TABLE OF CONTENTS.
24 MAGAZINE TAMARA LEIGH Editor TamaraLeigh@blaqueoutmag.com
online magazine platform
centered FIRMLY in
THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY CAN IMPACT THE OUTCOME OF THE 2020 ELECTION
Cultural Excellence. We seek to center, celebrate & showcase every facet of the diversity & utter magnificence of our community through art, activism, photography & the spoken word.
07 GLAMDOWN W/ Nyk Tyrell
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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
NOVEMBER COVER ARTIST: CARYN DAVIS
LIVING IN THE LIGHT
11. GUEST ESSAYIST: COLORISM IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Letter From the Editor… Dear Reader, I love you. It sounds like an odd way to start a letter to whichever anonymous individual is flicking through these pages. But I do. You are most likely Black and Queer if you landed here and thats enough for me. Lightskinned, dark skinned, lesbian, bi, poly, trans, blue, purple, green, orange. I love you for being you and being here. In this world, in these times we don’t feel it enough, we don’t say it enough and we damn sure don’t hear it enough. So if you don’t hear it anywhere else this week. Know that LOVE LIVES HERE. I had a lovely ally tell me yesterday and I freaking quote, “Forever I will hold space and love and appreciation for you.” And it was the most phenomenal and well timed statement I had heard I think. That’s what BlaqueOUT is. Whether in my consulting or our community on these pages. WE will hold space for you and that is a promise. This issue will come out November 1st. Precariously close to election day, in possibly the most important election we have ever had. Being Black and being Queer under this administration is like wearing a scarlet letter, if not a target, and this election could very well mean more Brown babies in cages and the end of LGBTQ+ Marriages forever. Trans rights aren’t just threatened, Trans lives are. It is a scary time to be alive. I know that many of the people I have stood side by side with to fight for BLM and against police brutality have lost faith in the electoral process. Who can blame you? Truth is Biden can win by a landslide and still might not make it to office for any number of reasons. And lets be real, Biden nor Kamala are many people’s 1st choice. I whole heartedly agree that the only way Black folks will see real justice or real freedom is if we burn this thang to the ground and start over. And when that day comes I will meet you at the gate with a match. But right now this is the system we got and those shoulders we stand upon gave their lives to give us these rights and I will damn sure use mine regardless of the impact. I personally feel like we owe them that. This is a fight for our lives. And to win, we must fight from the street, the courthouse, the media, the pulpit, the political arena, the board room, the voting booth, the basketball court, and the school house. All hands on deck. When I spoke with my amazing creative team, I told them the November cover theme was, “Purge: The Election Year”. Caryn did the damn thing with the cover to reflect that. November 3rd and all the early voting days before that we have the opportunity to clean housefrom the White House to the Courthouse. Crucial races in Georgia and Texas, Michigan and South Carolina could really change the game both locally and in Washington. There are over 500 LGBTQ+ candidates on the ballot this year. There are more Women. There are more Black folks. There are more Trans candidates. Representation matters. It all matters. Pretty soon we’ll know what at least the next four years of life will probably look like. I know that I will forever be in these streets fighting for my people. All Black Lives Matter. But I really hope ya’ll meet me at these voting booths as well. Win or lose, we know we didn’t lose because we didn’t show up. Ase’ Tamara Sanaa Leigh,
Living In the Light
Javannah Davis SHE/HER
Church Hurt In the LGBTQ+ Community Okay, let’s talk!
Growing up in a faith-based community or a family rooted in religion can be restrictive for the average individual; granted being voluntary or involuntary. However, for an individual who is LGBTQ+ growing up in such an environment can be more than restrictive, it can turn out to be a significantly traumatic situation. Growing up LGBTQ+ in the church, I was always taught to love the sinner, but hate the sin. The issue with that is that it can translate to a young queer boy or girl developing into their own feelings and emotions that there’s a part of themselves that they should hate. Organized religion teaches us everything that’s wrong with being diﬀerent and that its either follow their lead or be lost to eternal hell fire. This is not entirely true, and is not the case. Just because you identify as whomever under the LGBTQ+ umbrella that doesn’t mean that you have to choose between your Identity and Spirituality.
Faith is the foundation of the lives of many people throughout the world, oﬀering guidance and support during times of a variety of struggles, one may experience during their lifetime. It can also be an intricate part of one's own mental well-being. Individuals in the LGBTQ+ community are no exception! Oftentimes faith may be complex in the case of non-aﬃrming religious beliefs or a sense of possible rejection from spiritual communities. Spirituality and religion can still be integral to the lives of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community.
I want to introduce Bishop Malik L. McFarley. He is a well known pastor in the LGBTQ+ community, and has himself grown up in the church and has felt the hindrance of organized religion. Bishop Malik has opted to share his story and answer a few questions in regards to his journey of self-acceptance and his growth as a community leader.
Javannah: Tell us about yourself as a clergyman
Malik: Well, I have been preaching since the age of 14 years old. I was ordained and installed as a Pastor at 20 years old in 2011 and started a second location at 21 year old in 2012.
Javannah: What faith or religion were you raised in?
Malik: I grew up in a very Pentecostal/Apostolic and
holiness religion being raised by my greatgrandmothers and grandmothers growing up.
Javannah: What were your experiences being raised under such a regimented faith-based system?
Malik: My experiences growing up in church was a mixture of good as well as bad. My grandparents raised me in the Pentecostal church but I ventured out as I got older to go to more contemporary ministries and churches. Ministries that were melting pots with many diﬀerent races and cultures and backgrounds.
Javannah: How did growing up in the church aﬀect you as a gay man?
Malik: Growing up in the church aﬀected me as a gay man because in the first 4 years after graduating high school, until me coming out at 22, I had to keep my sexuality a secret. Any relationship that I had did not have any real significance because I had not fully come to that truth about myself. The church would have ostracized me and at that point in my life I wasn’t ready mentally or emotionally to go through that scandal and drama that I KNEW the church would quickly bestow and put upon me. Coming out can definitely be a challenge to one's faith; what they were raised to believe seems somewhat contradictory to how a person may feel on the inside especially in the black church community. Suicide is a big problem to those.
Javannah: Has your sexuality and religious beliefs caused a disconnect between you and your family?
Malik: Yes, in the beginning it did bring about a disconnect with me and my family. Throughout the years I built enough courage and bravery to let them know that if you cannot accept me for who I am, then I can no longer let you have access to my life or my husbands as well. As well as our union together.
Javannah: How does religion play apart in your marriage?
Malik: For my marriage, we are very more spiritual than anything. God is the focal point and foundation that we have built upon in our journey and in our marriage. I personally believe that it is with the help of God that has kept us married this long.
you’ve lost faith in your religion?
