The Unleashed Voice 2020/ Nov-Dec World AIDS Day Issue featuring Actor Brian Jordan, Jr.

Page 1


The Higher Spirit May this holiday be filled with peace, love and...


Written by B. Danielle Watkins Produced by Onyx Keesha B.Danielle Watkins Directed by Gino Payne B.Danielle Watkins Onyx Keesha

Eclectic and Colorful Poet and Spoken Word Artist By Chris Author Chai Woodard

Chris “Author Chai” Woolard who was born in the Bronx New York. Chris goes by the personal pronouns of “them, they and theirs.” Chai earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. Chris served eight years in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge in 1998. Currently, Chis is an Assistant Director for a Transitional Independent Living Program for runaway and homeless youth in the Coney Island area of New York City. The youth supported are between the ages of 16-20 years of age and identify LGBTQIA+ community. Chris is a certified Chaplain through the New York State Chaplain Taskforce and has been appointed Armor bearer at their home church, Kingdom United Fellowship, Inc. Chris is a selfpublished author of four books, Imperishable, Imperishable ll, In My Wordz, Part l and W.O.G. (Woman of God) which will be available via their website in late December 2020. So, I’m sitting at my favorite restaurant

I was drawn to her aurora

When a beautiful fixture walks in

The way her lips moved as she placed her order

enjoying my favorite drink perfume very familiar And that walk says... Yea, you know me Hmmm

Hair slayed

Locz falling as if they were perfectly placed

a tad bit of make up to allow you to enjoy her natural beauty and grace Lips rouge red inviting you to a kiss

Cheekbones who speak of ancestors strong and pronounced

Dress flowing as if its afraid to touch her melanin skin Heels attached to legs which gave catwalk vibes Her total package caught my eye As she sat down


as if they were inviting you to a night of lip sucking and the planting of warm kisses from her nape to her inner thigh as I’m sitting watching her

twisted perfectly

What can I say this woman was fly

her smile

I’m feeling extra high

Her smile sparkling and illuminating room

Transgender Male Author Dr. Elijah Nicholas Releases Children’s Book “Madoodle” To Help Kids Understand Family Members Who Change Genders (ATLANTA, GA) July, 7 2020 – Transgender veteran Dr. Elijah Nicholas has just released new children’s book “Madoodle,” a Children & Family fiction series that tells the story of a ten-year-old girl whose Uncle Pete was once her Auntie Mary. Based on Dr. Elijah’s personal experiences with family and friends as he navigated his gender transition from female to male, Dr. Elijah has brilliantly created a story of love, family, compasion, and an authentic gender expression acceptance. “Madoodle” is available for ebook & hard cop exclusively on Amazon. Dr. Elijah wrote his newest book “Madoodle,” because he noticed a major lack in the market. Children are impressionable, curious, and intuitive. “Madoodle,” is a children & Family fiction series tells the story of a ten-year-old girl whose Uncle Pete was once her Auntie Mary. Based on Dr. Elijah’s personal experiences with family and friends as he navigated his gender transition from female to male, Dr. Elijah has brilliantly created a story of love, family, compasion, and an authentic gender expression acceptance. He believes this book will help usher in a new generation of loving and understanding individuals to make our world a more peaceful place.

When she threw her head back to laughed Immediately I turned and said Oh I know who that is... It’s H.E.R.

As I make my way over

calm, cool and collective

I heard her say, what took you so long? I had to laugh because that sassy mouth is quite familiar

Lord this woman does things to my heart

“Madoodle” Is Available Now! Dr. Elijah is available for phone, video, and zoom interviews. To coordinate, please contact Kri Peck

This is definitely a drug I cannot do without.... @chris_woolardnyc

For More Information on Dr. Elijah, visit: drelijahnicholas drelinicholas



Ad Deadline December 12, 2020

Next Issue January | February 2021




10 & 11 Cover Story Brian Jordan, Jr.: Star of Tyler Perry’s BET Sitcom Sistas’

02 | Community News 03 | Literary Corner Chris Author Chai Woodard

Madoodle by Elijah Nicholas

06 | Editor’s Letter Gwendolyn D. Clemons

07 | Editor’s Letter Dr. Davin D. Clemons, DMin

14 | MSM Section Letters To A Gay Black Boy Terry Dyer

15| Spirituality Section What The World Needs Now Beth Trouy

16 | Entertainment Representing the Underrepresented rIVerse


17 | Entertainment Sofonda Cox

World AIDS Day Feature

Beloved Toronto, Canada Drag Artist

Shadawn McCants: Living Positively with HIV

20 & 21 | Trans Advocacy News The Mahogany Project “Black Trans Empowerment Week” Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri

22 | World AIDS Day

19 Wedding

Announcement Meet Art & Lamont White: Matchmaker Finds Love



Reclaiming My Time Eddie Wiley

23 | Community News World AIDS Day Nashville Cares

24 | A Tribute to Ms. Monica Roberts

18 Transgender News

Author Dr. Elijah Nicholas: The Importance of Visibility

Shawn M. Clemons Administration/ Fashion Director

Gregory Graphics Layout/Design

Derrick Barrett Guest Contributor

Monick Monell Talent Director & New York Correspondent

Whitney Johnson Chief Editor

Renae Taylor Transgender Correspondent


Snap to Subscribe to TUV Magazine Scan this code with your phone to subscribe to The Unleashed Voice Magazine Today! Take it everywhere you go, along with the print edition. You’ll qualify to download each issue digitally through your IPhone, IPad, or Android devices.

