Posts filed under Homophobia

OUT IN THE NIGHT: Gender Identity, Homophobia, Racial Profiling, Fighting Back

PBS Premiere: June 22, 2015

Check local listings »

Online: June 23, 2015 – July 23, 2015

Synopsis

In 2006, under the neon lights of a gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City, a group of African-American lesbians were violently threatened by a man on the street. The women fought back and were later charged with gang assault and attempted murder. The tabloids quickly dubbed them a gang of "Killer Lesbians" and a "Wolf Pack." Three pleaded guilty to avoid a trial, but the remaining four — Renata, Patreese, Venice and Terrain — maintained their innocence. The award-winning Out in the Night examines the sensational case and the women's uphill battle, revealing the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in our criminal justice system. A co-production of ITVS. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).

The film touches on issues of gender identity, homophobia, street harassment, self-defense, racial profiling and intersectionality. 


Posted on June 17, 2015 and filed under Identity, Homophobia, LGBT, race, sexuality, art, film.

Bisexual Malcolm X: Black History Month

Yesterday 1000 question, comments, and rants ran across Facebook.  Some ran towards but most ran away from my picture below. Homophobic rants, racist rants, nationalist rants, religious rants, lifestyle rants, confusion, and misunderstandings of others is still carrying on the conversation(s) today.....

 Bi Malcolm X

Bi Malcolm X

In Harlem this week and reviewing the latest biography on Minister X from 2011 by Columbia University professor Manning Marable titled "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" and its opposition Jared A Bell's "A Lie of Reinvention".

 Life of Reinvention

Life of Reinvention

Manning Marable identifies a homosexual relationship had by Malcolm X with a white business man, and also identifies him as a street hustler looking to survive by what many deemed necessary means. Regardless of the context of the homosexual activity, it was identified thought US corrections documentation that profiles then Malcolm Little's criminal activity. I only posted this picture labeling X as a bisexual after a picture of Mississippi's NAACP President and politician Aaron Henry who was arrested 4x for "public indecency" and "sodomy" which was documented by MS corrections. I was lifting thhem up and admiring them. I tagged them as my #MCM (man crush monday). The response to Marable was that FBI documents were collected on Mr. X after the dates of his alleged homo activity. What they fail to identify was classification of homo activity by municipal corrections in the 20th century.

 Bi Aaron Henry

Bi Aaron Henry

It should be stated that the American Psychiatric Association identified homosexuality a "mental illness" until 1974, and so did the United Nations as a result. Malcolm was murdered in 1965, but had a profile by corrections facilities and officers since the late 1930's.

Facebook erupted with disgust and skepticism of my label for the more famous and reigning symbol of Black American masculinity, Mr. X, and it disregarded Mr. Henry. Labels are important for their cultural context. Even though branding campaigns like "Labels are for clothes" have pervaded our culture, a more formal labeling of everything is in fact what is connecting our many communities across the globe. Labels are not merely for clothes.

 Lie of Reinvention

Lie of Reinvention

The context of this picture is a loaded one, mainly because a community’s external identification of an individual can differ based the many identities of individuals from the community. For instance, men and women can regularly view rape differently based on their identity and informal understand of that identity. Wealthy and poor individuals regularly understand the activist and anarchist in different ways, as identities often lay within the eyes of the beholder. Malcolm X is such a controversial figure because of the many lives with which his identity lays. We will never completely know how he identified or felt about his lifestyle(s) or work(s). The picture of Malcolm himself was a part of a series on my instagram that put identity labels on images worth 1000s words, for Black History Month.

 Labels Are For Clothes

Labels Are For Clothes

While the truth can be debated regarding Malcolm’s sexuality, the 1000 words used in a growing group of viral comments can be boiled down to the various community's understanding of identity. In an analog era, Malcom’s identity was divided into “Little” & “X”, a luxury that the latest digital spawn of the civil rights movement cannot enjoy. The most thoughtful interpretation of the picture’s 1000 words was from editor Carlton Mackey, the creator of “Beauty In Every Shade” and LGBTQ ally. He asked what if people associate LGBT identities with the worst of Malcolm Little and his early actions. Mr. X himself identifies his early years as “regretful” and “embarrassing” in multiple biographies. My intention with the image was to tie in all of X’s identities while thinking about myself and so many other people who have transformed throughout the journey of life. Erykah Badu's analog girl does not exist in the digital world., and every leader ends up humanizing themselves through digital transparency. Neither Malcolm nor his community of onlookers can wholly own the identity of his person, alone. As individuals we have free will over some of our choices, but those choices are reflections of interactions with others. Having played many different roles in 39 years, it’s important to understand that we as individuals do not have totally autonomy in this world of increasing interconnectivity. We are not alone.

