Saturday, February 27, 2016

#RealTalk: Melissa Harris-Perry & Racism In Media

"I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC."

Too often we see the shuffle of shows on mainstream cable media/networks, usually Black anchor is on the chopping block. MSNBC is clearly no different, We even see it in local media with the way stories are told and broadcast to the masses. The racism at play when it comes to MHP is institutional, and its easy to see when she gave voice to what so many in the BLACK community needed to see and hear. Her subject matter was inclusive of  Black people that live in many intersections (Black and LGBT or  ________ ).

When Andrew Lack took over after the Brian Williams scandal, he made it his mission to shift MSNBC toward hard news and away from liberal reporting. This clearly explains why other Black anchored shows have been nixed so easily, I guess this was harder to do with MHP and her branding because it was highly rated. My thing is, did Lack think we would not notice Melissa's absence?  Take her off air until she agrees to only report on mainstream White issues?

Apparently, talking about issues of the day that are not associated with the mainstream is exactly what Lack wants. MHP had this to say, "Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive." If there is any doubt in your mind about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Trans issues, immigration and other issues that affect minorities actually matter to the media....YOU WERE RIGHT, WE DON'T MATTER. Anyway, this is why my blog exists, we have to be our own media in order to address our issues. We also have to remember to support our sistahs and brothas like MHP who are kicking the door open. I will leave you with this letter she wrote and know that we must stick together!

The letter that MHP wrote:


"Dearest Nerds,

As you know by now, my name appears on the weekend schedule for MSNBC programming from South Carolina this Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate that many of you responded to this development with relief and enthusiasm. To know that you have missed working with me even a fraction of how much I’ve missed working with all of you is deeply moving. However, as of this morning, I do not have any intention of hosting this weekend. Because this is a decision that affects all of you, I wanted to take a moment to explain my reasoning.

Some unknown decision-maker, presumably Andy Lack or Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage. Social media has noted the dramatic change in editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage. In addition, Dylan Byers of CNN has made repeated inquiries with MSNBC’s leadership and with me about the show and what appears to be its cancellation. I have not responded to reporters or social media inquiries. However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.

Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.

The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.

Undoubtedly, television nurtures the egos of those of us who find ourselves in front of bright lights and big cameras. I am sure ego is informing my own pain in this moment, but there is a level of professional decency, respect, and communication that has been denied this show for years. And the utter insulting absurdity of the past few weeks exceeds anything I can countenance.

I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage. I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars. I have hosted a weekly program on this network for four years and contributed to election coverage on this network for nearly eight years, but no one on the third floor has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month. It is profoundly hurtful to realize that I work for people who find my considerable expertise and editorial judgment valueless to the coverage they are creating.

While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.

Yours always,

Melissa"

SOURCE: Jamil Smith - https://medium.com/@JamilSmith/melissa-harris-perry-s-email-to-her-nerdland-staff-11292bdc27cb#.ywhfzhu42


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#RealTalk: CDC Report Says Half Of Black Gay Men Will Contract #HIV In Their Lifetime


People living in the South are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their life than people in other parts of the country. States where risk is greatest include Maryland (1 in 49), Georgia (1 in 51), Florida (1 in 54), and Louisiana (1 in 56).

Yesterday during CROI the CDC released a report on a study it conducted, which "provides the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of the lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis for several key populations at risk and in every state. Overall, the likelihood that an American will be diagnosed with HIV at any point during his or her life is now 1 in 99, an improvement from a previous study using 2004- 2005 data that reported lifetime risk at 1 in 78. Despite overall progress, this study reveals stark disparities by race, risk group and geography."

African American men overall are almost 7 times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes. The disparity among women is even greater: 1 in 48 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes, compared with 1 in 227 Hispanic women and 1 in 880 white women.

Honestly Black gay men deserve respect and attention in a sincere and holistic way, as a good friend of mine stated:

"If you love Black gay men, you won't place us into boxes. If you love Black gay men, you won't care to only tell salacious stories. If you love Black gay men, you will be critical of headlines. If you love Black gay men, you will care about us before seroconversion. If you love Black gay men and want to help the HIV pandemic, you won't simply try to throw a condom onto everything to erase the very real social determinants. If you love Black gay men, you would care about access. If you love Black gay men, you would care about poverty. If you love Black gay men, you would care about stigma, slut-shaming, sex-shaming, bottom-shaming, resources, race, and sexuality. If you love Black gay men living with HIV, you would consider what recent CDC studies could mean for outdated criminalization laws. If you love Black gay men, you would care about nuance and complexity.

