Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR

Ra SHAWN-DA-PROFESSOR

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BALL OF CONFUSION...THAT'S HOW THE WORLD IS STILL TODAY

In 1970, The Temptations released their classic single "Ball of Confusion" one of their most direct and politcal songs to date. The song had deep and fast paced lyrics about the conditions that were occuring at that time including riots, crooked politcs, the vietnam war and situations in the ghetto. Though the song was released seven months before I was born, the song is just a revelant as it was when it was first released. Espeically concering politcs and the chruch. Many chruche. Particualry Black chruches are known for talking bad about gay people saying we're sinners, demon possed, and going against God's way of living, and by quote on quote not living according to his will, we're all are headed straight for hell. Espeically if we don't change our "ways" and live by his rules. I even heard ignorant remarks like gay people either got mental problems or something happened to them in the home.
Well even after it was proven that Gay people are not mentally ill, there are many people who are still holding onto those stupid ideas. Especially Gospel singers Donnie Mc Klunkin and singing duo Mary-Mary who are part of Presidental Candidate Barack Obama's 40 Days of Faith and Family campaign in South Carolina, one of many southern states that large numbers of Black Baptist churchs who denouce homosexuality.
Mcklunkin has blamed his gay stage was caused by being sexually abused by a male releative between the ages of 8 and 13, and that by givng himself totally to God, he was able to leave the lifestyle. "There was a big 20-year gap of sexual ambiguity where after the rape, my desires were toward men and I had to fight those things because I knew that it wasn't what we were taught in church was right" he told Religion and Ethnics Newsweekly. "And the aold I got, the more that became a problem because those were the first two sexual relationships I had." He also told other publications that he had to fight his desires for men and he wants to counsel young boys into becoming gay. His statements got me mad, but my temperture became hotter after reading comments Gospel duo Mary Mary made in vibe magazine. They Award winning duo whose 2000 debut single "Shackles (Praise HIm)" gained play on Gospel and R&B radio shows were quoted as saying "Gays have issues and need somebody to encourage them like everybody else-just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute." Gays have issues? We do have issues. Issues of hearing ignorant comments by Gospel artists, who uses the bible to harm one specific group of people. They so quick to attack us, but they allow women to have children out of wedlock. We also have issues with people who don't follow the advice of Barry White's 1994 hit which Practicing What They Preach; they talk about immoraltiy and most of the time, they're having affairs with people in and outside of their congregation, and when they get busted, they make exuses for their behavior and/or allowing other people to partake in behavior that they tell certain indivuals is wrong (drining, partying, dancing suggestivly).
I received an email from a friend that contained a link connecting an interview with
Donnie's ex male lover who spoke about their 3 year relationship which was occuring during the time he released his autobiography, and when he was on his anti-ex gay crusade tour in 2004. This man was doning religious attire in public, but taking dick behind closed doors; in other words he wanted to have his dessert and eat it too.
The real reason why my blood is boiling is because Obama has these people on his campaign to gain voters from South Carolina, knowing that they are homophobic!!!!
"I strongly beleive that African American and the LGBT communtity must stand together in the fight for equal rights" he said in a press statement. And so I strongly disagree with Reverand Mc Clurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as president of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division."
Well it semms that Barack's featuring those gay bashing artist on his southern campaign trial will prevent him from getting many votes from the LGBT community. Espeically mines. That's not teaching tolerance; that's endorising more hatred, and if he was really smart (Relax kids. I'm not saying he's stupid) he would drop those devils, and get some true Christians who love everybody to help him get votes, because if he doesn't, he will lose some very important group of voters.
As for Donnie and the Mary sisters, I won't be supporting their careers. I've never brought any of their albums, and I don't plan on either since their true colors were exposed and they wasn't shining like a rainbow either!!!!
UPDATES FROM MY WEEK

Hello. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. My week was very hectic. I was busy taking care of personal affairs while battling fatique, and exhaustion, but I'm better now.
The day that I posted, I attended the Gay Erotic Expo at the Puck Building and I had the opportunity to take photographs with Tiger Tyson, Peanut and Shorty J, as well as requested interviews with the last two stars for this blog, and they seemed interested. The next day I was supposed to have a date with a Blatino (Black & Latin) brotha who hit me up on A4A in July; we were supposed to meet twice, but it didn't happen. The first time he had to take his brother to camp, and the second time was hard because it was hard for us to get reception at Riis beach, but we would chat occasionally online. We agreed to meet, but when I called his cell, it wasn't working and I'm the type of person who likes to call and confirm whether or not we're gonna meet. We didn't meet so I stayed home and woke up and received an email from a Jamacian brother who hit me up, and after exchanging chats and numbers, we spoke and there was something about him that I couldn't put my finger on at that time. His mom was ill, and on Tuesday, he called and asked if we can meet Wednesday and I told him I would be free after 5:30 that afternoon, so I went to the city to take care of some business and schedule an appointment and I decided to call him to inform him that I maybe running behind schedule and he told me that he was with his cousin and he would call me, so I came home, fixed some fried chicken, and vegetables while I waited for his call, but I fell asleep due to niggaitis. I woke up at 12midnight and checked my cell phone for any messages, and there was none and I was like, 'are we gonna meet?' I send him an email saying that I was looking forward to meeting him and that if something came up he could have called. The next day he called and said that he wanted to meet me because he was putting it off, and I decided to go because his mom was in the hospital and he had to see her, which was totally understandable, so I walked to to his house, where we sat down, talked and go to know each other and there was still something about him that I couldn't put my finger on so I decided to go ask him questions; one was did he ever attend Rutgers University and BMCC. He told me that he used to live near Rutgers a few years ago and that he decided not to attend BMCC, and I was like. I knew I had met him before.
It was the day after my graduation from Brooklyn College, and I was online downloading Half Dollar a/k/a 50 Cent's hit "Candy Shop" while checking my emails on a4a and he hit me up. I liked his profile so I gave him my number and we chatted for about 10 minutes, and we agreeded to meet serveral times, but it never happeded due to another event that would come up and whenever he did call he was telling me he was out of town visitng family. I didn't remind him, but I decided to see what he was about. He seemed like a cool and mature kat,with a cracy sense of humor and he wanted to hang with me the next day. That didn't happen. He told me he was gonna sleep most of Friday and I told him my schedule and I would be free after 4, so I called and got his voicemail. Sensing that he was exhausted I left him a message saying that I understood his was exhuasted and to call me when he got a chance.
I also bumped into anothe guy I met online 3 years ago. (I know you readers are probably saying "Damn, you had kats coming out the woodworks?")
I was coming from seeing my thearpist (I suffer from depression) and this tall guy with a Caribbean accent spoke to me and when I saw him, I noticed that he looked and sounded familiar but I couldn't recall where I met, but after introducing ourselves, we both remember me going to his house, and I had a Flashback of that evening. He hit me up online and I responded; his profile said he was looking for friends, but when we spoke, he was asking what I like to do sexually. I told him and we had agreeed to meet the following day due to my having to do some work at school and covering an event for my journalism class. When I arrived at his apartment, he fed me some juice and veggie burger (he's a strict vegetarian and I kid you not; he had
veggie products and freshly fruit juices) and spoke about our lives. He was in college and planned on going to law school, and use to attend many Gay/SGL organizations, but about an hour or so, he had sad Janet Jackson moment; he was talking about being in love with his ex. He was saying that it was hard for him to have jump offs or three-somes because he would have to stop because he would begin to think about his ex. Not only was he talking about his ex, I do recall him chatting with other guys online and then he later got a call from a friend who invited him to a party somewhere and he accepted. I was pissed! "Oh no he didn't" I thought to myself. After we left, he told me to keep in touch, and I didn't.
When I saw him I didn't even bring up that episode.
Friday night I came home with a friend who asked me to help him update his profile, and while I was checking my email, I received an email from a Latin brother who had hit me up on Myspace and left me his phone number informing me that he was in town and he wanted to meet me. A half hour later, he texted and called me and we spoke. I was too tired to meet (I get very tired and fatiuqed when it rains). The next day he send me a text saying he was in the city so I called and we tried to meet but it didn't happen so I called him while I was on my way home and he was on his way out with some friends and I asked if we could meet the next day. He said yes and to call him in the morning which I did and he said he would call me back. He called me back. 4 the next morning saying he was at the airport and that he had alot of running around to do with family, and he wanted us to keep in contact via email and IM. I wrote down his information, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna.
Seems like I expect alot when it comes to meeting guys, and I'm not a perfect person. I strive the be the best person that I can be, but it seems like most of the people I met were players or didn't know how to communicate with me.
I'm a sensitve person, but there are ways to talk to people, and I'm learning that there's somebody for everybody and as my friend from Philly tells me "Anybody who don't wanna be with you is a fool."

