. America back in 1973 (I was one year old) is profied this month in the Advocate. The cover story for the magazine is titled The Naked Truth and it allows various people to share what they love and hate about their bodies. Morris is one of the twenty-two people that participated.

At 73 years old Morris is still in amazing shape - just check out his picture. He'd stand his own against body builders fifty years his junior. When he won the title 35 years ago it was by the largest point margin in the history of the contest (his recoard of 30 points over his competition still stands as the greatest win). He is currently a personal trainer at L.A.'s Marina del Rey gym.

We should all look to Morris as inspiration. Being an out and proud gay black man in the early seventies is definitely a sign of his courage. Winning Mr. America in such an amazing way is a sign of his discipline and hard work. And maintaining that Body (see I said body with a capital B because - damn!) is a sign of endurance and a lifetime of personal care and commitment.

Kudos to the Advocate for re-introducing us to Jim Morris. And thank you to Mr. Morris for living a life of excellence. You are a legacy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead the Way

I'm speechless. I just don't have the words. I know that kids learn by what they see. I also believe that its possible for kids to do things that we would perceive as sexual but actually they're just mimicking behavior. They may not connect sex or sexuality to the act at all. So I don't hate on kids that I see doing booty dances or dropping it like its hot. They're learning it from every movie they see, in every video they see, and probably from friends and family at home.

But come on. Where are we headed? These kids are doing THE MOST. I didn't feel comfortable watching this video but I couldn't look away. My mouth hung open the whole time I watched this - not sure if it was shock or awe. But you tell me - is this innocence or is this inappropriate?


Michael Jackson turns 50 today (I actually thought he was older). So I wanted to wish a happy birthday to the King of Pop. Although his name is now associated with pedophilia, bizarre costumes and disguises, and rumors of bankruptcy - I still remember the man for all of the terrific music he has given us over the years. I can't dismiss the weirdness that surrounds him as if it doesn't exist (it's real). But I won't let the bizarre behaviour overshadow the talent that was there and hopefully is still there.

I love Michael Jackson's music. From his days with the Jackson 5 to his last studio effort Invincible - I have not been disappointed with anything Michael has done. There are many that say they're unhappy with his later years creative efforts. I have to wonder if they're giving the music a chance or if they're letting the media's image of Michael dictate their perception.

Like me, my partner Chris also has a love of the gloved one. So for his birthday two weeks ago my gift to him was Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection. It is 4 discs of music, one concert dvd, and a photo booklet and it is the perfect gift for a Michael fan. I'm not ashamed to say there's been some moonwalking happening at our place. Michael has been in heavy rotation since the birthday.

I'm still optimistic and think that Michael can release another album that will garnish commerical success. But I'm also realistic and know that those sales will probably not happen in the U.S. We have turned our backs on Michael. Fortunately he is still loved and adored in many places across the pond.

So to Michael - Happy 50. I hope your day is fun and fabulous.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tavis Smiley - America I Am Tour

Tavis Smiley has announced the tour of "America I Am" The African American Imprint. The tour will be making a stop in Phoenix on September 16. What I love the most - this is FREE. The tour will celebrate 400 years of African-American contributions to the nation through artifacts, documents, multimedia, photos and music. It is described as "a multi-sensory experience" and a "unique visitor interactive opportunity."

Tavis launched the mobile tour at the Essence music festival on the July 4 weekend in New Orleans. The African-American imprint will feature more than 150 extraordinary artifacts that will present a historical continuum of pivotal moments in courage, conviction and creativity. The Phoenix stop will happen at the African-American Multicultural Museum at 10815 North 84th Street in Scottsdale from 12:00 - 6:00 PM.

Okay - so how many other people are surprised to learn that there is a African-American Multicultural Museum in Scottsdale? Well it blew me away too. I may have to make a journey over there prior to the arrival of Tavis' tour. Hopefully I'll see you there on September 16 to welcome Tavis and to partake in this historic experience.

