Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phoenix AIDS Walk

So the Phoenix AIDS Walk is behind me and I can proudly say I'm still able to stand.  I honestly didn't know if I would be able to complete the walk considering I just had surgery repairing my broken leg less than two months ago.  My doctor ordered me to take it easy and to avoid stairs and long distances.  Well I didn't tell him about the walk I was planning on doing.

As usual the walk was such an amazing and empowering event.  I ran into so many old friends and familiar faces that it felt like a family reunion.  And it was great knowing that this event would benefit Aunt Rita's Foundation and many other AIDS Service organizations around the valley.  I eventually got over the fact that I had to sacrifice my Sunday morning leisure time in order to be there. 

Many people don't understand the fact that this is still a disease that affects many of us.  My friend Wendy that walked with us just lost her uncle to AIDS related complications about a month ago.  She walked in his honor.

It made me proud to see so many of my friends at this event volunteering and walking for such a phenomenal cause.  I left the walk encouraged that there the battle against HIV/AIDS has not yielded.  We have not surrendeded to this disease and their are many soldiers ready to keep the fight going.

If you would like to see pics from the AIDS Walk, please go here

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Bodyguard Starring Heather Headley

Wow! Who knew! According to Queerty, The Bodyguard will be coming to a stage in London. The West End has transformed the remarkable movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner into a stage production. The theatre should premiere this project next month. As if this news wasn't exciting enough, guess who will be playing the lead as the endangered diva Rachel Marron? None other than the fantastically fabulous Grammy winning, Tony winning Heather Headley.

Heather's rise to stardom on the stage led her to originate the role of Nala in The Lion King and she would go on to star in Aida (the part for which she would her Tony). However for me, it was when she changed gears and went from the stage to the studio that I learned about Ms. Heather. Her first album, This Is Who I Am, showed the world the remarkable R&B voice this woman has. Because of instant classics like He Is, I Wish I Wasn't (In Love With You), and Four Words, Heather Headley immediately became one of my favorite soulful vocalist. And four albums later she still remains on that list.

I'm guessing the itch to return to the stage was always there. Its been said that you should go hard or go home!!! It looks like Heather has decided to go hard with this one. Heather has some big shoes to fill. Unless you've been living under a rock, then you know that the part of Rachel Marron was originally played by Whitney Houston in the film version of the Bodyguard. The movie and the song that broke all the records, I Will Always Love You, have left many thinking that this is a role and a song that should remain untouched. So the big question is, will Heather Headley be able to deliver on the stage production? I'm a huge fan of Headley so I may be a bit biased, but I'm aware of her vocal ability. The girl has some pipes. She will need them to pull off the musical numbers in this production. But as a Tony winner, we know that she has the stage prescence/ acting ability to capture the hearts of those in the audience. I'm betting she will not only delivery, she is going to knock it out of the park with this one.

I'm actually a little jealous of those Londoneers that will be able to witness this production this fall. I'd love to see how this film was translated to the stage and how Heather performs in her return to this element that she loves and does so well. To all involved The Bodyguard, Heather and cast, I say "break a leg!" To see Heather's press conference release of I Have Nothing, please go here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monifah: Thank You for Doing You

Yesterday we saw the kickoff of LGBT History month.  Today, October 2, Faith Evans releases a new studio album entitled R&B Divas which features artist from the reality show she launched of the same name.  The show stars others soulful greats like Keke Wyatt, Syleena Johnson, Nicci Gilbert (leadsinger of the Michael Jackson founded girl group Brownstone), and Monifah Carter.  On the show Monifah came out as a lesbian.

Monifah started making waves with the release of her first album Moods . . . Moments in 1996.  This CD featured her first hit "I Miss You" which featured Heavy D.  However for most lovers of R&B, she became a household name when her signature track "Touch It" made it on the charts. "Touch It," which was featured on her sophomore album Mohogany, was an instant dance classic with its provocative lyrics, urban groove and sensational video which featured beautiful dancing girls and hot men in uniforms.

As a huge fan of R&B music it was a big deal for me to learn about the show R&B divas.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I own every album released by everyone on this show.  These are beautiful women with powerful voices.  However my excitement about the show was elevated even more when Monifah made her revelation about being a lesbian. 

When I see people of color express the fact that they are same gender loving (especially when it's done in this type of context) it does my heart good. Pardon me for paraphrasing but Monifah has now set herself up as a role model for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow isn't enough.  I keep hearing hat we live in a time where color doesn't matter anymore. But I think it is important to recognize the fact that Monifah is a black women working in a genre [R&B] supported primarily by black folks.  And black folks have not always been embracing or affirming of the same-gender loving community.  So kudos to her for walking in her truth and living an authentic life.

In honor of LGBT History month, please go out and support this project.  Pick up a copy of the CD R&B Divas.  Please watch R&B Divas on TV One.  Or pick yourself up a copy of any of Monifah's older projects.  If you are a fan of soulful music you will love the new album.  There are many great songs here but my favorite at the moment has to be Lovin' Me which features all of the girls from the show.  Get into the fan made video below.  

Let me see you put your hands in the air if you love yourself!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is LGBT History Month

Today October 1 marks the beginning of LGBT history month.  This is the month the gay and lesbian community uses to celebrate those individuals and events that contributed to shaping our rich, diverse history.  During the month of October many organizations will honor individuals like Harvey Milk, Frida Kahlo, Bayard Rustin and Andy Warhol.  We will also see contemporary heroes like Barney Frank, Elton John and Wanda Sykes recognized for using their influence to continue to make the world a better place for same-gender loving people.

As we move forward through this month please remember that Halloween isn't the only thing you have to look forward to.  Take as many opportunities as you can to develop new role models.  Learn about those people that have paved (or are paving) the way for you and your friends.
Not that long ago it was illegal for two men to dance together in public; it was a crime for bars whose constituency was gays and lesbians to serve alcohol, and a person could be arrested for wearing clothing that was designed for the opposite gender.  Not that long ago being attracted to a person of the same sex meant that you were labeled with a psychological disorder.  Being gay or lesbian meant you were confined to a life filled with secrets and lies.

Lets look at how far we've come.  Sodomy laws have been deemed unconstitutional.  We can now serve openly in the military.  We now have several states that recognize same sex marriages.  It is not as easy to fire an individual now for choosing to love someone of the same sex.  And now many companies have gone beyond just employment protection and have extended domestic partner benefits for their gay and lesbian workers.  We have pride parades and celebrations in almost every major city.  And media repesentation has transitioned the LGBT community from deranged, isolated sociopaths (as we were often historically represented in film) to characters with depth , personality and substance. 
As a community we have come a mighty long way and it is all thanks to those individulals that have been on the front line in our stuggles.  So take a moment this month to learn about a leader from the past, thank one of our contemporary heroes, or step up yourself and become  a catalyst for change.  Do something this month to celebrate LGBT history month.