Songs:
"You've Come Along Way Baby" & "Lie, Lie, Lie"
By Josie & The Pussycats
1970 Capitol Records

Sunday, October 28, 2007




LONG AWAITED CARTOON RETURNS ON DVD
BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

With many television and cartoon series being released on DVD, many cartoon fanatics are celebrating the anticipated and long-awaited release of "Josie & the Pussycats-The Complete Series" (Warner Brothers), which will have fans reliving their childhood memories.
Recently dubbed the original Pussycat Dolls, the group and series began as a comic book created by the late Dan Delcarlo, who based the characters on his real life widow Josie and sister Millie, which became a huge hit with both readers and viewers as well as made history by being the first cartoon series to feature a Black character, who was almost not featured by the show’s producers who wanted Valerie to be white. That changed when the music producers threatened to quit if they didn’t allow Valerie to be like, and after seeing how serious the producer was, they relented, and the show became a huge hit for the season it was on air. I first saw the show when I was nine years old, and what made me become attached to the show was the group’s attire and songs (especially “Lie, Lie, Lie” and “You’ve Come Along Way Baby”) which had a great combination of Pop and Soul that had me dancing and singing (though I wasn’t blessed with a singing voice) around in my bedroom and memorizing all of the character’s lines.
The show’s plot features Pop Singing trio Josie, Melody and Valerie who along their roadie/security guard/producer Alan, manager Alexander Cabot, his sister Alexander and their cat Sebastian, always finding themselves in the middle of stopping some evil villains schemes during their concert tours, which would consist of them being captured, escaping, being featured in a chase and run scene while their music is being performed by Cathy Douglass, Cheryl Ladd of “Charlie’s Angels” and the late Patrice Holloway, sister of Motown legend Brenda Holloway, who died from a heart attack last year. After the villains are captured, they managed to make it to their next concert gig without a single scratch on their clothes or body.
What makes the show interesting are the cast’s characters and personalities;
Melody’s the blond who’s na├»ve and somewhat ditzy, but has a laugh that you can’t help to enjoy. (Episode 3 is the highlight when she’s hypnotized and calls her master "great mustard.")
Their manager Alexander dubbed Chicken Little for his fear of helping fight the villains, but he would try to take all the credit whenever the authorities would arrive to make himself look good, but his sister Alexandra one of television’s bitchiest characters who’s jealous and scheming attitude is what makes fans tune in. Unlike her older brother, Alexandra wasn’t afraid to back down from fighting the villains, and when she wasn’t reading the villains, she was trying to be the center of attention. Obsessed with Josie’s boyfriend Alan and with wanting to be the star of the group, she always comes up with plans to get Alan away from Josie and trying to savatage the group’s performance by usually having Sebastian participate in her schemes which usually backfires and causes the rest of the gang to laugh at her. Plus she’s also known for her sarcastic by insulting the Pussycat’s music and Josie for having the things that she desires to have; fame and a good man like Alan on her side. Her trademark line is “Oh! That Josie manages to get next to Alan!” She also does anything to be near him, In Episode 2, the group stumbles into Dr. Green Thumb’s lab and wanting to keep them from alerting the authorities, Thumb decides to have Alan, Alex and Josie walk through his garden with deadly creature plants, but Alexandra knowing that she was taking a risk of being harmed or killed decides to be a part of the first group that he sends to the garden. ”Just a minute Green fat” she says in a desperate and sarcastic tone. “Alan and I do everything together. He stays with me!” Talk about being desperate to be with a man who had no romantic interest her!
A great aspect of the cartoon was having Valerie’s character being a talented and smart Black woman; yes there was times when her sassiness and ghetto side came out. Especially when Alex and Alexandra were assigned to help her with rewiring machines, she would always create gadgets to help the group get out of trouble as well as help put the villains out of business and I commend the music producers for fighting to keep Valerie Black which was a smart move being that the show premiered during the Black Power and women liberation movement.
The set is was well packaged, but it would have been better had the producers would have included interviews with the singers, musicians and producers. It would have been great for viewers to see and hear how their feelings about being a part of a historical cartoon and movement, but the set is good for cartoon and music lovers to add to their collection and relive their childhood memories.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Patrice Holloway

Friday, October 26, 2007


COMMUNITY ACTIVIST TACKLES DEMOCRACY IN UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY

Interviewing Garry Gaines was like listening to Marvin
Gaye’s classic hit album “What’s Going On.” It helped
me open my eyes and mind to things that are occurring
in the world and how we can better ourselves and
community. Born in Brooklyn and currently residing in
Harlem, Gaines a graduate of Pace University, who
resembles the legendary Prince of Soul is becoming one
of many community activist, who’s using their talents
as a form of education and self-empowerment and by
following the lead Gaye did with his classic concept
album; Garry is using his talents and activism in his
latest documentary “Legends, Statement & Stars, which
documents the Gay Ball room scene as well as tackles
political/social issues; such as LGBT hate crimes,
homophobia and HIV/AIDS awareness.
I had the opportunity to meet with Gaines in Central
Park last week, where he spoke about his documentary,
working with choreographer Pony Zion and Social
Democracy.