Today I Cried

I was just reading the latest n touch magazine. and discovered we've just lost another amazing community leader. I met Leigh Anne Rogers earlier this year at the Soul Purpose Arizona In The Life Celebration. I attended a financial planning workshop and she was the facilitator. She was poised and elegant. She knew her stuff (and made sure we knew our stuff before we left her workshop). She had a dynamic spirit and was just an overall fabulous person.

I love the fact that she is a Harvard graduate. My partner is a product of New England (he's from New Hampshire) and the two of them bonded over their love of Boston, snow, and all things East Coast. She was just a pleasant and fun person. I regret that I won't have the opportunity to develop this relationship.

My condolences go out to her parner and her family. We have lost a tremendous resource and she will be missed.

I've Seen The Promised Land

In case you haven't heard, today (August 28) marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. Today is also history making in that we will for the first time in American history have a black man accept the nomination for Presidency for a major political party. Tonight Barack Obama will deliver his speech officially accepting the nomination. This is one for the history books. So because of the significance of today I thought it would be a terrific time to discuss Martin and Coretta Scott King and their influence on African-American civil rights; Bayard Rustin and his influence on the lgbt fight for equality; and Barack and Michelle Obama and their achievement of the dream (and their promise to continue to fight for equality for all).

Dr. King knowingly sacrificed his life in the fight for equality. I think he knew his days were numbered when he delivered these famous words, "I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land." A history of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow would come to an end thanks to Martin and the many civil rights leaders that sacrificed their lives.

So I get angry today when I continue to see young black men and women that drop out of school showing no interest in obtaining the education that people have bleed, cried, and died for. I get angry when people say they don't vote when our ancestors prayed to one day have a say in the process that would legislate the laws that shaped their lives. I get angry when I learn that people don't know about the imporance of Brown vs. the Board of Education, have no idea who Chief Justice Earl Warren is, and don't know what President Lyndon Johnson did for the Civil Right's movment.

In his famous speech Dr. King cried out "let freedom ring . . . if America is to be a great nation this must become true." And 45 years later we've almost made it to the promised land. A black man is the Democratic party's nominee for President of these United States of America. Barack Obama who speaks with the elogance and enthusiasm of King himself will speak tonight symbolizing a dream personified. And I'm not ashamed to say that today I've cried several times listening to Dr. Kings speech and reflecting on images and words of Barack. And though were still on that quest for equality for all, the road we've traveled has brought us very far.

Many people are unaware of the fact that this historic speech may not have happened if not for Bayard Rustin. Openly gay Rustin was an advisor to Dr. King and was the organizer of the March on Washington that led to Dr. King's famous oratory on the lawn of the nation's capital. He was the person that taught Martin the principles of non-violent demonstations. Unfortunately his name is rarely mentioned in Civil Rights discussions or conversations about Dr. King. But Bayard too should be recognized today. His role in our history can not be minimalized and I refuse to allow us to keep this hero invisible. Bayard's contributions to the Civil Right's movement are extremely significant and I think it's imporant to say the I Have a Dream Speech probably would not have happened without him.

There are many that compare the current lgbt struggle for equality with the civil rights struggle. There are also many that say this comparison is not valid. Well Coretta Scott King (Dr. King's widow) made it clear in this statement "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. ... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Coretta was a champion for all human rights and she demanded that gays and lesbians be granted the same rights as everyone else (including the right to marry).

We've had many emotional moments at the Democratic National Convention this week. But the thing I'm loving the most is Michelle Obama's and Clintons' inclusion of the LGBT community in everything. In Michelle's phenomenal speech she talked of her husband's plan to end Don't Ask Don't Tell and implementing an ENDA (Employment Non-Discriminaton Act) that would protect all of our rights. Bill Clinton spoke of an administration that would address the issue of HIV/ AIDS "here at home." I've had several moments this week where I've thrown things at the TV in excitement of something I heard.

