I had the honor of seeing two queer Black men get married and it changed my life. September 30th outside of Memphis, TN I was present during a wedding that was unlike most of the weddings I was forced to go to when I was a child. I’m not the biggest fan of dressing up but dealing with two men who would give any TLC Bridezilla a run for their money, I had no choice.
This couple is no ordinary couple. Over the years I’ve become close with them as they have shared so much wisdom with me on what it is being a Black queer man and in a committed relationship. I’ve often talked about the lack of representation on TV and in real life when it comes to seeing Black gay men in love. I didn’t think it was possible because of this. I thought to myself several times “I don’t see Black men together so it must not be meant to be.” Seeing the two share their vows sparked something in me that I was sure was there.
I think about 14 or 16-year-old Justin and what the effect would’ve been on him if he saw Black Gay love in real life. Shows like “Noah’s Arc” gave some glimpse but was still TV. Even ‘Noah’s Arc’ wasn’t enough to combat the homophobic content that young me saw. I always asked myself was it something wrong with me and was it truly an abomination to attracted towards the same sex. Was I sick and twisted as my pastor told me almost every Sunday? No, I wasn’t. This Sunday would be different. This Sunday 31-year-old Justin would see two of his friends who are in love celebrate with friends and family and won’t be judged. A Sunday that I would always remember.
This is no ordinary love, and this is no ordinary couple. I met Erik at a time in my life when I was unsure about what I wanted to do, and I felt I had no choice because capitalism was on my neck. Erik reached out to me to express that he enjoyed my YouTube recaps of Real Housewives of Atlanta, and a friendship was born. He offered me a job opportunity when I really needed one, and he was a part of the catalyst that lead to the creation of KingofReads.com. He supported me (in more ways than I can share) with my move to Atlanta, and I will forever be grateful. Over the years I’ve become close with them, and they have shared so much wisdom with me about being Black queer men, choosing to be in a committed relationship. I am happy to have them in my life, and I am especially happy to have been able to share their special day with them. Seeing this couple share their vows in front of family and friends sparked something in me – Black queer love is possible. How revolutionary.
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I’ve often complained about the fact that I rarely encounter Black gay men in love on my television or in my day-to-day life. Where are the Black gay men who love other Black gay men? It seems they don’t exist. They certainly aren’t on Shondaland shows, and they certainly aren’t on Netflix. They aren’t on any shows on Logo. The last time I saw two Black queer men show the love that I was about to was during Pray Tell’s kiss after disclosing his status.
So seeing these two Black men come together wasn’t just important to me because of the ceremony but it was love they shared with each other that I have been fortunate to witness and it changed me. On September 30th, outside of Memphis, Tennessee, right in the heart of the Bible belt, their wedding ceremony began promptly at 5 pm. I’ve always seen photos from same-sex ceremonies but never attended or thought it was possible to even think I would have a chance at one. This wedding celebrated the love of two men who looked like me and loved like me. Although I’m not the biggest fan of dressing up, I put on my Sunday’s best – honestly, I had no interest in catching the wrath of two men who would rival any WE TV Bridezilla. Days before the ceremony I played dress up from head to toe. Terrell insisted and even went as far to purchase more shoes because the ones I had just wouldn’t do. You gotta love them. I walked in right as the ceremony began and I felt an instant rush in my blood that this was real. Not a viral video on social media but I was actually there.
I cried. Tears of joy. I was moved. As someone who made a decision earlier this year to leave monogamy alone and just have “fun” and focus on my career this told me that sometimes love truly does happen when you least expect it. At that moment I realized that I loved and appreciated my friends for inviting me to experience an important moment in their lives. I also came to realize that I, in fact, am deserving a love and for someone to make me loved. Love takes work no doubt it isn’t what we some might want us to see on Instagram or Facebook. There are moments when things might seem too much to get out of and those are the moments that show you rather the person in your life is truly the one for you or not.
