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OCTOBER 2011 | ISSUE 2 |


Spill the T





Photographer: Adam Bouska


 Letter From the Editor Features

Sandra Valls Breaking the Silence Dallas Black Pride 2011 Are You Crazy Peace, Love & Lipgloss

Yuppies The Scarlet Road Neo Harlem Renaissance



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Losing Cairon






Health Downsizing 8 Ways to Reduce Stress

Career Indelible Ink The Barber Shop North Texas Knockouts Go DeeJay! Chefing 101

Entertainment Twisted E Jay Wash T. Hullaby Iam MsHipHop-RedDrum

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3 Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson

REINA Magazine is here! It has been a dream come true to see the first issue launch and receive such major support. I am truly thankful and hope to keep bringing wonderful articles to all our readers. As the magazine continues to grow, I know the stories being told will too. October is domestic violence month and I wanted to do something that recognized the need to talk about this issue. This issue hits home for me because I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years. I hope we can come together as a community to battle this issue, as no one deserves to be abused in any form. Being only three months old, we have had some wonderful moments. The best so far was when a featured artist thanked me for creating Reina. She told me since the first issue, people have contacted her for projects and she is really growing as an artist and I attributed something to that. That is what Reina is about. This publication is a catalyst for us to continue to build our community and each other. There are so many talented people with wonderful stories that need to be utilized and told. I live by the mantra “Be the change you wish to see in the world.� I am only one person, but if I can impact the lives of two people then my life means something. I hope you continue to grow with Reina and SPREAD THE WORD! Join Our Reign. Besos

Contributing Staff Managing Editor Vonnie Spiv Columnist Jody Trans Men Editor Missta Brown Religion Columnist Deneen Robinson Staff Writer Gayle Bell Fashion Editor C. Peach Creative Designer CaSandra|Nikole Photographers Chris Morgan Ashlee Anderson Beauty Editor Chase Smith

Managing Editor I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't. -Audre Lorde

Stylist: Brandon Horsley-Thompson, Rodrick Lemons | MUA: Chase Smith Photographer: Christopher Morgan


Hair by: LaKeisha Michelle | Make-up by: Brianna Wilks | Photo by: Tal Campbell

Specializing in Marketing and Social Impact Strategic Planning | Creative Design | Special Event Coordination | Web Design | Customized Marketing | Social Networking

214.862.2041 | |



INDELIBLE INC. Vonnie Spiv Temptest, the 26-year old Houston tattoo artist has been in the inking business for five years. She has always been a sketch artist and realized she was getting the bad end of the deal. “I was getting 20 bucks for sketching a tattoo and could be making 300 for actually being the artist,” she states. So she made the transition for strictly drawing to doing both. For her, tattoos are a form of self-expression. Temptest has been out as a lesbian since the 7th grade. She had the biggest crush on a 5th grader when she was in the 1st grade and thought something was wrong with her. But being a lesbian hasn’t created obstacles within her career field because she is very upfront and honest with people. For Tempest, people feel very comfortable around her and she is always professional. “No one has seemed to have a problem with it. More gay [guys] come to me because they feel comfortable,” explains Tempest. The parlor where she was working would send all gay males to her. “They would say, ‘I am not working on no faggot.’” She would defend them because she didn’t understand it. The hardest part of her job, belief it or not, are the clients! “I have to be patient because a lot of people come to you not knowing what they want.” She doesn’t like to recreate work, she wants to create the vision. “I am an artist first.”

If you are an up and coming artist Temptest wants you to never think that you have reached your max. “This is something you have to work at daily. Don’t just do it for the money, you have to have a passion for it.” The next stop for Tempest is owning her own chain of tattoo parlors.

Her favorite tattoo she created thus far was for a friend whose mother died from breast cancer. Tempest did a coy fish with a breast cancer ribbon. “After she finished she looked at it and immediately started crying.”

To contact Temptest, please email her at @PhoenixRising00.




Come REIGN with us! Subscribe FREE for a limited time! 7

Real Spit-Girl Talk-Real talk Lolly Prince We have all heard the expression used to metaphorically describe the power within the human tongue. Over and over again, there is a negative connotation when explaining the way we use our tongues. Aside from any sexual innuendos, the list is pretty extensive, from spitting venom or speaking ill of things or people around us to describing the tongue as a dangerous weapon; such as a sword or knife with the ability to cut deep. From the jilted lover who says “I wish I never met you” to the messy mistress who says leave that bitch or I’ll tell her everything”. Words can pierce our souls or breathe life into a dead end situation. Our tongues are valuable tools that provide us with the ability to communicate with one another. Our tongues and the way we use them separate us from any other creature. So why is it that we misuse it or cut off this ability when confronted with tough situations? A few weeks back while attending Sunday morning church service, I heard a message regarding the conversations that we carry with one another. The speaker honed in on the fact that yes…. We often have “conversations” with one another but in order for us to see meaningful growth in our relationships, careers, social lives etc, we must partake in “fierce conversations”. When I heard the term,” I wasn’t sure how to swallow the information given to me until given a few examples of the phrase. The word “fierce” threw me for a loop. What does he mean by fierce? After listening for clarity on the word, one example struck a cord with me and helped to define the phrase further. The expression was used to define a tough conversation between two people struggling to find common ground, or a conversation withheld because there is no one ready to tackle the issues that may arise so the conversation doesn’t exists. It maybe a conversation we have in our minds… “ I really want to know…but I’m scared” we say….It may be that gray area between lovers, that unspoken conversation about your lifestyle with your loved ones, that anxiety filled conversation between your boss who holds that new position your interested in but you refrain from inquiring. These conversations or lack there of can be defined as fierce conversations. How many times have you put a hot button issue on the back burner because you were afraid to bring up a subject that may have created some friction or made you, your partner, coworker, or friend uncomfortable? How many times has that issue popped up later and you wished that you had spoke about it before it became a crisis within your relationship? Often times in relationships we are afraid to speak about

those “pink elephants in the room;” in fear of what the other person may feel. We are afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings and much more content with carrying the unsettling feeling around ourselves. Fierce conversations are necessary because they give power and action to the idea of evolution within our relationships. When we choose to have these fierce conversations we face issues head on and deal with what stands in the way of our progression either as an individual, within a relationship or both. Often times it may lead to an ending, a beginning, or healing. That fierce conversation may be between STEPS to initiate a mother and daughter, best “fierce conversation” friends, lovers, and/or supervisors and employees. Start the conversation off with a positive piece of information to the What ever the case, we listener or a compliment (i.e. “I must not be afraid to have really appreciated dinner tonight these conversations. babe…everything tasted great!” Or Bring up an easy conversation that

Fear is something that will allow room for more chitter holds us back from our chatter… “ Hey did you see the true potential. Take a step news tonight? That was crazy in the right direction and right?” spark that conversation. Start with a subject that Insert the issue or the source of your “fierce conversation.” Hey you feel comfortable hun, I was wondering how you felt speaking about with that about (insert issue). person. It may be something as simple as a compli- Finish off the conversation with a ment on a new hair cut or positive tone” I really appreciate how much you appreciated you being honest with me, I don’t the way dinner was pre- agree but I understand.” pared. Then layer the conversation with the fierce or This process can be repeated until important issue between you receive the desired outcome which is ultimately to have the the two of you. After you conversation you have shelved for lay out the “negative” so long. comment finish off the conversation with a positive ending. This is referred to as the sandwich approach by many communication specialists because you place the issue in between two positive pieces of information which may soften the blow for the listener. It may sound odd but give it a shot, it just may be the end to an everlasting silence on a subject that has been at the tip of your tongue for quite some time and far too long. So the next time you have a burning desire to speak with someone about something… understand that there is a reward for you on the other end in the form of spiritual freedom. Fierce conversations remove transitional boulders on the road of relationships. Without them there is no change, no forward motion, or progression, so gather your thoughts and encourage necessary parties to engage in those fierce conversations with you. 8

The Privileged Gardener

I Call Myself What I Hear Deneen Robinson The names. Oh, the names. Can’t you hear them – at work a name, at school a name, at church a name, everywhere a name. I was discussing some of the words people use to describe themselves with a dear friend last week. I must confess, I was not prepared for the response I received. She said, you know that is something to be curious about because sometimes ‘I call myself what I Hear’. After my initial shock because my perception of her was immediately changed. I personally found this to be quite intriguing because most of us – if we are honest would not admit such a thing. We are called so many things – and the names are not always positive. Yet, this idea holds some merit. Research says that if we repeat an action for a certain number of times, it becomes our new habit. We know the stories about the kids who become adults and ACT BAD because they have been CALLED Bad for so long that they believe it is true. What I find interesting is that we catch hold to the negative expressions a lot quicker than the positive ones – that’s for another day. So why do we answer to names, phrases other than our given name? In my opinion, it is one of the these three reasons – a. I am unsure of who I am b. I trust in the people who are significant to me more than I trust in myself c. I value the opinions of the certain experts So what does it mean to not know oneself? You are not grounded. You are subject to be swayed by whoever is important to you in the moment. Scripture tells us that we should be people who are planted – people who are sure of what we believe so that no matter what may come our way, we will not be moved. What I do or don’t

do is not motivated from without; it is motivated from within. How you see me or what you call me; especially if it is contrary to who I understand I am should get no response. As people of color, our family and significant familial relationships are so very important. These are the places we go for protection, reassurance and support. We trust the people who have guided us – to know us. When these become the places where I hear names, words, expressions in reference to me (because I trust) I will begin to respond if not in verbal acknowledgment, my behavior says ‘ I call myself what I hear’. In the world we live in, we have what we are called opinion leaders. These are the go-to people. As someone who has worked in HIV for such a long time, In some arenas, I am the resource people use when they have questions or an unsure of some HIV related issue. So I appreciate the need for individuals who are deemed experts based on their own study and the recognition of their peers. The caveat is this – each individual is still responsible for verifying and matching up what they are told based on other resources. And when it comes to identity issues, the word from the expert much always be matched up with what I believe to be the truth about me. We have to remember that some of the loudest voices are not people who advocate for us despite the fact that they may even look like us. Or worse, people who have praised us until they learn a new manifestation of our truth – then we become the abomination, the faggot, the bulldaggar, the sinner, the unloved. The good news is clear – the constant voice of our loving God does confirm our truth. We are loved, overcomers, winners, victorious, a royal priesthood, the head, triumphant. There is not voice greater than that. If you are going to call yourself what you hear, call yourself that!!! As you are living out your truth – check this out: ▪

*Image retrieved from Google Images 9

DOWN SIZING: HOW I LOST A WHOLE PERSON McQueen lost 127 pounds on her own! Vonnie Spiv Try this new weight loss pill, order premade meals today, I lost 80 pounds in 6 weeks…We have heard it all-from the newest diet pills to smoothies. REINA worked out with the infamous Dallasite, Dishambra “Dee-Baby” McQueenm who has gone from blub to stud, to find out how she did it.

It was the state fair of Texas and McQueen and all her friends were enjoying the atmosphere. They decided to get on a ride together. As the riders were getting ready for their mechanical adventure, the engineers were going around and locking in the bars for each McQueen defines in shape as person. When it being healthy without a size came to attached to it. Overweight she McQueen, they defines as when you become could not get the uncomfortable with yourself in bar to snap beyour size. cause of her size. She couldn’t fit and had to get off the ride. The embarrassment is the fuel that motivated her to lose 127 pounds. McQueen started her health-capade in November of 2008 weighing in at 310. Now, the weight loss guru is at 176 pounds. How did she do it? It was a lifestyle change backed by hard work and determination. “I wanted to go shopping and wanted to wear certain things and couldn’t find it in my size,” explains McQueen. “I also had some health problems because of my weight.” With herself as her support system, she began to transform her life and looks. “When I started my weight loss, I had to distance myself from friends. I also kept the image of what I wanted to look like in my head,” says McQueen.

and soda. “I ate nothing but lean meats, veggies and drank a lot of water.” This means cutting out some of America’s favorite foods like hamburgers, fries and cherry pies. “I haven’t had a burger in 3 years. At first it started out as a diet but now its everyday eating for me,” exclaims McQueen. There has been a vast change in her life from 310 pounds to 176. McQueen can recall when women would not approach her or even speak. Like Mike Jones says, “Back then they didn’t want me. Now I’m hot they all on me!” For her, she can even see a difference in the customer service she receives at retail stores. “Before I would walk in and no one would help me. Now, men and women ask if I need help.” According to her, she is the same person inside as she was before, but people were too shallow to see it. The hardest part of the weight loss process for McQueen was not having a professional to guide her. She learned everything on her own and believes the process could have been easier with help. Her advice to anyone who is struggling with weight loss is to find something that motivates you. “You can’t lose weight because someone else wants you to. Find that one thing that motivates you and stick to it. Build an image in your mind of what you want to look like and keep it in the front of your mind. Stick to your diet and workout. You might not see it immediately but stay with it and change will come.” Check out Dee-Baby McQueen on her Facebook Fan Page at Dee-Baby Weight Loss or on Youtube at iAMDEEBABY.