Please take some time to appreciate the significance of this day and this week. Dr. King said he wouldn't make it to the promised land with us. We lost Coretta Scott King several years ago and with her death we also lost an ally and a hero in the struggle. We lost Bayard in 1987 and and that too was the loss of a leader, an ambassador, and a champion. But today we have Barack. And tonight we'll witness history.

Black and Gay and Speaking Out

Please check out this remarkable video by a young, black gay brother - Xem Van Adams. I think he is on point with everything he says. He makes me proud - and seeing him makes me realize that there is a new generation of LGBT African-Americans that have a voice, that have talent, and that will continue to contribute to our community.

I sometimes have concerns about our young brothers and sisters. I wonder who will be the leaders of tomorrow - who will live up to the legacies of Bayard Rustin, Barbara Jordan, or Langston Hughes. Will we have individuals that step up to the plate and shine as examples of pride, excellence and honor? Or are the kids just in it for themselves and don't care about activisim or community involvement?

This video makes me think that we may be okay. Kudos to Xem for speaking out in this video.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Janet Jackson Tour

Janet's "Rock Witchu" tour is getting ready to launch and I'm sad to announce that my home (Phoenix) will not be a stop on the tour. I was facilitating a seminar last weekend and during one of the breaks the conversation turned to Janet - not unusual for a group of gay men. It was one of the attendees that shared that Janet would NOT be coming here in her travels. I have to say I was a bit verklempt. I had to drink a glass of water and take several deep breaths before I could call our session back to order.

I refused to accept this as truth so I went online as soon as I got home Saturday evening. To my dismay I learned that he was correct. Now I don't know what to do with my life. Days seem to have no meaning. I haven't had an appetite since Sunday. I've never missed a concert by Ms. Jackson (I say Ms. Jackson cause I'm nasty) so I don't know how to describe my current emotional state.

There are some divas I'm required to love as a gay man (Cher, Bette, Madonna). But my love for Janet comes naturally. My love for Janet preceeds my coming out. Janet's music has helped me through some hard times. Janet's music has gotten me through many a workout. There have been many nights where it's just been me and the Velvet Rope and it was wonderful. And now I'm perplexed - the tour has yet to start and I think I'm having Janet withdrawal symptoms.

If there's a cure for this - I don't want it (I don't want it). There has to be other people out there that are going through the same thing (or have been through the same thing). If so, please share your stories. I've been thinking of starting a local support group. Would you attend?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Soul Force Marches for Equality

Probably my favorite blog to learn what's happening within the African-American LGBT community is Living Out Loud with Darian. It was through him and his site that I learned about Soulforce. Soulforce is an organization dedicated to achieving equality for the LGBT community through their principles of truth, love, nonviolence and voluntary redemptive suffering.

Darian and the Soulforce team came to Phoenix last week to march for marriage equality. Marching during an Arizona summer would definitely put their redemptive suffering to the test. Their plan was to march for 96 miles. The march would 6 days and would take them to all city halls in the Greater Phoenix area.

I joined Soulforce for the final mile of the march which took them from Phoenix City Hall to the state capital. It was a very surreal and powerful event. As we locked hands and crossed the lawn in our ascension to the capital I had a wave of emotions swing through me. This is a struggle for our civil rights and toward the conclusion of the march I felt as if I'd traveled back to the 60s, a time of protest, revolution and civil disobedience.

I want to say thank you to everyone from Soulforce that came here to march for equality for Arizona and for the entire LGBT community. The passion radiates from all members of the team and we owe them a great deal of thanks for having the courage to continue the fight for equality.
To learn more about Soulforce please visit their website at http://www.soulforce.org/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

AZ African American Man2Man This Weekend

This weekend, black gay men in Phoenix that have been complaining that there's nothing to do will have something to do. Soul Purpose AZ, the Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS and AZ Man2Man are joining forces have put together an African-American Man2Man weekend. This retreat of learning and fun has historically been able to simultaneously get people connected while addressing issues affecting the community.