I didn’t attend this wedding alone. I went with someone who I am in love with. If I hadn’t been for seeing the love between Erik & Terrell over the years I would’ve given up on love in general, but I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to truly open myself up to be prepared for whatever my heart deserves.
Check out some of the amazing photos taken by Uche Onyeyiri of Erik & Terrell and follow their Instagram.
The Circle on Netflix Had A Racism Problem
Bey Ain’t Slick
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of Rafael Roden.
For far too long we’ve been giving her passes and today I say enough is enough. People are literally afraid to write about this shit because of the inevitable blowback from people who worship Beyoncé like white Brits worship their actual Queen monarch. So here goes…
Beyoncé is not above criticism. That’s the first thing. I understand the stance many Black people take when another Black person casts an unflattering light on your favorite Artist or celebrity, but not all of it is hating. A lot of it is warranted. And every charge I make in this article is coming from a major fan and someone who used to wanna collaborate with the woman. Understand that I have bias, but that’s not making me not wanna hold Beyoncé accountable for her trash ass actions as of late and the precedent it sets for aspiring “bosses”. And just know she ain’t the only member of the upper echelon guilty of this shit. I’mma take shots at a few other entertainment giants, just you wait.
What set this think piece I didn’t wanna find myself writing into motion was the information stirring around that Mrs. “of course sometimes shit go down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator” is only paying her dancers and other various performance staff $250 a day without benefits when they are performing at the highest level in the world. I’m even flattering her in my critique so please uncock your pistols. I have caught up on all the tea and these claims are supported by many of the lead performers and solidarity exists within that community. It’s hard to substantiate every last bit of wrong in this whole ordeal, but that’s the crux of the situation. Take me at my word cause there are receipts for days.
Moving back retroactively to the Shawn Carter Foundation Gala (which is where that tacky ass clutch in the picture is from) we find our favorite vocal angel arm & arm with her sell out husband Jay Z (NFL partnership, nuff said) who gave out Rolex and bottles of champagne as invitations to a room full of people worth billions of dollars who only raised $6 million. That’s just stingy. But that’s been written about enough. I just think it’s crazy who get’s in these rooms in the name of seeming to authenticly coming from nothing. Like Fabolous. You know the dude that head butt his then girlfriend and knocked her teeth out? Not Beyoncé’s fault, hell no, but why are abusers around a self proclaimed Feminist? Why are you letting your man invite him? Why did Rihanna try and normalize him at her last few events (which I find quite disgusting considering her history)? The answer is money and optics. The message comes off as “rich black men who are seen as legendary can make the mistake of domestic violence and still deserve A Seat At The Table” (see also Nas who beat Kelis). I just can’t square these conflicts of interest. I need somebody to make it make sense. Because remember, birds of a feather flock together. Beyonce blink twice if you need help. I’m fucking serious. He cheated, who knows if there’s a domestic violence story in there. I don’t put shit past no man at this point. It’s also part of the reason why I stopped identifying as such.
Read the entire piece at RafaelRoden.com
Welcome to Uncle Tom’s Haus of Koonery
So in light of the great news of President Trump getting impeached. I was sent an article from a few twitter mutuals of an interview done by Mikelle Street interviewing everyone’s favorite problematic porn star Max Konner. I knew at that moment I would not receive any peace this week. The article at hand denoted that Konner was beginning his own talent agency for people of color. I did a double-take, but I been on this earth long enough to know a stunt when I see one. In the article, Konnor mentioned the need for porn actors of color needing proper tutelage and education before entering the pornography industry. Which I do agree with, but we also know that seeing the phrasing “people of color” does not mean black people and why would Konner exclusively help his own people? He wouldn’t, but that’s been made very clear that he has no intention of helping the Black LGBTQIA+ community after his behavior during the PR nightmare which and is still NoirMale.com.
I have to be honest that I found the interview to be amazing and at minimal a cross-examination of Konner’s work history, work ethics, and very sorted and messy racially insensitive history. Konner acknowledges that there will be criteria for all those that apply to join the slaveshi-, sorry the Haus of Konner.