Javannah: Have you ever been deterred from going to church based on personal feelings?
Malik: No, my experiences never kept me from going to church. However, it did keep me mentally in a place of not knowing my worth as a person; not knowing who I really was at the time. At that time I was living for other people and not myself while thinking that God approved of it at the same time because the people approved of me.
Javannah: Have you ever felt a sense of losing faith due to rejection from the church, and do you believe that there can be a negative impact on individuals in the LGBTQ+ community because of the potential rejection they may experience?
Malik: For me personally no I didn’t have a loss in faith because of the negativity of the church as a gay man, but I do believe that there are a majority of those in the LGBTQ+ community that do loose faith and totally turn away from church because of the harsh judgement the church brings on them and how the church treats them.
Javannah: Have you experienced a sense of rejection from your religious community? If so, how did you cope?
Malik: Yes, I definitely experienced very harsh rejection from the religious community that I was a part of. I coped by understanding that just because you are rejected by man, does not mean that God rejects you. God accepts you who you are and loves me the way I am as well.
Javannah: Do you consider yourself Religious or Spiritual or both?
Malik: I definitely consider myself spiritual in the place in life that I’m in right now. I was very religious for almost more than half of my life and I saw the many negative and diﬃcult places and positions that it put individuals through. I am spiritual because I can have a better connection with God without having all of the religious dogma that religion provides.
Javannah: Do you feel there’s a significant diﬀerence between being religious and being spiritual?
Malik: Yes, I do believe that there is a very significant diﬀerence being religious and spiritual. Religion to me is man made to try to understand God in a humanistic way. Being spiritual is trying to understand God in a spiritual way and having a connection with the God of your understanding.
Javannah: Has there ever been a time where you’ve lost faith in your religion?
Malik: The only time where I felt like I had almost lost faith was during the time before coming out. Having mental conflicts in my mind about how I thought God wanted me to be and how I truly felt on the inside.
Javannah: How important is religion to you?
Malik: I believe that my relationship with the creator is what’s most important to me. Its a deeper and more intimate experience I believe than any religion can oﬀer me. What is important for me as a person is that I want to see people learn to unconditionally LOVE individuals for who they are. I believe that everyone is deserving of love and acceptance in this world; no matter what you may agree or disagree with in a person's life. I’ve always wanted to be seen as a person that creates change and a person that brings more inclusivity in our world. Actually the rejection from the church caused me to work even harder for these goals.
Javannah: Can religion and/or spirituality contribute to a greater positive mental well being for those in the LGBTQ+ community who seek for it to be?
Malik: Yes I feel that any form of spirituality especially being done inclusively can definitely be a great benefit for the LGBTQ+ community. It would give the community a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves and the aﬃrmation it could bring for a greater change in the community.
Javannah: So on the flip side, have you felt rejection from individuals in the LGBTQ+ community because of your religious beliefs?
Malik: It has been a very bittersweet experience with the LGBT community as far as being rejected for my religious beliefs. Some accepted and some have rejected my beliefs because of what religion has done to them in the past in their lives; because of the negative side of religion that they may have come from. Many of them either reject it fully or many people are still confused because they still feel like being a part of the LGBT community will still send them to hell which I do not believe at all.
Javannah: A benefit to having some sort of faith-based foundation can help us find answers that may concern us about death, loss, and the meaning of life itself. Without this benefit do you think a person can find themselves questioning life’s basic fundamentals that
could teach us how to navigate through life?
Malik: I do believe that it can be very diﬃcult in our lives if we don’t have that faith that things are going to be alright. Everyone needs that peace that passes all understanding in their lives which includes a spiritual connection with their higher power so that they can have strength and courage to live another day.
Javannah: Do you feel the church could be a guiding force in the LGBTQ+ community if they were more inclusive of these individuals?
Malik: Yes, absolutely. The church could be a powerful guiding force in the LGBTQ+ community if they were to learn to be more inclusive and aﬃrming in their ministries than they are now. Many great things can happen from that.
Javannah: Has the recent pandemic aﬀected the way you attend church?
Malik: At the moment during COVID-19 I mostly worship at home during this time. Before I fellowshipped with more aﬃrming and inclusive churches throughout my city on a frequent basis.
Javannah: Are there many local places of worship that are LGBTQ+ friendly?
Malik: There are many inclusive and aﬃrming churches throughout the US in diﬀerent cities and towns that are accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and who embrace their sexuality and/or gender.
Remember lovies, you don't have to make a choice between your religion and your sexuality or gender identity. It's always possible to find aﬃrming and accepting spiritual communities that can provide validation, support, and a basis for good mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I have provided a few in this article that may help those looking for expression of their spirituality. https://rochesterunitarian.org/lgbtq/
With love, this is your girl Javannah saying, be good to you!
The GLAM down
With Nyk Tyrell Its Fall! What’s your go-to make up trend for the season? Fall brings out the earth tones and rustic colors, Bold and subtle. What are some of your favorite fall trends? 2020 has brought some bold flavor to the fall season with make up trends from the new eyeliner trends to the bold lip color choice.This months issue we will cover one of Rochester and Buﬀalo’s own Make-Up Artist! Former Ms. Kurvie Kulture winner, Jamequa Abernathy Owner of Enhanced Beauty Make Up Artistry! She is a self taught MUA and traveling beauty influencer. Enhanced Beauty is more than a Brand it is a movement to help make women feel better by enhancing their beauty! This month while scrolling through social media I noticed this bold welcome to fall look that she created using some high pigmented colors. This look gave me fall realness! The rustic oranges and browns put me right into the fall season mood.To create this look Jamequa used some popular brands of make up such as Juvias Place, Morphe and Shutup N Slay Cosmetics. This bold look is full of color! For other looks and also her cosmetic line you can go to www.enhancedbeauty.com
Ask Life Lessons From This Year’s Election We’ve all been watching this hot mess of an American Government for 4 years now. I hope you felt the epic face smack I just gave myself...but be rest assured, the end is near and we all have something to learn from our traumatic experience (haha)! Trust that you can use all the negative AND positive energy around you right now for your benefit. Let’s explore exactly how:
#1 Grace To Know Your Place Humility will literally take us all so far if we let it. Be humble when facing opposition and don’t be afraid to step into restful power while doing so. We won’t be mentioning any political figures in this article because this is about YOU! Humility produces strong focus on the individual and that is why I believe we all have to learn when to bow at some point.
#2 Karma Comes Back Around...and Around Again
It should go without saying that we are called to treat everyone equally with the common respect and courtesy that we each deserve. Unfortunately, not everyone out of the billion some-odd people on this planet feel the same way so protect your heart, mind & body against unwarranted attacks by first, setting the example. A time for retribution WILL come, especially for those who have been particularly cruel and unmoving-but remember, you & your peace are the main focus.
