Monthly Archives: August 2017

Let’s Love Hood Girls Who Aren’t Famous as Much as We Love Cardi B

It’s time for us all to admit that our beloved Cardi B is a national treasure and will save a nation. But it’s also time to reckon with the fact that our rightful adoration for Cardi B reveals a troubling truth: We dismiss, denigrate and force white-appeasing standards on black and Latinx women like her every day, then pretend to love them when they achieve fame.

To be clear, my love for Cardi B knows no bounds. Last month I went to the club for a night of drinks, dancing and hookah-smoking with a few close friends. This wasn’t an unusual weekly tradition, but we always made an experience out of it: pregame and a night out in our best outfits, followed by a night of the greasiest food known to humankind. As luck would have it, the moment we stepped out of the car and into the club, Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” was glaring from the speakers. It was as if God herself were blessing us from the high heavens.

Read the full article on The Root.

If Black Gay Men on TV Were All Masculine ‘Professionals,’ Would We Still Care About Diversity?

On modern-day reality-television shows, audiences often bear witness to stereotypical, one-dimensional representations of black queer men. From the iconic Miss J. Alexander on America’s Next Top Model to the frequent appearances on Real Housewives of Atlanta and even Love & Hip Hop, we have often seen narrow depictions of the black male queer experience: divas applying makeup, giving someone a blowout or teaching young women how to model.

In the op-ed “Do You Understand Me? Black Gay Men Are More Than What You See On TV” last month, writer Tim Pulliam made a scathing critique: “[T]his imagery of the gay man represents only part of the community, which ultimately misleads and provides a false, damaging perception to the general public of what it means to be Black and LGBT.”

Pulliam’s perspective is understandable, though I struggle with the word “damaging” because it implies a perceived danger or detrimental effect that I’m not seeing, and the suggestion of a detriment is dangerous in itself. Further, it places the focus on straight people’s reactions as opposed to black queer people’s lived experiences. That’s not my ministry.

Read the full article on The Root.

We should all be worried about how we’re discussing Usher and herpes

For centuries, Black people have had our bodies exploited, demonized, and then commodified for pecuniary gain. Because of this I must be upfront in the beginning: jokes about Usher, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), number of partners, and sexual intercourse are moments we should not take lightly and is not a laughing matter.

Living with herpes can lead to stigma, discrimination, and isolation – and it is perpetuated based on unfounded fear and lack of knowledge. In 2014, The Atlantic published “The Overblown Stigma of Genital Herpes” noting how herpes is a common disease and the most debilitating symptoms are shame and isolation. Unfortunately, three years later, this is still an accurate reflection.

Read the full article on The Grio.

The Fact That Bobby Valentino May Not Have Paid a Sex Worker Is a Problem; the Fact That the Sex Worker Is Trans Is Not

On July 31, a transgender sex worker recorded R&B singer Bobby Valentino running out of a room after allegedly not paying for sexual services. Valentino has since denied the accusation and stated, through his representative, “Misrepresentation and deception were maliciously used to target [him]; during the encounter, Valentino was victimized and threatened by acts of extortion, which continued after his departure was captured on video.”

Valentino made sure to note that he was unaware the sex worker was transgender.

For some, this makes sense—many cisgender heterosexual people incorrectly believe that no one would be attracted to a trans person unless they had been “tricked.” Fortunately, many of us know better. We know better because we see cis heterosexual men intentionally targeting trans women for paid and unpaid sexual services in profiles posted online on sites such as Jack’d and Grindr.

Read the full article on The Root.