He says in the article:
“Right now we have three exclusives: Derek Cline, Jabari Clutch, and Asher Lee. I have a bunch of other submissions but I’m taking my time to go through everything because it is a boutique talent management company. I am not just accepting everybody that applies. I’m trying to pick models who I feel like have what it takes to make it.”
Now, what this statement could subversively say so many things. Firstly, Jabari is the only black presenting model. Derek is racially ambiguous and Asher is Asian. Even in the first stride of selection, there is only one Black person in the mix (pun intended). Secondly, “boutique talent management company” is reading as “no fats, no fem” because knowing the shortness of sight that Konner has he may only present body boys and cis actors that are racially palatable.
Mr. Street follows up with the question:
“The release says that you all are prioritizing “models of color.” Are you referencing all models of color, specifically Black models, or will it be all models with an emphasis on models of color?”
Konner responds with:
“As of right now we are looking at all models of color. I’m trying to decide if I want to have one or two models that don’t necessarily fit that because in doing this I don’t want to become the problem that I’m trying to fight. There are so many avenues and so many arenas where we as models of color are shut down or shut out because of the color of our skin, and I don’t want this to be a thing where we say: OK it’s all models of color and anyone who is not that, get out. So I’m still toying around that, but right now we are exclusively models of color.”
My thoughts are that this is basically saying that “I’m gonna have some good ole boys in the club because I don’t want massa upset with me none.” I’m just saying. Rather than doing the right and altruistic thing and doing an all-black agency. Konner is going to appease the comfort of his white fan base in spite of the fact his black fan base was there for him when he was the porn actor Isaiah Foxx. Which if anything he owes that little boy the world because Konner is fully aware and present on the issues that BLACK porn actors face and what Isaiah a black bottom porn actor felt.
The thing that is further disturbing in the article is when Konnor says this:
“I do plan to send models from Haus of Konnor over to Noir Male but one of my big things is: if I send a model to a studio there’s agreement between me and that studio that nothing that has to do with that model’s race or nothing pertaining to the “BBC experience” is what that model is participating in. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had no clue what I’ve been working on and then the movies come out and it’s like ‘Oh god!’”
This sounds very historically familiar. So during the slave trade, the Caribbean Islands was used as a large space for sex farms for slaves and “buck breaking”.
Noted on RacistReport.org:
“These male slaves were purchase based entirely on the prerequisite of them possessing a large penis. Black men were routinely raped by their gay slave owners. The process was known as “breaking the buck.”
It involves a strapping Negro slave, who was defiant, was beaten with a whip till bloody in front of his entire slave congregation. The slave owner would cut down a tree and, with the help of the overseer, would then pummel the deviant “buck” into submission. Once the slave was worn down, the master had the other Negro slaves force him over the tree stump where his britches would be removed and he laid fully exposed buttocks, he would remove his own clothing and proceeded to savagely sodomize the buck in front his wife, family, friends, and children.”
Konnor is basically handing these gentlemen over to a problematic porn company ran by the also very racially problematic DJ Chi Chi LaRue. After the debacle with PrEP/U=U advocate, #TakedownTina activist, and now amateur porn actor Jacen Zhu. He stepped away from the company for their purposeful mishandling of race in the studio. We can not trust that Konner will have good intentions.
So let’s be clear. Is there a race issue in gay porn? Absolutely.
Should there be a space cultivated for porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes ma’am.
Should there be a space cultivated for black porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes sir!
Should Konner be the one doing it? No, not at this juncture and especially around his limited education on race.
Konnor has clearly acknowledged that there is a problem, which is good for him I guess. I just understand that there needs to be more work done to supplant footing for black LGBTQIA+ porn actors of all genders and body types and this attempt is half-cocked, lazy, and wildly remedial. He participating in the same foolish stunting that Noir Male did as well at their inception.
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