RC: Tell the readers a few things about yourself.
GG: Well. Born and raised in Brooklyn. I consider
myself a community activist. Especially when it comes
to the Gay community, but I’m hoping to not only focus
on the Gay issues, but humanity issues as a whole.
For me my through line at the moment is Democracy now;
so I’m trying to remind people about democratic
morality and values that was implemented in the
Constitution by the so-called founders of the new
Americas. We’re straying away from Democratic
principles. Our Democracy needs to be revamped to a
Social Democracy. The government needs to fund public
sectors as opposed to private sectors. Funding of
public sector started to deteriorate in 1974 and from
then on things have gotten a lot worse for poor people
in this country. So my work's intention is to
propagandize Social Democracy indirectly without being
too didactic.

RC: What else do you do besides activism?
GG: Well at the moment, I’m working on my documentary
series “Legends, Statement & Stars.” I’m documenting
the New York underground ballroom scene, but at the
same time, I’m incorporating issues we as Queer folk
of color deal with in present day society. It’s a
three part series; the first episode “Rejoice in the
Madness” introduces viewers to the ballroom scene and
at the same time, projects the Rashawn Brazell vigil,
which is a consequence of the increase of LGBT hate
crimes in urban areas across the Americas as well as,
the world. Rashawn Brazell was this gay kid who was
killed and mutilated, because of his sexuality. I Also,
interviewed Duane Prince who is another survivor of
a LGBT hate crime. I admire and I'm grateful for his
courage to speak out about that horrendous experience.
I also interviewed the Legendary Father of the House
of Zion; Pion Zion, for the "Pony One and only
Episode" as well as other Legends from the scene
during the Ballroom Coalition Conference that was held
at GMHC in 2006 and they discussed their take on the
Various Houses and their dysfunctions and possible
intervention strrategies to enhance the Houses in the
ballroom scene.

RC: What made you decide to document Pony?
GG: The first time I saw Pony perform was at a POCC
ball in 2004. POCC sponsered this Great ball in Fort
Green Park in 2004. Pony performed and I was like this
young man is so talented. When he performs, he
perfroms for the people; he's doin it for the people.
When you watch him perform it elates your spirit just
for that moment and that a great gift to have. Fast
forward to the year 2006, I was in midtown and I saw
Pony walking in the neighborhood and I said ‘hey Pony
how ya doing? I’m Garry (and) I’m a big fan and I’m
working on a documentary and I would love for you to
be one of my subjects and he was gracious enough to
let me document his life, which was cool. He’s young,
but he has this old soul. I think that great artists
such as Pony, are true spiritual beings, because
they’re a lot more aware of the moment; they know how
to work a moment, create a miracle in the moment as
opposed to someone who looks at the world through
their evil eye creating judgment and misery. He has
this old soul that I respect and admire.

RC: What misconceptions do people have about the Gay
Ballroom scene?
GG: It's ignorance concerning sexuality and gender
issues as a whole; don't you think. The religious
right; unfortunately, is propagandizing this
ignorance. Jesus Christ is gagging right now at how
the religious right is spewing this ignorance in his
name. If you read or do your research on the "Gospel
of Thomas, which was discovered in 1945 or 46 in
northern Egypt, the same year Hiroshima was
nuclearized, Jesus's philosophy embraces the feminine
qualities of kingdom consciousness. Also, the ballroom
scene has a large influence in popular culture; which
for me is a blessing; progressives are beginning to
understand and accept; so thats cool.

RC: When will the documentaries be completed and what
future projects are you working on?
GG: The first and second episode are completed; as far
as post production. When I create something I work at
my own pace, when its a routine for me, it lacks
creativity. Sometimes I have to put it away and
rethink my strategy and vision; then go back and make
revisions. The third episode is a Homage to Willie
Ninja. I have all this great footage of Willie Ninja.
I’m working with Anthony Ninja; the executive producer
of that particular episode. He gave me all of this
great exclusive footage of Willie Ninja and I hope and
pray to create an illuminating sequence that Willie
Ninja and the House of Ninja will be pleased with. I’m
not looking for any monetary gains; my intention for
this project is to battle homophobia and to create a
sense of pride in our community. That’s my intention
and if that’s accomplished, I’m happy.

RC: What other projects are you working on?
GG: I do post production and edit/produce segments
for the Show, "Out at the Center," which airs on MNN or
you can watch the series on Gaycenter.org. I’m writing
some things. I spoke to a brother by the name of
Michael. He’s a journalist/reporter and we were
talking about creating a social political documentary
which deals with unions. I have some things in the air
I’m creating.

RC: What do you want viewers to get from this
documentary?
GG: A sense of pride, and when they see these young
kids in this documentary, I want them to say ‘he’s
Gay, but it’s ok because he’s talented and creative.
It’s not like these kids are robbing people or selling
drugs. They’re in this space having church in their
own way. It’s OK to be Gay; it’s not a bad thing. I
wish my kid was that creative and talented. I’m hoping
to create some allies in the Gay community and if
you’re Gay, I’m hoping to create a sense of pride and
inspire people to embrace all types of people. That’s
what I’m hoping the project will do.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

THOUGHTS OF LIFE

It's six in the morning
And I'm up sharing my thoughts with you
Self Expression. Self Expression

Good morning.
I'm in a slight Pretty Ricky mode (no, I'm not gonna push it yet lol).
The past couple of days have been exhausting and cool for me. For the past couple of weeks, Ive been busy taking care of business, socializing, and conducting interviews, and it's finally caught up with me. I've been suffering from fatique, which has me physically tired to the point of xoming home and falling asleep with my clothes on and me not being able to attend events like my friend Rod's show this week. I planned to go after attending my college's alumni gathering, but I started to become physically tired so my friends treated me to dinner, and drove me home and was like 'You've been running again. Get some sleep.' That's what I did.
I'm stilling bad for not being able to attend my friend's performance like I wanted to, but I plan on making it up to him.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to my first college's first alumni gathering, and I had a great time meeting ohter BMCC alumni's who are doing well in their lives. I was suprised to bump into one of my classmates who I took African American Literature with at Brooklyn College. We had a blast talking about our experiences at both schools, and we even had a small Supreme fight. She's a huge fan of The Supremes like I am, and her last name is Ross. I recall letting her know that I was the sexy Supreme and the one who's keeping the legacy alive.
Attending that alumni made me think about classism. I've heard many people put down students who graduated from Cuny schools, because most of the students who attend are from urban areas, and it's affordable (except for the damn text books), but most students who graduated from Cuny have gotten just as many opprotunites as those who graduated from Ive League schools, and students who graduated from BMCC have went on to many of the top four year schools, and have done well.
Have you ever wandered how life would have been if things had been different for you in your life? I have. There were times when I wondered what it been like had I gone to a 4 year college out of state like I originally wanted to do? Would I have done well? Would I have been able to adapt to the city? Would I had clicked with other students? Would I have maintained long lasting friendships? Would I have came to grips with my sexuality? Those are questions that comes to mind from time to time, but I now realize that God had other plans for me, and attending both BMCC and Brooklyn College had many benefits. It was during my second year at BMCC where the seed was planted for me to start a career in media and journalism; I began writing for many of the schools publications, while volunteering with the Blackfilmmakers Foundation and interning at Arista Records where I continued working in the publicity department (I had worked at Columbia Records during the summer of 1991), and having the opporunity to meet Dionne Warwick, Usher, LA Reid & Chilli of TLC.
After graduating, I decided to enroll in Brooklyn College it had the feel of a real college though it doesn't have any dorms, where I originally planned to study film production, but it was stressful and my professor told me that though I didn't have what it took to direct, I had writing talent and I can do well as a writer and producer, and from then I switched my major to journalism and TV/Radio, and graduated in 2005. While I'm listening to Pretty Ricky's "Make It Last It Was," I'm thinking about my 15 years in college, and I didn't have the so-called college experience. Most students I met and knew had partied, traveled, and had lots of fun. Me on the other hand, I did have fun, during my BMCC years, but it wasn't as often as other students I knew. I always hung out with my friends who were studying Communications as well as people I'm cool with to this day, and when I did go to party, it was with the Black Filmmakers, screenings and after parties.
My Brooklyn College years were totally different. I was trying to stay in school while being a member of a church which I later realize is a fucking cult. I'll write about my experiences at a later day, but I'm glad that I'm enjoying me freedom to live my life without having to give account for what I do. Espeically to a bunch of clowns who wasn't supporting me finacially, but supporting their grand lifestyles with members money.