 Malcolm X

Malcolm X

I was only waiting on one question from Facebook. It came very early. “Why is this important?” ...my response:

Civil Rights are about humanizing individuals and integrating them into the social fabric of our community through legal means. Having stated that, labels are important. They come in two forms. The labels that we choose for ourselves and the labels that other people give us. Aside from the label bisexual that was give to Malcolm by a biographer through research leveraging the Freedom of Information Act and government files, his timeline showed that Malcolm was extraordinary in reinventing himself to leave an impactful impression on the people he met directly or indirectly. Through all of the identities that he lived in (street hustle, homosexual, convict, student, minister, traveler, thought leader, badass, proud man) the bisexual one wasn’t one that stuck. Black History Month is here to cover all of the history. This is important because I know it wasn’t something that he could be proud of before 1965. It is also important because in 2015 it is something that he could be proud of, if he were alive, as a result of the work he did 50 years ago. It’s important because “Civil Rights” was not a time period, but it is a continuous period of identifying and including more individuals into the social fabric of our community through legal means. People too often avoid or ignore or reduce the significance of a given reality in order to avoid controversy. I’ve posted this pic of Malcolm with these words to be obviously provocative and integrate the latest spawn of civil rights with Black History as it has always been a piece of the movement. Regarding the comments that state we don’t need to know about someone’s sexuality, you should know that is a ridiculous statement. When we truly look at the most intimate friendships and relationships we share, the intimate details about how who why where when and what we like are relevant. It is a very civil activity that we humans use to identify similarities and build camaraderie with each other. Now we can do more of that around Malcolm X as an ice breaker ;-) #FullSpeedAhead #TheMoreYouKnow

Posted on February 18, 2015 and filed under Homophobia, LGBT, Masculinity.

Instead of Praying the Gay Away, Can We Just Celebrate Being Gay?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, all week long you've probably been seeing a million and one video responses to Andrew Caldwell, the young black man from last week's the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) convocation who announced on camera that he is "DELIVERT" from his homosexuality and that he will "love a womens." And while the video has understandably garnered a lot of hilarious laughs, jokes and video spoofs, including one hilarious R&B remix - Seriously, I can't even count how many times I've pressed repeat on that one - there is a deeper social matter to be discussed about the topic.

It's safe to say that most people have heard the phrase "pray the gay away," a phrase as old as time that promotes the idea that men and women of the gay and bisexual communities somehow chose to stray from the norm of heterosexuality and choose a deviant "other" sexuality.

And watching the original COGIC video with Caldwell, we see many in the congregation, including the pastor, praising Caldwell for "delivering" himself, sans the "t," from his sinful past of loving men. 

But seriously, in these modern times where we have countless personal accounts from the LGBT community, scientific support of diverse natural sexualities and growing public support for the LGBT community, why is it still hard to believe that homosexuality and bisexuality are natural yet so easy to believe that one can simply choose to be gay/bi and then the next day choose/pray it away. I's as though people see being gay or bi as if it's some easy tough greasy stain that's easy to catch but tough to get rid of without church shouts, some prayer, and maybe even exorcism.

More than a stain, it feels like homosexuality and bisexuality are treated as demonic.

So what does that do to person in the church when they're seen as the embodiment of hell's evil roaming the Earth? What kind of emotional demons are birthed inside of the person wanting to be accepted in their church and receive God's love but feel they are undeserving because they have a demon inside? What does it do to a community of people to feel that internal struggle inside to choose between loving themselves and living naturally or (attempting) to change themselves to be loved by others?