@TUVmagazine National Advertising + Rivendell Media Company 1248 US 22 Mountainside, NJ 07092 Office 908.232.2021 | CONTENTS |



ON THE COVER: We are excited to present

actor, writer, and musician

Brian Jordan, Jr., who plays

Maurice Webb on Tyler

Perry’s Sistas on BET. Each

week, Brian transforms into Maurice Webb, a hilarious

LGBT character. In this

exclusive interview, we

explore the challenges of

a heterosexual black man

taking on the persona of a gay man. The World AIDS

Day edition is a staple issue

that we commit to publishing every year because of our personal story regarding

HIV. We hope that each

story shared helps pull you

closer to seeing life through

the eyes of our dynamic

contributors who are living and thriving positively. Happy Holidays,

Mask-Up & Stay Safe Gwendolyn D. Clemons, M.B.A, M.S.M,


of TUV Magazine



This World AIDS Day Issue is for you! It is for you because better education is needed on a public health crisis occurring, called HIV. I find it problematic that Memphis, TN is still dealing with this age-old crisis in the black community, whereas other cities have been able to “flatten the curve” on new diagnoses of HIV. The fact that HIV is still rising in the South means that “SEX” should not be deemed an anomaly in our society. Yet it seems that there is a divide about how to effectively promote the need for prevention, education, and stigma reduction because those affected are primarily Black men who sleep with men. In the words of Pastor Jim Rigby, “Until we eradicate the bully culture of racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ, inequality and toxic political exchanges, it is embedded systemically, hiding behind American exceptionalism and trailblazed actions, policies, practices, that should be understood and undertaken for the greater good instead of fracturing society and causing further harm.” By the way, HIV does not discriminate.

We should know by now that HIV is not a “gay disease” and anyone can be newly diagnosed including your mom, dad, sister, brother, husband, wife, cousin, child and you. So help us to reduce the numbers of new HIV diagnoses in 2021. Here are some of the medically recommended ways to reduce new HIV diagnoses: practicing safe sex by using male latex condoms, changing condoms after every usage, getting tested regularly for HIV and other STIs, being monogamous, limiting your sexual partners, considering PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis), using clean needles, knowing your status, and getting tested. If you are in the Memphis area, here are some local agencies that can offer confidential testing, educational information, and free paraphernalia for your protection: Planned Parenthood

Spirit Health Center


My Sister’s House



Friends for Life

The Corner



DON’T FORGET ABOUT HIV/AIDS By Dr. Davin D. Clemons, DMin.


t is unfortunate that we have President #45 who, in any of his endeavors while in office, has neglected to include the last great pandemic that ravaged and is still ravaging the United States. COVID-19 has taken 238,ooo lives. However, we cannot forget about HIV/AIDS, which has killed more than 700,000 people in the U.S. since 1981, a figure higher than the other tragedies represented in this country. The latest local numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that 600 per 100,000 people in Memphis, TN and Shelby County are living with HIV. That compares to just 93 per 100,000 in the Nashville area, and to 280 per 100,000 nationwide. Even more disturbing is the fact that, in 2017, most of those diagnosed with HIV were between 15-34 years of age. While drugs are helping to control HIV/AIDS, and to prevent some infections, there is still no cure. New infections occur every day, primarily because people are not educated on the subject and the stigma of HIV/ AIDS, in my opinion. So we cannot forget about HIV/AIDS because it is still here and it is still affecting black folks. Black folks/African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races/ethnicities. In 2018, black folks/African Americans accounted for 13% of the US population but for 42% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. So do not forget about HIV/AIDS! As we come together for the 2020 observance, “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact,” We must continue to bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. So, again: Do not forget about HIV/AIDS! EDITOR’S LETTER |


WITH HIV By Shadawn McCants


an you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where

you are today.

SM: Most would say they started with humble beginnings but not I, my entry into this amazing world was on the

roaring whistles of the 1978 Blizzard in Cincinnati, Oh. I was destined to make my mark on history.

Currently, I am Licensed Professional Counselor,

Motivational Speaker, Advocate and Trainer. But more

My doctors were incredible from day one, they

living with HIV. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, I battled

that HIV was not a death sentence. They assured I

importantly I am a Beautiful African American Woman some of the country’s most challenging issues and

conditions. Sustained emotional, mental, and physical

abuse that would later serve as the source of my passion and purpose to help others overcome barriers that could impede them from achieving their fullest potential.

understood the importance of treatment and being

active in my care even when I didn’t want to be. I was still young and scared. I didn’t want to live with the stigma and shame of living with HIV! Truthfully, there was moments I down right refused to accept it!

December 19, 1995, my life changed drastically when

Over the next 23 years, I held on to my dreams and

Senior who had overcome so much and had dreams of

where I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal

I was diagnosed with HIV. A 17-year-old high school

pursuing modeling, attending college, and joining the

Armed Forces was faced with life altering information. For the next 23 years I would walk my journey, joined by Shame, Fear, and Guilt.

HIV changed my life! Having survived childhood abuse, attempted molestation, rape and abandonment from

those I loved the most, I can still hear the resounding peace, “This sickness is not unto death, but for

the glory of God.” That day in the doctor’s office I immediately chose to live.

So, I had a decision to make do I lay down and die or do I stand and fight? I chose to fight with the

assistance of Shame, Guilt and Fear. Shame that I was a horrible, unlovable and undesirable person; Guilt

stricken at how I could have been so stupid; and pure FEAR of others finding out and being ostracized and cast away as a leper.


educated me, encouraged me, and empowered me


aspirations, I attended the University of Cincinnati Justice and Psychology in 2009 and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University in 2013.

While on this journey I’ve worked in many capacities from elementary to High school classrooms, to

inpatient psychiatric hospitals, juvenile detention, adult jails and rehabilitation and riding along with Houston’s Finest HPD seeking and serving the

mentally ill, however something was still missing. However, 2018 was the year of enlightenment for me. No longer was I comfortable with the status quo; No longer was I willing to live in darkness not allowing

my light to shine. I became more intentional with my

time and education about HIV and soon learned that the stigma was exponentially more complex when

considering disparities of gender, race, social economic status, and ethnicity. Then there were the issues around access to affordable and cultural competent mental

and physical care for African Americans and communities of color. And even more scary was the disparities that plagued Heterosexual Black Women and Girls.