It is a weekend where people are able talk about physical health, discuss our experiences in the church, and address issues like homophobia and depression - things we all go through but rarely get the opportunity to converse about. But its also about fun - there is terrific food provided the entire weekend, the experience is very multi-media so you'll see lots of exciting stuff, and you'll meet a lot of fun new people. And the best thing - this is FREE! FREE! FREE!

If you have not been able to go through one of the Man2Man weekends, then please come out and join us this weekend. You can register online at azman2man.org. If you'd like to ask me some questions about the weekend, feel free to do so. Hope to see you there.

Noah's Arc in Theaters

Thanx to thebrotherlove.com for the heads up. The news is finally here. Noah's Arc will be in the theaters on October 24 - earlier than previously announced. I'm so excited I could just spit. What's crazy is my friends and I were just talking about this last night.

Patrik Ian-Polk annouced over a month ago that the movie had been completed and he stated that we should expect to see it out in September. Then there was the short clip from the movie that has been posted at logoonline.com for a couple of weeks.

Well, fans of Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance (and you can't forget Wade) have anxiously been waiting for the date. And finally here it is. Child, the kids are going in right now. I'm going shopping for an outfit tomorrow to get ready - LOL. But all jokes aside, ya'll know we have to go out and support this feature. I'm gonna make a commitment to see it at least three times the opening weekend, cause if we don't support our own then who will.

Hopefully I'll see you out and about when the moment arrives. Go in bitch - let have!

Transgendered Top Model

You go Tyra. On the next season of America's Next Top Model, we will meet Isis. The first transgendered person to be cast on the show. Isis comes from Prince George's County, Maryland. She identifies herself as a woman phycially born male.

I have to say it, "Girl, I love me so Tyra Banks." She is defintely an ally to the community. I remember years ago, long before the trans community starting getting the attention it's currently getting, Tyra played a male-to-female trans individual in the CW series All Of Us.

Every season of Top Model Tyra does more and more to showcase the talent of gays and lesbians. She has two fellow judges (The Jays) that are out gay people of color. And she is not afraid to address homophobia on her award winning program The Tyra Banks Show.

And now look at her, she's gone and invited a trans individual to be a contestant on her 11th season of the show. Ms. Banks - girl you are doing it and I ain't mad at cha. Get your coins girl and keep doing what you doing. You making Mama proud.

Good luck to Isis on the new season. This should be very interesting. I know that there will a lot of interest in this season because of her. I just pray that viewers of the show and contestants in the house don't make this about what is (or used to be) between her legs. Judge her on what's important - her ability to work the runway in a pair of high heels. And Isis - you betta work bitch!

Gay Marriage and the Black Vote

An interesting article in the Las Angeles times today by Timothy Stewart-Winter took a look at the upcoming election and discussed the issue of same sex marriage (which will be on the ballot) in California and the black vote. It is expected that African-Americans will turn out in record numbers for the elections because of Barack Obama. It has been assumed that because African-Americans tend to be a bit conservative and have been accused of being a tad more homophobic, this could be bad news for the marriage amendment.

Constitutional amendments to ban same sex marriage were on the ballot in several states in the last presidential election. In many states the vote of the black community was very similar to the votes cast by whites. Although some recent polls show that there may be less support of gay marriage in the black community, Timothy suggests that public opinion on this issue is actually very difficult to determine.

Here is where I take my stand and SCREAM something I've been demanding of the black LGBT community for years - visibility. It is extremely important for black gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders to be out and proud. It is very easy for people to deny us the right to marry if they don't know us. I know we all have varying degrees of safety - some people can't come out at work because they would lose their job. Some people can't come out their neighbors for fear of violence. But I will continue to make my plea that we have to be seen and heard.

We can change the world one person at a time. Maybe by coming out to someone you will make them aware that LGBT individuals are no different (okay - maybe a bit more stylish) than anyone else.