#3 One Being’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure Don’t stand in the way of someone else’s good fortune! If its expired, throw it out! These are all fancy put ways of saying try following your purpose without selfish intention. If you don’t, you’ll just continue to sew chaos and confusion in a country that could do without it at such a vulnerable time.
(*Ahem*) I’m not saying any names because this is about US...we, the people! Let’s face it, if 2020 were a movie, it would indeed be an Oscar award-winning horror film. With all the residual traumatic energy surrounding us, how can we possibly rebuild? I have some subtle solutions that I think will definitely help:
Unplug Turn everything off. I mean any and everything that requires energy from you from electronics, to people traffic and even your own individual noise. Meditate, shop...whatever it takes to reconnect you with your peace of mind. Don’t entertain conversations that drain you be it political or otherwise.
Marshay ReplenishÂ I’m sorry to say that we can’t stay unplugged for too long so prepare your energy to be out and around others & their chaos. Don’t confuse that with being unprotected or exposed. Always remember that you control your space and how you utilize your inner power. Conserve Don’t you just feel lighter already?! Deep breathing is a great way to reconnect mind with body so inhale and exhale like you mean it, with intention. Make deliberate decisions about your next moves but don’t obsess or put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Reduce the output of energy and increase the conservation of it instead....your future self will thank you! Sleep! You’d be surprised what a good night’s sleep can add to your hustling psyche. Drink plenty of water of course and monitor all of your basic needs. Times are definitely tough right now and we should all be working together to make sure no one is going without. Please reach out to your local offices if you find that you are...even a friend or family member. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Lastly, take selfish & tender care of yourselves and please, please, please, please...GET OUT AND VOTE!!!
Always & Eternally Yours,
Need Advice? Email your questions about love, life & entanglements to: AskMarshay.BlaqueOut@gmail.com & you might see it answered in an upcoming issue of Blaque/Out Mag!!
Begins October 27
AN AUDIO PLAY FESTIVAL CELEBRATING BLACK VOICES Esther Winter, Creative Producer Andrew Mark Wilhelm, Sound Engineer
Four plays written and directed by Black artists that amplify a mosaic of Black stories. Specially crafted for an immersive listening experience. Begins November 10
Recognition-Radio.com Geva Box OffÄące: 585-232-4382 Begins November 24
Photography by Adam Eaton.
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Guest Essayist: Tianna MañóN Colorism in the music industry: how dark-skinned women can be pushed out Having that conMidence was and sometimes is still a struggle, she said. You basically have a deep wound that you’re constantly working to heal. Self-love is a muscle you have to constantly exercise and make sure you practice daily afMirmations, as corny as they seem, even when you don’t feel it.
Working in the music industry only exaggerated her struggles with self-image. She said to this day, her skin tone and hair change how she is perceived. As a wedding performer, she books more gigs when her hair is straightened and she said even dark-skinned women who do make it into mainstream pop music are often held to higher standards, physically and talent-wise.
A report from the University of Iowa conMirms this gap https://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1255&context=honors_theses . The report found that the industry is one of many that prizes lighter skin and for both men and women. As a result, colorism not only keeps darker-skinned women out of the industry or on the fringe of it, it also privileges lighter-skinned or brown-skinned women instead:
Zahyia Rolle didn’t feel beautiful until she was almost 20 years old. In fact, when she was 13 years old, she said she felt like the ugliest person on Earth. Born in Liberty, NY she says she was treated differently because of her darker skin and coily hair. She’s not alone. Millions of dark-skinned Black women say from family to friends to complete strangers, colorism can often negatively color their interactions.
“I would argue that the normalization of colorism, specifically gendered colorism, both lyrically and visually, has produced overtime a “big three” with singers Beyonce and Rihanna, and rapper, Nicki Minaj being positioned at the forefront. These women, all talented, represent the accepted and ideal physical depiction of the Black woman, a preference that is often restated, and of which they, however unwittingly, oblige in their music videos. It’s not until more Black women are producers, engineers and occupy top roles that this will begin to change, speculate experts.”
As a woman, it messes with your selfesteem in ways you can’t anticipate, Rolle said. My parents did everything in their power to undo what the public would say, so to speak. I thought I was the ugliest person all the way until I was 18. I didn’t feel pretty until I was 19, almost 20. Rolle practiced daily afMirmations, telling herself she was beautiful every single day until she woke up and actually felt pretty.
“When it comes to actually recording or knowing the technical stuff, we have to rely on men in
the industry and that’s where the sexism kills us,” added Rolle. She said adding women production studio engineers and producers would help.
“Once we can do it ourselves, I think we’ll see a big diﬀerence in the music and visuals that are put out there”, she continued, explaining that many of the stereotypes that guide how dark-skinned women are seen could be challenged and ultimately laid to rest.
“It starts in music, the entertainment industry but I don’t think it’ll end there. We have a lot more work to do.”
Tianna Mañón she/her
My Own Words Zenith Fulton (HE/HIM)
Facebook: I Am Zenith
It feels so free to be me. ZENITH¦ the point at which something is the most powerful or successful. The essence of my BEING. IMHERE! I say this to myself every day throughout the day. It feels so good! I truly believe that there are many people in the world who have had and/or still have it worse than me in life. However, it does not take away the fact that I am still standing with everything I have been through. Everybody has their strengths. Who is to say that someone who has it worse than me would have made it in my shoes. I am still moving forward. Just in the mood to do some things I do not do. I do not give my SELF credit and I do not share my SELF. Not even with those I am close to. At all. I AM learning. Especially after what happened when I gave up on my SELF after putting my SELF in a box. I Am open. It has led me on many adventures. I am thankful for them all. They will not be forgotten and I will not keep them to my SELF. That would be to suppress the voice i was given to spread MY story. To spread hope. How can I fight for equality while I oppress my SELF from the equality I do not first give my SELF. To publicly fight for something I do not fight for within my SELF would be to oppress my SELF. There is A LOT of that going around as it is. That may be the reason for me recently starting to spread my voice. Whether it be by mouth or read. How can I stand for others if I do not stand for ME? If I do not learn, how can I teach? Not only did I come OUT about liking women. Identifying as the opposite sex from what was assigned to me at birth and preferring he/him pronouns,Â that is also another form of coming out. THAT TOOK STRENGTH. A strength not recognized, and appreciated, and congratulated, and acknowledged, and respected. Could you imagine coming out at 15, while people in there 40s were still having kids before coming out asÂ liking the same sex or identifying as the opposite sex. Since then, kids in elementary school have Come Out. It makes me proud to see. I respect them for their strength. Way more then I had or maybe its because more resources and alliances have formed in that time of me Coming Out. GROWTH! Even with the countless resources around, we cannot be reached by a lot of people. Those that do not know how to wave the flag, those that are scared, those that are in denial, those that went through some type of trauma that keeps them holed in, and many more. I started taking Testosterone October of 2019. So by the time you read this I will have had my first MANiversary! One year down with an unimaginable, yet, beautiful future ahead. I am also very fortunate to say that I received a successful top surgery over two months ago. Next up is my name change and gender marker! Hey, who is to say whether i'll go all the way â€¦ if you know what I mean. Every step of coming out has filled me with so much HAPPINESS and it continues to come in. That is why I can not stop. That is why I am open. That is why I am ME! I am In Love with my SELF! I Will Be That Eternal Orchid Blooming Through The Rubble. Thank you for bearing witness to my growthâ€¦.. STAY TUNED!!!