Songs played while this article was being typed

Pretty Ricky
Late Night Special
Blue Star/Atlantic Records
# 1 Pop & R&B
RIAA Certification-Gold

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MY THOUGHTS FOR THE MOMENT

Hello everybody. Hope and pray that things are going well with you. I've been totally busy with many things during the past week and I finally decided that I got to make time to write on my blog. (What's the sense of me having one if I don't use it on a regular basis)?
Anyhow I've had a interesting and touching weekend. I sat in on by friend DJ Baker's show at Cosci's and had a good time. He interviewed Ronne Hayne, a good friend of mine I've known since 1999 as well as James Earl Hardy, rappers Kin, Soce and blogger Adam Benjamin who's blog page is very great, informative and real and inspirational.
I also attended the memorial for the late Michael J. Sandy, the Black Gay/SGL brother who was set up by a bunch of morons who intended to rob him, by logging onto the Gay chat line as a way of luring him to his unexpected death on a highway near Sheepshead Bay last year.
Attending his memorial brought many mixed emotions that I couldn't control or stop thinking about. I was sad that he died without having the opportunity to finish pursuing his career and dreams, but I'm also pissed of how someone would do something as evil as to set up a person like that to attack, with the assumption that the person was weak and wouldn't get away? Those fools who did this got what they deserved; charge with a hate crime and the thing that really pisses me off is one of the defendants saying (or claiming) that he's gay to get off easy!!
Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was there when the other morons decided to target Mr. Sandy and he was there at the beach when the attact happened so he's as guilty as they are. The reason why I'm pissed is because there are many Gau/SGL people who are still afraid to express their sexuality due to shame and fear of abandonment by loved ones and homophobic remarks by ignorant ass people, and when I heard about this, I thought to myself, what a slap in the face to the gay community. I had issues with coming to grips with my sexuality and learning to love myself (which is still an on-going process), but using that as a way to get off the hook from a crime that he took part in is totally unexcusable, and he should have thought about that while his so-called friends went looking for a person to rob.
The memorial also made me realize that one must be careful nowadays because there's no telling what can happen to a person who's on the chatline looking for companionship (even if it's to release themselves sexually), and I pray that everybody (myself included) will take extra caution when looking for a jumpoff.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