The fight was real! Therefore, I became more deliberate,

driven, and determined to silence the shame, confront Fear,

and Guilt as unwelcome sojourners, for my own sake and the sake of others with a shared experience.

My life has come full circle. The enlightened peace and joy I

have today is indescribable. For 23 years I lived in darkness, I had lost sight of the voice I heard in that doctor’s office

that said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.” Today I realize I am Light; I am Love and a Sacred Goddess chosen to live without regret.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc.

What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?

SM: As the Founder and CEO of both a non-profit, 2 Know is 2 Live, and a for profit agency, Know and Live Counseling & Consulting PLLC my determination is like no other.

As my baby, 2 Know is 2 Live was established in 2018

in response to the increasing disparities between HIV

incidences worldwide and the extraordinary prevalence of

and responsive workshops that speak to the Realities of

Live is unique in that it was founded by me a woman living

Healing Circles- Groups for Women Living with HIV/AIDS;

HIV among Black women and girls in the South. 2 Know is 2 with HIV who for 23 years felt alone and isolated. In response to the absence of programs and services to educate, equip and empower marginalized women living in a mired of

circumstances who are at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The organization embracing the healing justice framework as the most effective means for tackling this multi layered epidemic began the work.

Black Women through Candid Courageous Conversations; Sexy Conversations- Equips and Empowers young women at colleges/universities and resource poor communities

impacted by HIV/AIDS. Equips participants with the skills &

knowledge they need make healthy sexual choices to build

healthy and successful relationships; Community Outreach; Assistance with Case Management and Community

Resources and referral services; Risk Reduction Counseling

One of my favorite sayings and a model I live passionately is,

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

is no real change and end to the HIV/AID epidemic without

unapologetically in my purpose full of passion in 2018, my

“There is nothing about US without US.” Meaning that there the meaningful involvement of Black Women and girls. To

end the epidemic healing is an imperative and knowledge is our freedom. Black people carry a disproportionate burden of HIV and have a shorter survival rate than any other

racial or ethnic group. Therefore, ending HIV in the Black community must become a collective effort.

Describe the type of services your organization provides related to HIV.

SM: In response to the absence of programs and services to educate, equip and empower marginalized women living in a mired of circumstances who are at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The organization embracing the healing justice framework as the most effective means for tackling this

multi layered epidemic began the work focused on: Health, Education, Prevention and Healing. Some of the services

and programs offered included but are not limited to; I AM

S.H.E- Sisters Healed and Empowered- Community focused

SM: I must say ever since I decided to walk boldly and

life has been full. Of course, with every ministry comes mess

but I have chosen to focus on the blessings. And the biggest blessing is when I hear or speak with individuals who

express gratitude and appreciation for the impact my story

or the organization has had on their life to know their status, LIVE positively if that is their story but most importantly Thrive and NOT die!

Lastly, I am grateful to have the opportunity to be the

Harriet Tubman for this generation. I don’t take lightly my assignment to be brave, courageous and a bridge over

trouble waters even when I don’t know the outcome. My work will not end until there is an End to the Epidemic!

2knowis2live_Houston/ Shadawn McCants 2knowis2live_Houston/ Shadawn McCants 2Knowis2live






rian Jordan Jr., who stars as the openly LGBT character on Tyler Perry’s Sistas on BET. The second season of Sistas will returned to BET this Fall on Wednesday’s at 9pm EST.

At the end of Season 2, fans were

left on a cliff-hanger as the state of Star actor, Brian Jordan

Jr., who portrays the hilarious

character “Maurice Webb,” is ready

to tell it all! Sistas is Tyler Perry’s first

was left in the hospital after being a victim of a hate crime related to the character’s sexuality.

production to complete an entire

Summary of Sistas on BET: Follows

end, in the midst of the COVID-19

different walks of life who bond

season of filming, from beginning to pandemic, and Jordan has quite the

story to share about the experience.

More About Brian Jordan Jr. Dream Role: Action movie character Biggest vocal inspiration: Ron Isley

Current biggest hobbies: Fitness and fashion for plus sized men

Media Contact: David Robinson


Jordan’s character, “Maurice Webb”,


a group of single Black women from over their one common thread: why am I single? The women navigate

their “complicated love life” status,

careers and friendship through the

ups and-downs of living in a modern

world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals.

Q: Why is Tyler Perry’s BET Series “Sistas” important to Black Millennials? I believe that there is a generational responsibility of television creators and filmmakers to serve their people—specifically, the generation of influence. It’s the way to reach the most hearts and the most minds. Currently, millennials are the nucleus of influence in America, and BLACK millennials are the nucleus of change. Sistas is indicative of this “millennial wave” and is more significantly vital than many people even understand. The variant representations of wealth, socio-economic status, sexuality, gender, skintone, size, beliefs, etc., are deeply reflective of the burgeoning spectrum-view of the young black American. Sistas is revolutionary as it deals with the laughing, loving, healing, joys and pains that come from being black— that come from being a woman—that come from being a millennial—that come from being human. Q: What are you most passionate about? This is a difficult question, because I’m an extremely passionate guy. My deepest passion, however, is my heart for art’s wide range. In any of its forms, art is the single most important display of expression and is very necessary. I am specifically impassioned by the opposite ends of art. Whether it be the culinary genius of an executive chef at a restaurant with 5 Michelin Stars or the detailed, traditional creole cuisine of my grandmother, Mary Ann Jordan’s home kitchen——The freestyle graffiti paint that we so often see and admire in our urban cities, or the timeless work of Jean Michel Basquiat —— A sublime, bourbon street saxophonist or a 66-piece orchestra at Carnegie Hall —— A number 1, television drama/comedy on BET, or a heart-grabbing musical play at my home church Mt. Carmel Baptist of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Art is beautiful. Art is essential. Art is passion. Art is living. Q: How has playing a Black Gay Man (Maurice Webb) increased your knowledge about the importance of LGBTQ visibility? Of all the beautiful gifts that have come from landing this role, on this show, at this time—the greatest is the opportunity to learn, explore, and portray such a beautifully-textured, marginalized and often forgotten group of humans: black queer people. I am empowered by Maurice’s story being so parallel to so many in real life. I’ve learned the disparities, the hardships and the dangers that one must feel being a part of the LGBTQIA+