Before anything else, she started working out. She would do cardio 2 times a day 7 days a week. This included the Elliptical machine and running stairs. Next she changed her eating habits. McQueen stopped eating bread, sweets, beef, pork,


SOME OF DEE BABY’S FAVORITE EXERCISES WASHBOARD ABS Position yourself as you are going to do a sit up. Your back should be at a 90 degree angle while your feet are gripping the ball | Lift your legs up while squeezing the ball | Hold this position in the middle, fully extended then back to the start position | Do 3 sets up 15 to start defining those abs

SHOW THOSE GUNS All you need for this exercise is a chair and free weights | Start in the push up position with your feet in the chair while gripping the weights | Fully extend into a complete push up and start over | Start out light with 2 sets of 10 and work your way up

6 PACK NOT 2 LITER Start in a traditional sit up position while holding at minimum a 10 pound weight | Keep your back at a 90 degree angle while turning only your torso to the left in a rowing motion | Then turn to the right, torso also in that same motion | Once you have rowed to each side that completes one set | To get rid of that 2 liter, complete at minimum 4 sets of 15

Photographer: Vonnie Spiv


SANDRA VALLS Vonnie Spiv Is there anything she can’t do? From producer to comedian; the talented and hilarious Latina REINA of Comedy sat with us to talk about love, life, and laughter.




Reina: I know you get this question a lot and I am everyone wants to know so let’s get it out of the way. When did you realize you were a lesbian? Sandra: I was living in NYC at the time attending a musical theatre school (No! No lesbians there!) when I met her. I’d see her in the halls at school and we’d wave and say ‘hi’ and stuff. One day she asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink. I said yes. She said, ‘You know I’m a (whispers) lesbian.’ I just smiled; chuckled, and I was like, ok. ‘So what.’ She said, ‘Let’s get some beer and go to the rooftop of my building. It’s such a beautiful night.’ There we were on a breezy April night on 73rd and Broadway overlooking the beautiful Manhattan lights, drinking Bud Light and expressing our dreams of Broadway stardom someday. Then, she began to inch closer and closer to me. I moved. She did it again. I moved. I was clueless. I mean, she was wearing a coat and it really wasn’t that cold. Finally, she was as close as can be and she turned around. Her face only inches away from mine. And then, in the softest silkiest voice she asked, “Can I kiss you?” I froze and yet my mind was spinning 100 miles a minute. I thought of nothing and everything at the same time. What would my mother say? What do I do? Oh my god she’s so hot! What are my friends going to say? When else am I going to get this chance? Am I going to hell? How am I…what if….Then my mouth formed words not thought by me but by my fear….“Ok. But don’t tell anybody.” Before I could breathe, her mouth was on mine. Oh my God, my mind, heart, cells, soul EVERYTHING spun around and around and around in a dizzying frenzy until EVERYTHING shook itself together… place….where it was supposed to be all along. That’s when I knew. Reina: When did you actually come out since realizing and accepting are two separate things? Sandra: Not for a long time. I had a really, really tough time with the guilt I felt about being gay. I was a “born again” Christian at the time and really thought I would go to hell if I ‘gave in’ to this life. I did a lot of soul searching and finally started coming out to my family and friends little by little. They were all amazing to me. I came out about a year after my New York experience. The ironic thing is that in coming out and walking in my truth ….THAT’S BEING BORN AGAIN. It shouldn’t be so traumatic! Love is love and it’s never wrong. This is why I am out in my comedy. Why I do what I do. I don’t want anybody to go through such inner turmoil as I went through. I hope through my comedy to make a difference.

Reina: October is national domestic violence month and REINA really wants to bring more attention to same sex domestic violence relationships. What are your thoughts on domestic violence within the lesbian community? Sandra: It makes me sick to my stomach. Domestic violence is wrong in any community. I just don’t understand why anyone would cause such pain to another person; ESPECIALLY SOMEONE THEY LOVE. There’s no excuse for it EVER! Abusers are the worst kind of cowards and I feel sorry for them and the karma they’re piling up. What people have to realize is that it doesn’t always come in the form of blows and punches. It’s psychological, verbal, and emotional as well as physical and you have to learn how to recognize the signs. I know I didn’t recognize the verbal/emotional abuse signs when it was happening to me. I just thought, “oh well, she’s very depressed right now and is very stressed with the loss of her job. Oh well, she’s just the jealous type. She has insecurities because her ex-boyfriend abused her so now SHE has abuse issues.” Weeks turned into months of abuse. I thought I was doing the right thing by staying and ‘helping her’. I mean, she threatened to kill herself if I left. And that kept me trapped! I still can’t believe I allowed someone to treat me so badly. I never thought it would or could happen to me. I lied to myself and made excuses for her. Well, that’s bullshit! It is WE who are going through tough times with them. A tough time that NO ONE deserves! That is not love; that is anything but love. By the time you know it, you’re deep into it and don’t know how to get the hell out. BUT YOU’VE GOT TO GET THE HELL OUT! You have to put yourself first, no matter what. You are the Queen of your world; la Reina! Friends and family, if you see it happening around you, speak the hell up. Yes you ARE involved. And if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. It’s been years since this horrible time in my life. I have done work on myself, my life and my soul and continue to nurture and honor myself. And now, I have attracted to my life a beautiful, kind, giving, motivating, inspiring, positive, nurturing relationship with an amazing woman. And I am grateful.



Reina: How did you get started as a comic? Sandra: Years ago, I was in a relationship that was on the rocks and unbeknownst to me, she had signed me up for a stand-up comedy class as an early Christmas present. We ended up breaking up and she was all, ‘hey what about that comedy class?’


Please! I was so distraught after the break up, I didn’t want to go to a comedy class! Who the hell wants to laugh after you’ve been dumped! My best friend Chris convinced me to go. ‘Girl, she took all your friends. Just go to the class and make new friends.’ He was right. I went to the class all negative and shit and actually really, really liked it. I thought, ‘Hmm, I get to vent about my shit, make you laugh and you’re going to pay me for it?’ Yes! A new career was born. I love what I do. Thanks ex-girlfriend who shall remain nameless!



own thoughts and fears get in the way. Our life gets in the way. Our moods get in the way. Our fears get in the way. My mother passed away 5 years ago but she was very ill for a number of years before she passed. That was THE most difficult time. When you just feel like crying and hiding under the covers but you have to go out and make people laugh. Damn, that was hard. I would tell myself, ‘there’s someone in that audience that has it just as hard or harder than me and they need to laugh too. Ok here I go,’ and that made it so worthwhile. To truly acknowledge that you’re creating value in someone else’s life and, in turn, in yours… that’s turning poison into medicine. That’s creating true human revolution and that’s why we are here on this earth.

Reina: How has being a lesbian impacted your career? Sandra: You can never go wrong with being true to yourself. Good comedy comes from a very personal place; from what’s going on around you and how you perceive it. I joke about what I know. My life, my partner Jackie, my kids. I can’t say it has hurt my career but it has definitely been challenging. People are still very ignorant. ‘Oh she only jokes about gay stuff. No it’s not a gay show so can you gay it down?’ No one ever says, ‘oh he only jokes about straight stuff.’ People sometimes tell me, ‘You know, you can be mainstream if you really wanted.’ LGBT is mainstream! We walk among you. A lot of straight bookers still look at me as ‘the gay one’. I am what I am. This is what I joke about. If you don’t like it, change the channel. Don’t come to my show. Love me for who I am, not for who I am not. Reina: Is it harder for a woman of color to make it in this business? Sandra: I feel it’s hard all around. What makes it harder is ignorant people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘No, we already have a Latina in the lineup.’ Yes and you also have 4 WHITE PEOPLE IN THE LINE UP!! Why only one Latina? Or ‘yeah we already have a woman in the line-up.’ AND YOU ALSO HAVE 4 GUYS IN THE LINE UP! Wow. Reina: What was the hardest obstacle you had to overcome and how did you do it?

Reina: What is the best part of your job? Sandra: I’m making people laugh! What’s better than that? I get so many emails where people tell me they saw me on TV and my crazy jokes got them through a rough week or a break up. I’ve gotten emails where people who live in I-hate -gays, USA have come out to their parents; their husband! All because they saw me act a fool on TV. People have told me that my jokes have gotten them through cancer. Wow! I am humbled. Reina: What advice would you give to aspiring comics? Sandra: You’ve got to have a thick skin to be in this business. You have to have a lot of self-esteem and confidence. You absolutely have to have spirituality!! I am Buddhist and believe that we are all here for a reason; that everything happens for a reason. I believe that we get what we put out and we have all the potential in the world right inside of us already. I believe that there’s room for everyone because everyone is unique and brings something different to the table. ‘Do you and don’t worry about everyone else or why they’re famous and you’re not. Or why did they get the job and you didn’t.’ Be persistent-Never give up-Never retreatMove forward, even if it’s an inch a day.

Sandra: Well there are two obstacles really…One of them was and is myself and the other was the death of my mother. We sometimes don’t realize how many times our


8 Ways to Beat Stress 1. Spend Some Time in Silence In our high-tech world, we are surrounded by and immersed in information—streaming in via television, e-mail, voice mail, fax machines and pagers. Information overload can become a detriment to your health, knocking you off balance and creating a sort of artificial dependence upon these stimulations. So make time for yourself, and take a break from the info-stream every day. 2. Reconnect with Stillness Every day, devote a little time to take yourself out of the "busyness" game. First, eliminate all forms of intrusion. Then close your eyes, breathe deeply and let your thoughts float downstream like a log carried by the river. 3. Pursue Your Passion Activities that absorb you completely will slow your brain waves and put you into that "zone" in which internal chatter is stilled. It could be bird-watching, cooking, hiking, biking or riding, painting, writing, sewing, gardening, photography, working with animals. Physical movement is important—it opens the chest, lifts your mood, curbs food cravings and lowers blood pressure. You'll also sleep better at night. 4. News Blackout Take a voluntary "news blackout" on a regular basis— stop reading the newspaper and watching television for one day, a week or longer. A constant supply of

"bad news" isn't healthy for our bodies—our cells are designed to take in joy, not disaster! 5. Relaxation Response Here's the technique: Repeat a simple, neutral word such as "one" for several minutes. For even more profound physiological changes, use a word or phrase with meaning to you, such as "Shalom," "Om," or "Hail Mary, full of grace." Then close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, as you say your word or phrase silently as you exhale. When stray thoughts come by, gently release them and continue repeating your phrase. Do this 10-15 minutes each day. 6.

Massage or Bodywork

Getting a massage on a regular basis can help to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and promote muscle relaxation and emotional release. 7. Cry A River Crying can be good, here’s why: Deep sobs open the chest and diaphragm, releasing bound-up energy. This helps to free your heart of muscular tension. A good cry also enhances oxygen delivery to the cells and stimulates release of specific neurochemicals in the brain that promote relaxation. 8. LAUGH! Rent a classic comedy film, or tune in to "Nick at Nite" or the Comedy Channel. Rent a tape of your favorite comedian. Information retrieved from wellness/stress-management/eight-ways-to-beat-stress8.htm

*Image retrieved from Google Images



She was very sweet in the beginning and it seems like the more she got attention, the more she started treating me like crap. It went from what I thought were lovers’ quarrels, to being shoved around and things being thrown at me. I loved her and when I love; I love hard. All I could think was she will see what she’s doing and change. She was off cheating and when I would leave she would beg me back. I would let her down my selfworth. I stayed being scared of never being loved. I finally came to realize that I had to be something because she wanted me no matter what I will go thru. I have my life and, my kids, at the end of the day, so who cares what anyone thinks. I will live for my kids and Domestic Violence Resources continue lovNational ing me. I was never offered any resources to Local help me leave. My attacks were considered assault and not domestic violence; seeing as I was gay, they (the police), never even pursued it because of that. I had a sprained ankle, two black eyes that left me blinded; 4 bruised ribs and a busted lip. She tried to shoot me; pistol whipped me in front of my baby. I can remember me protecting my baby holding him under me while getting kicked in the ribs. I laid there listening to him cry out ‘mama no gettin hit in the face’. I never let him go, I knew if I did, me and him would be gone.

Gayle Bell Vonnie Spiv

“What Did He Hit You With? The Doctor Said” Shame Silence Not He She …You don’t have to beaten to be loved the therapist said It was never physical – at least bruises fade -hearing you called out your name ‘fat pig’ ‘why did I even bother with you’

The following passage is the experience of a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. For reasons of confidentiality; the interviewee will not be identified.

I prayed for peace, strength, and to walk away, and He gave me that. My neighbor saw her running to the car and my baby crying. She had left the door open and {my neighbor} peeked in and called the police. All I had was me. The only family I had was against the relationship, and didn’t even answer till the hospital called. I don’t have flashbacks till I hear stories or see movies; and I’m like, ‘damn, that was me’. But when someone goes through anything I’ve been through, I share my story and I offer help, shelter, transportation, whatever, because I wish someone would have been there for me regardless of my sexual orientation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, the following organization offers assistance: LGBT Family Violence Program: 214.540.4455 http:// The goal of the Family Violence Program is to ensure that all survivors of intimate partner abuse, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can access and receive needed services without fear of discrimination or lack of compassion. Resource Center Dallas' Family Violence Program promotes self-autonomy, safety, and long-term independence. All our services are provided free of charge. 16

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Individual Crisis Counseling Support Groups Advocacy with other service providers and agencies Case management to assist with safety planning, legal/medical arrangements, employment and longterm independence. Assistance with obtaining Protective Orders. Information and referrals for shelter, medical, legal and counseling services. Educational seminars, presentations, and public outreach. Advocacy with Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice personnel and agencies. *Chrystos “Dream On” Copyright 1991 Press Gang Publications Writer’s experience

The rate for same sex domestic violence incidents is close to that of heterosexual relationships. Approximately 30 percent, of queer couples experience domestic violence within their relationship. There are four types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual and social. Psychological According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center (DVRC), psychological or emotional abuse either precedes or accompanies physical abuse. Some of the signs include isolating from social contacts, humiliation in front of family members, others, blaming the victim for own misfortunes and mistakes, yelling, hostile jokes about the victim’s gender, and insults.

