Black Gay Youth today are entirely disconnected from our full, accurate history. The history lesson doesn’t stop at Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, and Audrey Lorde. It extends further back than NIANKHKHNUM and KHNUMHOTEP of Ancient Egypt, into the very heart of Africa. And today, our history continues into the future with Essex Hemphil all the way to black queer rappers like Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, and Azelia Banks. Its one thing to keep up with current events, its one thing to know our history, but it’s a continual process to integrate the past with the present and plan for the future of our movement. Furthermore, the current generation of black gay youth are so far removed from activism and outreach. I don’t think activism has to be lobbying for rights, or holding protests, either. It can be performance art, a party that donates to a cause, spoken word, anything really! We just need more youth to feel accountable for their community and the rest is just putting the right talents to the right tasks. Lastly, I think we have yet to address the heteronormativity in our community. As Black gay folks, we have a lot more to deal with then white folks and straight black folks, but I think we still need to address the hypermasculinity of our Black men. When Black gay men (tops, bottoms, verse, fems, and masculine men) don’t want to date or be sexual with feminine Black gay men, we have a problem with effemephobia and sexism. This is unacceptable even years after sexual racism by white folks regarded Black men as hyper-masculine/hyper-sexual.
I’ve served as the Vice-President of a Black Queer student organization and gained a lot of first-hand experience with tackling our issues. I have led workshops, spoken at City Council hearings, supported my sistahs and bruthas, and advocated in my personal life. I founded QueerUP! Atlanta with my friends (who also happen to be fierce young activists in training) and we have BIG plans for the coming year I’ve volunteered with SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Unity Conference at UNC Chapel Hill, The Alliance For Sexual and Gender Diversity, AIDS Walk Atlanta, JustUsAtl, and Georgia Equality. YPS recruits those who talk the talk and walk the walk. I talk, walk, snap, and end in a sick’ning shablam! lol
Im a dancer/voguer (drag queen- Cleopatra Jones), lover (love sex and having difficult conversations about sexual health), fighter (2nd degree Blackbelt in TaeKwonDo), slacktivist (I argue vehemently about social justice on every social network I own), crunk feminist/womanist scholar (Im becoming more and more well read in gender theory, critical race theory, and queer theory and applying what I learn to the world today), earned my Psychology BA (2013) with musings toward Neuroscience, Public Health, and Sociology. Im invested in transforming art/performance into protest. Lifting our voices, telling our stories, and making our presence known are my priorities. Im always trying to combine culture, research (especially science research), and theory into modern practice (cause theory aint always applicable to pop culture) so Im not against twerking for justice or stem cells for liberation Im a bit more radical than most people my age so I’d prefer to protest rather than lobby but I do look sharp in a suit Lastly, Im about that life.
I actually wrote a couple papers on this topic. I think it comes down to: empowerment and resources. Empowerment is directly related to self-esteem, our bond to a community, our acceptance of our sexuality in a world that tells us we are wrong for being lgbtq and destined to fail as Black people. The more empowered our people feel, the more active they are in their daily lives and in the lives of countless others who need them. We must stop empowering the few and letting it stop there. We need to arm our people with the tools of action and conversation that allow them to take on the task of empowering others when we (as individuals or as institutions) cannot be around. Secondly, resources are important because they signal visibility, identity, and the prospect of accurate education on everything from culture to sexual health practices. To lower the HIV infection rate in the Black community, we need to stop looking at this as a Black MSM (men who have sex with men) issue because that limits discussion about oppression and racism and how they uniquely affect Black MSMs. To lower the HIV infection rate in the Black community, we need to address our lack of willingness to have empowered and accurate conversations about sex and sexual health. It IS possible to talk about liberation AND fucking. It IS possible to talk about twerking and explicit verbal consent. It IS possible to have these important conversations but not detract from the ways that make us unique. To lower the HIV infection rate in the Black community,we need to stop looking to white folks to devise strategies for OUR people. Black MSM don’t want to hear about using a condom from a white guy from the CDC. They respond to us, their peers, their lovers, and their family. Its time we have some uncomfortable, embarrassing conversations.
“What can you say about Mickey. I actually think he recruited us. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up running NYPS 10 years from now with the likes of Darius Jones or some of our other outstanding youth leaders. We get alot of members that join and eventually lose that spark that it takes to be a leader, but Mickey met us at our South Region Conference as has been a student of our unique brand of leadership development ever since. He has already taken on the city council in Atlanta. This kid is the real deal” stated NYPS Director Frank Walker.