community, but most importantly I’ve learned the courage, resilience, persistence and brilliance of the community. Like Maurice is to Sistas, I truly believe that queer men and women are a beacon of light in our society. Their creativity, passion, and heart for change and acceptance is something that is unmatched. I continue to learn more and more about how I can be an advocate for the protection of such a precious group and I am honored (by playing Maurice) to even be a small part of change in a progressive direction. Q: What can fans expect from Brian Jordan, Jr. in 2021 and beyond? ABUNDANCE! I believe that my desires are as attainable as my belief in them, and I believe in them stronger than I can ever describe. I have huge plans both in front and behind the camera, as well as in theatre music, fashion, and lifestyle. Currently, I am spending a lot of time developing and creating my own content. I have 11 projects that are presently in rotation; either writing, pitching, developing, or selling I am dedicated to these eleven projects and think they are all sooooo dope! As for my future as a performer, I am super excited to aid in normalizing BLACK character actors (I’ll quickly break down what that means). We often see black actors in very similar roles— one may call it “typecasting”. I took a personal mission years ago (at NYU) to be intentional about being an actor that is able to show range and a facility with different types of roles. Many times, people meet me and see that I am very different from Maurice, and it’s the best compliment I can get! I am truly dedicated to fully investing my being into a character, so much so, that my own person is unseen, and audiences are able to meet someone new with every role I take. The juxtaposition of Brian x Maurice is the beginning of many roles that will take me out of my comfort zone, force me to learn about someone else’s plight and show that black actors have range, when we have the ROLE. I am excited for my next role to be so different from Maurice and even more different from Brian. COVER STORY |



This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.



BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including:

BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: � Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. � Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. � Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. � Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. � Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. � The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%).

� Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you

have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.

ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults and children who weigh at least 55 pounds. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. Do NOT take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains: � dofetilide � rifampin � any other medicines to treat HIV-1

BEFORE TAKING BIKTARVY Tell your healthcare provider if you:

These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY.

� Have or have had any kidney or liver problems,

including hepatitis infection.

� Have any other health problems.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

� Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not

known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY. � Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.

Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY.

HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: � Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-

counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist.

Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.

Get HIV support by downloading a free app at

BVYC0197_BIKTARVY_A_8-375X10-875_UnleashedVoice_Dimitri_r1v1jl.indd All Pages


GET MORE INFORMATION � This is only a brief summary of important information

about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.

� BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other.



� Go to or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 � If you need help paying for your medicine,

visit for program information.

BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, DAILY CHARGE, the DAILY CHARGE Logo, KEEP ASPIRING, LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. Version date: February 2020 © 2020 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. BVYC0197 03/20



Because HIV doesn’t change who you are.

BIKTARVY® is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in certain adults. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.

Ask your healthcare provider if BIKTARVY is right for you. See Dimitri’s story at Featured patient compensated by Gilead.

Please see Important Facts about BIKTARVY, including important warnings, on the previous page and visit

4/3/20 4:14 P




Letters to a GAY BLACK BOY can be found on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sparks Relevant & Resilient Conversation Letters to a GAY BLACK BOY takes an in-depth look into

the life and development of Terry DeWayne Dyer. From the first to the last letter, he shares his journey with the world. The struggle with finding ourselves can be daunting and

challenging. Often people suffer in silence while creating their paths. He provides us with an authentic, raw, and

emotional ride to finding himself. As the world continues

to battle racial injustices on numerous levels, Letters to a

GAY BLACK BOY shares a unique perspective so often not discussed. Motivated by homosexuality, race, family, and love, his first book sparks an inspiring and much needed conversation with our community. This stirring book will

For further information, visit: To connect with Terry Dyer, please contact:


surely make you laugh and cry as each letter grabs your attention from the beginning to the end with sincerity.

On July 15, 2020, Letters to a Gay Black Boy joined the ranks of LGBT Memoirs and Self-help categories to

rousing reviews. It has been described as: riveting, a page turner, deep, relatable, and inspiring. Diving into various societal issues, this book travels through a personal

journey getting readers to laugh and cry simultaneously. Sensitive subject matter such as race relations,

discovering one’s self, and trauma all bring us a beautifully written relatable book.

As we continue to battle racial injustices and inequality, this book reminds us that openness and living in truth

are more important now than ever. Relevancy is a strong theme throughout the book. Our world is constantly

dealing with these injustices based on race thus leading

interviews, book readings & signings, various events, and social media. More than ever, now is the perfect time to have these meaningful, impactful, and important conversations.

“With no roadmap and often very few adults in whom we can

confide in as we grow into a deeper understanding of who we are, Black gay boys are often left to navigate a world that is

not designed for us to thrive in, yet somehow, we persevere. Terry Dyer is providing such a road map in ‘Letters to a Gay Black Boy.’ By owning and sharing his story, Dyer rejects

conventional wisdom that says the intimate and the painful dare not be shared publicly, thereby giving himself and the reader permission to forgive, evolve and to heal.”- Darian Aaron, Journalist, Living Out Loud 2.0

to riots and murders. Taboo and sensitive subjects need

About the Author: Over a span of 15 years, Terry’s professional

for such conversations. Additionally,

and nonprofit environments. His passion to assist people has never

to be discussed early and often. This is the perfect time

Terry Dyer, (Author) reminds us that all black voices need to be heard including those in the LGBTQ community.