Physical Physical abuse starts relatively SuckHER Punched small and slowly manifests itself. Vonnie Spiv Abuse could be pushing, shoving, hitting, choking and using objects to I don’t know when it started or how it started. inflict pain.

But when it came, it was a fury of hell. I met my first girlfriend in college. It was a match made in heaven or hell as I came to find out. We both played sports, lived in the same dormitory, and she had that southern girl swag about her. She was my best friend, lover, and protector.

Sexual DVRC states sexual abuse is the use of emotional, psychological and physical violence in sexual relations. This includes: forcing sexual contact, intercourse, using blackmail in sexual relations, using sex as a re-

I can’t recall the first time she hit me, as it is all a blur in my memory. All the pain runs together when I think of the person I was back then. The abuse became a regular part of our relationship. If she didn’t hit me, I thought something was wrong. She showed me love by hitting me, and without it I couldn’t breathe. The abuse wasn’t just physical, I could handle that. But the mental abuse still haunts me today. “I just get so mad because I love you.” “I don’t know why I do it, I need you, don’t leave.” What a horrible person I was to make her hit me. What the fuck was wrong with me? I am the reason she cheats; I am the reason she lies; I am the reason she hurts me! I was isolated from all my friends and family. No one knew I was gay, let alone being abused. The whispers in the hall trailed as I walked to class with my head hung low. “Why the hell would she let another women hit on her.” “For all of that she could be with a man.” I was only allowed to have the friends she wanted me to have. I thought it was cute she was jealous and wanted me all to herself. But when I reached back for support, no one was there to catch me. I was falling and my screams for help were muffled by the darkness.

ward or punishment, and rape, including between spouses. Social Social abuse is creating an environment where abuse can easily occur. This means playing on gender based roles, gender based glass ceiling, and objectification. Local resources for domestic violence in the LGBT community are often scarce and many traditional domestic violence services lack the training, sensitivity, and expertise to adequately recognize and address abusive LGBT relationships. A queer individual who is being battered must overcome homophobia and denial of the issue of battering. It is frequently incorrectly assumed that lesbian, bi and gay abuse must be "mutual." It is not often seen as being mutual in heterosexual battering. Telling heterosexuals about battering in a LGBT relationship can reinforce the myth many believe that lesbian, bisexual and gay relationships are dysfunctional. This can further cause the victim to feel isolated and unsupported. The LGBT community itself is often not supportive of victims of battering because many want to maintain the myth that there are no problems (such as child abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc.) in these relationships.

I was ashamed with nowhere to go. What kind of person allows themselves to stay and be hurt? She was all I had and I couldn’t bear being without her. I was dying inside and I wanted out; through a blade of a knife… “I love you.” Someone just whispered they loved me while I was contemplating how worthless I’ve become. It was so subtle yet ignited something in me to run. The abuse lasted 5 years. When I look in the mirror, I can’t see the girl I was before the abuse. I see the women I became with every concussion, bruised face, and scar. I carry the weight of that relationship…I can’t wrap my mind around what happened and why. She came into my life like Katrina destroying anything in her path. But I have the last laugh. She tried to break me, destroy me in every aspect. But I am beautiful, successful, and stronger than ever.

*Images retrieved from Google Images 17

The Scarlet Road –Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transwomyn and our Allies In The Sex Industry

In a perfect world, we would not have this stigma; but we

Gayle Bell don’t live in that world. In a perfect world we would offer skills

We know the numbers, as of 2000, worldwide; the sex industry was a 57 billion dollar business annually. The faces are not numbers. Beyond the generalizing of sex workers as drug addicted, disease carriers; sex workers are women at work. They have families, lives, and hopes. There are faces to the numbers. For confidentially, unless noted, I have changed the names of some of the interviewees to protect their privacy. According to The Dallas Prostitution Initiative “The number of individuals engaged in the sex trade industry throughout the United States is unknown. Street prostitution alone in the City of Dallas results in several thousand arrests each year. More than 1100 individuals, both men and women, have been identified by Dallas Police as engaging in prostitution at four major truck stops along the I-20 corridor. …In 2007, 3342 prostitution arrests were made in Dallas county. According to, “---Once politically voiceless and isolated from other women, sex workers have organized over the past 25 years for support and political action. The experiences of the women interviewed do not live within the margins, no easy stereotypes. This topic has divided same gender and bi-sexual women between those who feel that it objectifies women and those who feel that it is their body to do with what they will. As a same gender loving woman, I want harsh laws for predators who sell women and children as sex slaves. I also want to honor the women who are doing sex work because they need to make a living. I have seen some of my same gender loving sistas turn their collective noses at a woman who strips for a living. In a business older than the daughters of Jezebel and Salome, there is a holier than thou attitude felt among some same gender loving women that the woman who works in an adult industry is a traitor to the cause. In 1976 at 16; a runaway with barely enough street smarts to stay alive, I went to the only thing I had been trained for. My teachers were the winos, homeless, and street women I aligned with for safety. “Baby, always carry a razor in yo titty, never know when you got to fight your way out a corner.” “Don’t get no pimp with a heroin habit, he’ll turn you out, get you addicted to that shit, so you can pay off his high”. I hit the bricks with a fake id, and ten dollars, into juke joints, near overpasses, and truck stops. I got out of the business I learned some hard knocks lessons as only the streets teach. For the women who are seen as shadows on street corners, clubs, and call girls, the sex trade can still be a very dangerous business. When I spoke with Chrystal; (a pseudonym), she was going to physical therapy because her last trick abducted, beat and robbed her. “I was afraid to go to the police. I’m on drug related probation and I had relapsed. I was lucky to be alive. I plan to go back into rehab and kick this habit for good.”

training and re-entry into other job markets for women who want out of the business and offer business loans and legal advice to the women running their own sexually oriented businesses. I met Linda at several writing venues. She shares my love of poetry, and erotica; her fiery poems are filled with honesty, through several conversations we shared our street stories. I was thrilled that she was the first woman to respond to my request for interviews. Me-Do you feel that there is a double standard in the rainbow community to the type of work you do? Linda-I haven’t really associated with many people in the adult industry, as in I don’t know a lot of other women who have worked in the adult industry. The work I found was through online postings or from friends who know men who will pay for things. Most of the woman I do know who have worked in the industry are also bisexTo stay creative and inspired ual and we’ve teamed Chisolm created her own network up to make money becalled Safe Sane Sensual cause I felt like it was Sensorium of Sexuality w/S. more appealing to just Denise Chisolm. “I promote my about every client for own educational workshop. I an opportunity to be make a point to try to stay as with two women. updated as humanly possible on Me-What do you all the newest test research and dream of doing to stay findings in the field.” creative/inspired? Linda-Oh, and don’t I dream! I’m a Pisces so my mind is always on what may someday happen. My newest dream that is becoming a reality is to travel with my girlfriend when our lease is up next April. We are going to hit the road---and write a novel about our adventures. ---Of course there will be money making ventures since my companion is of like-mind as far as using our assets to hustle a living. Like I said, men love to pay for being with two all-American curvy goddesses such as ourselves! According to S. Denise Chisolm, Sexologist; there is a definite difference in the way women of color are perceived within this industry. The one thing that has happened automatically when I say I am a sexuality educator is that my credentials are checked immediately. “where did you go to school?”, is the first question I’m always asked. Then, the series of ‘ let's see what she knows’, questions follow after that. ‘So what do you think about this that, and the other”” “are you licensed”?... and it goes on and on and on until it’s felt that I have some reasonable ability to educate others regarding sexuality and the quality of my presentation is worth listening to. However, I’ve seen the same crowd that needed convincing of my abilities respond totally different to a presenter that was not a woman of color” *Image retrieved from Google Images 18


Yes, I would hope so. I was inspired by Prince, a man of self discipline. Producing and directing a lot of his own work, so growing up I taught myself how to play the drums and keyboard. And in the school marching band I played the saxophone, snare drum and bass drum. What is your inspiration? Looking at average everyday people be successful with a dream and a goal inspires me to drive even harder towards to my dreams and goals of being a successful Producer and DJ. Do you write your own lyrics? Yes, however I don’t consider myself solely a rapper. I like to make the beats, mix the tracks, and write the hooks. I know where I want the song to go. I’m a producer first. DJing second and then comes writing.

Hometown: Dallas, Texas Age: 27 Genre: Alternative: Hip Hop, R&B Fav Color: Blue Fav Artist: Prince Celebrity Crush: Alicia Keys One thing you can’t live without: Music, and Art

Interesting Fact: Believe it or not, I have a really nerdy side to me. I find myself really interested in the Earth, our galaxy, and science. Is Twisted E. your real or stage name? Twisted E is my stage name. I formally went by 429Prince, but decided to change the name because it didn’t have any real meaning behind it. I wanted something that fit me. What is the significance? Twisted E was originated from three things. First being, how my mind works. I’m a busy individual. I do it all from producing, writing and DJ’ing my own music. Two, anything that I do I try to make sure that it is nothing that you’re used to. It’s going to have that twist to it. And of course the “E” comes from the beautiful name my mother gave me. LOL When did you realize you had a passion for music? I was exposed to a variety of music at an early age ranging from Blues, R&B, Hip Hop and so forth. Music played a major role in my life. It was a great escape for me to get away from what was going on in my life. Can you play any instruments?

Where do you see your music career going? I don’t see myself having any limits so I feel as though I will go to the top. I will do all that I can and more to make sure I accomplish the goals I have with my music career. How do you feel about out lesbians in the industry? It’s always great to hear about other lesbians that has accomplished their goals and continued to be themselves. There’s nothing worse than striving so hard to become successful and then have to change everything that makes you, and become something you’re not. How are they represented? In the mainstream industry I don’t feel as though "out" lesbians are represented right. The reason I'm saying this is because a lot of times people take us as a joke, or think we're just a show and not real talent. We have to work even harder to prove that we want to be taken seriously, and our work is not meant just for a show it means just as much to us as it does to a "straight" person. What projects do you have going on right now? I’m currently working on a mixtape that’s going to feature a lot of exclusive and underground music as well as some of my work. It’s a must have mixtape. Stay on the look out for it. What’s next for Twisted E? I like to keep people guessing and surprised about my next move. So I’m going to keep telling everybody to keep following and supporting my music. Look out for upcoming events I have planned. Facebook/DJTwistedE Twitter@DJTwistedE For Booking Email 19

Losing Cairon

Vonnie Spiv

Being a parent is one of the many gifts given to a family. Many members of the LGBT community fight for that right to have kids or keep their children every day. Jeanette Irving-Young sat down with REINA Magazine to discuss her battle with the court system for her son, 12 year old Cairon. Jeanette came out as a lesbian to her mother and grandmother at age 17. She was living with her dad and didn’t feel safe claiming her sexuality, so she did what was expected and had a boyfriend. While in college, she found out she was pregnant and she and her girlfriend decided to take their relationship to the next level and raise her son as a family. They moved to Texas and Jeanette started living exclusively as a lesbian. “I made sure earlier on that his father was in his life. I would take my son back and forth to visit him in Louisiana,” Jeanette explains. At age 8, Cairon began having problems in school so Jeanette reached out to his father for help. Cairon moved to Louisiana and he outted Jeanette to his father. When his father asked about her lesbian lifestyle and she refused to answer, Jeanette was served with custody papers. “He never cared about custody until after he found out she was a lesbian.” Being a parent isn’t always roses and wine. According to Jeanette, parenthood has its highs and lows. “By low I mean losing physical custody of my son. The highs are teaching diversity and acceptance about different people.” Once in the courtroom, the judged ruled in favor of Cairon’s father. Jeanette believes one reason is because the law in Louisiana where the case was held, explicitly references lifestyle. “My son began to say negative things about being a lesbian and

the lifestyle. It seems like it was taught to him,” expresses Jeanette. According to the mother, her lawyer dropped the ball with her case. Cairon’s father has two DUI’s and has been arrested twice for domestic violence incidents. “We were in court for 30 minutes…long enough for me to admit I was a lesbian.” The courts never talked to her son during the proceedings. “It is unfair and that’s what pisses me off more than anything. I wasn’t given a chance,” exclaims Jeanette. The lawyer also didn’t specify visitation so she hasn’t seen her son since April. Since then, she has found a new attorney to fight the judgment. The whole process has been very stressful for Jeanette. The father doesn’t let her see him for Christmas, doesn’t help get him back and forth for visitation, and has even broke a cell phone Jeanette bought him for them to keep in touch. “It has been a great struggle and forced me into a mini evolution. I have bouts of depression and I write to deal with my emotions.” Jeanette recommends that parents do research and take the necessary steps legally to protect your family. “Prepare for the worse and expect the best.” *Image retrieved from Google Images 20

Julie Quaid, a 30 year law veteran, of Quaid & Quaid, LLC, gives advice on this case, and best practices that lesbian or same sex couples should take into account when dealing with children.