But that would be too much to ask because funding only matters once people have a positive diagnosis. Then the world pretends to care.‪#‎InMyFeelings‬ 
‪#‎FightingForABetterTomorrow
" - Preston D. Mitchum

So this mean that the Trans community deserves the same respect and attention in a sincere and holistic way too. It is problematic that ALL of the projections in reference to MSM (Men who have sex with men) don't separate or give proper attention to the population of TransWomen at risk for HIV. This report is truly misgendering and institutionally Transphobic, I ask that those, including myself with influence in the HIV community to force the CDC and federal government overall to be more thoughtful toward Black and Latinx Transwomen. I Cannot trust this report if it excludes entire communities and provides a gateway to criminalization on a level we have not seen before in states with archaic HIV laws. Same goes for the treatment of TransMen, but think on the fact that as Cisgender folks (me included), we must let the Trans community speak for themselves and that means breaking our silence in a LOUD voice to make space for them to do so. 

The trans community is not a Monolith, nor is being Black or Latino, but we have to make sure everyone counts and that means recognizing that gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing. Recognize that there are TransWomen that are attracted only to women and TransMen who are attracted to other men, in other words there are Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Trans folks.

Sex - refers to biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs.
   
Gender - describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.
    
Gender identity - is a person's private sense and subjective experience of their own gender. This is generally described as one's private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female.
Gender expression

Gender expression - refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.

Transgender - is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression is different from those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g., the sex listed on their birth certificate). Not all people who consider themselves (or who may be considered by others as) transgender will undergo a gender transition. 

Gender transition - Transitioning is the process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This may or may not include hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery and other medical procedures.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/factsheets/lifetime-risk-hiv-dx-us.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2016/croi-press-release-risk.html







































































Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#RealTalk: Ashton's Experiences With Hook Ups & Dating

***GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING***

In my experience dating and hookups have had quite interesting outcomes for me over the last ten years. I have no shame in stating that I like to fuck and although I am not active at the moment, I have my bachelor tendencies. It doesn't make me a hoe when I have a random encounter, it is self care, I got my nut. I have had the pleasure of monogamous relationships, some where I was the bad guy and others where I was the good guy. We all have those experiences, but today I want share my weirdest and most fuckery filled engagements with men in Houston and in my travels over the years.

Hook Ups: I'm going to start with the worst one first. it was 2005 going into 2006 and I am still new to Houston. My method of meeting guys was through going out and online via Adam4Adam as well as other sites. Well, I met this guy online and he seemed pretty cool, great convo, went to TSU and yeah we were hooking up. His first strike was showing up to my house unprepared for sex. He did the surface clean and not the deep cleanse one may want to do when one is a bottom. Anyway, I discovered this five minutes in when I pulled out of him to add more lube. I was turned off and he was embarrassed to the point of leaving. I guess you are wondering why I started with this story, keep reading! About a month later I get a call and its him.

Him: You at home, I want to make up for the last time....

Me: Yeah, I take that as you are in my area...

Him: I'm on your street, can I come through?

In my head I'm thinking come though, I need some cakes and I'm not turning down a phatty!

Me: Come through...

It turns out that he was fully intentioned to come over, When he got to the door I heard him on the phone in a jovial tone. So I peeped out of my peep hole to make sure it was him and opened the door to a level of fuckery that I had never seen before (at that point). He takes ONE step across the threshold, reach into his bag and pulls out a Walmart back with a green box in it. It didn't register at first, but it turned out to be a fleet.  In my mind I was saying, "ok he came to get prepped by me, better than not being prepped...." and then the thought was quickly broken by this statement: 

"Surprise, I told you that I would make it up to you and put this ass on you...but I need $500 dollars."

As I, in a temporary state of shock, geared up for a response, I heard myself laughing hysterically! I don't pay for sex, I get what I want, when I want it, FOR FREE. He went as far as to start undressing as I was telling him "nigga get cho ass out of my apartment!" Once again he left in an embarrassed state. 

Before I continue, here are some bedroom definitions (Sexual roles do not indicate whether someone is masculine or feminine.):


  • Top - usually a person who engages in the penetrative role during sexual activity; this often involves penetration using the penis during anal sex.
  • Bottom - usually the receptive partner during sexual penetration. This frequently refers to those who are penetrated through the anus during anal sex.
  • Versatile - Refers to a person who enjoys both topping and bottoming, or being dominant and submissive, and may alternate between the two in sexual situations.