Mr & Miss Diamond Strength Battle Zone The first very Mr. & Miss Diamond Strength BattleZone was held on Sunday October 4th, 2020 in lieu of the 2020 Mr. & Miss Diamond Strength pageant in Rochester, NY. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that have been put into effect it was almost impossible to hold a full pageant this year however there needed, in my opinion, to be an opportunity for local drag queens & kings to engage in friendly competition as well as interact with a community that missed them as much as the entertainers are missed. The 2020 BattleZone had 4 amazing contestants; La Dame Noire, Aziza Bijou, Lil Easy & Vitalia Caliente. By a 3 point difference from the judgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scores and crowd selection, this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winner was Aziza Bijou, however as a giveback each contestant was given complimentary entry into the 2021 Mr. & Miss Diamond Strength pageant.
Cover Artist & Photographic Editorial Spotlight:
Ayee what's up I'm Caryn! Born and mostly raised in Rochester, NY. I've been a photographer & digital artist for 10 years now. Proud Libra & member of the LGBTQ+ community. Lover of my city, art, tequila & black joy as resistance. As a local activist I've been proudly yelling "All Black Lives Matter" for quite some time now. Catch me repping the newly formed activism group LABL (Liberating All Black Lives). Feel free to track me down on Facebook or Insta: iAmArt_93 to learn more or to plan a photoshoot.
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Doreen Scanlan Intuitive Card Reader Looking for insight into the things along your path? Online readings available. Cash App $DoreenMScanlan Venmo @Doreen-Scanlan
The MOCHA Center connects LGBTQ people of color with events and programs that promote healthy, sex-positive living. We are a safe place to hang out, talk, and get connected to health services â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including free HIV and STD testing.
NEW LOCATION! 470 W. Main St., Rochester | 585.420.1400 mochacenter.org
Call (585)615-8494 to schedule
Art by Jason Dorofy
The LGBTQ+ Community Can Impact the Outcome of the 2020 Election
Adrian A. Price According to a new analysis by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, there are nearly nine million LGBTQ adults registered to vote. The same analysis revealed that half of registered LGBTQ voters (50%) are democrat, 15% are Republicans, and 22% are independent. The remaining voters stated they identify with another party or do no know which part they most identify. Think about it, that would be the population equivalent to the state of New Jersey or Virginia! The large number of LGBTQ voters could make a difference in the upcoming election. The Trump administration rescinded key protections for our community. On January 31, 2017, Trump released a statement that the administration will continue to enforce an Executive Order protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community in the workplace. Contrarily, Trump announced through a series of tweets that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. Before Joe Biden became the democratic nominee, the democratic field was the most diverse in history. Charles Kupchan, a Georgetown University political scientist, former diplomat, and author of Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself From the World, asserted that there’s no question in my mind that it’s the most important election in American history. The stakes are just enormous. If Trump is reelected, then Americans cannot say that the American electorate made a mistake. If Trump is reelected, then it would be confirmation this is the direction Americans wanted to go. In 2019, The Williams Institute and Reuters/Ipsos conducted a national poll assessing the characteristics of LGBTQ voters and their preferences for a presidential candidate. The researched revealed that LGBT voters differ from non-LGBT voters in several way. For example, they are more likely to be young, male, and live in urban areas, said study author Christy Malloy. Of the 9 million LGBTQ voters, 22% are Latino, 13% are Black, 61% are white, and 4% other races or multiracial. Christy also revealed that LGBTQ voters are more likely to vote for a more diverse candidate.Â Let me go on record and say, violence and
discrimination (particularly of the transgender community) did not start with the Trump administration. Hatred for the community has been engrained in the fiber of our country. Long after Trump leaves the White House, work still must be done. No one- I mean, NO ONE, should be beaten, discriminated against, denied home access, and job because of who they are and who they love. Now, I cannot tell you who to vote for, but think about this. When you walk into the poll booth, ask yourself “Who is going to be a champion for my rights?” There are 9 million of us who are registered to vote, lets get out there are make of voices heard! Below is some non-related LGTBQ facts: Political analysts cite the 2020 Trump v. Biden election as one of the most important elections to date, where the survival of the American republic is at stake. During the midst of a recession, an estimated 79% percent of voters say that the state of the economy is important to them when deciding who to vote for in the upcoming election. Based on studies conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes, and trends, revealed percentages of registered voters very important issues. Consistently, economy is the top voting concerns. In similar research, economy was also the top voting concern in the 2016 election. In the current survey, 68% of voters cite Health care is very important, while 64% mention supreme court appointments. During the global pandemic, 62% of voters cite the Coronavirus as their top concern.
Brittan Hardgers [He/ Him/ His] This month I am honored to recognize Kegine from “Kegine’s Outreach for The Homeless” & Dom, an amazing man of transition who I am thankful to call a brother. As you all know each month we spotlight black and brown folx who demonstrate TRAN/S/ (True Resilience Against Negative Stereotypes). Don’t forget you can also email me people you want to see recognized. Visibility is Power! We will be seen. We Will Be Heard.
Can't be further from the truth. Many people on the street are
suffering from mental illness and don't know how to seek assistance or where to start. Yes some have drug addictions due their homeless situation, or to cope with what they may have to do to survive out in the streets.
BH: What was the motivation behind starting your organization?
K: My motivation comes from personal experience. I was once homeless, feeling like a female but living in a men's shelter.. Awful. Living in a men’s shelter I remember the dirty looks and the discrimination and rejection from others when I went to look for work. I eventually got work bounced from job I am excited and honored to have you here with me today to speak about TRAN/s/ (True Resilience Against Negative Stereotypes)
to job due to discrimination. My friend and I were told by a restaurant owner to wait outside for our food while it's being prepared. I had to hustle the streets for a little while back
BH: Before we begin can you tell me a little about yourself? (anything you are comfortable with sharing)
then; But I never gave up because I still felt I deserved to be treated equally. I deserved more for myself. I eventually went
K: Hi my name is Kegine, I'm a Black Woman of Trans experience.
back to work & beauty school. I got my first job in a salon and transitioned on the job; I am also a CNA.