As the grandson of a pastor of my family's church, I was lucky enough not to be subjected to fire and brimstone sermons about the evils of homosexuality - or perhaps I missed it while I lay asleep on my mom's shoulder - but I remember the personal conversations held on those hallowed grounds in which homosexuality was mocked.

More than that, I remember the time when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old and I asked my mom about homosexuality and hell. I remember my mom had just picked me up from school and driven us to the store up the hill, and as we sat together in her car, unbuckling our seatbelts to leave, I stopped my mom and asked her "Why do people say that gay people are going to hell?" Even at that age, I knew I was one of those gay people and I wanted her to reassure me that she didn't think anyone like me would go to such a horrible place. Sadly, without batting an eye, my mother simply responded "because they are."

For me, that one single response changed the nature of our relationship for the next 20 years, leaving me with the mentality that my own mother was my enemy. And it also led me to believe that anyone who was religious in my life would be left with a choice to either choose to love me or their religion. And in my mind, I figured they would always choose their religion. 

Because of that, I grew a strong sense of disbelief and disinterest in Christianity, as well as a strong sense of self-hate because I thought I was unworthy of being loved by my own loved ones. I never tried to be straight, but for years I never felt proud or comfortable about the idea of telling people the truth of my sexuality because I "knew" that, to them, who I was was something less than hum and not at all lovable.

It took me two decades to reconcile those feelings and come to my own conclusion that love, for me, must be unconditional and all accepting. Otherwise, I just don't want it, whether it be from friends, family or a god. 

But I understand that that's not everybody's thought or life experience, and I can't preach that my way of working things out would work for everyone. But what I will say is that there are clearly countless numbers of gay and bisexual people in religious communities who feel that same sense of self-hate, hurt and anger that I felt. 

I can only imagine what kind of identity struggles and crises that Caldwell must have gone through over the years trying reconcile his belief in Christianity and its doctrines with his need to love himself. And, though I may not like it and, like most people I don't believe him, I understand why Caldwell would want to claim straight and stop feeling the ridicule, the shame, and the pain of not being accepted by his own community.

I understand the feeling of just wanting to be loved, even if it's all a lie.

But with all that THAT experience encompasses, I wonder why people still think it's okay to promote the idea of praying the gay away? Why do people think it's okay to ridicule someone for being gay? Who do people think it's okay to tell someone that who they truly and naturally are is a problem and a sin?

If at the end of the day all straight people want to do is be loved by those around them and their gods, why is it so wrong for gay and bisexual people to want the same thing? Why must WE change ourselves to be happy and prosperous?

Why should we endure so much struggle and pain just for being born, or created by a god?

Can we gay and bisexual people just BE who we are and be loved and celebrated in our truth? Because it takes a lot to be us and it sure as hell seems to me that loving yourself and others is the most powerful and godly thing you can do.

 

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, storyteller and blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

www.nicholasharbor.com

www.facebook.com/NicholasHarborOfficial

www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Harbor

Posted on November 16, 2014 and filed under religion and culture, race, sexuality, personal stories, LGBT, Identity, Homophobia.

Why A (Gay) Bully Learned To Let Go Of His Homophobia

When people think of homophobia, they usually think of a group of straight men violently attacking gay men. But homophobia doesn't have to be expressed through violence to be real, and it doesn't have to come from a straight man to be felt. Too often when it comes to LGBT youth homophobia and it's equally hateful sibling, effemiphobia, comes directly from one LGBT person to another.

That was exactly the case when Joseph Barden was a freshman at his Richmond, Virginia high school where he bullied a young gay classmate for being, as he put it, too feminine.

As Barden explains in this new video for "I'm From Driftwood,"nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories, he was privileged enough to befriend a group of upperlassmen girls. One day, as the group sat at a lunch table, the girls' gay friend, David, walked over to greet them and after he left, Barden trash talked the young man for being gay.

"I said, 'Oh my god! He's just so disgusting!' And my friend Johnetta looked at me and she said, 'What did you say?" And I said, 'He's so disgusting. The way he acts. The way he just prances. It's just uncalled for.' And she looked at me and she said, 'Wow, Joseph. I thought you were better than that.'" Barden recalled.

But instead of getting defensive, Barden explained that he took Johnetta's words to heart and they sparked a lifestyle change in him that not only shifted his mindset about bullying but also forced him to accept the truth about his own sexuality. 