Resiliency is a theme shadowing each chapter. Those that have been outcast and treated like second class citizens are prime examples of resiliency. Dyer’s life has been

chosen as a vessel and to be resilient for those who do

not currently have the strength or the resources to speak their truths, trouble in finding their voices, and currently living in shame and silence.

Over the past three months, Letters to a GAY BLACK BOY has been read and reviewed domestically and


internationally. Conversations have been sparked during


career has been spent in Corporate America working in both for profit wavered. Terry has helped organizations reach maximum potential and growth. His background consists of Talent Acquisition Management,

Recruitment, Client Services, and Program Management with Fortune

100 and 500 companies. These companies have included San Francisco

State University - Center for Research and Education on Gender Studies

(CREGS), STOP AIDS Project, Robert Half International, Alluma, and XOJET to name a few. In 2010 while working with STOP AIDS Project, POZ Health Magazine named him “African-American Person of the Month”.

Terry DeWayne Dyer hails from Kansas City, Kansas, yet considers himself a California boy. Terry was a high school All-American track and field

athlete and went to Chico State University on scholarship for athletics, academics, and music. He spent three years at Chico State University, studying Opera and Vocal Performance Currently he resides in South

Florida with his daughter Zola (dog) enjoying the tropical weather and performing in the local music scene.


might shift our intentions. Why do I

feel the need to share my thoughts and

what do I hope to gain? Who am I really focusing on gratifying; me or them?

Truly, if we want to have a well-informed opinion, we really need to begin with listening. The quality of our opinion

is proportional to the frequency and

effectiveness of our connections with others from a place of empathy.

Why are we here? I could give you my opinion full of religious rhetoric on

God and purpose. I could tell you all

By Beth Trouy

about free will, living with authenticity,

carpe diem, and so many other tenets I

“Why are we here?” Recently, I was

believe in the core of my being. Or I can

sitting with a dear friend of mine who like many this year, is suffering from severe

sit down with you and ask you to tell me

burnout and exhaustion. She asked me

cost us nothing and allow us to walk

question to ask from a person working

empower the giver while distancing

again, “why are we doing this?” It’s a fair 14-hour days who is buried in work with

no end in sight. I really wasn’t sure if she was looking for an answer, or just an ear to listen. Did she really want my opinion

or was she seeking my empathy? Either would provide an answer but only one

would help her solve the problem on a deeper level.

We seem to be full of opinions these days. Social media has provided

the ideal platform to make everyone an expert on something. Truthfully

speaking, opinions really require little knowledge, minimal time investment

and no accountability. No surprise, it’s usually the option most people take when in conversation. Opinions are also self-gratifying and do more to

boost our own self-worth and egos;

we become the subject matter expert with all the answers. Opinions also

away, unaffected. Opinions may also

what’s on your mind. Talk with me and help me understand what’s troubling you. I’m all ears.

the receiver. (How may opinions have

negatively impacted your relationship with the person?) Opinions are safe

because we remain closed and intact.

They tell us a lot more about ourselves and our own beliefs and truly little

about the world outside of our own. Empathy on the other hand, comes at a cost. It demands that we suspend

our opinions and egos and move into a place of vulnerability. Empathy means that we leave the comfort of control and live in another’s world on their

time schedule, not ours. We selflessly attune ourselves to the other person

and we accompany them at their pace. With empathy, we open our minds and

hearts to feel, to see, to touch and yes

Beth Trouy is a Native Memphian,

place of love and so it is unconditional.

as Clinical Professor at UTHSC

never attain on our own because we

Program; coordinator of Catholic

of another. Unlike opinions which may

Persons for the Diocese of West

others closer in relationship. Empathy

East Memphis.

suffer, with the other. It comes from a

Physical Therapist at SFH as well

Empathy gives us perspective we could

school of Physical Therapy Doctoral

are seeing from the viewpoint and eyes

Ministry with Gay and Lesbian

unite or divide, empathy always draws

TN. Lives with partner of 13 years in

changes us as much as it does them. It might do us all good if instead of

being eager to offer our opinion, we

thought about the benefits of keeping it to ourselves. Maybe thinking more

deeply on the purpose and outcome THE UNLEASHED VOICE |


rIVerse rIVerse is a Pop/R&B group unlike anything else in mainstream music today. They offer high level artistry and a mission to REPRESENT THE UNDERREPRESENTED. Aside from their high-quality song writing, music production and live performance, they are a diverse group with members of different genders, races, sexual orientations, body types, etc. With the recent success of artists such as Lizzo and Lil Nas X as well as the popularity of K-Pop groups like BTS and BLACKPINK, the world is ready for the unique brand rIVerse has been developing since 2012. Toronto, Canada quartet rIVerse met over a decade ago in a local theatre production of Disney’s ‘High School Musical 2’ and have grown up together into something rare — a pop/R&B group with a distinct social conscience.