The best hook ups have always been offline though, My best hook up was with this guy who was visiting New Orleans while I was visiting home (was still living in Houston). I ran into my friends of the pre Katrina world and we just chilled in the Vieux CarrĂ© that evening. Somehow we were signaling attraction to each other the whole time and once we separated from the group, it was on an poppin. It started with me walking with him to to Tulane hospital and him slamming me against the wall and stealing a kiss. He was an Alpha male like me and I was attracted to that, the aggression he had was everything!!!! So we walked to his car which was small, instead we didn't make it to the car,...we made it to the third floor of the stairwell in the parking garage. It was at that moment I realized it took a special kind of dude to bring it out of me. I took him right there on the stairs, he didn't fight it he let them pants drop and we skipped the oral. What made it so hot is that, this straight couple caught us and they watched and I banged this dude out. The chick went as far as to ask me to fuck her with her man right there. I declined so they somehow found room to do their thing too, I didn't care and it was like life exemplified, I was free in that moment, never saw him again. NOTE: I am no angel.


Dating: there have been guys who have had my interest for sure, there have been extremes though.

On one end, you have the INSTANT RELATIONSHIP TYPE...they call you bae out of the gate. and you barely know them. Shit, can I know if I even like your personality? I have had the displeasure of experiencing men like this. One story I have is this guy, mind you we never had sex or anything that would lead to it. He was sweet at first but wanted me to be all of the things that fit heteronormative, masculine mold. I am a naturally masculine guy, but I'm not going to date a guy who wants to to be submissive, we can be the best of friends though. I respect what people want and know when I don't fit into that mold. Before I go further, note that being feminine and submissive are two very different things, and I have loved a feminine man who was very dominant. Anyway this guy wanted me to treat him like (in his words) he was a bitch and would get mad when I didn't answer the phone or hang with him. I never committed or promised attraction beyond friendship after that first date. He was a great guy, just not to be with....


On the other end, there is the SPACE VIOLATOR....This one does not know how to respect boundaries. Hell, he is ignorant of boundaries in the first place. A kiss is not permission to reach below the belt. And that's IF I want to kiss you. This is the one that assumes sexual compatibility and ALWAYS gets it wrong! I had a few of these too, one in particular who thought he could magically change me from Top to Bottom. Truth be told I tried it, it is not my cup of tea, I'm not insecure about my ass being grabbed and etc, if I fucking give you permission. We hung out, things went well and then he tried to reach into my pants to only have his hand twisted back and away from my body. NO MEANS NO. Aggression is great if it is mutual, but don't pretend to want me for me when you only want my body  and not my mind. These two experiences did not lead to continued contact or any further dates.

THE BEST GUY TO DATE is one that goes with the flow of the moment, upfront about his shit and does not hold his tongue. He is ok with sex on the first date and will still want to get to know your mind mutually. Hangups and small crap tend not to be an issue for him and this presents the opportunity to have a lover and best friend at the same damn time. No heteronormative roles, just two guys meeting each other where they are.


Monday, February 15, 2016

#RealTalk: Nothing About Us Without Us - The Black Community & HIV


As a person living with HIV, I have come to quickly learn that many, if not all organizations that have anything to do with HIV & AIDS in existence do not have people with the lived experiences of being HIV positive on their boards. I keep thinking about the The Denver Principles, a list of demands that changed healthcare as we know it. The second recommendation "2. Be involved at every level of decision-making and specifically serve on the boards of directors of provider organizations...." comes to mind. When did we get away from  being the leaders of our own movement? Moreover, when did we drop the ball on HIV 101 in the Black community?

It is frightening to me that I had to explain to a man, a Black man, a straight Black man who is one year older than me (he is age 32) what HIV is and how it works. While I graciously explained and told him he could reach out to me in the future, I thought about those who look like me that work as service providers. They are forced to only focus on MSM or Men who have Sex with Men in their work of getting to ZERO. Many of the the coordinators, prevention specialists, and others who work on the community level are not in management and are Black. There are very few Black persons in management when it comes to organizations that provide care, on top of that, the ones (not all) who are in high level positions tend to come off as elitist and out of touch.

Even more problematic is that the majority are Gay/SGL men, which speaks to the lack of education in the heterosexual, Bisexual and Trans communities. Straight Black women and men are at peril, especially women, IF we are to truly get to ZERO in the black community why are we ONLY focusing on Gay black men. If our community organizations like churches and leaders won't, why can't we table in the areas ourselves? When will there be a movement to hold the federal government to the fire to create a tracking system that is more holistic and respectful to the Trans community? After all, why keep counting Transwomen as men, while ignoring Transmen completely?

The point is that those of us in the know have an opportunity to take positions of leadership and take it upon ourselves to educate those we know that are not getting properly educated. We more than just testing if the prevention methodology has not teeth. Below you will find the The Denver Principles along with a little background about why it exists. 

