Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

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.

Oakland Black LGBT Film Festival

This weekend (August 14-17) Oakland will again be holding its Black LGBT film festival at Parkway Theatre. The festival showcases classic films of interest to the black gay and lesbian community as well as movies by new filmmakers. Some of the films that will be showcased at this festival are Shirts and Skins, the new series for the Logo channel that chronicles the story of members of a gay basketball team, Ski Trip 2, Maurice Jamal's film that tells the rest of the story of four friends after their return from their weekend getaway, and The Sakia Gunn Film Project which tells the story of Gunn, a masculine African-American 15 year old lesbian that was murdered while after a night of socializing with her friends.
The weekend usually kicks off with a movie classic and this year is no different. The opening night movie will be Mahagony starring the legendary Ms. Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams. Tickets for all movies will be $10.oo and will be available half an hour before showtime.

To learn more about the weekend please visit their official site

Isaac Hayes Dead at 65

It's discouraging when you have two consecutive posts announcing the death of pillars in our community. It is with a saddened heart that I must announce that Isaac Hayes was found dead at his Memphis home earlier this week. His family found his body upon returning home on Sunday evening. He was found next to a treadmill that was still running.

The paramedics were immediately summoned but they were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive him. A representative from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department has announced that they suspect no foul play.

I was fortunate enough to meet Isaac several years ago when he came to Phoenix to perform for our annual Martin Luther King festival. I was pleased to learn that in spite of his success he is still a humbled and down to earth person. He is personable and very approachable.

Though his climb to stardom started over two decades ago, he recently again claimed fame as the voice of Chef on the extremely successful South Park. He would eventually leave the show because of differences with the creators.

Rest In Pease Isaac Hayes. My condolenences to the Hayes family.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bernie Mac Dead At 50

I'm saddened to report that the hilariously talented actor/ comedian Bernie Mac died this morning from complications of pneumonia. He was only 50. Bernie Mac's rise to stardom began with a career in stand-up. He would regularly appear on H.B.Os Def Comedy Jam and he gained a much larger audience when he co-starred in the tremendously successful Kings of Comedy.

Bernie Mac was finally recognized for his talent when he was granted his own television show based on his family. He was the last of the Kings to star in a sitcom. The material he received as guardian of his sister's kids has fueled storyline lines for his show and jokes for his stand up act.
He would go on to star in many big screen hits. Those included Mr. 3000, Guess Who, Pride and Transformers. Though he initially would have just small parts in some movies he would eventually land much larger roles and would soon carry a film in it's leading role (Mr. 3000 where his co-star would be the phenomenal Angela Bassett).

I've always found him funny and I'm disheartened to learn that he is gone at such a young age. My condolences to his friends and family in their time of bereavement.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gays and Lesbians Should Not Be Parents

Representative Darryl Rouson of Florida is in the hot seat according to the Miami Herald. Rouson currently holds the seat for District 55 in Florida and is now seeking re-election. Years ago Rouson appeared on Florida This Week making some very homophobic remarks. These remarks were made prior to his taking the office [not sure why this didn't become an issue on his initial run for the office] but now that he is seeking re-election this video has surface. And now he is being made to answer for these remarks.
Nadine Smith of Equality Florida is forwarding the link of the video to all of their supporters. They want the gay community to question Rouson about his position.

I'm just saying, this video was taken years ago and I would like to think that a person has the ability to change. I'm hoping Rouson has shifted his position and learned that this type of thinking is homophobic and is not acceptable by a person in his position. He should indeed have to answer to the LGBT community of Florida. I would like to know if he has learned the err of his ways. Does he realize that gay and lesbian people are just as capable of being parents as anyone else? If he hasn't changed his position then maybe he should not be elected to the office again.

You can see the Florida This Week Video here . . .

And Still No Justice

For the fourth time, the trial against five men accused of the murder of Eudy Simelane has been postponed. Simelane, a soccer player in South Africa, is believe to have been targeted because she was lesbian. I am happy to say that the men remain in custody waiting for their court date to arrive. The trial is now set for September 1. 2008. Judge Betty Lesufi at the Springs Magistrate’s Court stated that the trial has been delayed to give the state the time to the time to compile its case againse the men.

Though I would like to see these men officially sentenced for their crime, I'm happy to hear that 1) the men continue to remain in custody and 2) the state is being allowed the time it needs to prepare its case.

It's unfortunate that the homophobia in some places like Africa and Jamaica escalate to not only violence but killing. But it sounds like the judicial system in South Africa has become a bit more progressive and is doing what should be done for the LGBT community.

Jamaican Lesbian Allowed to Stay

According to the Miami Herald, a lesbian living in Sunrise, FL who was in fear of deportation has been allowed to continue living in the U.S. Immigration Judge Irma Lopez-Defillo will allow her to avoid deportation because of the violent environment that exists in Jamaica for the LGBT community.

The judge stated in his decision, "The general atmosphere in Jamaica is a feeling of no tolerance towards homosexuals in general, and as such, . . . the respondent's life is definitely at risk."

I want to say kudos to Judge Lopez-Defillo for doing the right thing. Gays and lesbians living in Jamaica cannot live their lives authentically. I'm happy this Florida judge recognized the danger that would be awaiting this person should she have been forced to return to Jamaica. Finally something positive happening down in Florida.

Wanda Sykes on Gay Marriage

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Thank you to the Bilerco Project for brining my attention to this clip by Wanda Sykes. I just wanted to share it iwht everyone.