On Juneteenth, they released what may be their most powerful video to date: “Stand Up,” a searing callto-action in the current global fight against police brutality and systemic racism. The track empowers listeners of all races to fight back against police violence, racial profiling and a corrupt system that targets Black men, women, and children. “Nobody deserves to have done to them what's been happening to people of color,” says songwriter Dizz. “At the foundation, this track is an anthem for basic human rights and justice for Black people. It's a reminder of what our purpose is: as a band, we need to stand up and maybe our listeners will be influenced to do the same.” rIVerse’s mission statement has always been to represent the underrepresented — members Dizz, Khadija, Zak and Monroe meet across lines of race, gender and sexual orientation in their devotion to use music as a force for positive change. Dizz wrote the track back in 2018 to process his residual trauma at the police murders of Sandra Bland and Philando Castile. The song was initially born when Dizz, a former dancer for Keshia Chante (Juno award-winning Canadian R&B Star & former host of



“We are four unique individuals coming together with one message,” says Monroe. ”2020 is the year when everyone’s third eye is open. We’re saying what we have to say proudly and strongly." BET's 106 & Park), ran into producer Daniel Jones at Chante’s birthday party. Dizz felt heavily inspired by Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” and Jones played a beat for him with the same energy. The band was motivated to finally release "Stand Up" this year, following the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

“There had to be something done,” says Dizz. “I was enraged, I was very emotional. This has never really stopped. The only thing I could think of, being an artist, was that we had this song and it needed to come out now.”

The video was shot on a chilly June night in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley, the first time the band had been together in months. The twin global pandemics of COVID-19 and widespread police violence could not deter them from getting their message to the world. “The story had to be told and needed to be told right,” says Khadija. “The logistics for the shoot worked out really well; it felt like the universe was helping us put this out into the world.

But there were definitely moments on set I had to step back and compose myself. It’s such an intense topic and something we’re all emotionally going through right now.”

rIVerse wants to hear many voices raised together, shouting this battle cry: "Stand Up!"


Citrus Couture: @abrahamdlevy Photo: @thats_hawesome Nails : @bemoredesignstexas


Canada Drag Artist TORONTO, ON (October 19, 2020) - Beloved Toronto drag artist Sofonda Cox had released a new circuit-house track, ‘Thrive’. This release is Sofonda’s first after signing with LGBTQIA+ music label, SO FIERCE MUSIC, and is produced by SO FIERCE MUSIC label founder and producer, Velvet Code. ‘Thrive’ is a piano-based, big-room synth record, with heavy circuit influences; featuring powerful gospel house vocals throughout its clubfriendly chorus. Referencing top circuit house acts such as the late Peter Rauhofer, DJ Paulo, and Dan Slater, as well as legendary vocalist Sandy B., this is Sofonda’s third official studio release.

"Sofonda Cox and I have known each other for a long time, and I’ve been lucky enough to witness her grow and blossom into the FIERCE queen that she is today,” says producer and SO FIERCE MUSIC founder Velvet Code. “She has everything we look for in a recording artist - talent, dedication, and a drive to be better every day. We were over the moon when she signed with SO FIERCE MUSIC and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship!” To accompany the release of ‘Thrive,’ a full line of merchandise including clack fans, masks, t-shirts, and more are now available for purchase at SO FIERCE MUSIC’s merch site

Website: Social Media & Streaming Services:

About Velvet Code:

ABOUT SOFONDA COX: Sofonda's persona has spread around the world. Her puppeteer performance as Destiny's Child went viral on Facebook, boasting over 1.5 million views all over the world. Her recent Lemonade Tribute video went viral as well with over 250k views, earning Sofonda the title of “Canada's Viral sensation”, and catching the attentionof LOGOTV, NEWNOWNEXT and even Rupaul. During the pandemic, Sofonda has released 2 singles, which have both gone viral. She has also coined the hashtag #queenOfTheHustle, finding innovative ways to perform her craft via live streaming and curb side performances. Her third single "Thrive" launched in October 2020 via SO FIERCE MUSIC.

Velvet Code is a Canadian Electronic Music DJ, producer and artist based in Toronto, Canada. As a DJ and music producer, Velvet Code’s influences include DJ Paulo, Laidback Luke, Dada Life, BloodPop, Avicii, Peter Rauhofer, David Guetta and Calvin Harris. His music can be described as ‘80s and 90s-influenced electronic dance music (“EDM”), most notably the sub-genres of EDM known as electrohouse and progressive. Velvet Code’s weekly radio mixshow, “Rise To The Rhythm,” can now be heard on more than 133 digital, FM and satellite radio stations around the world each week; the stations include Jack’d Up Radio Network and its affiliates, EDMSessions Radio and many others. Velvet is also the founder of SO FIERCE MUSIC, an LGBTQIA+ record label and entertainment services company without borders. ENTERTAINMENT |


MEET DR. ELIJAH NICHOLAS While Dr. Elijah was extremely pleased and freed by the selfpublication of his memoir, he continued to live with a deeply rooted secret.


ssigned the female gender at birth, Dr. Elijah Nicholas spent over half of his life in the US Military retiring as a senior officer in 2012. Transitioning from female-to-male in 2018 came as a result of Dr. Elijah no longer being able to live his core values: Authenticity, Integrity, and Transparency. After retiring from the military and then leading ministers and pastors around the globe, Dr. Elijah decided to become an author and do his due diligence with the injustice surrounding the LGBTQI community. His memoir, “Didn’t Ask, Didn’t Tell: The Life of A Gay Christian Soldier” chronicles Dr. Elijah’s life as a girl who experienced sexual trauma, growing up in the African-American community where secrets were often the norm, and then living life as a lesbian for almost 25 years before retiring from the US Military.



While Dr. Elijah was extremely pleased and freed by the self-publication of his memoir, he continued to live with a deeply rooted secret. Ultimately, he could no longer navigate life living as a female as he continued to expand his consciousness. Subsequently, transitioning to Elijah Nicholas Meredith in 2018 was the saving grace for Dr. Elijah, literally. Transitioning and living life openly and authentically saved Dr. Elijah’s life. Dr. Elijah holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Masters inBusiness Administration, a Masters in Adult Education & Training, a Masters in Military Operational Art & Leadership, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Administration of Justice. A former pastor, Dr. Elijah is also a licensed and ordained minister, leading Dr. Elijah Nicholas Ministries. He resides in Atlanta with his two amazing Boxer Dogs, Duke & Zeus.

WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT Introducing Mr. Art & Lamont White



Attending an event in the city of Atlanta with thousands of eligible gay men, finding love can be difficult. Arthur James White, III and Lamont White (previously Lamont Scales) met in 2007, through a mutual friend. They would frequently attend the same game nights and house parties with mutual friends. It wasn’t until 2014, when the two of them bumped into each other, that they looked at each other with ‘the googly eyes.’ Yes, you can think a person is just a friend and then later see the potential for romance and love. g performance by the legendary Raquel Lord, reading by Charles Hughes of Lambda Vodka, and officiation by Bishop O.C. Allen of the Vision Church of Atlanta.


After about six months of dating, Art and Lamont decided to cohabitate along with their two dogs. In 2016, Art’s loving sister passed away leaving her two sons with Art and Lamont. Art and Lamont quickly pulled things together, purchased a home, and began raising two teenage young men. Art and Lamont have both experienced life’s many curve balls, so they both try to stay faithful to God and open to frequent changes. In 2018, Art proposed to Lamont at their favorite restaurant over dinner with their two nephews.


You never know who God will send your way, so

always be open to any possibility. The matchmaker, Mr. Lamont White, can help you find love as well. Check out to learn more about matchmaking services, dating coaching, and LGBT couples counseling.


COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop Art and Lamont from getting married. Art and Lamont celebrated their union Friday, September 25, 2020 at the Barn at Little River with 100 of their family members and friends. The outdoor ceremony and reception were packed with love and entertainment, which included a soloist by Tiffany Adams-Williams, drag performance by the legendary Raquel Lord, reading by Charles Hughes of Lambda Vodka, and officiation by Bishop O.C. Allen of the Vision Church of Atlanta. THE UNLEASHED VOICE |



By Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri


his year, the Mahogany Project, Inc., in conjunction with other

non-profit organizations and social activists in the Houston area, set out expand on the Trans Day of Remembrance.

The Trans Day of Remembrance

(TDOR for short) is a world-wide day that is meant to be a day of

memorial and remembrance for the trans lives lost to the intersectional institutions of oppression and, more importantly, the violence

that permeates from it. This year,

to. BTEW provided a week of

want to share some of the biggest

black trans community which was

was such an amazing experience. I takeaways from the week: SHOWING UP Something that I have always held true to myself is the concept of

showing up. It is not enough, to post and repost on your social media

accounts pretending that you are “down for the cause.” The most

supportive thing you can do is show up and support.

TDOR gave way to the Black Trans

Showing up has always been both

which aimed to create a space to

for me. In addition to my activist

Empowerment Week (or BTEW),

bring the trans community and their allies together to celebrate love

and life and give the community

their roses while they’re still alive to receive them. The week included a Mixer, a game night, and the Trans

Empowerment and Alliance (T.E.A. Party) among the Trans Day of


Black Trans Empowerment Week

Remembrance and other events. | THE UNLEASHED VOICE

a challenge and an opportunity

work I also work full-time which at times create a challenge for

me. For BTEW, I made it a point

to show up as much as possible. I showed up not because I was

a part of The Mahogany Project,

Inc., I showed up because BTEW

was unlike anything I had been a

part of or privileged to be invited

various events dedicated to the truly groundbreaking. I pushed

myself more-so this week because

“showing up” meant that my visible face reflected that black

trans women are here, present, and deserving of support, resources, and love.

Showing up is being present

and pushing through when it is

easier to do nothing.

Showing up is also showing that

the black trans experience is not

monolithic; making sure that along with more visibility, there is varied representation.

CELEBRATION As a black trans woman,

we are conditioned not to

celebrate our lives. Part of the

reason is the severe and inherent intersectional misogynoir and transphobia.

Another large part is our short life expectancy of 35 years. I must

admit, I’m guilty of not celebrating myself. I’ve accomplished

various goals and reached certain milestones this

year but I never celebrated. One reason is that, as a

black trans woman, I am constantly working and

having to work three times as hard for anything. That

constant work usually has

me drained and exhausted both

mentally and physically. I am never in

the mood to celebrate because I always feel like I need to be “working” or “doing” something.

This week BTEW showed me the

importance of celebrating oneself in general, and specifically as a

black trans woman. It is revolutionary to simply live and face the world everyday as a black

trans woman and being able to

accomplish anything more than

that is extraordinary and should be celebrated. It’s also important not

just to celebrate our personal victories

and wins, but also as a whole community.

Even with today’s struggles and challenges faced by the trans community, it is still important to celebrate the trans experience as a whole and the growth and progress we’ve made.


As a newly transplant to Houston and

relatively new in advocacy work and

working a full-time job, it has been a challenge for me to meet and

connect with the community. BTEW was an opportunity for me to bond, link

up, and just immerse

with the community. It

created a reality of how it

truly connected we are like a

surrogate family in many aspects. We

laughed, joking and even did the famous

“the Electric Slide” and post T.E.A. Party.

BTEW was truly an example of what happens when the community comes together to celebrate love and life.

The first time I became acquainted with The

Mahogany Project, Inc. was

in 2018 during a spoken word

event hosted by them and

The T.R.U.T.H. Project. This

was my introduction to the black trans and Houston

activist community. I feel like

it was that week that sparked

and reignited the dormant social

activism work within me. I believe

activism work is about reaching people and

lighting the spark for change.

This year, with the more-expanded BTEW, I was able to

experience and celebrate my intersectional identity, both personally and as a part of a greater community, and that experience was one that money could not ever buy.