Growing up in a small homophobic town, I know very well how life at school can feel like a battlefield among gay kids, because instead of showing solidarity and standing together to fight against homophobia and effemiphobia, too often young LGBT kids harass and fight each other as attempts to deflect attention away from their own insecurities about their sexuality. And I've personally been on both sides of that offense, both trying to defend myself and trying to belittle other gay men to look cool so that other kids wouldn't bully me.

Looking back, I wish that there would have been a stronger sense of community between the LGBT kids at my school, but I hope videos like this can be a learning tool for the LGBT youth coming up behind my generation to stand together, validate and applaud each other, and love each other. 

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, storyteller and blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

www.nicholasharbor.com

www.facebook.com/NicholasHarborOfficial

www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Harbor

Posted on October 9, 2014 and filed under Homophobia, Identity, LGBT, Masculinity, sexuality.

What SHOULD Happen When A Young Kid Comes Out As Gay

When it comes to sexuality, it's easy to say that we live in the best times the Western world has ever seen when it comes to being LGBT. But that doesn't mean things are the best they can be for us LGBT folks, and it certainly doesn't mean that coming out to our friends, family and loved ones is always a breeze. 

To this day, it's still not uncommon to hear about young LGBT kids being chastised, bullied, beaten, kicked out, or even being murdered for coming out of the closet. For some, coming out is still a dangerous crapshoot of a gamble of the lesser of evil outcomes.

But for others, a growing number of LGBT kids, coming out can be an amazing experience where they are, rightfully, embraced with unconditional love from the people around them and shown that sexuality is to be embraced and praised, not used as a negative mark against someone - especially not someone you're supposed to love.

Today, I found a great example of that kind of amazing story when I watched a video of a young 14-year-old boy named Joshua Felix as he comes out to his sister as gay. 

Like I always do when I watch someone coming out, I cringed a lot and tried to suprress the urge to stop the video for fear that i might see them being rejected or attacked. Having come out myself 8 years ago, it's a fear I know all it too, and one I can't seem to let go of for others. But thankfully, Joshua's sister gave her little brother the greatest response any young gay kid can hear when they say the words "I'm gay."

"What’s wrong with that?" she responds casually. "That’s nothing you need to worry about. I’m glad you felt you could come and tell me. I am, seriously. That was very brave of you as well for telling me—I’m proud of you.”

With society continuing to find greater accetpance and understanding of the LGBT communities everyday, hopefully more coming out stories will look like this until the day coming out won't even be an issue....or a thing that occurs at all.

Check out this amazing video below.  

 

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, storyteller and blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

www.nicholasharbor.com

www.facebook.com/NicholasHarborOfficial

www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Harbor

Posted on September 28, 2014 and filed under Families, family, Homophobia, LGBT, sexuality.

The High Five: The Day a Brother Invented the World's Most Famous Salute

high 5-history2.jpg

The High Five - The Day a Brother Invented the World's Most Famous Salute.

Have you ever reached your hand high in the air for an awesome High Five?  Ever wondered who was the "first" to do it?  Well, in this amazing documentary you'll learn a lot more than you ever thought you could in 10 minutes about the high 5, baseball history, and the first openly gay athlete in any major sport...and no he isn't Jason Collins.  

The High Five - The Legacy of Glenn Burke.

50 Shades of Black examines Sexuality and Skin Tone in the Formation of Identity.

Posted on July 28, 2014 and filed under blog, history, Identity, Homophobia, LGBT, personal stories, sexuality.

Wonderroot Podcast: Interview with the Creator of 50 Shades of Black

In this WonderRoot Artist Feature Carlton Mackey, creator of "50 Shades of Black", talks with WR Interactive Media Manager Floyd Hall about the origins of the project, its evolution as a platform for dialogue about race, sexuality, and identity, and why the tag line "Beautiful In Every Shade" is so meaningful.