Is this type of case common?

The Texas Family Code charges our judges with being gender neutral and the court must look at the facts in each case to determine what is in the best interest of the child as its primary consideration not sexual orientation. In Texas, the Courts have broad discretion to determine what is in the best interests of the child but there are guidelines for it to consider in determining access and possession:

I would not say this is a common case, but it certainly presents issues that seem to be becoming more prevalent. More often, we see cases where one spouse comes out, causing the end of a marriage and the children are caught in the middle of the other spouse’s fears, anxiety, anger and hurt feelings. Another issue that is becoming more common is lesbian couples using a male friend to conceive a child in their relationship without taking the necessary steps of actual sperm donation and implantation and when the relationship breaks up, the biological mother uses the man to step in as the “father” in an attempt to exclude the non-biological mother from access and possession of the child. Thankfully, it is less common than it used to be for a Judge to determine conservatorship, possession and access mainly on the basis of sexual orientation as it appears might have been the case from the facts presented in this case. Without reading the court transcript of the case, if one exists, from which this particular fact pattern was taken, I cannot say with certainty that the Judge decided solely or predominantly on the basis of sexual orientation but I can definitively say that the fact that the Mother was not given any possession periods with her son is extremely troubling and something that should be rectified immediately. Q.

What are the laws surrounding custody for a lesbian who had a child with a heterosexual man?

The laws are the same for a lesbian as they are for a heterosexual woman. Until a court order results from a properly filed suit affecting the Parent Child Relationship, each parent has the same rights to conservatorship, possession and access of the child. Once a suit is filed, the public policy of Texas is to: a) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; b) provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the child; and c) encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child.

a) the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs and best interest of the child; b) the circumstances of the parents; and c) any other relevant factor. Q. What could she have done to prevent this from happening? The first thing I would advise any parent in this situation is to seek counsel with a lawyer who is experienced in family law. If she had done this, before sending her son to live with his father, she would have been advised of the risks inherent in relinquishing possession in this manner. A parent with primary possession of a child should be advised of the fact that if they send their child to live with the other parent for a substantial period of time, that may result in the loss of their legal right to primary possession of that child. If the child was acting out in school, counseling with a therapist experienced in dealing with children was indicated to help determine the causes behind his inappropriate behavior and to give him tools to deal with the problems he was experiencing at that time instead of simply handing him over to his biological father’s care who may or may not have been involved in his life before that point. Additionally, generally speaking, a conservator needs to show a stable, safe, loving home environment with appropriate boundaries being in place for the child. If one of the biological parents is not involved in the child’s life, the other parent can bring a suit to terminate the non involved parent’s rights. All single parents need to be aware and show the Court they are mindful of protecting their children from the disruption that occurs when multiple romantic interests are introduced into their children’s lives and need to make certain the children’s needs are their priority.

“He never cared

about custody until after he found out I was a lesbian.”


What should her lawyer have done to prevent this from happening? 21

The lawyer should always make certain that the child is seeing a therapist experienced in dealing with children and the issues they face. That therapist can testify to the Court regarding the parenting being done by the lesbian mother and the harm that might occur to the child if this bond is broken. If the case is tried to a jury, the lawyer might make a motion in line to exclude evidence concerning the client’s sexual orientation as being irrelevant. The lawyer should also have an expert witness testify regarding the psychological effects, if any, growing up in a lesbian home have on children and the psychological effects, if any, of growing up in an alcoholic and/or verbally abusive home. The

lawyer should have requested an alcohol assessment of the father as well as a psychological evaluation. Additionally, if the particular Judge is known or suspected to be biased against homosexual parents, the lawyer could have filed a Motion for the Judge to recuse himself. All states have different procedural rules however, in Texas, if the access granted varied from the standard possession order, the lawyer should have timely requested the Judge give written findings of fact that supported his ruling and stated the specific reasons for the variance. For more legal advice from Julie Quaid, please visit

5 Best Practices for Same Sex Parents 1. Talk to a family lawyer who is experienced in dealing with same sex couples to find out what their rights are under Texas law and what can be done proactively to alleviate the risks inherent in any court fight before making any decisions that could impact your rights to your children; 2

Make certain a lawyer explains to them alternative ways of resolving their disputes (and indeed planning for the future even when the relationship between the couple is still a happy viable one) such as collaborative law instead of having their custody suit go through the courts. The Collaborative Process has numerous advantages for same sex couples 3. over more traditional approaches: i.

the issues are discussed and decided in a private forum instead of being open to the public 4.


the resolution can be more creative than is typically found in a court based resolution;


the parents themselves get to formulate the agreement rather than having a decision man dated by someone who does not know them or their child; 5.


the pace of the process and timing are decided mutually by the parents instead of being dictated by the court system; and


the collaborative process is more conducive to structuring an agreement that encourages healthy co-parenting in the future. The litigation process typically degenerates into mud slinging instead of focusing on the child’s best interest and the future which will necessarily require cooperation between the parents in order to assist the child in growing up healthy and well adjusted.

Make certain both parents have legal rights to the children either through adoption or an agreed upon conservatorship; Develop a legal plan for the future - what will happen with the children if the same sex couple’s relationship falters. The Judge always has the right to override an agreement based upon “best interests” of the children but having an agreement that was prepared before the conflict occurred gives the Judge a good indication of what the couple really thought of each other’s parenting abilities before the failed relationship and court fight came upon them; and Avail themselves of the rights of sperm donor laws and surrogacy laws in the State of Texas.

*Image retrieved from Google Images 22

Hometown: Milford, TX Age: 38 Genre: R&B, Neo-Soul Fav Color: Dark Blue Fav Artist: Babyface Celebrity Crush: Sanaa Lathan One Thing you can’t live without: My family Interesting Fact: I still sing in the Sr. Choir at my church.

He is the driving force behind wanting to get that one big break. I want to make sure that whatever college he sets his sights on he will be able to attend. When I see him smile or tell someone to listen to his mom on internet radio every late night out singing, waiting patiently to hit the stage is sooooo worth it. Do you write your own lyrics? Yes, I do. But I am open to performing someone else’s. So, if you out there and you have something that fits my style please hit me up. Where do you see your music career going? I see myself opening up for other R&B artist and eventually getting the opportunity to be a headliner. I will accept whatever God has for me and my music.

Jay Wash Is Jay Wash your real or stage name? What is the significance? Jay Wash is my stage name. I used the first letter of my first name and shortened my last name. I just wanted to keep it as close as possible to my birth name. When did you realize you had a passion for music? I realized at a very young age my favorite song to lip sync to was Raspberry Beret by Prince….LOL. But I realized that I could actually hold a note while singing in my churches youth choir. The first song they let me loose with was “Please Be Patient With Me”

How do you feel about our lesbians in the industry? How are they represented? Honestly, you really don’t see lesbians in the industry. There has been more male artist to come out. And they are still doing quite well. It seems that with the female artist the label wants to try to conform them into something else just to sell cds. It is one of the reasons why I am hesitant about signing with a major label. I want to stay true to who I am. What projects do you have going on right now? I am currently in the process of completing my first solo project which will be titled The Gentlewoman. I am working with Frecklesthewriter and KashFlow Productions.

Can you play any instruments? Unfortunately, I can’t. I dabbled around with taking piano lessons but never followed through.

What’s next for Jay Wash? I just want to keep giving it to my fans the way I always have. Soulful ballads that you can relate to, make love to, make up to, and forgive to.

What is your inspiration? That is an easy one….my 16yr old son, Jairus is my inspiration. 23

The Barber Shop

Signature Cut: Mohawk Erika Tha Barber has been styling hair all her life. She was introduced to the trade by her father. “This was passion I had and gave up everything to go into this field,” expresses Erika. Erika is a triple threat because not only is she a barber and business owner but can style hair, braid, do lashes and quick weaves. “I can do a little bit of everything,” she exclaims. Erika believes there are fewer women in the barber industry because it is not equal. “I believe women chose to stay towards the more feminine side.” Erika has an extremely large client base that comes from all over-80 percent being male while the rest female.

She is able to sustain a large clientele because of her professionalism. “My whole attitude and demeanor are very professional. I try not to let my sexuality be a distraction.” Erika aspires to own a chain of barber salons and looks forward to taking up more training as far as cutting hair. “I eventually want to style for movies and celebrities,” mentions Erika. She has tons of confidence with her skills in the hair industry and knows not one person that won’t come in her chair and leave feeling beautiful. “I always keep a great spirit. Someone can come in having a bad day and you never know what you can say to make them feel confident.” Erika is located at LT'z Barber and Braids, 3504 Alta Mesa Fort Worth, TX 76133 and can be reached at 817-806-8493. Also check out her web space at 24

Specialty: Razor Cut Signature Cut: Mohawk Tracy J has been cutting hair since high school, but professionally for two years. Tracy J was in Job Corps and needed extra cash. So she went to WalMart and bought some clippers to cut her friend’s hair. To her surprise, she did a really good job and from there started cutting hair. “I originally looked at it as a side hustle but as I got older and wanted to be selfemployed, I decided to get a license and been doing it ever since,” explains Tracy. Cutting hair has become a passion on hers and didn’t even know she had this gift. What made Tracy want to go to barber college versus cosmetology, it is simple: LESS WORK! “Being a barber entails more cutting than chemicals. I can’t curl, wrap, etc.,” explains Tracy

Signature Cut: Taper Fade Tee, also known as Tee the Barber, started cutting hair when he was 11 or 12 during the era of the chili bowl. So you can image what the cut looked liked! “I didn’t know anything about a fade or style back then,” laughs Tee. Now, Tee acknowledges himself as the Fade Master. Cutting hair was his gift. He didn’t have to practice in school but went to get his license to become official. “I finally decided after I was laid off that I would do what I really loved, be my own boss and cut hair,” says Tee. Becoming a full-time barber was an escape for Tee. Prior to barber college, he was a manager in Corporate America. “I was tired of Corporate America; having issues with being judged because of who I was,” expresses Tee. Tee hit a glass ceiling during the beginning stages of his transition that never moved. At that point, he made a decision to make that change to career field of his dreams.

with a laugh. “It’s more time consuming being a stylist versus a barber.” When looking at the number of women and lesbian barbers, Tracy notices that there aren’t too many. “I know a couple of lesbian barbers but never explored why there aren’t more. But I do know many women barbers,” she explains. Her aunt had her own shop and she would sweep floors as a kid. “Females are the best barbers,” she announces for all those who don’t know. “It’s about the work you are putting out not how many [clients] you are getting in and out. Tracy wants to continue to build clientele and own her own shop. “It may take another two years but you have to put in blood, sweat and tears to be where you want to be.” To all up and coming barbers, Tracy says to always promote yourself. “Make sure you have clients not customers. Clients are faithful; customers may come to you once but may go to someone else the next time.” Tracy J can be found at King Kutt Barber Salon located at 3662 West Camp wisdom Suite 2081 in the Southwest Center Mall, formally Red Bird Mall.

“Always make In the barber world, Tee notices that sure your edge you see more lesbians in this field up is crisp. “ then transgender people, which could be for numerous reasons. But his clientele reflects a very diverse group Tee gets over the stereotypes of transgender men by being himself. “A lot of people have seen my cuts, so they like the work I do versus my appearance. I let my gift and professionalism speak for themselves and gain clients.” A lot of his clients know he is transitioning, but he hasn’t lost any clients to that. “I love to cut hair, love to make people look good. For someone to look at my work and be in awe of what I done inspires me.” If you are an inspiring barber or stylist listen up, well read up, Tee has some words of wisdom to help you through the process. “Being a barber or stylist you have to go above and behind your calling. My work reflects the price plus more. You always have to give something because I want you to come back.” You can find Tee alongside Tracy J at King Kutt Barber Salon located at 3662 West Camp wisdom Suite 2081 in Southwest Center Mall, formerly Red Bird Mall. Photographer: Christopher Morgan




The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, direct action demonstrations against police raids that took place in the 60s at the

tory when homosexual fought back against a government system that persecuted sexual minorities. Early homophile groups in the U

and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social movements were active, includ served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots. Information gathered from,_June_28,_1969



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e Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American his-

U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals

ding the Civil Rights Movement and antiwar demonstrations. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village,

Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson 27


Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson 29




P R I D E 2 0 11

31 Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson

Angie Harvey Vonnie Spiv She brings people out of the closet in a single speech. She motivates thousands of people in a given year and is a cross between your good girlfriend, a therapist and comedian. Personal Growth Advisor, motivational speaker-there is only one way to describe her. She is Angie Harvey! Angie is making big moves by delivering her first sermon this year, performing a marriage ceremony, speaking at Black Pride celebrations, expert TV appearances, hosting her own internet radio program, and much much more. Reina is honored to chat with Angie about empowering the community and enacting GROWTH. You are involved in the Black LGBT community, not only on a local level but nationally, how do you do it and why? After hearing that I traveled to over 20+ cities in the last year AND still held a full time job, people often ask, "How do you do it?" I simply say and believe that I don't have a choice. I couldn't keep my mouth closed if I tried to. I firmly believe that I have a gift that I'm supposed to give to all those who have a desire and deserve to GROW UP even though they think they are already GROWN. When you are operating in your passion and see a need there is something within you with me that keeps me going and GROWING. All I can say is that I love, love, love, love what I do. More importantly I'm making a positive difference in the lives of people, in their relationships, in their spirits and in the world. I’m fulfilling my promise and my mission to empower, educate, enhance, enlighten and entertain all those open to SHOWING UP to GROW UP. What is the most important element of your work? The most important element of my work is giving the opportunity for people to GROW UP, to show up and improve. I say that knowledge is power but it also great responsibility. I believe that my gift of engagement challenges individuals to at least consider the benefits of GROWTH. People only know what they know and my work offers various growth opportunities for everyone open. One of my favorite definitions of

open, is to be exposed and vulnerable to attack or question. This is a key factor why so many people don't GROW UP at the rate that they should; no one wants to be exposed or vulnerable. My work offers people the opportunity not only to consider growth but to incorporate knowledge and positive change into their lives. I know for sure and for certain that taking on this responsibility to GROW UP is what makes us GROWN and not only in age. How do you think your work has impacted the black lesbian community? The community and my work have entered into a partnership/ relationship that has brought a voice that was previously rarely heard. That we are present, growing, becoming more empowered, more motivated to grow, change and enhance every aspect of our lives speaks volumes about us individually and collectively as a community. I believe that my work, my passion plays a small part in that growth. One of the greatest impacts my work is having in our community is a greater sense of self, self-worth and self-respect. Our community is showing a proud presence in the board rooms, class rooms, hotel conference rooms and in the world. We are visible and no longer apologetic in our loves, passions, relationships, or our lives. I encourage people to talk about me behind my back and I draw folks in by promising that the time they spend with me will be the best 1 1/2 hours they will ever spend with another woman. Over all, I think that my work has sparked growth and those sparks have landed in the hearts, minds and spirits of folks and actually caught fire. I'm very fortunate to have a very strong passion to educate and empower people. Even bigger than that, I'm fortunate that the experience has been well received in the community and around the world. From the board room, class room, ballroom and hotel conference room, thousands of people sit before me open and eager to GROW. Hearing these growth stories and feedback is most exciting for me because I truly have a desire to have the knowledge be contagious. I give people permission to talk about me behind my back and I draw folks in by promising that the time they spend with me will be the best 1 1/2 hours they'll ever spend with another woman. Over all, I think that my work has sparked growth and those sparks have landed in the hearts, minds and spirits of folks and actually caught fire.


Tell me about your workshop you are hosting during Dallas Black Pride? This is my 4th year at Dallas Black Pride and I'm usually asked to do something centered on relationships. That's Not Love, That's Stupid! is the workshop I will be presenting this year. It's a workshop that I originally created for young adults - high school and college students. As I continued to facilitate growth around the country it was apparent to me that this workshop wasn't needed just for young people but all people. The workshop is interactive and encourages each participant to create a personal definition of love and then come to terms with some of the STUPID things done for love. I strongly believe that we can't avoid stupid things unless we are clear about what love should and shouldn't be. Most importantly, be able to openly discuss some of those things that are clearly stupid and that ultimately cause emotional, psychological, mental, financial and spiritual harm to one if not both parties in a relationship. Why do you think this workshop is necessary? This workshop is so very necessary because it gives people the opportunity to speak and hear some things that cause them

Angie Harvey founded Let’s T.A.L.K. – Together Acquire Lasting Knowledge with the hope of exchanging information in a variety of forums. She has done just that working with over 60 GLBT organizations across the country including HRC, International Federation of Black Prides, and National Black Justice CoalitionZuna Institute. Angela’s passion is made visible during her workshops where she educates, empowers, enhances, encourages, enlightens and entertains participants. She jokes that most participants “accidently grow” during her workshops. Angela’s creativity and desire to reach more people, has given her the ability to create numerous workshops that span age groups and bring people of all walks of life together.

to think, feel, change and positively grow. I tell people that you know something you're doing or saying for love is stupid when you don't willing share it with others. This workshop educates people on the importance of gaining knowledge, self -care, following your gut and being clear about what love is and what they won't love to feel like. We simply aren't effectively communicating with our partners about our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. One of my favorite and famous sayings is "You don't go from work to home but from work to work.” If you're not working as hard at home as you do at work then it's not going to work. In other words you have to be willing to do for yourself, your family and your relationship what you do (for money) for your employer, work, profession or job. For more information on Angie Harvey follow the links http:// and, and

Will the Real Lesbian Please Stand Up?, Come Out, Come Out Where ever You Are!, That’s Not Love, That’s Stupid! and Same Sex, Different Everything Else are just a few of the workshops that she has created that draws people out and keep them following her where ever she is speaking. Through Let's T.A.L.K. Angie Harvey hosted the first ever Black Lesbian Personal Growth Retreat. She continues to find ways to display her talents and expose others to the importance of emotional and mental wellbeing. Angie Harvey is currently working on her One GROWN Woman Show: Life Lessons where she will continue to creatively educate while keeping you learning, growing and laughing. 33

Can you FEELMORE Dallas? Vonnie Spiv DFW Pride Movement’s VIP Speaker Nenna Joiner of Feelmore510 came to the 2011 Dallas Pride Celebration to educate attendees on her business, the Adult industry, and HIV/ AIDS within the Adult Film industry.

than not folks say, ’That’s that woman that owns that ‘sex shop.’” The ideas surrounding pornography and novelty stores tend to examine the exploitation of certain groups. An important question REINA asks is how can Feelmore510 ensure they are

Nenna Joiner got started as an entrepreneur early on. As a kid, she grew up working in her family business, a chain of supermarkets name after her grandmother, Rita’s Groceries. “I never saw her working for anyone but herself. That’s when the thought of being a business woman prompted me as a kid to own my own candy empire!” As an adult, her empire wasn’t built in the grocery business, but rather the Adult Film industry. So what made her choose this market? She grew up watching porn and didn’t like everything she was seeing. Joiner was also a frequent caller to 800 Hotlines. “Man, did I get into quite a bit of trouble,” Joiner states while chuckling. “But, I wanted to see women on TV that were beautiful and really did not see any, that looked like me. So, the idea has always stuck that I wanted to be in the Adult Industry.” For Joiner, there is another side of the adult industry that most people won’t ever see-there is video as well as novelty. “I put a great deal of time into studying Video so that I could make a quality product. And, I did it!”

not exploiting a certain group that tends to be marginalized by mainstream, society? “I don’t think anyone would ever admit openly they exploit anyone, let alone women. I believe if you are on the outside looking in, it could appear that way but in my heart that’s not what I am going for,” Joiner explains.

The hardest part of getting started for Joiner, like most people, is taking that leap and investing everything you have in

Joiner hopes attendees of her workshop took a few key elements with them. The During one of Oprah‟s shows, „Gay in America,‟ I asked my first is that you, as an individual, must be Mom a subtle question, “Mom, what would you do if one of involved in order to your kids was gay?” Mind you I was about 11. After that, influence the outcome. Having a brickshe didn‟t watch Oprah again for another 10 years. and-mortar gives a great opportunity to reach those that don’t have access to such luxuries as access your dreams. With prayer and persistence, she was able to to the internet. “Having mobile/smart phones is great but get over her fears and start building her empire. really getting the impact of harm reduction information calls “I must say the ladies and fellas are very proud of me. I’m for in your face information.” The second element would be grateful for the continuous encouragement they all give me about the Adult industry. “Yes I shoot porn, but I won’t make on a daily. It’s always good to be a quality option for and in any differentiation like ‘Them’ or ‘Me’. We are all in this toyour community.” gether. Media can be used to harm as well as educate which is what I feel I’ve done with my previous movies.” There are negative connotations surrounding the Adult industry. “Given that I shoot porn as well as own an adult store, there could be light laugher when I pass by. But more times


Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson 35

Are You Crazy? Missta Brown

Gender Identity Disorder is a forced, mass diagnosis given to transgender people by a psychiatrist or licensed professional counselor as “approval� to physically transition with hormone replacements, have elective surgical procedures or legal change of name or gender markers in most states. This is a heavily controversial topic within the transgender community because of its relevance to transitioning and the insulting suggestion that all people of trans experience are mentally defected or delusional. There is also the argument that there should be healthcare coverage for all medical and surgical needs related to transgender and transsexual people classified as having a mental defect. At birth, we are all given a name influenced by gender that assigns a set of expectations of you in society long before anyone knows us, or before we truly know ourselves. This is done without inclusion or consideration that a person may one day choose to identify themselves contradictory to what was assigned to them. The suggestion that it is a mental disorder preset for not conforming to societal branding and tradition is alarming. This ideology is comparable to saying a slave has a mental disorder for wanting to be free, or the civil rights movement was a cluster of crazies for demanding equality and respect. Our social structure did not or does not accept or allow equality in all scenarios.


Anyone doing anything in opposition to the “the norm” would be diagnosed as having a mental disorder. The infliction of societies demand for conformance and its distaste for individuality on the basis of doing what is needed in order to maintain tradition is a societal disorder. However, if the diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria (GID) must be assumed, it should be treated with necessary medical assistance to bring the individual to a mentally healthy state. Medical insurance should cover all necessary doctor visits and surgical procedures, just as there is coverage for any other illness. If private insurance can’t be afforded, medical services should be available through state and government programs as well as an issuance of social security income, as is given for some people with other mental disorders or disabilities. Hormone replacement therapy alone has been psychologically and scientifically proven to increase a transgendered person’s mental health. Enhancement of body image that reflects how a trans person wants to see themselves and be seen in society increases their confidence and security. Which in turn decreases their chances of suicide, drug addiction, prostitution and promiscuity as is often the case with people out casted with low self esteem. People in society and the personal lives of transgendered people generally create and inflict the mental damage that is classified as a dysphoria, simply by not allowing equal rights to them or respect for them as the person and gender that they define themselves to be. There are men and women that are on the verge or have previously attempted suicide because of pressures of trying to live conventionally for the sake of maintaining love and acceptance from family, friends, lovers or gaining and maintaining employment. Daily, many transgender people endure stares and pointing fingers from strangers, harassment, discrimination, and most unfortunately for some, they become victims of rape, beatings or murder. Yet the people pointing their fingers in judgment, and killing us are deemed mentally sane. If that is the balance of justice in our society then maybe I am dysphoric…

DYSPHORIA By “The Gentleman” Daily glimpses of a false reality. None of these things I signed up for...missing my signature of approval. I'm done with this. Yesterday I stood with a razor in my hands staring at naked flesh, I've now chosen to fix this problem. I close my eyes and felt freedom as the blade slid across what will now become my chest. Sometime there after I opened them to see my work. only to find myself tied to a hospital bed, bandages on my head and false caretakers called family looking in through a window. Perhaps I finished before interrupted...I look down and although wrapped they're still there. This may turn out to be a little worse than when i tried before. You see this will continue until I am allowed to be me. Having this addiction, this wrong body affliction could be the death of me. they watch and label, they contribute to my tears and feed mercilessly my fears, but no one is here to help. No one cares. Others before me have walked where I stand...on this desert ridden, God forbidden path to be just a “regular man". I wish I knew where they gathered strength to keep fighting. How did they overcome, because I give up..the razor will be just above the shoulder and right beneath my will to live. Right now I feel death would be a better option. i can read between the lines of life and see the message loud and clear. If my presence were needed then my true body would actually be here...not the one they attempt to force me into. Internally I feel that life's a wrap. Why should I continue to live in disgust, in peril? Often I refuse to feed a body that fails to feed me. But the death of it will be the death of me.. coincidentally to let "her" live is to murder him forever. It's a foreign object, it's an unfamiliar face, it's a tumor in the most unwelcomed place. I hate it and obviously it hates me too. All the while people claim to know me, they miss my pain and still call me "she." A word that pierces to the bone. I hate myself, and at the same time I'm only trying to be myself.....My world isn't's filled with dysphoria *Images retrieved from Google Images


Vonnie Spiv The North Texas Knockouts (NTK) was started by Lacresia Webster-Gay and Shavonne “DJ” Gay in August 2010. The couple has been legally married for over 3 years and resides in Frisco, TX. The franchise football team was started because DJ played on two previous teams and was not happy with the way things were ran; but she still wanted to play. So the team was a birthday gift to DJ from Lacresia. The couple wanted to give women in the North Texas area a chance to play full contact football on the professional level where football was their only focus. The team was very successful in their first 2011 season making it to the first round playoffs. The last straw that pushed DJ and Lacresia Gay to buying their own football franchise was the management. According to the couple, the other teams were unorthodox and unprofessional. “For me, the dedication wasn’t there Football for Dummies: from the ownership,”  There are 11 people on says Lacresia. A player a field at a time from focused team is the difference that sets the each team Knockouts apart from  The field is 100 yards other teams. “We are long more hands on, a fam A first down is 10 yards ily,” states DJ. 