HONORING A TALENTED AND SWEET TEMPTATION
BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

Eddie Kendricks won the hearts of millions with his school boy charm, pretty boy looks, and sweet and smooth tenor voice that helped him become a legend. As a member of The Temptations, his falsetto helped the group score classic hits with “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Get Ready” and “Just My Imagination,” but he fared better as a solo artist conquering the Disco scene and earning more fans, and recognition. Sadly lung cancer robbed the world of this talented man, and this article highlights his career and contribution to music history. Kendricks was born on December 17, 1939 in Union Alabama to John and Lee Belle Kendrick as one of five children, and like many Blacks living in the south, he grew up singing Gospel music in church, and eating southern cuisine, including corn bread, which was his favorite food, and would later become his nickname. A few years after moving to Birmingham, he became friends with his next door neighbor Paul Williams, a talented singer and dancer who would encourage Kendricks to pursue a career in music, and seeing that the south didn’t have many opportunities for aspiring singers at that time, he decided to move with Paul to Cleveland, Ohio, where they formed their first group The Calaivers. A few years later, they moved to Detroit Michigan and met with Kell Osborne, and formed The Primes who would perform at record hops and talent shows with a sister group The Primates (later to become The Supremes), often sharing the bill with Otis Williams & The Distants, who admired them for their singing and chorography. In 1961, Kendricks and Paul joined forces with Otis, Melvin Franklin and Eldrige Bryant and became The Elgins and signed with songwriter Berry Gordy’s fledging label Motown Records, but after learning there was another group using the name, they became The Temptations and released their first singles “Dream Come True." before embarking on their first tour, with Kendricks coordinating their wardrobe. “Eddie always dressed beautifully” Otis wrote in his autobiography “Temptations” “He had a knack for picking out sharp colors and cuts that looked hip yet classy, so he began putting together our stage uniforms.” In 1963, the group was still struggling to get a hit record, which made Bryant drink heavily and cause problems with in the group, and he was replaced by David Ruffin, whose raspy vocals and stage performances gave the group an edge. In January 1964, the group teamed with Smokey Robinson who co-wrote their breakthrough hit “The Way You Do The Things You Do” which peaked at # 11 on the Pop charts and became one of many classics to feature Eddie’s trademark tenor vocals. The following year, the group scored their first # 1 hit with the classic “My Girl,” which featured Ruffin’s powerful and dramatic vocals, which would be featured on the follow up singles “My Baby” and “It’s Growing.” but wanting to balance the group’s lead vocal performances, Robinson wrote and produced the Eddie led hit “Get Ready” while the group recorded “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” with Norman Whitfield. To satisfy both producers, Gordy decided to release “Get Ready” but told him if the single didn’t reach the top ten, Whitfield would have the next release. “Get Ready” only reached # 29, while the latter peaked at # 13, allowing Whitfield to have a long run of hits with the group, including “You’re My Everything” co-written with their guitarist Cornelius Grant and Roger Penzabenze. “I had just come off the road” Grant said in the liner notes of The Temptations Get Ready: The Definitive Collection” And I was telling Roger, ’Man you need to write a song for Eddie because those girls really flip over this guy when he’s singing. We need to write a love song, something that he can directly to those girls that would just make them wet in their pants.’ By 1968, the group would undergo some personal and musical changes; Ruffin’s ego and drug use forced him to be replaced by Dennis Edwards of the Contours, who Eddie recommended after seeing him perform at the Howard Theatre. They also began performing Psychedelic Soul music, which consisted of the group sharing lead vocals, and singing social conscious lyrics about the ghetto, Vietnam War, and politics, staring with “Cloud Nine” which earned them Motown’s first Grammy award, “Runaway Child, Running Wild, “Pscydelic Shack,” and “Ball of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)” They also scored their second top charter with the love song “I Can’t Get Next To You” which featured a stiff legged dance routine inspired by Kendricks’ kids as well as recorded two hit television shows and albums with The Supremes with the single “I’m Going to Make You Love Me” with Eddie sharing lead vocals with Diana Ross, hitting number two. Though Eddie was living his childhood dreams, he was growing unhappy with his professional career and his personal life. He grew tired of seeing Psychedelic Soul. He was also trying to deal with Paul’s heavy drinking and failing health, and he felt that Motown was cheating the group out of money. He also wanted to record a solo album while remaining with the group, but after his request was denied, he decided to leave. “I’ve never, ever wanted to leave the group,” Kendricks said in the Billboard Book of Number One Hits. “I never thought about leaving. The only reason I left because I wasn’t allowed to record on my own. His mother agrees. “When I talked to him about it, he ‘Momma, let me handle it’ she said in the liner notes of the group’s boxed set “Emperors of Soul” “He hated having to choose.” Eddie didn’t leave his group hanging; he left them with “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” which has been dubbed as one of Motown’s prettiest ballads, and captures Kendricks’ best vocal performance to date, topping both the Pop and R&B charts and selling over two million copies. The group recruited Damon Harris to fill his spot while Kendricks began his solo career recording two albums that didn’t produce any hits, but his single “Girl You Need a Chance of Mind” became a hit with the Women’s liberation movement and in New York Discos, but his career came to a temporary halt after learning that his childhood friend and band mate Paul (who was suffering from sickle cell anemia, alcoholism and depression from being forced to retire from performing) had committed suicide in Detroit. After taking time off to mourn, Eddie linked up with producer Frank Wilson who co-wrote and produced his classic hit “Keep On Truckin’” which ignited his career. Not only did it top the Pop & R&B charts, it was also named the first disco recording and did well with in the Country market as well. He also scored with “Boogie Down,” and “My Friend.” After leaving Motown, he recorded for Arista and Atlantic Records, but didn‘t have any further hits due to the demise of Disco, and Kendricks' voice becoming weak due to his chain smoking cigarettes. In 1982, both Eddie and David rejoined the Temptations for a reunion album and tour, and scored a top ten hit with “Standing On The Top” written and produced by Rick James who had Kendricks sing in a lower range. The sold out tour had gotten off to a good start with hopes of both rejoining the group on a permeate basis, which unfortunately didn’t happen due to Ruffin’s behavior and Kendricks‘ mistrust of Motown. In 1985, Kendricks and Ruffin performed with singing duo Daryl Hall & John Oates at Live Aid, and at the reopening of The Apollo Theatre, where their live recording of “They Way You Do The Things You Do” and “My Girl” hit # 20 and earned them a deal with RCA Records where they scored a top twenty R&B hit. On January, 18, 1989, The Temptations were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where Eddie accepted both his and Paul’s awards, and while the guests were happy to see the group onstage accepting that honor, no one would have guest that it would be the last time they would share the stage. Eddie and David did some tours with former label mates Mary Wells and Martha Reeves before joining Edwards and performing as the Former Leads of The Temptations which came to a halt in June 1991 after Ruffin died from a drug overdose. Five months later, Kendricks was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent surgery to have his infected lung removed, and gave up smoking. “I’ll never smoke another cigarette as long as I live” he told reporters shortly after his surgery. He visited high schools to encourage kids from smoking and continued touring, playing the US, Europe and Japan before entering the hospital for the final time, where he made peace with God and Otis, who wrote about how they cracked jokes with each other. “I love you Eddie, but you are one crazy one boy!” Otis wrote. “Well it takes one to know one!” he shot back and we both laughed. Then he explained to me that he had made his peace and that he felt ready to make the transition.” On Monday, October 5, 1992, Eddie died, and his funeral was held in a Baptist church in Ensley, Alabama attended by his parents, siblings, children and the Temptations who celebrated his life. Shortly after his death, singer Bobby Womack coordinated two benefit concerts to raise money for Eddie’s family and three children Aika, Paul and Parris while Jimi Dougans, the music director of his touring band the Young Senators formed the Eddie Kendricks memorial foundation in Washington DC, which tells youth the dangers of smoking cigarettes as well as provide inner city youth with opportunities to develop their music talents. In 1998, actor/singer Terron Brooks won wave reviews portraying Eddie in the award winning mini-series “The Temptations” while rappers and singer Lil’Kim, Mr. Cheeks and Jennifer Lopez each sampled “Keep On Truckin’” for their singles “Who’s Number One,” “Lights, Camera Action” and “Do It Well” while Talib Kweli and singer Bilal sampled “Can I’ for their single “Talk To You (Lil’ Darlin’).” In 2006, The Temptations platinum selling DVD “Get Ready” was released, giving fans a chance to see Kendricks‘ classic performances with the group, including “Just My Imagination“ on the Ed Sullivan show, (which was the only time he performed the classic on television before leaving two months later). Eddie Kendricks left an impressive mark on the music industry, paving the way for many singers who pattern themselves after him, and, though he’s been gone, his music continues to have fans trucking to the dance floor and the bedroom.

Friday, October 5, 2007

SUPREME WRITER GETS RADIO HOST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIC
By Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

Cosci’s restaurant is one of the most popular eateries in the village that’s known for their pizza, salads, sandwiches and their famous caramel apple cider. It’s also the place where I interview DJ Baker, the host of the online radio show the DJ Doo Dirty show, which is one of the most popular online broadcasts show the hit the internet. A former child actor, Baker has been keeping fans tuned in with his wit, sense of humor, and for speaking his mind about issues concerning the Gay community as well as providing an outlet for many Gay singers, rappers, poets, party promoters and producers to be heard. I met with the crazy cool host at Cosci’s where he spoke about his career during a taping of his show.

RC: How did it feel to have celebrated your one year anniversary?
DJ: It was a milestone. It was something big. I never thought I would celebrate my one year anniversary. I though I would be shut down by six months, but I lasted one year and it motivated me to do many more years.

RC: What was your inspiration for you starting your show?
DJ: The inspiration for the show came from going to forums and hearing a lot of gay men complain that there wasn’t gay man in the media and if they were gay men in the media, they wasn’t representing the average Joe, and I decided I would do it. I would be the one to step forward, and be confident to be out, proud and stand up for something missing in the gay media.

RC: I understand you started as a child actor. What shows did you star in?
DJ: (Singing) More park sausages mom. Please. I did that commercial when I was a kid. I think I was an understudy in a Broadway play. I think it was Annie. My father was a musician, so I was heavily in the studio. I was heavily going on auditions for commwecials and stuff like that. That's how I started on the business. Then I started doing plays when I was in high school. I was very successful in that.