I’ve lived in various cities across the country, and one

thing important to me is the sense of community and the

feeling of being a part of something bigger. In other cities, I have always seen a challenge with the feeling and sense of community around my black transness from people

The Mahogany Project Inc @TMPhtx

that identify like me, and allies. I have been fortunate to experience a growing community here in Houston that empowers, enriches, educates, and celebrates black transness in various forms.

During BTEW, I was able to connect more with many black trans people, allies, resources, peers, etc. I became more acquainted with my sisters from SOSU (Save Our Sisters United, a black trans-led non-profit organization here in Houston) as well as other activists and members of the community; some I had never known of. One such was Marsha’s Plate, an unapologetic weekly podcast that

celebrates black transness (both black trans women and

men) and gives unique social and cultural commentary from the intersectional black trans perspective.





n November 4th, I celebrated my seroversary. What’s a seroversary you ask? Well – it’s the date of my HIV diagnosis. Most people don’t remember the exact date, but will still commemorate the day in some fashion. For me, I always celebrate the day by spending time with myself and maybe a glass or three of wine with my friends in addition to posting on social media.

Folx might ask “why do you celebrate your HIV diagnosis?!” While it may not make sense to many, it is an act of empowerment for me. My diagnosis does not run my life, but it was certainly a defining moment. HIV literally stopped me dead in my tracks and rerouted many plans I had for myself. The defining moment was initially dread, but it has now grown into light and love. As a community, we endure so much stigma. I celebrate my seroversary in an attempt to combat that stigma people living with HIV face and even sometimes impose on their own lives. It’s not easier living out loud with your status than it is to keep it private. The stigma still has an impact both ways. If anything, I felt the impact equally before and after coming out. People would still make



crude jokes or HIV reads and I’m sitting there like “what would they say about me?” It was quite difficult.

It wasn’t until about 2016 when I heard about someone celebrating their seroversary. After that, I knew that I could use this with my platform to educate more people about HIV and to encourage folks living with HIV to keep going. This year, I chose a more lowkey celebration amidst the pandemic and craziness that ensued around the election. No social media posts, but plenty of good vibrations. You may not see many seroversary posts, but I want to make an ask of ya’ anyway. Show some love to someone you know living with HIV. Not to be a bother, but simply thank them for sharing their status with you. It’s hard AF to utter those three letters when it comes to yourself. So a little appreciation and offering of support can go a long way.

If you’re living with HIV, I encourage you to take that experience and use it to strengthen your fortitude to keep going. Whether you had full support or it was a traumatic experience, you have the power to transform the narrative. My take on it is to keep thriving, keep living, and keep loving. You are worthy of all three.



n 2015, Nashville CARES was awarded its first directly funded grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This funding allowed Nashville Cares to open the My House facility. This one stop shop Health and Wellness Center for African American Same Gender Loving Men (SGL) and other gay/bisexual males was a manifestation of over 20 years of hard work CARES provided to this community through their Brothers United and YBU HIV Prevention outreach & education programs. The CDC grant allowed CARES to act as the lead agent and partner with another AIDS Service Organization and a Federally Qualified Health Center under one roof to provide a variety of services including HIV & STI testing, treatment and education, medical care, drop in center, high impact prevention programming with a focus on Black & Brown SGL and other men who have sex with men and other integrated activities. After their partnership ended with the original clinic in June 2020, CARES was determined to continue providing medical and supportive services designed to be inclusive and support the needs of all citizens of the greater Nashville area. “The opening of the My House Clinic is an exciting time for Nashville CARES as we celebrate 35 years of service in the Middle Tennessee community,” says Amna Osman, CEO of Nashville CARES. “This ‘one-stop center’ provides patients a unique experience with competent

practitioners, alleviating barriers to care and promoting positive health outcomes in an inclusive and affirming environment.” The My House Clinic supports patients in navigating the full continuum of care under one roof with dignity and respect by trained professionals who provide client centered, trauma informed healthcare. The concept of providing a one stop shop of services to our Same Gender Loving Community has been something that has been ever present in my mind since I began working at CARES back in 1996, says Dwayne Jenkins, the Director of My House. The needs have obviously shifted, however the opportunity to build other layers on to it that incorporates a shared vision of what this My House Clinic and overall space has become is groundbreaking. Medical services include Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), HIV, Hepatitis C, STI Testing & Treatment, Gender Affirming Care (HRT), Primary Care for insured patients, Telehealth Services available for both medical and Behavioral Health support. Most insurances are accepted including Ryan White Part B enrolled clients & TennCare. To make this clinic a reality Nashville CARES partnered with Positively Living & Choice Health Network in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Since opening our Choice Health Network medical clinic in 2018, Positively Living has been on the lookout for robust, like-minded organizations who share our values

and vision for expanding access to inclusive, preventative and life-saving medication and medical services to Middle Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents”, says Steve Jenkins, CEO of Positively Living & Choice Health Network. Dr. Christopher Ott, Chief Medical Officer for HCA Healthcare’s Physician Services Group and Board Chair for Nashville CARES adds, “My House is creating access to culturally competent primary and HIV care for the LGBTQ+ community and the community at large, at a time when Nashville certainly needs this expanded access.” Other Services include: Full lab services on site.

Nashville Pharmacy Service on site

Drop-in center with multiple arcades & game stations Free Wifi

Individual Ping-Pong, Foosball & Pool Tables On-Call Barber

Educational Programming for SGL, Gay/Bisexual Males Outreach, volunteer opportunities and more

To learn more, visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. About Nashville CARES: Nashville CARES is Tennessee’s largest HIV/wAIDS service organization.

Our Mission: Nashville CARES mission is to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee. We

work to achieve this through education, advocacy and support for those at risk for or living with HIV.



Rest in Love

Ms. Monica Roberts Alpha May 04, 1962 Omega October 06, 2020