  

Each team has 4 downs, or chances, to advance 10 yards A touchdown is worth 6 points An extra point is a field goal after a touchdown A field goal is 3 points

The common misconception is that women leagues are strictly for lesbians. Lacresia explains that this isn’t an exclusive lesbian league but a lot of lesbians do play, as well as straight women. “Lesbians rule by a long shot,”

Lacresia joke fully states. Lacresia believes it is harder for women to break through a male dominated sport and be taken seriously. According to the franchise owner, the first thing people think is that she owns a lingerie league but this league is far from that. There was one game where a NTK player sent two of the other team’s player to the hospital.

fering free tickets to come and watch them play. “From that they are sold.” Lacresia has been disappointed to say the least from the support of the community. “I try to be supportive of other events in our community but I didn’t see that reciprocated this season. Because we North Texas Knockouts’ MVP are lesbian and black, I feel like Amira Ford people think we Nickname: Speedy were a joke,” states Position: Lacresia. Rushing Yards: 1000 Touchdowns: 18 “It is like you don’t Hometown: Brooklyn, New York get support outside Education: Bachelor’s of Communicaof the club,” adds tions from University of Albany DJ. Sports: D1 College Basketball Even though the support hasn’t been there, the Amira Ford currently works for the Boys NTKs had an amaz- and Girls Club gang intervention proing opening season. gram called Coming Up. They teach gang The highlights of members life skills, parenting skills, job the season include skills, and other tools to help them the contract signing change for the better. Working with of 42 people and young adults inspired her to created their first win. For T.M.E (The Motivational Experience) a DJ, it was the first program developed to helping motivate time the team ran young adults to create goals and teach on the field. The them how to reach them. team made it to the first round of playoffs before losing and had several individuals selected for the all-star game. The owners aspire to establish themselves as business owners and brand the team. “I want to expand into other areas but want Dallasites to know we *NTK+ aren’t going anywhere,” affirms Lacresia. Tryouts will be held for the North Texas Knockouts at the below dates and location. Please check the website for more information about the team, tickets, and tryouts. October 8th and 15th Glencoe Park 5300 Martel Ave Dallas, TX 75206

“The women want to make a point that we deserve respect and men aren’t the only ones who can play this game,” states DJ. The owners have overcome the biases of the game by of38

Hometown: Levenworth, KS. Age: 30 Genre: Female Fav Color: Blue Fav Artist: Jill Scott Celebrity Crush: Zoe Saldana One thing you can’t live without: My family Interesting Fact: My closet is color coordinated (I'm OCD) LOL

T. Hullaby Is T. Hullaby your real or stage name? What is the significance? T.Hullaby is my stage name. “T” stands for my first name, Hullaby is my mothers maiden name. When did you realize you had a passion for music? I was very young when I started to show signs of being musically inclined. My mother’s side of the family is very musical. Can you play any instruments? I dabble with the guitar and the piano but I'm no Alicia Keys. What is your inspiration? The thought of my music being therapy to someone other than me and being able to be a blessing because I have been blessed. Do you write your own lyrics? Yes, I write all my songs. Some of them started as poems and some were inspired by the actual track. Where do you see your music career going? I see my music career developing into something way more. I act and I'm in the process of starting a clothing line. My real passion is being a songwriter and I hope to start making moves on the backend of the music industry soon. How do you feel about out lesbians in the industry? How are they represented? We have to work twice as hard for being a lesbian and being a woman. We have some very successful women in the industry that are not out lesbians. I hope to be an example of success for younger women and men that are out. A well of encouragement and a sign of what can happen when you gain knowledge and focus on your purpose.

What projects do you have going on right now? I am currently working with some entertainment industry leaders in Dallas that are working to help Indie artist get their music place on movie soundtracks. What’s next for T. Hullaby? What’s not next for T.Hullaby, I plan to do it all one step at a time! WORLD HERE I COME Face Book Fan Page: 39

GO DEEJAY! SHE’S MY DEEJAY! Vonnie Spiv Lights flashing, bodies moving, energy flowing. Deejays are the pulse of any good party. Meet the hottest deejays in Dallas, TX. Talk Like A Deejay Deejays are Beat-juggling: Carefully mixing small portions of two records (or two copies of the same record) to create a new beat out of the preexisting rhythms. Bite: Copying the techniques another DJ has already used for a particular record. No-no #1 of Deejaying. Rane Serato: Music technology allowing DJs to scratch and mix MP3s, live. Scratching: Creating new sounds by manually moving a record under the needle. Tip: Hip-hop lingo for “in the context of.” “On a dinosaur tip...” = “in the context of dinosaurs....” Turntablism: Art of playing turntables as a musical instrument which involves both improvisation and composed routines. House Style: A style of disco music with a heavy bass beat, initially popularized in underground all-night parties held in abandoned warehouses

Not Pictured: DJ Passion 40

DJ Laid Back Favorite Party Track: Rick Ross Here I am Laid Back has been spinning and mixing for the last 6 years. She started off burning CDs for friends then moved to house parties. She ran across an entertainment company who wanted a resident deejay and her professional career started from there. “Joe’s at the Brick was the first club where I ever deejayed,” she recalls. Her deejay inspiration like most others comes for the hip hop genre. “I was influenced by the old school deejays like Grand Master Flex. He is experienced with a lot of knowledge.” As for lesbian deejays, DJ Mary Mack had some effect on Laid Back. “I like her because she pushes her music and is about her business.”

DJ C. Wade Favorite Party Track: Classic New Orleans Bounce For the last 5 years, DJ C. Wade has been gracing the entertainment scene with her unique style but has been deejaying since middle school. She can recall having house parties with her always providing the music. Wade has always been musically inclined. When she wasn’t banging on various household objects to annoy her mother, she played for her church as a drummer. Growing up, she admired the infamous DJ Jazzy Joyce, a female east coast based disc jockey. “She was one of the coldest females deejays, a pioneer of her time.” To Wade, Jazzy Joyce set the standard for those that followed. “She has gone from doing parties to being on the biggest hip hop station in the country.” DJ Premier, out of Houston, is one of her favorite deejays because to her, he introduced another style to the game, while representing the South. “He put on a lot of Texas musicians,” she states. A party can go from a 100 to 0 in a matter of minutes if the music is not perfect. Wade creates the “life of the party” vibe by strictly responding to the crowd. “It is an automatic thing

Knowing what to play, when to play it, is an important skill for any deejay. Laid Back finds the right song by honing in on a couple of factors. First, it depends on the type of crowd, age, and race. Next she feeds off the energy of the crowd. “I might play something to see if they [crowd] will interact with it and go from there.” She emphasizes that as a deejay, you have to see how the crowd vibes to the music. “You have to continue to read the crowd.” She believes it is hard being a more masculine lesbian female deejay because people outside the LGBT community tend to be more biased. “But know that if you are a good deejay, that shouldn’t stop you.” To all aspiring deejays, Laid back gives some great advice. “It might start off slow but don’t give up. Network, socialize, and get ya music out there,” she expresses. “That’s what I had to do and now they on me! They will think you can’t do it because you are a woman but you have to show them.” DJ Laid Back has a mix tape, DFW Battle of the Sexes, dropping this Fall. Check out her Facebook page for more information.

and soul driven. You start playing different songs and as you [the deejay] start getting into the music, the more the crowd does.” For Wade, it is all about the energy the crowd put outs. There are not many female deejays, let alone lesbian deejays in the industry. “As women there are limitations with any male dominated industry. To be a masculine lesbian is even harder. If you are not half naked in the booth, people don’t want you.” So how does Wade overcome this barrier; it’s simple. “I believe true talent speaks for itself.” “For all aspiring deejays- no matter what, if you see that goal and you are truly passionate about it, stay focused and remain persistent in what you are trying to do in your craft.” Check out DJ C Wade on twitter @djc_wade and on Facebook!


Deejay Zah International Deejay Favorite Party Song: Everyone Falls In Love by Tanto Metro and Devonte Deejay Zah has been in the disk jockey business since 2004. Like many other deejays, she started doing house parties. She got her first big professional break when someone that owned a club hired her to be the resident deejay in Indianapolis, IN. “I had a one hour crash course to learn how to use DJ equipment before I played for a party of 300. This changed my deejaying from being just a hobby to a job.” Being an African Lesbian was not always easy for Deejay Zah, who lived in the closet in Zimbabwe. When she arrived in America, she was very relieved because now she could live her life as a lesbian without fear of being prosecuted by the Zimbabwean Government. According to Deejay Zah, in Zimbabwe being a lesbian is a punishable crime and citizens can actual kill you for being a lesbian and not suffer any consequences. Growing up, Spinderella had an influence on creating her career. She grew up listening to Salt-n-Pepper, old school, and especially hip hop where spinning was more common. “I used to say, ‘wow she is really raw. ’ I looked at her and said ‘wow, I want to do that one day.’”

Knowing the right song to play is a crucial part of the job. How does Zah do it? “I watch the crowd, and will leave the deejay booth, walk around and ask people want they want to hear and are they having fun.” The element of customer service sets her apart. She wants the crowd to be happy, entertained, and having fun. Zah’s typical flow has her opening up the dance floor with 90’s, then on to Caribbean music, next R&B and hip hop. Being a lesbian in America doesn’t compare to the obstacles encountered in African and Caribbean societies. Because she is out of the closet with her sexuality some people have turned her down or not attended her events. Despite that Deejay continues to make a name for herself in international clubs in Dallas, TX and on the Airwaves. She overcomes these obstacles by having a positive attitude and giving her best. “I love music and entertaining people. I want my music to tell a story.” Zah wants all women, not just lesbians, to know that, “in this world, it is not easy being a female deejay because it is male dominated field. Keep your head up, don’t lose faith, and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing and do all you can. Trust me, you will be hired.” To her African sisters she has a special message. “If there are any lesbians living in America from Africa, don’t worry about what they say about you. No one will bring you to death or put you in jail, this is America, be who you are and don’t worry.” For more information on Deejay Zah, please check out her website:


DJ Passion Favorite Party Track: Frankie Beverly and Maze: Before I Let You Go DJ Passion didn't realize what a gift she had because deejaying was a secondary profession for her. She works in the dental field during the day and is the life of the party at night.

about is my career, and try not to mix business and personal. It feels even better to know I didn’t sleep around to get in my position.”

For all those aspiring deejays out there, Passion leaves some words of the Seeing a female group like Salt-n-Pepa and Spinderella holdwise. “Computers ing their own in a male domi- “My style is whatever the people and software are nated field inspired Passion. She want. I am a Juke box; the human convenient, but I also was influenced by Grand- iPod. “ do recommend master Flash because according learning from the to her, he is the originator with mixing and meshing sounds origin of deejaying betogether to create a new sound totally. “He created somecause if the computers fail, thing that is an invention of its own.” your mind and heart will know what to do.” To create the life of the party feel, Passion feeds off her Passion takes pride in not only being a deejay, but being a crowd. She can tell by the age group and venue what needs to mother to a 10 year old and full time student. How can she do be played to have a great time. “I know when to switch in to it all? “It was very hard and I sacrifice a lot but my family aldifferent genres. It comes natural.” ways comes first.” Passion knows the perfect recipe for the perfect party. “Seeing the crowd, the drinks are in their system at a certain time and then I pump up the vibe.” For Passion, the industry is hard for women period, because the entertainment industry is male dominated. “Most of the guys are disappointed because of my sexuality but all I care

For booking information,





Photographer: Christopher Morgan *Images retrieved from Google Images

Chase Smith | | 6825619363 43


Ms.HipHop-RedDrum Hometown: Alexandria, La Age: 25 Favorite Color: Black Favorite Artist: Ms.HipHop-RedDrum Celebrity Crush: Keri Hilson One thing you cannot live without: GOD Interesting Fact: I was homecoming queen.

Iam MsHipHop-RedDrum Significance behind stage name: The importance of my stage name stems from my chest and what I feel on the inside, which is Hip-Hop. It's almost like breathing. When did you realize you had a passion for music? I realized I had a passion for music when I was just a toddler, dancing to pretty much whatever my mom played. Even becoming my refuge as I began to get older. Can you play any instruments? Absolutely, very fluent in playing the trap set (drums) What is your inspiration? My inspiration is nothing more than the struggle, it inspires me to succeed, grow, inform, and rise. Do you write your own lyrics? Most Definitely..Word for Word. Where do you see your music career going? Hopefully through the rooftop, but it's definitely bigger than fame. I've been given the gift of Speaking, and I want nothing more but to inform individuals. Through music, I’m hoping to

become an activist. How do you feel about lesbians in the industry? How are they represented? As far as the music industry is concerned, if you are a lesbian as long as your femininity exuberates through your music, you will definitely be accepted, however for those of us who have tom boyish ways, we have to make sacrifices and changes or independently grind. We're just not the image they would like to portray so they say..... What projects do you have going on right now? The "Alive on Purpose" Mixtape is in full motion, and I’m currently in the process of working on an album. Do stay tuned. What's next? Well I’m currently signed with PB Ent. an independent record label based out of Dallas, TX CEO Young Gem...and there's so much to come....albums, shows, videos, websites etc...Just prepare to make Ms.Hiphop-RedDrum a household name. Follow her on twitter at 45

Vonnie Spiv


Legend, owner and creator of Legendary Faces Cosmetic, has always been into fashion. As a little girl, she would design and style her Barbies. She would even mix her chapstick with food coloring to create fabulous lip glosses. As a self-taught make-up artist, she was a single mom, going to About Legend school while still pursuing Legend is a self-taught fashion. A friend asked makeup artist who learned her to help grow a fashthe art of beauty at a young ion conference and she age. When realizing ethnic decided to come on as a women can wear different designer. She put everycolors of makeup and still thing on the back burner keep their beauty, she beand put everything into gan researching and studying the beautiful hand works fashion, and has never of her favorite makeup artist looked back. Sam Fine, Pat McGrath, Bobbi Brown, Kevin Aucion, Why the Fashion and Beauty Industry and Alexis Vogel.