RC: How was it up for you coping with your sexuality while living in a Caribbean household?
DJ: I really didn’t grow up in a Caribbean household. My mother was American, so it was an American household. Then I moved in with my father and that was a Caribbean household. That’s when I came out. I just did it. I don’t think I wasn’t concerned about their closeted and ignorant views.

RC: From your perspective, why are so many Caribbean men homophobic?
DJ: As far as they’re concerned, its part of their culture, but it’s weird because most of the women are masculine. If you’ve been around Jamaican women are more masculine than their man and their man be like ‘yeah baby. Whatever.’ It’s very odd that they refer to us as anti-man, but when you think about their relationships, they’re the anti-man. Even in their relationships because their women is more masculine than they are.

RC: You also play music by many SGL and Gay artists. How important is it for you to showcase these artists?
DJ: It’s very important. I think the more and more we realize that these artists are talent and have a lot to say, and then they can get respect. They’re people and I don’t feel that someone is gay that their drama is less important than anybody else. We need artists like King Jabari, Shorty Roc to spit the truth.

RC: I’ve notice that most media shows Black Gay people being rich, famous and flamboyant but they don’t show gay people who are down to earth, working, struggling and going to school.
DJ: Wow! That’s the reason I had a problem with the gay elite at the time. It was a different between the gays who had money and the gays who didn’t have money and it seemed to be no bridge in between. That’s why I wanted to be a part of this community to bridge the gap. The ballroom kids are usually the broke kids. The hustlers are usually the broke kids while the gay media, the magazines, they’re the ones who’s wealthy. They’re not passing any of that money down; they’re not investing any of that money. That’s the problem we have with Blacks not investing that money in the Black community. I don’t think the Black gays are investing any money into their own gay community.

RC: What have other projects you’ve been working on besides the show?
DJ: I just finished wrapping a commercial. I was an extra in “American Gangster.” Hosting a number of parties. I just want to be a part of this community.

RC: Congratulations on your relationship. How do you manage to have a relationship while maintain your career?
DJ: It’s so hard. It’s very difficult to hold a relationship down. One, you have your man that you want to satisfy your man, but you have this business which at the drop of the dime, someone’s saying there’s a red carpet you need to be at. Sometimes there’s not enough time. Especially since it’s new and we’re trying to get to know each other and that when we go out in public, people are drawn to me because they know who I am and sometimes I can’t give him all the attention that he needs, and I have to avert my attention to other places. But if you truly in love with the person and love is the root of why you’re with the person, then it won’t be any problems.

RC: Where do you see yourself in the next five and ten years?
DJ: I see this show on satellite radio. I see us having a TV/Video show with gay, lesbian, transgender artists. I do see myself being a celebrity. I do, I do, I do. I also see us being a better community. As a Black and Latino gay community, we’re be definitely be stronger in bigger numbers and definitely more visuaable, seen, powerful and respected.

RC: How is the show making an impact on with people?
DJ: It’s making an impact with the gay community is because we’re playing gay artists. Gay artists are having a problem being played by regular broadcast media and mediums. We’re gonna play them, and not only we’re playing just so people want to hear them, we’re playing them so people who want to hear, but don’t where to hear this type of music, they know where to go. They need a place to come and be heard.

RC: From your opinion, why mainstream radio refuses to play music by gay artists?
DJ: Ignorance! One word. There’s nothing else to say on why they won’t be played. I can throw a lot of money at a disk jockey, and they’ll play it, but once they know what it’s about, then they’ll take it off. It’s just ignorance.

RC: What advice would you give to an open gay person wanting to pursue a career in entertainment and media?
DJ: Stay strong and stay focused. You need to know that you’re not gonna waiver on your sexuality. There are so many things you can waiver on your life; in sense you can waiver the way you deliver the news or you can waiver the way you format your show, and hold it with confidence because in this business, confidence goes a long way and insecurity goes no where.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


CHIRSTOPHER STREET SERIES CREATOR SPEAKS ABOUT CAREER AND THE NEED TO EDUCATE YOUNG GAY PEOPLE
BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

Whenever you meet Dwight Allen O’Neal, you’re immediately are attracted to his outgoing personality, his style of fashion and his southern hospitality. This young guy has a lot going for himself. Originally from Arkansas, O’Neal or Allen as his called from time to time, got his start in the entertainment industry by modeling while beginning his freshman year in high school. Wanting to expand his creativity, he moved to New York, and studied acting while working at various magazines, and while he was studying his craft, he was seeing that many young gay teens and adults needed guidance and direction which inspired him to create the television series Christopher Street, which is about four young Black Gay males, surviving in New York, which has gotten rave reviews and praise by fans who’s dubbed the show the realist version of Noah’s Arc. He’s also runs his own fashion website and has a coming benefit in the works. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to this young role model via telephone.

RC: Tell us about the concept of “Christopher Street.”
DAO: Christopher Street is about four friends living in the city and dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a young gay man that’s coming out the closet. We deal with finding yourself and how to live in a society where your lifestyle isn’t accepted. How to deal with living a gay lifestyle and a straight lifestyle as well.

RC What inspired you to create the series?
DAO: I was inspired by the lack of young people having no role models to look up to. I was inspired by the fact that I would go out to the village and to the club and see misguided youth who didn’t have a positive role model. Me, myself coming up,
I didn’t have anyone to look up to but my mother and my best friend, and alot of times, he hadn't expericne too much more than I did. I mean he's just a year older than myself.

RC: You’ve brought up a great point about youth not having role models. Why is that?
DAO: A lot of people who are doing positive things and living positive lives aren’t coming aboard. They’re not speaking their stories. They’re not mentoring these people and the other side of things, young people look up to these artists, these singers and these people who are celebrities and they’re blindsided by person who they thought was doing something positive by someone who’s doing something oblivious.

RC: I attended your screening and a lot of the guests were saying they loved how your show dealt with issues that many gay youth deal with living in New York. What was it like attending your first screening?
DAO: Being at my first screening was nerve wrecking, actually. I was showing my piece to my peers, James Earl Hardy, thank you for attending you there. It was a blessing having you there. It was nerve wracking, but I was really excited to see the feedback that everybody gave me. I’m just twenty three and I don’t have a lot of money in my pocket, so I’m looking for an investor, and just knowing that most people was like the storyline was great and the acting was great and I want to see where the characters can go from here so that was great to hear.

RC: You mentioned about looking for funding. Has it been hard to receive funding?
DAO: Absoltouely. I’m still meeting with people trying to get money and things like that. I do hope that money and things like that come through.

RC: In addition to the show, what other projects have you been participating in?
DAO: I’m on the Christopher Street tour, hitting thirteen to fifth teen cities, educating young people on how to protect themselves from homophobia, how to protect themselves sexually. Basically what the show is dealing with, we’re tackling those issues with the audience and they watched the episode and we have a rap session about what exactly the characters deal with and how the characters survive. I’m currently working on my fashion magazine you can check it out fashionblog.com. I’m currently party events and promoting the show and I’m a make up artist and I’m promoting Smash Box Cosmetics.

RC: Congratulations on receiving your award from Entrepreneur of the month.
DAO: Thank you very much. It was a honor to receive the entrepreneur of the month award, and selected as one of Clike Magazine’s bachelors of 2007. It really feels good that people are seeing my work and are appreciating me.