For more information on 50 Shades of Black, visit: http://50shadesofblack.com

WonderRoot is an Atlanta-based non-profit arts and service organization with a mission to unite artists and community to inspire positive social change. By providing production facilities to Atlanta-based artists and coordinating arts-based service programs, WonderRoot empowers artists to be proactive in engaging their communities through arts-based service work. For more information, please visit:

http://wonderroot.org 
http://facebook.com/wonderpage 
http://twitter.com/wonderroot 
http://instagram.com/wonderroot

The New Morlocks Part II: Jamaica Allows LGBT Youth Refuge In Its Sewer Systems

 Original Image courtesy of BuzzFeed

Original Image courtesy of BuzzFeed

It was only a few shorts months ago back in December when reports initially hit the global scene detailing the tragic reality that many of New Kingston, Jamaica’s LGBT youth were living in the city’s sewer systems after being kicked out of their homes and discarded by their communities.

Making matters even more grim was the fact that the homeless youths were being routinely arrested and harassed by the police as well as angry homophobic mobs, who could attack them at any time.

Now, after months of raids and attacks, a Kingston court has ruled that youths can legally stay in the sewer systems.

Activist Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, who is chair of the planned LGBT shelter Dwayne’s House, gave an account to 76crimes.com and explained that the last raid occurred, ironically, on March 5, Ash Wednesday, when New Kingston police entered the sewers and demanded that the youth leave. The youth, however, refused and some put up a struggle as they simply had nowhere else to go. Some of the youth were arrested for resisting eviction and some were even charged for using swear words, which is illegal in Jamaica.

Police had previously gone so far as to try and burn the youth out of the sewers and had even run them out of the abandoned buildings they were occupying when they weren't in the sewers. Police have now completely torn those abandoned buildings down to stop any chance of the youths coming back. Sadly, that's also helped to keep the youths in a permanent state of homelessness. 

When the youths appeared in court two days later, a judge fined them for their “calumnious language.” However the judge also advised the police that the sewers are a public space and therefore the youths have a right to reside there.

Dwayne’s House paid the small fines for the youths, and in what could only be described as an utterly bizarre and tragic victory, the youths have now returned to the sewers with the hope that they will be left alone by police.

As I wrote in my original article on this matter, this scenario frighteningly mirrors the plight of the fictional X-Universe group The Morlocks, a bizarre, unique and discarded group of mutants who lived in the sewers of Manhattan because they didn't fit in with either humans or human-looking mutants.

Like these youths in Jamaica, The Morlocks were constantly criticized and discriminated against when they walked into the light with the rest of the world and even when they stayed underground in the sewers, they were susceptible to attacks from anti-mutant groups. Sadly, in the X-Men comics, help came to late for the The Morlocks and their group was brutally massacred in their sewer home by, of all things, a group of mercenary mutants. 

It’s mind blowing that in the real world a group of young men and women are so oppressed and unwanted by their community that the main issue surrounding the governments response to them isn’t how they can be aided before even more disastser strikes or how to  change th mindsets of citizens to allow for a society that values human life over judgment and irrational hate, instead it's how and where the powers that be in New Kingston can dump these youths off and relieve themselves of responsibility in the matter. 

The shining light in the matter is the tenacity and resilience of these youths to stay alive as well as the efforts of a activists like those at Dwayne's House who are trying to create a safe space in Jamaica for these youths and advocate for their rights and their existence.

I just hope that life doesn't imitate art first and that these youths don't end up massacred and forgottten before real help arrives.

If you'd like information on how to donate to Dwayne's House you can check out their website here.

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, storyteller and blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

www.nicholasharbor.com

www.facebook.com/NicholasHarborOfficial

www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Harbor

 

Posted on March 18, 2014 and filed under activism, current events, Homophobia, LGBT.

Damaged Goods: Being Hurt By Men Is Not Why We Love Women

damaged-goods.jpg

I was raped by someone that I knew and trusted back in 1999 and until this pivotal moment I never had the strength to stand up and admit that this had happened to me. My face didn’t look remotely close to the women who stared back at me on local commercials who were calling out their attacker. So like every other black woman I knew, I adapted the ability to accept what has been dealt to her and move beyond it. So when I finally came to terms with my sexuality a few years later the response from my friends and family wasn’t the best. In fact one of my very close cousins at the time told me that “ I know why you do what you do--it’s because of everything that men have done to you. So I understand. And I want  you to know that I defend you when everyone else doesn’t understand”.