Her career went from Accounting to Law to Fashion Designer and now Make up artistry. When not traveling to promote her cosmetic line, Legendary Faces, she can be found walking or running for AIDS, Breast Cancer Awareness and Leukemia.

Legend loves the element of enhancing your beauty with make- up and fashion. Legend explains how someone can take a tshirt and dress it up and that IS fashion. “Fashion and beauty are the two things that will never go out of style,” states Legend.


Legendary Faces is not just a beauty line but also a business that specializes in commercial, editorial, film, runway, wedding and personal makeup and makeovers. They also provide private makeup lessons, airbrush makeup with tattoo cover ups, and wardrobe and personal styling.

Legendary Faces Cosmetic is an all-natural beauty line that offers an array of products including but not limited to:

Legend is a true Philanthropist and in 1998 she started an organization called “Women of Essence” which is a beauty day for women and children of the Salvation Army. Today she has formed yet another organization “Sweets 4 My Beauty” a program that caters and addresses (B)eauty, (E) toquette and (B)usiness to young women. She has over 10 years’ experience in beauty and the fashion world industry.

The self-image of Black women played a vital role in the creation of this cosmetic line. “Black women have natural beauty and don’t need a whole lot of makeup. Despite the media’s depiction of beautiful, we have more than enough icons to show different.”

Legend has used her skills to bring hope to women and children. She created Women of Excellence and Sweets 4 My Beauty, and participates in initiatives targeting HIV and Abuse. “A best friend of mine, aunt, and other close friends have fallen victim to HIV. I am here for a purpose and want to inspire women.” From her community endeavors, she has acquired friends and happiness while encouraging women. “It makes me feel good to put a smile on someone’s face and say it is going to be okay.”

When creating her empire, Legend wanted to create a line that caters to African American women. Her trade mark product is her custom made foundations. “With other lines, I had to mix two different foundations to get the right color,” remarks Legend. With her foundation, you don’t have to do that. For her, there is a disconnect between some major companies and the Beauty market for Black women. “They are not interested in catering to black women because they have catered to other markets for so long,” Legend states.

Face, Eye and Lip Primers Concealers Customized Foundation Mineral Powders Matte Vibrant Bold Eye Shadows Eyeliners Lip Lacquer Lashes

Legendary Face Cosmetics is in the works of launching nationwide. For more information on Legend and her products, check out her webspace at or contacting *Images retrieved from Google Images



Montreal, Canada

San Francisco, CA Also known as the gay capital, San Francisco welcomes the LGBT community rainbow painted houses, flags and much more. From the Museum of the African Diaspora to the infamous Castro neighborhood, this city is your one stop shop for all things queer.

Mexico City, Mexico Mexico City is intense, vibrant and LGBT friendly. The city has been a leader in gay rights. Food and drinks are cheap and transportation inexpensive. The metropolis has various “barrios� or neighborhoods that give you history, tradition, and variety.

The Village--or "le Village"--is the epicenter of Montreal's gay scene. There are tons restaurants, shops, bars, nightclubs and cafes that dot the area with rainbow flair. Travelers are impressed by the number of queer owned and operated businesses.

Barcelona, Spain Barcelona has been a favorite for gay travelers for over 20 years. The warm climate, beaches, culture and nightlife host the perfect combination for a European getaway. Barcelona gay pride takes place in June.

Sydney, Australia The population of Sydney is over 3 million and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is Australia's largest tourist attraction. Most of the city's lesbian attractions are located in its trendy areas of Erskineville and Leichhart.

*Images retrieved from Google Images


Photographer: Christopher McKnight MUA: Krystal King Stylist: Ebony Johnson



PEACE, LOVE & LIPGLOSS Fall into Fashion: Face Forward Chase Smith With fall quickly approacing, turn over a new leaf with your best Arch Appeal. Your eyes are the windows to your soul and your eyebrows are the curtains, and no one wants lop sided, sheer curtains! I am giving you some tips to ensure you are putting your best curtains forward. Among services like waxing or threading to help make your brows look their best, use brow powder or a brow pencil to fill in sparse areas. This gives you a nice polished look after you have gained control over any unwanted hair. When grooming; know that your brows should be within two shades of your hair color. If you’re blonde go with a deeper shade like taupe, or for darker hair such as black; apply a dark brown tone.

Tug of War: Threading vs. Waxing Threading eyebrows is becoming the method of choice for many over waxing, and a great alternative to those with Rosacea, thin or sensi-

tive skin. Threading uses a string to remove hair and doesn’t remove the top layer of skin like waxing. So even people that use Retin-A or take other medications that conflict with waxing, can still get threading. Threading has little to no contact with the skin. Waxing, however tugs at skin when the hair is removed, and can irritate the skin making it extremely red. Most waxes are used warm, but can be heated up too much and burn the skin resulting in extreme pain and scabby skin. There's no chance of getting scorched with threading. Waxes are based on ingredients, while threading eyebrows there’s no need to worry. Unless you’re allergic to cotton that it is. Quick Tip: Your brows need to be shaped according to your face structure. For smaller features, thick brows can add age and tend to be overwhelming. To open up the eyes add a more defined arch. Remember: There are “3 Perfect Points” to a Perfect row; a Start Point, an Arch Point and End Point. Check with your technician to make sure your points are perfect. Beauty Buy: Benefit Cosmetics Beauty Zings, $30; Beauty Professional: *Images retrieved from Google Images

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Top Costumes for Halloween Vonnie Spiv

Don’t be a bore and wear the same Halloween costume you had in the back of your closet forever. This year, spice it up and watch the heads turn and girl-wolves howl. Vixen Pirate—This is perfect for any girl any size. The structure highlights the best curves of a girls’ body while leaving something to the imagination. This costume can be found at It also comes in plus sizes. Eskimo—This look is super easy and affordable and can be made at home. Just add fur to an old dress in your closet or pick up a new one from a thrift store. Add some sexy snow boots and you will get the look! Girl Scout—On my honor, I will try, to be the hottest girl scout this Halloween. This has to be one of the sexiest costumes yet. It usually comes in two separate pieces in either green or brown. Add white knee highs and your sash from your Brownie days. You can also keep this and wear it later, if you know what I mean. Queen of Hearts—This is a great costume for someone who wants to add a little flare to their typical Halloween costume but not go all out (and spend tons of mula). This one piece dress can be ordered through numerous costume sites as well as

Peacock—Couture meets Candid with this number. If you want to turns heads this Halloween, then this is the one that will do it. Spartan—So you think sexy is overrated, and you want to add some grit to your costume, check out the hunky Spartan look. It is a way to get the 6 pack you always put on your New Year’s resolution list without all the work. Joker—Who doesn’t love a good comic book character? The Joker is a favorite and never gets old. If you don’t want to wear a mask, look into face paint that will achieve the same affect. Drunk Sorority Girl—They have all the fun, and get all the boys…AND GIRLS! To add a twist to this costume, make a parody out of it. Cut up a shirt and put KEG on it or Do You Wanna Make Out? Get a little skirt and a blonde wig and your look is done. Simple & Funny, you can’t go wrong. Ninja—Embody the spirit of Bruce Lee with this costume. You can order a full set from for less than 50 bucks. Watch Enter the Dragon for a few cool moves that will definitely impress the ladies and add a sword for a bit of pop.

*Images retrieved from Google Images 51


What is Street Freak Fashion you ask? Street Freak Fashion is local people who are fashionable by creating their own style. They mix prep with urban, vintage with modern, to create something totally different. Check out these local Street Freaks and what they rock. 52

Top 2011 Holiday Gifts Ideas For She & Her For Femme:

Chloe Infused w/ Peony, Lechee, Fressia, & Magnolia petal oils; Chloe aroma is light, sweet, and delicate, Just the way you want her. This fragrance will be sure to have your honey happy for the Holidays! Gift sets can be found at your local SEPHORA, on and off line!

Louis Vuitton Lock-it BB Frame Handbag Black, sexy, and next to diamonds, a woman’s best friend. New for the 2012 season, this LV signature bag is the epitome of class. It can be found at your local Louis Vuitton Boutique or select Neiman Marcus locations. For Studs & Gentleladies:

NVICTICA Russian Diver Chronograph Watch A classic timepiece to match your sexy dimepiece. For all my Studs looking for a way to enhance their wardrobe with a touch of swag, this exquisite timepiece will not only keep you on track of time, but it will also cause a few headturns. Wear with caution, because this bad boy is hot! Check it out at most fine jewelry retailers.

HTC EVO 3D If the latest and greatest is at the top of your wish list, then maybe the Mrs. Claus will check her naughty/ nice list twice this year. The new HTC EVO 3D is the perfect gift to reward good behavior. This phone is so fresh, its not even available in the US as of yet. It is first set to release in France; however the exact launch date and price have not been made known. It’s the company’s first 3D smartphone featuring a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of storage, a 1.3 MP front-facing camera, and dual 5 MP cameras just to name a few. Its certainly better than receiving a lump of coal. Made for Two:

KING SPA & SAUNA Ladies & Gentleladies, if the hustle and bustle of the holidays have you frazzled, refresh your mind, body, and soul at Dallas’s own KING SPA & SAUNA! It features uniquely designed sauna rooms for you and yours to relax as well as featured spa/massage treatments. Conviently located just north of Downtown Dallas off Royal Ln. & I35 N., King Spa makes the perfect gift for the holidays. Check ‘em out!

*Images retrieved from Google Images 53

Neo Harlem Renaissa nce

Vonnie Spiv This blossoming of African-American culture in EuropeanAmerican society, particularly in the worlds of art and music, became known as The Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance (1900-1920’s) established a sense of community and empowerment for African-Americans not only in New York, but also around the country. In addition, it provided a rare opportunity for whites to collaborate with black intellectuals, social activists, educators, and artists in an attempt to transform a largely segregated and racist American society. Instead of using more direct political means to achieve goals, civil rights activists employed the artists and writers of their culture to work for the goals of civil rights and equality. Jazz music, fine art, and black literature were all absorbed into mainstream culture, bringing attention to a

previously disenfranchised segment of the American population. While the Renaissance as a historical movement is over, the effects it had on modern society were far from finished. The artistic and political movements of the 20s live on in American culture in the form of new musical expression, award-winning writing and, most importantly, the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. These events, and the role Harlem would continue to play after the Renaissance, would change the American cultural landscape forever. The Neo-Harlem Renaissance is a series that will look at modern day artists, writers, poets, activist and intellectuals, to gage how a new age of this creative class plays a role in mainstream society. *Information taken from


Elizabeth Goree Author To empower women to accept self and use whatever talent that we have to make this world a better place. To bring literacy back so that children can use their minds as canvases and not buildings, or their bodies. To feed the hungry-Spiritually, Creatively and Physically Elizabeth Goree comes from a long line of creativity; her mom sang Opera and Dad is an artist. Since the tender age of 7, she has been receiving awards for her work. Not only is she an author, but a bitchin’ blogger. Goree speaks on real life situations like life, society, beauty, dating, and more. The first piece she ever wrote was a high school paper discussing the first amendment. She received a small excerpt in the Houston post which gave her the affirmation she needed. Goree is inspired by everything around her. Life, pain, ups and downs are things people experience every day and that is what she touches on. As a child, Barbara Jordan and Nikki Giovanni inspired her creativity. As an adult, Elizabeth Gilbert is her role model and favorite writer. Plus they have the same initials so it was fate. “I picked up one of her books and fell in love. I loved her journey and how she found herself. Her life has been parallel to mine,” explains Goree. When reflecting on the Harlem Renaissance, Goree knows it is the reason she is here today. “I love it because it was a time where Blacks were coming out and stating, we can compose music, we’re smart, and we are something worth listening to.” Being a part of the Neo- Harlem Renaissance movement, Goree wants to shows girls it is okay if you look different than the women you see in the magazine. For Goree, being a modern day intellectual means she is not following what the media throws at her. “I am not moved by the shiny things in life, to have a discussion with me takes a higher order of knowledge.” Goree hopes her work will be an empowering tool and will open people’s minds up that you don’t have to be singer to be successful in the arts. “I want people to know you can get there without comprising who you are,” mentions Goree. Elizabeth just released her new novel, When I grow up, I want to be Sane? The main character learns early on that she is different from her surroundings. The story centers on her coming out and the obstacles and victories associated with that and live in general. For more information on Elizabeth

Goree and her projects check out and

When I Grow Up I Want To Be Sane Excerpt MY GENESIS I have the best life in the world. Everything always goes as planned. I smile every day, all day. I mean there are picturesque mountains all around me. The grass is evergreen, and the water is crystal clear. I can taste the clean air every single morning, as I quietly enjoy my perfectly roasted coffee on my specially made deck, to watch the antelope. Does this sound like the visions of a post card to you? Well, that’s exactly what it is. I happen to be looking right at it. (sniggling) I picked one of these babies up the last time I went somewhere of importance. Let’s not try to figure out when that was. It’s been a long time, a really long time. In real life (mostly), my name is Guinevere Elliot. I live in Houston, Texas in an area where I can honestly see cows to one side of me and skyscrapers on the other side. It’s flat and sometime, though they don’t know it, country. It is summer here 9 to 10 months of EVERY year. Because of where we are positioned, closely to the Gulf of Mexico, it is usually humid and that’s never worked too well for me. Humidity in theory is supposed to be good for you. But not so good when you are a plus sized sweat magnet insistent on wearing an afro, with severe sinus issues. I am certain you can see how that could be a problem. Of course, being a woman is hard enough work. I mean, we are estrogen filled, passionate, beautiful, driven creatures whose minds can be made up in stone on a Monday and by Tuesday it be a different story and/or feeling. There is no blue print; there is no road map to help us get from point A to point B. So we use what we have. Do you know what's even harder than being a woman? Liking, loving and dating women. But we shall come back to that, as I am sure your mouth is already watering, yearning for more juicy details. I am always against the grain, when it is hot, I am cold..And when it is cold, I am hot. That is my life’s story. And yes, my parents did name me Guinevere. We all have very regal names, reminiscent of royalty in a different time and place. Well, at least that is my take on the matter. And because this is my book, we’ll go with my opinion. Ok?...Now look at your neighbor and say “Ok”.