BH: I am aware you run an organization; can you explain the nature of your organization and how it came to be? K: I am the founder of Kegine's Outreach For The Homeless. I serve ALL genders and colors. I started this outreach years ago, but never gave it a name until recently. I provide the homeless community with essentials. I used to buy everything out of my pocket; but I quickly realized I can no longer afford to do this alone. So with the help of myself and donations from organizations I can now provide PPE kits, clothes, shoes, snacks,and toiletries for the homeless while they navigate the harsh streets. Oftentimes people walk right past and discard the homeless. They make the assumption that all homeless people can work and are lazy.
BH: Where do you see your organization in 5 years? K: Today my goal is to eventually own a building where homeless people can come to get their needs met i.e. showers, food, clothes, and essentials to keep them clean and safe. I think if they have the bare essentials some can feel more comfortable and confident in looking for work or going to other places to get resources. I feel my service to the homeless community is vital
BH: What is the best part about being true to yourself?
K: I survived homelessness, physical attacks, loss of family because I chose to live for me i.e. transition. I survived rape repeatedly. I survived one of the deadliest storms in history; Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. So you see despite all the trauma I've experienced. I'm still here. My experiences only made me more compassionate & stronger. I do outreach because I love what I do; but most importantly I believe that what I do is making a difference! A positive impact in other
lives. I've been through too much and come too far to give up now. In the past, I let fear of failure and fear of rejection hold me back. Not anymore.
BH: What are some negative stereotypes have you had to face in your personal life that have positively
BH: How may the readers contact you/your
impacted your drive and passion when running your
organization? K: FB:Kegine’s outreach for the homeless K: I’ve grown stronger over the years so I don't allow others
stereotypical opinions of me to get in my head. No matter what I've done or what I will achieve, people will always have their opinions. The key to peace is to be true to who you are however you identify. Also remember that what others think of you is none of your business. Negative comments only fuel my fire to work harder. It motivates me in a weird way. It encourages me to never give up on my dreams and goals. I've been told by someone that my outreach service is not as important as their job. After all I do in serving the homeless I've been told that what I do is a hobby. So you see people will always try to project their failures or their own disappointments on to you.
BH: What is your definition of “True Resilience Against Negative Stereotypes”? Can you give me an example?
BH: Before we begin can you tell me a little about yourself? (anything you are comfortable with sharing)
K: I think we as LGBTQ+ people are resilient. We face adversity regularly because of who we are. We are the true
D: Well my name is Dom. I identify as Queer/Trans. I like that
definition of resilience.
acronym and it's funny because I can tell you about transitioning because I've been through many. I am someone
BH: What advice or support would you offer to someone who is struggling with negative stereotypes and self worth?
K: My advice is to continue to do your best and never believe those negative voices. Don't listen to inner
who has transitioned through a lot early in life. We moved around alot, so from housing to different schools and friends, and even different jobs. I’ve transitioned through many relationships. This hormone replacement therapy (HRT) barely qualifies; it is simply the way I let the outside world see who was inside of me all along.
BH: What is self-esteem? Self empowerment? Self worth? BH: I am aware you have been apart of the LGBTQ+ for over 10 years; what where some of the negative stereotypes you faced when 1st coming out? How did you handle them?
D: Esteem equates to respect. Empowerment equates to motivation and motivators. Worth is value. So the operative and reoccurring word is self; how can I get myself to do these things?
D: 10 years lol has it been that long? I think one of the big ones is the assumed heteronormativity. Before my current transition I came out as a lesbian and it was always a question of whose the man & whose the woman? Even now, people look at me like since you’re the man all these things must be true of your relationship. I generally combat them by always living my truth. If it better suits me or our situation to stay home, do laundry and cook then I do just that. BH: How has being true to your authentic self changed your
How can I get myself to understand that while I'm seeking these things from other people I deserve them from me too. How can I make that happen each day? Well I can tell you that honestly it doesn’t happen everyday. The days that it does I don’t only acknowledge, I celebrate because the more I see it on the inside the more my confidence on the outside commands. I am valuable. I am respectable. Each day and opportunity is motivation enough. In fact I’d like to thank you for allowing me this opportunity.
personal relationships with friends and family? D: My family despite being on the homophobic side accepts me for
BH: What are some key skills and tips for overcoming negative stereotypes?
who i am. However, my truth has had some unexpected effects. My brother who has spent a great deal of time in prison and has been very vocal about his negative feelings toward transitioning supported me one hundred percent. He has been my voice and backbone to other family members. He confessed to me that he heard stories from people he’d seen transitioning in prison but it did not resonate with him until it was me. His sibling; someone he loved. That now makes him think before bashing or disagreeing because he thinks about how he wants others to treat me. That feels really amazing. Another piece is, the strain brought upon my relationship with my mother. She has always been my best friend and confidant. I never thought anything could or would come between us; so when I say her reaction was shocking that is definitely an understatement.
D: One key thing is that stereotypes don’t just come from out of thin air; the one way to beat something is to learn about it. Figure out the origins, the hows and the whys to its existence. Then debate from the other end of the spectrum, step out of your comfort zone. Only then can you rise above and really overcome and not be taken down. What is your definition ofÂ â€œTrue Resilience Against Negative Stereotypesâ€ ? Can you give me an example? Me /You, all of our peers. Look at where we came from and how we are all doing now. We have paved a new path. We own businesses and we are motivators and innovators. A generation they wrote off! We picked up a pen and re-wrote the story. That is true resilience against negative stereotypes.Â
BH: What are someÂ negative stereotypes have you had to face in your personal life that have positively impacted your drive and passion?