Oddly enough I didn’t know if she was truly in my corner or if I should’ve been offended. At the time she didn't know much about the things that had happened to me in the past but I felt like she assumed that maybe because my relationships with men were a dead end--I had chose an alternate route all in a conscious effort to be loved. Sounds a whole lot like desperation to me--all of which I was not.

More often than not people assume that you turn to the same sex relationships for love and compassion when all else has failed with the opposite sex. Almost as if it’s an act of desperation.

The truth is that being a lesbian is not the easier route--it’s the harder route. The myth that “women understand women” better is a lie because being misunderstood or being treated poorly can happen in any relationship. In fact--you haven’t known hurt until you have been hurt by a woman. Women can be clever and witty creatures who have mastered the art of lies and deception in a way unlike any other. And when you have had your heart broken by one--it cuts much deeper than a knife. In fact--it seeps into your pores, peels the weight off of you and cuts into your sleep. It’s very similar to the pain you read about in books as a young adult. Yet--you keep trying again and again because no matter how painful this roller coaster is you’re addicted to her smile, her supple breasts and nurturing characteristics. You love the way her skin feels against yours and how her cologne/perfume dances around the room long after she’s gone.

So trust me when I say I have been hurt by women in ways that men never have.

damaged good1.jpg

It would be so much easier to get a boyfriend and waltz off into the sunset in my beautiful wedding dress while being accepted by the world than it could ever be trying to build a life with a woman. Not only is our relationship not accepted by the government but it’s not respected nor honored by various people on different platforms. We’re often ridiculed because of the kind of love that we choose to display and given dirty looks by onlookers as we shop in the local stores. Why would I choose a life so difficult for myself?

Being sexually assaulted or abused doesn’t make homosexuals nor do failed relationships with the opposite sex. Most of us already know that we are gay before we can even identify what sexuality is and some of us have chosen to live openly rather than to live a lie.

Believe it or not--more women come out of the closet and divorce their husbands than are accounted for. Most of them prefer to wait until their children are older so that they aren’t faced with a situation where the relationship with their children are possibly damaged and the foundation of their family is destroyed. It’s not that they don’t love their husband--it’s more so along the lines that isn’t what their truth consists of and at some point she finally decided to live her life without destroying someone else's. I always speak about living your truth because it takes such great strength to do so. Living a lie is the easiest route and it’s the road that traveled most. How often do we want people to look us in the eyes and tell us the truth but we stare at ourselves in the mirror and lie to ourselves on a daily basis?

lie to me.jpg

 

At the end of it all--

Being sexually assaulted/abused doesn't make a person gay.  It makes you someone who has been violated. There are just as many heterosexuals that have been violated as homosexuals--so ultimately no situation can turn a person gay. Either you are--or you aren’t.

I wrote this because there are so many parents who are angry because they feel that their daughter's/son's partner “turned” them the way they are and because they cannot accept the truth--they’d rather banish them all together.  There are other people who think that you are damaged goods which is why you turned to same gender relationships. And other are other parents who recently found out that their child was recently sexually assaulted who wonder if they would have known, could they have saved them from the clutches of homosexuality. Would they be different? Could they have fixed them? Did they let them down?

The truth is that sometimes life deals us some crappy cards and no matter if we like it or not we have to play the hell out of them. And as much as we wish that we could save our loved ones--it’s just not always possible. Whether your life is perfect or not who you are is destined to be is based on two factors:

1. How well you were able to turn your negative aspects into positive ones

2. How you define yourself and not how others define you.

crappy-hands.jpg

Those moments no matter how horrible they were don’t make you--but they mold you. You we’re never broken so you don’t need to be fixed or saved. Remember who you are and never forget that your past does nothing but create another road on the map of your life but the ending destination depends solely on you.


This is for all of the beautiful ones--

People like you--and I

Posted on February 9, 2014 and filed under feminism, Homophobia, Identity, LGBT, personal stories, sexuality.

Janelle Monae's Afrofuturism on Black History Month

Is humanoid equality the next civil rights fight?

Cindi Mayweather

And so she sings, we're all virgins to the joys of loving without fear....