*Images retrieved from Google Images 55

Zedde believes the Harlem Renaissance opened the way for black writers. “That movement legitimized black writing in the eyes of the world – including the different communities of black people – and ultimately made it possible for many of us to be published and read today.” She humbly would not classify herself as a “new age intellectual.” “I’m simply someone telling stories of a slightly different sort than existed before,” explains Zedde.

Fiona Zedde Zedde has been writing for as long as she can remember. When she moved to the states at age 11, she used writing as a way to cope with the change from Jamaica to the US. “I started publishing in high school which made me realize my potential and that I can share this with other people,” says Zedde. Her first published work was a science fiction piece set in an out of time location with a Medieval feel. The creatures she wrote about had wings like dragon flies and lived isolated in a castle far from the village. Zedde explains that this was a metaphor for isolation and fearing the unknown around you. Her genre has no particular boundaries, as she has published 5 novels of lesbian erotica romance and her new book is young adult fiction. All of her story lines do include a lesbian character. Zedde’s literary work has received an overwhelming response. “I have readers who have been very faithful and supportive. My readers are people across different demographics who want to read my words...simply amazing,” says Zedde. Her inspiration for her stories comes from all aroundconversations with friends and strangers. “Life is a rich wealth of information for writing. As we go through things as people, the only way to do it is to put it in a book and hash through it there,” expresses Zedde. Michelle Cliff is one of her favorite artists because to Zedde, she can pull you instantly into that character and you’re emerged. You can see, smell and taste everything.

When looking at a modern day movement similar to that of the Harlem Renaissance, Zedde has a very unique view. “I don’t think a movement like that will come again. It was so specific to a time when black voices were silenced and our lives were on the margin of the margins. In a sense, we’re in a middle of a movement now with urban black authors publishing more, the black communities reading more, and black youth seeing that it’s possible for them to craft their own stories for people to read and empathize with. It may not be the kind of movement that shows the community in a politically correct light or uplifts the race like W.E.B. Dubois would have preferred, but it is part of the black experience.

Fiona Zedde is a transplanted Jamaican currently living and working in Tampa, Florida. She is the author of six novels - Bliss, A Taste of Sin, Every Dark Desire, Hungry for It, Kisses after Midnight, and Dangerous Pleasures – as well as three novellas (Pure Pleasure, Going Wild, and Sexual Attraction) published in the collections Satisfy Me, Satisfy Me Again, and Satisfy Me Tonight, respectively. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies including Necrologue: DIVA Book of the Dead and the Undead (DIVA), Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers (Cleis), Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica (Alyson), and Fist of the Spider Woman (Arsenal Pulp). In 2006 and 2008, her novels Bliss and Every Dark Desire were finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. Writing under the name "Fiona Lewis," she has also published a novel of young adult fiction called Dreaming in Color with Tiny Satchel Press. Please follow the link to get more information about upcoming projects and tour dates.

Zedde hopes that readers take away a new understanding of lesbian women, that each has a variety of lives. She targets a range of women in her novels and shows their lives, how they love, and portrays the passion women hold. “I love hearing from my readers, no matter the feedback. I will listen to it all.” 56

Alexandra Marie Poet, Artist, Singer Slams are competitions. The ability to perform is paramount. You want to evoke strong emotions in the listener. Alexandra Marie started writing in elementary/middle school. “I started poetry as result of a class assignment. Initially, my creative outlet was signing,” states Alexandra Marie. The first poem she can vividly recall writing was a love poem. Her inspiration like most artist comes from her own experiences and seeing what others are experiencing. At times she can be quite shy and reserved. “It is hard to say everything I am thinking so writing gives me that outlet,” she explains.

Her mother has been her inspiration and support system. As far as local talent, a poet name Twain is her favorite. “Twain writes about a lot of different things and his work is so honest and vulnerable.” Speaking on the Harlem Renaissance, she appreciates that a lot of young people are less reserved in expressing themselves. “Emotions are universal, other people will be able to appreciate it and relate to it. The beautiful thing about art is that it is in the eye of the observer. People can get what they need from it. Because more people are sharing their art, that means more of the community has a voice other than their own.” As an intellectual, for Alexandra Marie, you don’t feel as you have reached the plateau of what you have been doing. In terms of doing more and understanding, there isn’t a ceiling to a person’s greatness. “You are reaching to the limits even though there aren’t any,” she states. Alexandra Marie hopes her work impacts the community in a positive light. “There is room for everything and everybody. The vast majority of my poems are love poems. I don’t chose love it chose me,” she states very methodically. “I write about love which is the truest form of politics. Love comes in different forms, from intimate relationships to friendships.” Poetry to Alexandra Marie is a mode of expression that isn’t as regimented as sentences and paragraphs. It may sound pretty it may not. “Basically it is raw honesty.” You can see Alexandra Marie perform her work at Dallas Poetry Slam events held throughout Dallas. For more information, please check out the links below. alexandramarieonline

*Images retrieved from Google Images 57

g n

i f e Ch 01 1 Chef Chrischon “Chrissy” Ellis Vonnie Spiv

Owner and Founder of Unique Black Female Chef Association, Chef Chrischon “Chrissy” Ellis sat down with REINA to discuss the disparity of black women representation in the culinary industry. Chef Ellis has been cooking in kitchens since the age of 16, so she knows the ends and outs of the business. Ellis thought her career would be in lights and on a stage singing, but fate had other plans for her. “All my family could cook and I had a knack for it so I decided to make a profession out of it,” she says. “The food industry was easier to get into than the singing business!” You can find Ellis cooking all sorts of dishes, but her genre includes Soul Food and French Cuisine.

The mission of Unique Black Female Chef Association is to provide a place where female chefs can be free to create and be noticed for the achievements that are overlooked; to connect with other female chefs and explore new experiences; to provide opportunities for female chefs that aren’t easily attainable; and to help provide culinary education to other female chefs in the future. The group does have members of other ethnicities but Ellis wanted to focus on black women. The organization is multi-faceted and helps aspiring and established chefs in numerous ways. UBFCA is starting a scholarship for up and coming chefs to assist with culinary college; assists in placing chefs in positions within the food industry and offers great networking and social events to its community and members. The impact of Ellis’ organization is more than she could have imagined. “Even though we are based in Atlanta, we get women from all over inquiring and joining the organization.” Overall, Ellis hopes this organization allows for black women chefs to be heard and not pushed aside. “We do the dang thang and nobody does it like us!” For more information on Ellis and UBFCA, check out their Facebook page while the website is under construction.

Ellis started her organization because she feels there is a lack of black women chefs represented in this field. In her eyes, “we are an endangered species.” She attributes this to many reasons including: women are normally cooks not certified chefs; women are not as respected as much as men; and the race issue still plays a role. “The field is very misogynistic and men in the industry still have the mindset that women should be barefoot and pregnant,” explains Chrissy.


Chef Kerin Rodriguez Vonnie Spiv Oak Cliff native, Kerin Rodriguez is the best kept secret in Dallas. REINA sat with Kerin to learn some of her “chefing” secrets that is making her the next Food Star Dallas. Kerin is busy in the kitchen working on a new dish. She doesn’t use recipes, but rather takes an intuitive approach to creating meals. She explains that she is making grit cakes, Chermoula shrimp (North African spice blend), and asparagus. She is focused on her masterpiece as she creates wonderful new aromas. She is in her comfort zone and moves around the space with ease. Kerin has been cooking for over 10 years. She grew up in a single parent home and was the youngest of three. “My mom used to work quite a bit, so at a very young age I had to learn how to come up with some things,” says 32 year old Kerin. Her mother says she was in the kitchen as early as 4 years old. She can recall her first dish she ever made-she describes it as French toast with a maple glaze. Out of high school she worked at various restaurants but then decided to go to the military, and like most people in her neighborhood, it was a job that paid. She was a cook in the military but left on her one year mark. “I felt like the government wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain. My mom was also diagnosed with Diabetes around that time; and I wasn’t there and wanted to be,” she expresses. Kerin was also harassed for her strong social views. “I had a poster in my car that said Africans get organized, pride colors, and Bush is not my president in the barracks,” she frankly states. Kerin went AWOL (absent without leave) from the military for 2 years. She was stopped during a routine traffic stop and taken to military jail for 11 months for a federal warrant the government issued. Before she finishes her statement she looks down at her dish and mentions to herself, “That’s what I want,” as she drizzles more sauce. She picks up the spoon and adds a few more touches to her chef-d'oeuvre.

“My family was very supportive and wrote me every day. There were proud I stood up for what I believed in. I thought I let them down but my mom knew why I did what I did.” Cooking came natural to Kerin. For her, it feels like something she is supposed to do, not has to do. Within Kerin’s career, she has not seen many African-American women chefs. “It is very hard being a female in the kitchen, generally, because in most kitchens you find Hispanic men,” explains Kerin. “You *women+ have to prove yourself. I once had to push a guy into a fryer in order to get respect; after that, we never had a problem.” Kerin goes back and forth in the kitchen as she explains the difference between chefs. “There are different types of chefs, certified (master) or working chef…it depends on what you do and where you work.” Because she is a vegetarian or “veggie,” she can incorporate that element into the menu of her restaurant as well as North African cuisines. “Good ones *chefs+ are interested in making sure their vision is seen through beginning to end,” Kerin mentions. She loves introducing people to vegetarian food. “I love making things that taste good and using different spices that people aren’t used to,” she states while smiling. “I like to take foods that people eat every day and make them more upscale…add a twist.” There are a few chefs who have inspired Kerin including Marc Cassel. He allowed her to have things on the menu and put her name on them. She also adores Tre Wilcox, who is a black celebrity chef. As she finishes her dish and plates all the pieces, she leaves aspiring chefs with words of wisdom. “Stay passionate. Being a chef, or any artist, may not be glamorized and you don’t make a lot of money; but stay true to your passion and you will.”

Photographer: Ashlee R. Anderson


Ask Jody Q. My partner and I have been dating for 5 years. Everything is going really well, there are talks of a family, marriage, etc., but I am starting to get bored. Other women are starting to intrigue me in a way I never felt before, or at least since I been with her. Do I throw 5 years down the drain to explore or keep my girl? - Explorer Dear Explorer, I could be cliché and mention the 80/20 rule or the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but I won’t…well not in detail anyway. I challenge you to explore why you are getting bored. What is intriguing you about the other women? Is it something about them physically or mentally? Find whatever that thing is and discuss it with your partner. I do feel like 5 years is a lot to throw away on a whim, but if you choose to explore that without exploring what you could do to avoid it first, then you already had your mind made up when you wrote this. In saying that, I can’t tell you what’s right for you or your relationship, but think about what stepping out will do to

your girl because five years couldn’t have been built on anything but love. Good luck. In truth, Jody Q. I am new to the dating scene and feel like a teenager all over again. I want to make myself available to meet new people without seeming “too available.” I want women to know I am on the market but only quality women. How do I do this? HELP! - Single Lady Dear Single Lady, The people we attract are a direct reflection of ourselves. So, if you want a quality woman then you must present yourself as one. This doesn’t mean that you are not already one because we all know the unwanted advances will still come because some people are just that brave. My suggestion is know what you want and accept only that. There is nothing wrong with having standards. If your suitor is serious they will step her game up or step off, it’s that simple Have fun and don’t worry about them knowing you’re on the market. They will know. In truth, Jody Please email all questions or comments to Ask Jody at


The inventory here at Distinct Realty Solutions is constantly growing. We have properties lo-cated all over the Metroplex. And if we don’t have the one you want, I know we can find it. Buy properties with built in equity. Some are not even available on the open market. So whether you want to live in uptown, downtown or the burbs, we can help. We will take the time to set up a Personalized Search Engine specifically designed for your wants and needs. We will email desired properties straight to your inbox saving you precious time from searching the hard way. As the General Manager, I personally guarantee that you will receive service with a personal touch. Investors are also welcome!! That’s right, if you would like to build your rental portfolio, start by talking to us. There are no fees and no obligations when talking with us. For more FREE information check us out at ww.DistinctRealtySolutions.Com. | Charles@DistinctRealtySolutions.Com | 972.365.2311 61

Contributing Staff Managing Editor Vonnie Spiv Creative Designer CaSandra|Nikole Columnist Jody Trans Men Editor Missta Brown Religion Columnist Deneen Robinson Staff Writer Gayle Bell Fashion Editor C. Peach Photographers Chris Morgan Ashlee Anderson Beauty Editor Chase Smith

Please submit all story ideas and letters to us at 62

REINA Dallas Magazine October 2011  

REINA is an online publication for the lesbian community of color in Dallas and all allies.

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