RC: Another point you brought up is the importance of educating young people about homophobia and police harassment. How important is for young people to be educated about these subjects.
DAO: It’s very important. Even myself experienced something very similar where I was myself was pulled out on the subway because of my sexuality. I’ve dealt with I’ve had other incidents with the police where I was totally mistrusted because basically who I am and people putting stereotypes on our generation and because people among people who look just like me, you don’t get the love and support and justice you need. A lot of police stereotype us because you’re a young Black Gay man, there’s a strike against you, and basically we’re showcasing needs like that and letting know what to do when they’re put into that type of situation.

RC: I was speaking with DJ Baker, about many Reggae artists who record songs about killing gay males, and how some young people who are familiar with the lyrics still dance to the song and don’t take action. From your perspective, why d
DAO: A lot of people, young people don’t know what saying anyway. They’re grinding to the beat. They’re grinding to the hot dance step. They’re doing the Scooby Doo. They’re really not paying attention to what that person (the artist) is saying, and honestly, if they knew what they were saying, then they’re view point on how they would respond would be different. It all goes to educating; we need to educate our audience. We need to educate young people. We need to educate one another and know what’s going on the world. So many people don’t know what’s going on in that song. So many people don’t know what’s going on in Jamaica. So many people don’t know that and we have to bring that to life. Education is key, and knowledge is the power.

RC: I know that you’re doing a benefit for the late Rashawn Bazell, the male who’s body parts was found in the Nostrand Avenue train station. Though he didn’t become know before his death, how important is it for him to be honored and remembered?
DAO: It’s very important for him to be honored. He’s my brother. He’s your brother, and it’s really a tragedy what happened to him, and anything we can do to give knowledge about protecting yourself, the same thing won’t happen. No one deserves to be butchered and killed. That’s really sad, so his legacy continues to live on today, and his family is very supportive.


RC: How do you want to make an impact on the entertainment and fashion industry?
DAO: That’s a really good question. I want to make an impact by making Dwight Allen O’Neal a household name. Dwight Allen O’Neal a household name. Dwight O’Neal being executive producer of Off the Clock Productions and Allen O’Neal being an entertainer across the board.

RC: Is there anybody in the entertainment industry you would love to work with?
DAO: There’s a lot of people in the entertainment industry I would love to work with. There’s one key person I love to work with is Angela Bassett.

RC: That would be great. She’s a noble and humble person and an excellent actress.
DAO: She’s amazing

RC: She was the only one who could play Tina Turner
DAO: Yeah she did that, and then playing Michael Jackson’s mother, also playing in “Vampire in Brooklyn” and her amazing role in “Waiting to Exhale” where she burned down the car and left with the cigarette. (Both laugh while I imitated Bassett’s character)

RC: What advice would you give to something who wants to be in the entertainment industry without having to hide their sexuality?
DAO: If you want to be in entertainment, make a crucial decision as of what type of entertainment you want to be in. You need to make a plan of where you want to be so I would suggest be true to what you want to be true to. If you want to hide your sexuality, that’s completely a choice you have to make. If you want to be open with your sexuality, that’s a choice you have to make, but there’s gonna be consequences you have to pay. Some of the consequences you can deal with and there’s some you can’t deal with.

Monday, October 1, 2007

PHILADELPHIA AUTHOR'S NOVEL ABOUT THUG LOVE ENTICES FANTASIES, FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS

BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

Reginald L. Hall’s latest novel “In Love with a Thug” is one of the hottest and deepest pieces of literature to be released this year, and once you read it, you’ll find it hard to put it down. The story is about Juan Jiles, an openly gay male, whose love and admiration for street thugs adds drama to his life which results in serious and painful consequences.
The story begins with Jiles and his first thugged out boyfriend Darnell having hot passionate sex in the shower, which is later followed by Darnell asking Jiles to help him rob in a bank robbery. At first he refuses, explaining his fears and morals, but he unfortunately changes his mind Darnell uses violence and guilt tactics to get him to participate in his crime, which turns deadly after Darnell and a bank teller are killed, during the process, while Juan gets away with close to two-hundred thousand dollars, which he uses to pursue his dreams of opening a popular celebrity hair salon. Shortly after the opening, he meets street vendor and thug Bryant Thompson, whose physique, swagger and skills in the bedroom forces the intelligent Juan to succumb to Bryant’s addictive and deceptive world, failing to realize that he may have gotten in way over his head. After their second date, Juan begins to support him financially by buying him clothes, loaning him money and even posting his bail after he was charged with resisting arrest after he attempted to assault his baby’s mother for putting crazy glue in their daughter’s eye, and while he’s head over heals for Bryant, he starts to have doubts after learning that he’s engaged to a female who’s expecting his second child. Juan confronts him about his lady, but Bryant puts on the charm to keep him under his spell.
Another aspect of the book is his friendships with his friends Anthony and Rob, who the manager of his shop, who not only support Juan and his career, they don’t hesitate to speak their minds. Especially when it comes to his relationship and how it’s affecting his professionalism, and operation of the shop. Especially when he learns that one of his employees is stealing and breaking the policy of moonlighting and when his people constantly start fights in his shop making the customers and staff unhappy. Their friendship becomes deeper when Anthony is hospitalized after being attacked, and when Rob helps Juan after he gets arrested for unknowingly having drugs in his apartment. The book also deals with the betrayal he endured from his parents especially his mother who not only kicked him out because of his sexuality, but for refusing to believe that her husband sexually molested him. Her actions forced him to become independent and possibly looking for love in the wrong places and people. When visits his parents to show them how well he’s done, not only does his mother act real shady towards him, she slaps him after he confronts his father for the acts he did to him as a child, forcing him to move on with or without their support or blessings. After leaving his former childhood home, he head to Bryant’s grandmother’s house for a party where Juan, high off ecstasy thinks that’s having dreams of having a three some with Bryant and his cousin, which in reality is real causing Bryant to attack him and throw him out, leaving him to wonder why he would do that when he was the one got him hooked on drugs and encouraged the sexual rendezvous. Adding things complicated was his trial, seeing the lady who attacked his employees in court with the prosecutors, and coping with the deaths of his friends and father and deciding to give Bryant another chance at their relationship, which comes with a price for his part in the bank robbery.
Reginald Hall penned a hot, deep and through provoking novel, which will have readers entertained and thinking about the choices they make when it comes to dating and picking a partner, and though it would have been nice for Juan’s mother to apologize for her denial of the abuse he endured, it explains many reasons why Juan strive for success and looked for love in the wrong places and person.