Following her EP: metropolis Janelle Monae has used the analogy of synthetic intelligence to argue topics like civil and gender rights along with giving a new meaning to the ideal of LGBTQA ...perhaps the 'T' can stand for Transhuman or the 'A' for anything. In the five suite chronology of her 3 albums Monae has painted a picture of pop, rock, rap, jazz, blues, R&B, funk, and even folk to keep our attention while ranting about her own frustration with the kind of empowerment which is possible in the increasingly techno-connected world.

Modeled after the many interpretations of the storied Metropolis: a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. Monae's consistent theme is a love between a human man and a robot women, but in this recent album has evolved into  stories about the her self confessed alter-ego cyborg Cindi Mayweather and her own identity as a seemingly lgbtR (R for Robot).

The album Electric Lady and Archandroid before that, bring to mind the issues surrounding love equality, which are socio-politically related to marriage equality. The age old dowry system of marriage is now a catalyst to normalize love across cultures and preferences, aside from its sustained bride price. Human's ability to create laws that better acknowledge independence of things of sentience will be increasingly tested as human-kind itself grows more diverse.

I'd argue that Gay is the new Asian because of all the unpacked diversity in the culture, but black seems to be the analogy that everyone is going with.

Michael Joseph Gross coined it The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle. Pundits are rightfully quick to make something finite in order to capitalize on it. Aside from marketing, it’s not true. There will always be more struggles, as minorities exist and define their niche forte. We are reverse engineering our way to pure individualism. Imagine 7,000,000,000 cultural labels and counting. LGBT issues are just the latest struggle, but the next or perhaps the one after that, will be Humanoid or even Robot issues. There is an ethnography to everything including the technology that compels and propels our daily lives. As we humans try and engineer our ways out of all labor we've started to create sentience. Just as Edgar Rice Burroughs writes in The Master Mind of Mars we have the potential to fall in love with a beautiful mind transferred to a horrible body. How will our ethical code change legally when Cindi Mayweather a humanoid lady falls in love with Anthony Greendown, a gentleman?

Originally posted on 10/3/2013 in H+ an extension of the World Transhumanist Association by author James Felton Keith

 

@JFKII
writer, cultural critic, special contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Posted on February 1, 2014 and filed under activism, art, blog, education, Homophobia, Identity, LGBT, music, sexuality.

[UPDATE] 'Dear Dad' Letters from Same Gender Loving Sons Screening At Emory University

*****EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER*****

Hello:
Due to the current weather crisis in Atlanta, today's Dear Dad Screening at Emory University has been postponed. Emory University will actually be closed today. We will let you all know the moment we've set a new date. We hope everyone is safe and warm. Thank you for the support and we look forward to hosting this event soon! 

Dear Dad Screening Small-002.jpg

After a successful launch of the “Dear Dad” film last year, the film’s creator, Chase Simmons, and 50 Shades of BLACKs own, Carlton Mackey, have teamed up to facilitate a public screening for the film at Emory University.

For those who haven’t watched the film yet – and you should. No, really. Why haven’t you watched it yet? What’s wrong with you?! – “Dear Dad: Letters From SGL Sons” is an aptly titled documentary about eight same gender loving men from the Atlanta area who have allowed cameras into their world as they explore their relationships with their fathers, whether good or bad, and confront those feelings head on as they write their fathers "Dear Dad" letters. Through these letters, the eight men, including myself, discuss the ways in which their relationship has shaped them and, if possible, where they want that relationship to go from here. 

Sounds utterly, completely and undeniably interesting right? Of course it does!

So, if you haven’t seen the film already - or even if you have - and you live in the Atlanta area, come by Emory University on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. and watch the film with Chase, Carlton and myself as well as the rest of the cast. Afterwards, you can chat with us and ask us all the questions you want – but don’t get crazy – as the cast sits down for a Q&A session with the audience.

Trust me when I say it’s going to be an amazing experience and there may even be Oprah/Iyanla, Fix My Life tearjerker moments, and who doesn’t love those?!?

See you there and check out the trailer as well as our interview segment from HuffPost Live below.

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, Storyteller and Blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

www.nicholasharbor.com

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Posted on January 26, 2014 and filed under film, Identity, Homophobia, LGBT, Masculinity, personal stories, race, sexuality.