What advice or support would you offer to someone who is struggling with negative stereotypes and self worth? You are not your whole race, your whole family, your whole team. You do not have to answer for everyone, the only one thing you
D: One that I’ve had to deal with most often is Trans men are still women. Once someone finds out I’m a man of transition they will revert back or try to feminize me in some way. I think that drives me more to walk into who I am. Even though I have nothing to prove to anyone when I wake up; I present to the world the full me as I see me! How I’ve always seen me. Now they do too! Even if it's hard to admit or grasp I can see it and feel it. The overall respect level has changed and that has positively impacted me personally, mentally and my life as a whole.
can control is you. Whatever life throws at you, it's your reaction you can control. It's okay to be slow to reaction and quick to analyze the situation. Make
the bestÂ plan for you. Selfish is not always bad. What is the best part about being true to yourself?Â That there is only one me and everyday I am adequately depicting and projecting that person to the world. How may the readers contact you/your organization? FB/ Email/IG/etc.. FB: FreeDom McCloudÂ
Book of the Month with Dr. Kenya Malcolm I have so many great books I’ve read recently that I want to talk about! I can already see that its going to be hard to pick one book each month for y’all. How do I choose!? I decided to lean in to this month’s BlaqueOut theme: The Purge. Here in Rochester and across the US, we’ve been thinking a lot about the old ways and the old guard. Its election season, true, but the conversation about what it means for America to be great is long standing: great for who and on whose back? This month, my suggestions for you are books that offer an opportunity for reflection on this theme through story. We can’t illicit systemic change if we aren’t also doing the personal work. I’m obviously still recommending more than one book. #SorryNotSorry If you’ve read any of these or have any recommendations for me, drop me a line with your thoughts or suggestions: Reviews May firstname.lastname@example.org
Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles (Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction) The second book is a Young Adult book (yes, you should be
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall (Essays, NonFiction) This book is a set of essays discussing a wide range of topics that should be considered feminist issues but often aren’t. For example, marginalized and impoverished people not having their biological needs met is a feminist issue. The bulk of filling the gaps in our society when people go without fall on women, and hardest on women of color. A key theme throughout the essays is that mainstream feminism has been lifted on the backs of women of color while leaving their needs behind. It often is more focused on increasing privilege of white woman and less on lifting the boats of equity across race, class, and socioeconomic status. It makes important points about how we can have allies to some of our identities that are oppressors to others. Any feminist approach that doesn’t include all women is tragically behind the times and needs to be purged.
reading books across all age- targets!) that centers around a high school senior who thinks he’s a “nice guy” and has been low key obsessed with the girl who played Dorothy in their 1st grade production of The Wiz. You know the type. He thinks his intentions are good even though some of the things he’s doing to get close to the girl he likes is actually just manipulative, like joining a purity pledge at his church to get to spend time with her. This is an excellent fictionalized exploration of teen relationships with family, friends, and the church. Our young man’s understanding of the world starts to crumble around his ears as he comes face to face with the consequences of toxic masculinity and the double standards of sexual scrutiny for young men and women. The role of religion in education and identity development is also great as the teens figure how to become the kind of person they want to be. This book was written by one of the cofounders of We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. Media practices focused on presenting only one narrative as correct or valid needs to be purged.
generations of moons rising & suns falling countless ancestors control the currents of ocean waves Souls sing rhythmic tunes ,”Freedom Unseen” generations cruise these living waters clouded ears unable to hear the screams beyond ripples of divine beauty under the sun Take a picture...Beautiful Right Moons rise & fall upon elegant beauty Unseen by the naked eye Ancestors fed despair; drowned upon worthless waters Danger associated as sun ripplesÂ Glisten my melanin; inspiring courage The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin (Science Fiction/
& today's fight.
Generational beauty deemed unworthy;
And finally, a book that might be off the beaten path. This
Controlled by fear
book is a fantasy with a little bit of sci-fi flavor. Science Fiction
Driven by mass deception
and Fantasy have long been the genre of revolution across
Racism & systematic oppression
all media platforms, interestingly offering Black and Brown
Generations of moons rising & suns falling
writers, actors, and visual artists more outlets than more
Worlds of backward views of conception
“proper” genres, but that’s a different post for a different day.
Songs of ancestors â€œFreedom Unseen
The Killing Moon is the first book in a duology set in a world
Generations cruise these living waters
where a highly religious group of people, The Gatherers,
maintain peace by ushering the corrupt into the afterlife. The
energy obtained from the gatherings is used for healing for
the betterment of society. The Gatherers discover early on in
Ripples of melanin
the book that they may have been used unwittingly in a larger
plan by their government against folks who have opposed their society’s privileged way of life. Ms. Jamison, as some of you might know, is a master of world building and is quickly becoming a staple for any reader interested in decolonizing their fantasy bookshelf. Her books often take on a larger theme: any society that maintains a hierarchy where the
inspiring courage & today's fight Peace ofÂ ocean images Reflect divine beauty Black Beauty Lives
people at the top have too much while the people at the
bottom have almost nothing should be purged. Amen to that.
Type to enter text
Stocked with white faces and red noses
Art by Jason Dorofy
With turmoil in the streets, I realize it's time for a change Mind being turned constantly when the White House is leading us to shame How long will you permit our lives to be turned upside down? But I presume that’s what to discern with a white house stocked with clowns Answer one interview with a straightforward direct reply: I dare you But I’m certain he’s just too afraid to Its election year, our shot to start a change Our Moment to free our country from the brutally insane If you voted for him, please let’s chat on why When he proceeds to deceive time after time Its natural to solve an issue you created It's simple when you’ll be rich forever to shout “Yes, we made it” Mr. President, How did Covid-19 aﬀect your means of living? Mr. President: How much of yourself to this system have you actually given? None I’m certain, but for your choices there is a cost we Americans pay making judgments for a class of individuals when you’ve never struggled this way Make America great again? But when was it ever? We have a decaying limb on our body that we demand to sever So I beg when they mention it’s time to vote Please run down to your designated polls Chose as you prefer and drift free as a bird But never ignore the day you let your cry be heard With turmoil in the streets, I realize its time for a change Mind consistently being shocked when the White House is bringing us to shame How long will you allow our world to be turned upside down? But I presume that’s what to predict with a white house stocked with clowns
Ashanti Taylor-Alexander. she/her/hers
We Affirmâ&#x20AC;¦. This publication is firmly centered in Black & Brown Queer Culture & Excellence. This is a SAFE space for ALL who enter
ALL Black Lives Matter
An Essay By Tamara Sanaa Leigh, “All BLACK Lives Matter”
