Thursday, June 26, 2008


When I first met Maurice Runae, I couldn’t help to notice that he had his own unique style of fashion that made him stand out along with his long well groomed twists. After hanging out with him I noticed that he’s also a cool person who’s very active in the community, and he has no problem addressing issues that concerns the community including maintaining physical and mental health, homophobia and knowing how to make sure you spend time with your man. Those are the topics we talked about during our interview that took place at GMHC.

SUPREMEWRITER: Who is Maurice Runae?
MAURICE: I’m currently doing a show called “Vantage Point. I’m also doing my fashion line and online magazine. I’m currently holding two positions at GMHC.

SUPREMEWRITER: What made you decide to get into fashion design?
MAURICE: I’ve always been into fashion. At a young age. I always watched television and I always saw that they were wearing and I was like I can d that better. About a year or two ago, I decided I want to have my own fashion company.

SUPREMEWRITER: What does your fashion line consists of?
MAURICE: It consists of a lot of crystals, beads. I just started venturing out to other pieces of garments. I just started doing jeans and boots, but it originally started out as t-shirts. Customized t-shirts and button ups.

SUPREMEWRITER: What prompted you to start your online magazine?
MAURICE It was a lot of things that were going one around me that no one wanted to talk about. And so I was already known in the community so I just used that opportunity to talk about things that peo0le was scared to talk about.

SUPREMEWRITER: I read your magazine, and I remember you writing an article about Reggae artists who record songs that justify the killing of Gay people. How important was it for you to write that article and discuss this topic?
MAURICE: I think as far as Reggae artists, with homophobic songs, we kind of promote them in a way we go and by the music. We up in the club up and dancing to it; we gyrating. They’re saying boom bye-bye batty boy and we gyrating all over the place. You can’t be on both sides of the spectrum. One aspect you’re saying I don’t support it. I personally don’t listen to those songs that promote homosexuality discrimination, but it’s real but I thank as time passed, more people have banned together. They’re stopping their concerts; they’re not buying their songs. Some of them have to move back to Jamaica to make it, so I think eventually they’re gonna get the point that we’re not gonna stand for it and eventually it’ll fade off.

SUPREMEWRITER: I’ve had this discussion with other Gay people, and I was telling how many of the kids are aware of what the artists are saying, yet they be dancing and grinding to the song. From your perspective, why do they do that knowing that the song is talking about hurting and killing them?
MAURICE: ‘Cause I think that people aren’t socially conscious. If you go to the club, they’re not really listening to what the words are saying. It’s the beat. They go to the club, they’re feeling the song. The liquor kicks in, so they’re not really paying attention to the song. I think when people are really pay attention to the song when they’re at home playing it in a closed setting, and you listen to the song, and you’ll be like ‘Oh my God, he just said kill me.’ Then you have some who don’t care. There are some who aren’t connected to social issues.

SUPREMEWRITER: You also work at GMHC. What are your job duties?
MAURICE: I am the co-facilitator for a group called Many Men, Many Voices. We give you skills to better yourself. We don’t tell you what to do, but we give you the skills for life changes. I’m also the recruiter for Choices, that’s also an intervention group, where they give you the skills for disclosure and again, we don’t tell you to disclosure. We give you the skills to disclosure.

SUPREMEWRITER: How long have you been working at GMHC?
MAURICE: Gosh. I’ve been at GMHC since 2004, but prior to that I had another job. I volunteered here, and I left the Board of Ed and came here,

SUPREMEWRITER: You’re also doing a show with Nathan 7 Scott.
MARUICE: That show is a talk show. I don’t want to compare it to “The View” but it gives you that feel. I aired on February 20the. It’s gonna be on the air channel on You Tube. We’re trying to get further than that. You will be impressed.

SUPREMEWRITER: How do you manage your private and social life while working crating fashion and working on your magazine?
MAURICE: Are you asking if I love to date? (Both laugh)

SUPREMEWRITER: No. I’m asking how do you manage to have a social life besides networking?
MAURICE: I always say make time for your man. When he complains about you’re not spending enough time with him, that’s when you’re working too much and you need to take a step back. What I found in past relationships, I’m single now. Single and looking (both laugh). What I found in past relationships in to incorporate him into what you do. Whenever I had a function it wouldn’t hurt to ask if he wanted to go. It would be his choice whether or not he wanted to come.
You should also make me time. I cherish my days off when I’m not just doing anything because I’m busy ass the time. When I have my days off, I like to eat, lay back, watch Confidential, watch a horror movie and if I’m in a relationship, I just like to lay back and chill. That’s what a lot of us don’t do. That will actually cause health problems as well. Your blood pressure will go through the roof. You need to kick back, relax. Go shopping. Just relax.

SUPREMEWRITER: You mentioned a great point about how important it is for people to focus on their health. Why should people especially in the Black Gay community to focus on maintaining their health?
MAURICE: I think you need to stay focus on your health. Stress and fatigue plays a number on your body, and will make your body fall apart, cause it’s telling you to lay down. So when you won’t lie down, your body will make you lay down. I think that Afro-American people, we don’t go to doctors so any little thing you can do to keep your body maintained is successful. What the sense of being successful if you ain’t around to see the benefits of it.

SUPREMEWRITER: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?
MAURICE: Rich (laughs) Wealthy. Just say OK. Hopefully married. As long as I’m healthy, successful and financially secure.

SUPREMEWRITER: If you a change to design clothes for any famous celebrity, who would it be?
MAURICE: It would be Morris Chestnut. I love that man!! Morris Chestnut and Blair Underwood.
SUPREMEWRITER: They are both sexy and classy!!
MAURICE: Who you telling? There was a stripper who was at Splash, who looked just like him.
SUPREMEWRITER: What is about them they makes you want to dress them up?
MAURICE: Look at there bodies!! You see their bodies?!! They all sexy, choc lately. I absolutely adore them. I’m just a fan of beauty. I se beauty in a lot of things people don’t . Dimjou. I think he’s sexy. Kudos to Kimora Lee. I couldn’t be her friend because I’d be looking at her man all day. I happen to think Seal is sexy.
SUPREMEWRITER: Especially since he cut off his dreads.
MAURICE: Heidi Klum must do because she can’t stop getting pregnant by him. I would love to design for Puffy, because he’s flashy. If it was a girl, I would design for Lil’ Kim. I would design and blinged out bra and panty set with some blinged out boots.

SUPREMEWRITER: How do you think you’re making an impact on the Gay community?
MAURICE: Just being myself. I think I’m at a point in my life where I’m comfortable with who I and what I’ve become and what I’m going to be. Fit on that street, and you can tell people to get off and cross the street when you feel like it. When I walk outside, the world is my stage, and the people are my audience. First of all, I live in Brooklyn and people question how I look, but I always say, if you’re confident, people will pick up on that. Don’t look like a victim. When you walk down the street, walk like you own the street. Walk like you pay rent and walk like you can make them walk across the street.
There was a time when I was very withdrawn. I was shy (and) I didn’t want to talk to people. That’s because I didn’t understand myself, and when you don’t understand yourself, you can’t relate and understand people. At the time I realized I was gay, I had a girlfriend, and I know a lot of them are going to gag when they hear that. I have pictures that show I used to dress like a boy, but it just got the point where I had to be comfortable with myself and with who I am and look in the mirror and say ‘damn I love myself ‘and I’m that point now. I tell young kids today you can be who you are, but be classy about it and respect yourself and people with respect you