PORN STARS SPEAKS ON THE IMPACT AND MYTHS ABOUT THE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSRTY

BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM

For the past seven decades, gay pornography has become one of the popular and biggest selling genres of entertainment. Like Hip-Hop, it began as an underground phenomenon, but it has become a part of our culture. From adult magazines, to DVDs, many Gay/SGL men enjoy looking at porn as a form of relaxation, stimulation, education, and to release sexual tension. Gay pornography represents using male on male activity with the main goal of making the viewers sexually aroused, dating back to Greek Anceiticy, but unfortunately had to remain underground due to obscenity laws that constituted evidence of illegal acts under many Sodom laws in many laws (Many men in the south would be arrested for participating in anal sex, even if it was behind closed doors, but the law was ruled unconstitutionally by the Supreme Court in 2003).
Another reason for remaining underground? Many Gay/SGL men were still closeted in the early 1940’s and 1950’s due to fear of being abandoned by loved ones as well as religious organizations which still unfairly condemns homosexuality, and the only form of porn were magazines featuring men either wearing a g-string or being totally nude, but that changed thanks to the late photographer Bob Mizer, founder of the AMC-Athletic Model Guild which was the first studio to commercially produce films for Gay/SGL men which was sold through mail in orders and by word of mouth, but by the late 1960’s the sexual revolution forced the courts to legalized porn legitimately and now fans have easier access to porn courtesy of peep shows, VCR’s DVD players and the internet.
What makes Gay porn appealing? “It’s more of a fantasy thing for people who’s watching” says Marc Williams, a LA Based porn star who’s appeared in “Big and Plenty”, and Black Inches Magazine. “There’s something out there for everyone.” Early porn normally featured muscular men with little or no body hair, but Black Inches have began to feature models who aren’t as buff and who has body hair, and most of today’s ethnic films features urban themes and models wearing Hip-Hop attire including fitted baseball caps, do-rags, boxers, timberlands and sneakers, appealing to viewers who like guys who are street, but sensual. ”I film a genre called ‘Thug Porn’ so I need to keep it as real as possible says model/producer Tiger Tyson who’s company is linked with Pittbull Productions whose film “The Show Part 2” was named Best Ethnic theme by the Gay VN award. “That’s the way we dress. I believe the person who buys my films wants to see the read deal.”
Another form of change in the industry has been the roles and labels of men in the industry; Men that have masculine characteristics were tops and dominators while guys with femine characteristics, were bottoms and submissive, but many of today’s films show the stars showing their versatility, including Tyson Cane and Kamrun, both who topped and bottomed in films they’ve appeared in. “I don’t think it’s right for them to be doing these moves, the CEO Tyson Cane Videos and first Black to appear to star in films by Kristen Bjorn says about companies who shows stereotypes of Black and Latino men. “I’m not a thug; I’m not from the ghetto. I mixed pretty boys with thugs. I have an urban style but I mix the world together.” When asked did he catch any negative feedback for not what viewers expected, Kamrun who ‘s starred in Black Balled 3, 4 and 5’ says he’s never gotten any flack about being label or perceived to be a certain way because of his looks. “Actually No. If you see me up close live and in person, I’m far from the Hip-Hop look.” Former Black Inches columnist Ty Lattimore is also appealing to viewers by shooting a large a variety of models including different races and ages and sizes including Tank a thick sized model who’s been getting lots of praise from fans who are happy to see someone large in porn industry. “I find the beauty in different kinds of men. A six pack don’t necessarily makes you an attractive person or even a better person” the Atlanta based star and director says of the ageism and typecasting that occurs in the community. “Our community has a lot of phobia and a lot of ways that we classified and disqualified people. I have a hard time being a producer telling a model to have six-pack abs when I don’t have six pack abs. Everybody wants to see themselves represented.”
Most of the guys entering the industry today are much younger than it was years ago. Models as young as 18 are entering the industry as opposed to years ago when most of the models were in their early 20’s. “These new guys are freakier When we were they’re age, we weren’t thinking about doing porn then!” says the late Delvin Wiley, operation officer for Flava Works who starred in three films before deciding to work more behind the scenes at the company. “We were sneaking and buying it.”
Most models enter the industry to make fast money and gain recognition. Tyson and Cane had started out working as strippers in clubs with the latter wanting to pursue a career in porn since the age of 18, many including who were discovered and approached by talent scouts and other stars to work for their companies. “A friend of mine was telling me ‘I know a guy who’s shooting porn and I didn’t think it was a good idea, but my boyfriend was like ‘let’s do this. It’s not different than what we’re doing” says Breion Diamond the star of Flava Works and the Dorm Life Series who originally started with Pittbull Productions and has a large following in South Africa.
But there were many who never intended on entering the industry at all including Baby Boi, another of Flava Works tops models. He wanted to pursue a career in modeling but after discovering the lack of outlets in his state, he discovered Flava Works while surfing the internet and after submitting his information, he was flown to Chicago the following week during his last semester of high school. “Doing porn was never my intention. It was mainly ‘I’m about to graduate from high school and don’t want to stay in Indianapolis.’ I was trying to get in the modeling industry while in high school, but being in Indianapolis that’s not a big hub for that.” Both have helped make their site become the most viewed site on the internet receiving numerous awards and nominations which is due to the non-sexual bond they have and living in the dorm where the movies are filmed. “We had to be honest with each other and real. Some of us have the same mentality. We’re trying to be movie stars and to be enemies with each other is stupid.”
Being in the public eye has many rewards such being able to travel around the world and meeting fans, but there is a downside to being in the porn industry such as negativity, maintaining a private life, being seen only as an sex object and misconceptions that all porn stars are drug addicts, sluts, infected with STD‘s. The biggest thing complaint from many journalist and health care professionals has been the number of bare backing films that’s been release. Many think that bare backing will influence viewers to participate in risky behavior increasing the numbers of HIV using Flava Works’ incident to prove their point. According to Diamond, the CEO of the company didn’t have the proper documents to film at his house and they were closed a week before they were scheduled to relocate of Miami and that it’s true that one of the models did have a STD and passed it to another, the company makes sure the models are tested and use protection. “These boys are having unsafe sex and they’re not supposed to. Everyone gets tested when they come in” Diamond said who also expressed his frustration by talking about how “whites porn stars be shooting cum into each other and no one makes any complaints. But we get slack for releasing Raw Thugs. Black People don’t like seeing Black people doing certain shit. I have a raw film and five of the six scenes are done with my boyfriend."
Another false myth is that models can‘t maintain relationships. “In the reality, I have models who are in long term relationships with other models” Cane said of the misconception. Williams and Diamond are in relationships with models and they manage to make their relationship work by keeping their professional life away from their personal life while others chose to spend time with family and friends when not filming. “My friends come first“ Kamrun replied.
Life after porn. There have been many stories about many porn stars who didn’t how to adjust to life after porn, and many of today’s porn stars are planning to pursue other career goals; Baby Boi plans to pursue a college degree in Business and Marketing while Diamond wants to be a fashion stylist and AIDS activist, but there are some who are working in the industry behind the scenes such as Lattimore, Tyson and Cane who produce and shot their own films while Kamrun who’s appeared in many coffee table books and hires go-go dancers for clubs while working in Immigration Law full time and the advice they give to those who want to enter the industry is to make sure it’s something they want to do as well as do research on the industry and the companies and to also remember it’s a business and to stay smart, safe and don’t do anything you're uncomfortable doing.