I have spent the better part of my life fighting for things, for people. Justice, equity, rights, jobs, services, a platform, a voice, a place at the table. I have spent a good part of the last eight or nine years campaigning either in the streets in protest or in the media in interviews fighting for Black lives. I’ve spent the better part of the last five years either in the press or in someone’s boardroom fighting for LGBTQ+ life, liberty and culture. I don’t think I even realized until very recently the degree those causes would intersect. I didn’t come out until adulthood and to be honest, my family circumstances were constructed differently so I didn’t suffer to the same degree as most what it meant to grow up gay in a Black household. Everyone grows up differently, but few circumstances, at least in my mind, rival the unbelievable weight of trying to survive being Black in America and treated like a second class citizen- in addition to being QTPOC (queer or trans person of color) and treated like an embarrassment or an abomination in your own home (when in fact that may have been the only place you would ever have a chance to receive love or acceptance). Iâ€™d like to pause there, not to offer further explanation but to ask you to reread the previous sentence. Now read it again. Okay, so now let's unpack. I thought alot about what I felt this very important article needed to touch on. I consulted friends and my social network of experts in this field. Please understand, the use of the word expert in this context doesn’t refer to PHDs or storied research careers, but the actual experts- the lost, now-adult children you discarded years ago because of your own belief system and the people who graciously swooped in to love them, teach them, feed and clothe them in your absence. Not the people who teach it, but those who actually live it. I could go into where and how the machine called Christianity which morphed into Black Church culture was even introduced to African culture and why and how based on that fact alone it is asinine that those doctrines would convince you to today, not to love or accept your own flesh and blood. Or how a religion based on Jesus whose entire life was grounded in love and acceptance is a very poor example of why homosexuality should be condemned since every single reported teaching preached very much the opposite. I could do that, but I won't because- google. I’m not going to get into attacking people’s belief systems because you have the right to think how you think and worship how you worship just like I have the right to be Black and walk safely down the street or be gay and love who I love. Instead, I want to talk about speeches. I have had the honor and privilege to deliver a lot of speeches. It’s terrifying to some people. I love it. The feeling of the crowd interacting with you, the energy of collective thought and purpose wafting into the air. It's a phenomenally powerful experience. Each time you deliver a speech you learn something. Kind of like being a comedian, you learn what works- what gets laughs. When you deliver a speech, you learn what resonates. Sometimes that means for the audience, sometimes that simply means within your own heart. The thing that has struck me recently is that when speaking to BLM crowds, you often end up giving two different speeches to the same audience. There are alot of different points to touch on and speaking to white allies is very different than speaking to the Black folks in the crowd. So different, that at times you have to say out loud who you are actually talking to. I say that to say- that right now, in this moment, I’m talking to Black folks. I stand with you in that cringy moment when you say Black Lives Matter and someone comes back at you with the “well don’t all lives matter?” (and yes, I know you read that in the voice just like I did). For a hundred reasons that I don’t have to tell you it's offensive, unimportant, not the point, meaningless and just a way to further invalidate us and the reason why we are out here day in and day out marching in these streets. It is intended as a distraction. So you may have attended a BLM march or protest and heard â€œAll Black Lives Matter''. I’ve heard a hundred people say it is a distraction also, takes away from the point, takes away from the movement. When in fact it does not. When we say Black Lives Matter- we are talking to white folks and society. When we say “All Black Lives Matter'' we are talking to you. It is a subtle whisper to you Black man, beautiful Black woman to make a statement and ask the question if Black lives matter- does my Black, gay life matter to you? It’s almost rhetorical. But right now, in these streets it's being forced to become literal. Because does it? I have heard people say, “well if we are fighting for Black lives doesn’t that mean ALL Black lives?” So based on fact and reality- I ask you; does it? I often tell people for their own personal level of understanding to take anything they would say about LGBTQ+ people in a sentence and replace it with Black and see if they are still comfortable saying it or hearing it. Although we are CLEARLY still fighting for Black survival and equity, many of the same conversations that we were having about Black folks in the 60’s and 70’s, we are now having WITH Black folks about the LGBTQ+ community. I imagine you have heard white people justify their racist opinions of Black people by saying it's just a preference or a personal belief and they are entitled to their opinion. Yes? The answer in no uncertain terms is you are not entitled to an opinion that threatens my life, affects my livelihood, denies me the same rights as everyone else or allows me to be seen as less than. I never do this, but on behalf of every single Black Queer and Trans person on Earth, I respond an emphatic “ditto”. The place to put an opinion about another person’s sexual preference or gender identity is in the box where you decide your own. If you have a fundamental issue with homosexuality or the idea of gender identity and fluidity, don’t be gay or trans. Entire world issue SOLVED! Mind-blown, Right? It was literally just that simple. I will follow that with, if the basis of that belief is rooted in your Christianity, you are not a Christian. Full stop. Read it again. Christ didn’t make that rule, people did. So let me quickly tackle some of the less religiously based factors my friends, the experts, have encountered.
The gay agenda. Easy- there isn’t one. LGBTQ+ people exist in the world. Go outside, spin around and throw a rock and you’ll hit one. Entertainment and media is supposed to be a fictionalization or dramatization of reality. As we exist in real life, we would naturally be characterized in movies and television. I have watched straight people on TV all my life and still ended up just as gay. It is no different than wanting to see Black and Brown doctors instead of drug dealers and janitors. Because in real life Black and Brown people are doctors too. In real life, LGBTQ+ people are people too. Movies and television are generally about people so why wouldn't all kinds of different people be represented there? In addition to the fact that if one gay Disney character helps a Black gay kid not kill himself, I consider it worth the risk to every other kid who may see it too. The gay agenda thing is deeply rooted in our history. It is an absolute fact that sexual atrocities were committed against Black people, enslaved people, domestic workers and servants for the purpose of dominance for centuries. But that didn’t make those proud, strong Black folks weak and it did not make them gay. It made them victims of unspeakable TRAUMA and torture. White folks at the time also convinced themselves and each other that we don’t feel pain or need rest and that our bodies can survive unspeakable torture. So every time you tell your son to man up, not to cry or shame a gay person for being “less of a man” or “unladylike” as a woman- you are doing the white man’s bidding. Don’t choose one agenda over the next because it suits your argument. The audacity of categorizing a gay Black man or a Black Transman as less of a man is so incredibly offensive when we have spent the majority of American history being counted as 3/4 of a person. May I remind you that a Black Queer woman began the Black Lives Matter Movement. That a Queer Black Man was Dr. Martin Luther King Jrs closest and most valued advisor. That Stonewall was led by fearless Black and Brown Transwomen. White folks made sure that history forgot the heart of the LGBTQ+ movement. Don’t be the Black folks that are campaigning to do the same. Just because we are Black, doesn’t mean we can't land on the wrong side of history too.