"Nothing About Us Without Us!" (Latin: "Nihil de nobis, sine nobis") is a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected by that policy. This involves national, ethnic, disability-based, or other groups that are often thought to be marginalized from political, social, and economic opportunities.

"It was 1983. Just a year prior, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) became the fearful
nameplate for the murderer of gay friends and lovers. The virus that caused it, HIV, had only been identified a few weeks earlier. Amidst this atmosphere of unremitting grief and fear, a group of activists met in Denver as part of a gay and lesbian health conference. Among them, a dozen men with AIDS. And among their number, the inspirational Michael Callen of New York City, pictured at right, and safe sex architect Richard Berkowitz (Sex Positive), the only surviving member of the group today. They were about to do something that would change our response to AIDS -- and health care in general -- forever.

As the conference drew to a close, the activists asked to address the attendees. Rather than having a report presented about the state of the AIDS crisis, they wanted to speak for themselves. If the word "empowerment" hadn't yet been a part of the health care lexicon, it was about to be.

The group took turns reading a document to the conference they had just created themselves, during hours sitting in a hospitality suite of the hotel. It was their Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence rolled into one. It would be known as The Denver Principles, and it began like this: "We condemn attempts to label us as 'victims,' which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally 'patients,' which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are 'people with AIDS.'"...
" - POZ: How 'The Denver Principles' Changed Healthcare Forever, By Mark S. King





THE DENVER PRINCIPLES (1983)


(Statement from the advisory committee of the People with AIDS) We condemn attempts to label us as "victims," a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally "patients," a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are "People With AIDS."

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE


1. Support us in our struggle against those who would fire us from our jobs, evict us from our homes, refuse to touch us or separate us from our loved ones, our community or our peers, since available evidence does not support the view that AIDS can be spread by casual, social contact.

2. Not scapegoat people with AIDS, blame us for the epidemic or generalize about our lifestyles.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS


1. Form caucuses to choose their own representatives, to deal with the media, to choose their own agenda and to plan their own strategies.

2. Be involved at every level of decision-making and specifically serve on the boards of directors of provider organizations.

3. Be included in all AIDS forums with equal credibility as other participants, to share their own experiences and knowledge.

4. Substitute low-risk sexual behaviors for those which could endanger themselves or their partners; we feel people with AIDS have an ethical responsibility to inform their potential sexual partners of their health status.

RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH AIDS


1. To as full and satisfying sexual and emotional lives as anyone else.

2. To quality medical treatment and quality social service provision without discrimination of any form including sexual orientation, gender, diagnosis, economic status or race.

3. To full explanations of all medical procedures and risks, to choose or refuse their treatment modalities, to refuse to participate in research without jeopardizing their treatment and to make informed decisions about their lives.

4. To privacy, to confidentiality of medical records, to human respect and to choose who their significant others are.

5. To die--and to LIVE--in dignity.

SOURCE: http://data.unaids.org/pub/ExternalDocument/2007/gipa1983denverprinciples_en.pdf

This document is a goldmine that has been the template time and time again when it comes to healthcare and politics. Its about time we have education, TRUE representation, advocacy & Activism by us, for us.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

#RealTalk: I Like To Fuck & I'm Ok With That

In my almost 17 years of being out, eligible to date, fuck, and even love, I have come to one simple conclusion: we are not sex positive. If we are to have a conversation about having baes, being booed up and being in relationships that are long lasting, we should be able to talk about how we got to those points. If we have even reached those points. I meant just what I said in the title, though it may ruffle some feathers, know that I am unapologetic and you will get over it.

































In this single life of mine and yours, we have needs and risks that come with those needs, that range from childish men to STDs. I have been very vocal about being HIV positive because of the stigma that still persists today in communities of color, especially the Black community. In reality I have had many experiences with different types of guys and they are as follows:

1. The I want to date you, but I really want to fuck type of guy:

- This dude is either confused or trying to be manipulative to get what he needs out of you, beware of this fool. You meet, smile, greet and he says "I really like you and want to get to know you." He goes on and on about how he loves monogamy, wants a family and wants to wait to have sex. But then you go on a date and then get a moment where you are at his house or yours and then he wants to drop those pants. Let me be clear, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SEX ON THE FIRST DATE.  The problem with this type is that they say what they think you need to hear in order to get a nut with you instead of just asking for what he wants.