You can’t be Black and LGBTQ+ at the same time/ you’re Black first. So first, intrinsically you ARE Black and gay at the same time. Its called Intersectionality. To the second part, I’d say exactly. In a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters there could be Catholics, Muslims, Men, Women, gay people, straight people, deadbeats, drug users, drug dealers and people selling the Ford St. bridge. Whether I know them, like them or approve of how they live their life- they are ALL BLACK FIRST. So remember that. Believe it or not the gay world is often not much fun for most of us either. Racism runs RAMPANT in the larger gay community. It’s why we insulate and isolate from them so much. It’s why Black Pride is even a thing. We often find ourselves too Black to be gay and too gay to be Black so you are leaving other Black folks without country, without people, without support. FULL STOP. Read the last sentence again. The important piece of it is that YOU are perpetrating that act against OTHER BLACK FOLKS. You are ostracizing your own people. Is that REALLY what you want to be doing when we are all out here fighting for our lives? In addition, does that feel remotely right to you? Lastly, you can’t use the same conclusion to argue two opposite points. Either we are Black first so we are included or Black first and excluded. Make up your mind. I always ask people to imagine themselves on a dark, rainy road in the middle of the night with one cop pointing a gun at your head and another with his knee in your neck as you gasp for air because you had a broken taillight. A car pulls up. Its a Black transwoman in a pink skirt and heels and the most effeminate gay Black man you can possibly imagine. These are the people WE shame. These are the people WE kill. These are the people WE deny. Back to the scene. These two are willing to take those cops out- on your behalf. Bum rush them and fight, hit them with a car- whatever it takes in that moment to save your life and get you home to your children. In that moment are you concerned about how that person chooses to identify or who they are sleeping with? If you are- you are a very different person than me.
I will end this with something I have said before because I personally feel it is the most poignant point. You CAN NOT be a Black Community Leader and not represent and support Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community members. I will say it one more time and put my life on it. You CAN NOT be a Black Community Leader and not represent and support Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community members. You don’t get the luxury of excluding the tall ones, the small ones, the crazy ones, the trans ones, the church ones, the homeless ones, the incarcerated ones, the formerly incarcerated ones, the ones that can’t dress, the ones that talk too much, the ones that believe in a different God as you. The ones who don't believe in God at all. Not the masculine women, not the effeminate men. Not the one that your ex cheated on you with, not the non-binary one, not the one that overcharged you for lunch. Not the political ones, not the ones that don’t vote, not the ones who are on public assistance, the ones that are filthy rich or the ones that are just plain filthy. It is not your privilege, not your responsibility and certainly not your right to exclude ANYONE from this movement for change. Because WE are a sum of our parts. We will win together, we will lose together and we will march in the streets TOGETHER. I challenge you to learn and read and expand your mind about all the things found in this piece but at the end of the day you don’t have to do anything. But if you can’t or won't, move out of the way. Because as we are creating change and reimagining a new world free of privilege, capitalism and police brutality- we are also reimagining a world where the goal of the movement is what it ALWAYS should have been. A world and a country where Black and Brown folks can truly chase a dream to be fully considered, fully represented and allowed in that humanity to be our 100% authentic selves without boundaries or code switch. Where our hair isn’t regulated- because it’s ours. Where the culture that exists within our dialect is embraced as valid. Where WE are free and we won’t get there unless we fight this fight together. Black Lives Won’t Matter until they ALL do. Don’t come to the table unless you’re ready to meet everybody there because we aren’t just flipping tables- the ones that won’t budge- we’re burning down.
Code Red The Nyk Tyrell Experience Live:
October 3rd Nyk Tyrell shook the walls of Urban Euphoria with his first production Code Red! Native of Pahokee, Florida, Nyk Tyrell gave a night of glass and elegance! You stayed on your feet the entire night with the artist and song choices for the event! Hosted at the beautiful and historical venue, Urban Euphoria in Downtown Rochester, NY. The mood was set from the time you walked in, til the time you excited.. Yolanda Smilez rocked the mic and made sure the energy was consistently flowing in the room.. Red Carpet Interviews were hosted by Vandell Marshall and “All Things Community” who also styled Nyk the entire night! Denise Walker gave a breath taking ambiance! Will there be more is one of the main questions that has been asked in the weeks following the event and IamNykTyrell Ent. Is working hard to bring back another sexy event!
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Blaque/OUT Spotlight Presents: Christina Anderson (pronouns: She,Her,Hers) Interviewed by: “Living in the Light” Columnist, Javannah Davis
BlaqueOut Spotlight brings to center stage the charismatic, passionate and revolutionary talents of playwright Christina Anderson. Christina has written a variety of critically-acclaimed plays such as “How To Catch Creation”, “Pen/Man/Ship”, and “Blacktop Sky”, just to name a few. “The Resurrection of Michelle Morgan”, is one of Christina’s most recent projects that will be featured during Rochester’s annual “ImageOut Festival”. The Festival showcases a variety of movies, and plays that observe the great works from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community on stage and screen. I had the pleasure of sitting down and having a brief conversation with Christina Anderson regarding herself as an artist, and her noteworthy plays.
Javannah: Christina, tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you find your passion for writing? Christina: I was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. When I got older I moved to the east coast, living in Providence, RI for about 4 years, and even lived for a time out west. I started teaching in 2011, and over the next few years I taught for Wesleyan University, Rutgers University, and Brown University. I took a break from teaching in 2018 to focus on my own personal projects. As far as my passion for writing, even before I was able to read or write I loved storytelling. I remember just scribbling on a piece of paper and just making up stories while pretending to read them to my mother. I started really writing as early as kindergarten, and as I became older I started getting into acting and theatre, and participating in performing spoken words when I could.
Christina: Yes. A Lot of my plays deal with the twisted and complicated relationship we as black people have with American. So yeah, many of my plays have very political undertones while I also incorporate humor for levity. We as black people use humor much of the time to get through our life's ills which is a wonderful thing. There is also a black hindrance that exists when it comes to the stage. So many of my plays have a black cast without using the weight of the white gays on them. A majority of my plays are written for black women so they can occupy the stage and be seen for their full, authentic selves.
Javannah: Out of all of your accomplishments, what are you most proud of? Christina: I would have to say that I am most proud of my play, â€œHow To Catch Creationâ€. Javannah: ...and why is that? Christina: At the time that I wrote it I was living in Oakland, California and that was the first time I had met so many awesome queer black women whose identity was theirs, and gave reason for it to be celebrated. Not only as black women, but as queer black women. I was also writing it at a time when I had met a black male feminist for the first time while in Chicago. His name was Nigel Smith and I met him at the Goodman Theatre. All of these experiences is a couple of the reasons why all the women in my plays are black and queer.
Javannah: Tell us of how you were notified that one of your plays was going to be featured in Rochesterâ€™s wonderful ImageOut Festival? Christina: Well I was contacted by Jenny from the Geva Theatre regarding, The Resurrection of Michelle Morgan. Which is really a passion project for me.
Javannah: Tell us what do you aspire your audience to walk away from your plays with?
Javannah: Many of your plays depict the many challenges African-Americans encounter within their own community, as well as in the LGBTQ+ community. Do you consider yourself an activist in a way?
Christina: I would like them to walk away with, hopefully, seeing the world slightly diﬀerent; brighter. I would also hope that they see a part of themselves in one of the characters and even potentially learn something about themselves.