2.The I want to fuck you, but I really mean date you type of guy:

- This dude is also either confused or trying to be manipulative and upon further inspection can be deemed emotionally unstable. Daddy issues even. Regardless of how you meet, he talks about all the nasty things he can and will do to you, will invite you to his house and then no follow through. If we were deemed a hook up by mutual decision, what makes you think that anything beyond friendship, if that, will happen? I mean really, who wants blue balls or a wasted fleet for those of you who are bottoms? Anyway the supposed sex session, fuck down turns into the please "hold me" show while we watch a movie.

3. The I want a relationship, but friends come first guy:

- Ever meet a guy you really like and he has almost all of the qualities that you look for, but you notice that his friends make all of his decisions? Don't lie, either you are that guy or you have met him. He will literally do the things for his friends that would look like he should be in a relationship with him. OR, he needs to be needed. the kind of guy that needs someone that he can influence and boss around. So he lets five and six folks stay in his apartment, free of charge, while they leach and eat him out of house and home. They never have time for you or themselves & can't seem to get rid of the toxic relationships. STAY AWAY FROM HIM.

4. The mamma's boy:

- There is nothing wrong with a mama's boy if he can separate his love life from his relationship with his mother. However, this is the guy who cannot say no to mama and will say "how high" when she beckons him to jump. This is the guy that takes his love of mom to a new level, leaving you to wonder when he will make at least one decision for himself without her. Not that this guy isn't an independent thinker or anything, but he will be a tough person to deal with if you get serious with him.

While there are countless others that I could describe, you get the damn point. In reality we are not saying the thing that we all want to say: "Hi, I am attracted to you, lets fuck..." We are not lonely hoes, we are not devoid of morals, we are not unintelligent, we are and have to be real about our needs. As a collective of Black Gay/SGL men we need to stop slut shaming, yucking others' yums, and mind our own damn business. Sex is good for the mind and the body, the last thing we need to do is to worry about the judgement of our so called friends and folks who are no doubt logged in on A4A, Jack'd, Grindr, Scruff and the host of other hook up apps that live in their phones. Yeah, I said it they are judging you, hating on your pull, searching for their backbreaker all at the same damn time.



The reason why this is problematic, conversations about sex and relationships among friends are limited and often out of context. We need to stop preaching to each other about how to fuck, who we fuck or even when & where we fuck. We have to say more than "wrap it up, " we have to start realizing that many of us will not stop going at it on the raw tip and be ok with the fact that we know the risks. Tell your friends about PrEP and other types of protection in a way that makes them not want to mute you while you are talking. As matter of fact try to have your own HIV 101!

"Let's be honest about who we are, a lot of us like to fuck raw and then bash those who are open about it. We do not live in a sex positive society and act like sexual puritans. The TRUTH is that we all know someone with an HIV diagnosis and will ignorantly act as if we don't. Let me make a correction in course, HIV 101" - A Survivor's Guide to HIV - THE BASICS


"Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently." - CDC


We have been reduced to White heteropatriarchal standards that have been passed down through generations of our community by way of respectability politics. We can no longer apply heteronormative standards to homosexual existence. This aversion to even talking about sex outside of the context of STDs needs to be unlearned.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Seven Words: A Tribute to Jordan Baker



credit: 

Burnell McCray 
Last night during an installation of the HERstory series, Janet Baker honored us by breaking her silence and telling her account on the events surrounding the loss of her beloved son. You see, she is the mother of Jordan Baker, a young Black man  who had his life tragically  cut short by HPD officer Juventino Castro. When Janet spoke about her fight to attain justice for Jordan against the brick wall of a broken criminal justice system, the emotional, physical & financial toll, it saddened me and encouraged me at the same time.


As an Atheist I am still a Black man and I recognize that my Blackness, our Blackness is intersectional. I may not believe in a God, but that does not stop me from standing in solidarity with and for those who seek justice in an unjust society.


Janet, during her moments of grief and happiness told us her story, a mother's story about her son Jordan, there was a moment in which her face lit up. In that moment she spoke about the prayers with her dad one at 7a or at 7p, with seven words and repeated 7 times. In that moment I saw her eyes glow about the good memories of her time with her son and how it also left a void, not only for her, but the entire family including little Jordan.



While I may not pray and may even be swamped at different points in time, saying seven words for Jordan seems like a great thing to do. I speak in tribute of Jordan Baker and his family seven words that helped me and I encourage you to think of seven words as well.

* Strength * Resilience * Love * Vibrance * Humility * Patience * Teach

Yes #BlackLivesMatter and so does the ability to be a community, I stand with you Janet Baker, I love your strength, resolve and wisdom. Special shout out to Alibi X Nation and my fellow Avengers from Truth2Power for last night Andrea, Biko, Brandi, Secunda & Stevens.

credit: Lanecia Rouse-Tinsley