Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Shortly before the Chirstmas holiday in 2008, I was surfing You Tube for the Brandy/Monica video "The Boy Is Mine" and during my search, I found a link to a video titled "The Boy Is Gay." Curious, I decided to check it out, and while I was watching the video, I was shocked and impressed to see somebody doing a Gay version of the Grammy-Award winning classic. Well the artist who decided to give the song a Gay Twist was Gay Rapper/Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Entreprenuer JR, who's been making music for the past decade. Born and raised in Chicago, JR, had began performing in his teenage years, landing a deal with Jive Records, but like many who were signed to the label, he never got to opportunity to record due to the label putting it's focus on R. Kelly. Frusrated, JR decided to strike out on his own, and he hasn't looked back. He's been making music and connecting with the Gay community. I had the opportunity to speak with the performer via telephone about his career, friendship with porn star Mr. Sauki.

DA-PROFESSOR: How are things going?
JR: Things are going great. I have a new CD out. My new video and single is out. I'm happy.

DA-PROFESSOR: How many CD's have you released?
JR: This is CD # 9.

DA-PROFESSOR: How did you get involved in music?
JR: As a child, I grew up listening to Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson. All of the greats and I wanted to be a singer, so I just did what I had to do to get there.

DA-PROFESSOR: What other singers influenced you?
JR: The # 1 singer would be Janet Jackson. I love Johnny Gill's voice. He's a great singer to me. TLC was my favorite group at the time.

DA-PROFESSOR: What do you admire about those performers?
JR: Janet Jackson. I admire her ability to put on a show. Her singing, her dancing, he businessmind, when it comes to how she works her contracts. Johnny Gill for him is more about his vocal ability. I don't have that, but I wish I did (laughs). TLC I love their personalities and their work ethics. Paula Abdul, she was an excellent cherographer. She still is very creative and that's what I love about her.

DA-PROFESSOR: How long have you been performing professionally?
JR: Professionally, I started at 19. I still have very old footage of me doing shows when I was 19.

DA-PROFESSOR: What made you decide to pursue a career as an openly Gay Performer?
JR: I was making music and a friend of mine said wouldn't it be funny if a guy was singing the song you're writing to another guy. And I said it would be funny.
The first CD was a joke. I was speaking my mind, but I was really serious about pursuing a career in it, but I got such an major response to it. Everybody love the idea of a guy singing to another guy, so it turned into a mission to give gay people a voice. When listening to the radio today, they're into singing songs that we can relate to. They don't know about being homeless because you told your mother you're gay.

DA-PROFESSOR: The first song I heard from you is "The Boy Is Gay" a remake of the Brandy/Monica duet "The Boy Is Mine." What prompted you to redo that song?
JR: (Laughs) One of the stories that needed to be told and again, it was meant to be fun. There was a time when i wasn't trying to be famous. I switched it around to the woman saying my man's not gay and I'm like sorry to tell you he is. Did you like the song?

DA-PROFESSOR: Yes. That was the first time I learned about your existance (both laugh). I remember speaking to you two years ago and you told me you started out as a child performer. Am I correct?
JR: Yes I was. Talent shows. Church. And when I was 15, I was signed to Jive Records. Nothing came out of it because at the time I was about to do my work, R. Kelly had released his "12 Play" CD so that was it. Everyone focused on that, and that taught me not to wait around for anyone, so that's when I started trying to get stuff on my own.

DA-PROFESSOR: Did you have problems getting out your contract with Jive?
JR: I never got the chance to record anything. I never even went to the studio, and it wasn't just me. There were about 6 or 7 of us who were waiting to get signed, but we were waiting indefintely. Then they also released Aaliyah, and she was with Jive at the time, so that's where the money and budget went.

DA-PROFESSOR: I like your song "Addicted To Boyz" and "In Love With a Porn Star"
JR: Competition, actually. There were individuals who were going towards me prior to releasing those songs. It was a competition thing. I had no idea it would take off the way it did because I made a video, and it wasn't one of my favorite songs to be honest, but I made simple, because people would love it. It's a easy hookd and there you go.

DA-PROFESSOR: I watch your videos and I notice that you features guys who are masculine, feminine, and in between. What prompted you to features all types of Gay models in your videos?
JR: Because there's more than one group of Gay individuals, period. I so that because mainstream, straight America have always put in media one type of Gay person and I don't that's a great representation of the Gay community. There's masculine, thugs, ultra feminine. Trangsgender, and that's why I do that.

DA-PROFESSOR: You also did a video with Mr. Sauki, who is one of my favorite porn stars. What was it like meeting him for the first time?
JR: For the first time I met him, he was nice and sweet, and I was very happy because he told me he masturbated to my music videos and that was all I needed to hear (I laugh). I was chubbier back then.

DA-PROFESSOR: What do you admire about his work?
JR: We're friends now. He's been like it's very professional. There are other people who are in it for the sex, and just to have sex, and they're passionate about the sex. He was like this is work for him. He's very pretty to me.

DA-PROFESSOR: Another song I like is Hatrix. What made you decide to perform to Janet's "Feedback?"
JR: "Hatrix" Oh wow. The word "Hatrix." The word hate mixed with the Matrix. I feel like I'm on fire all the time, even though it was a long time ago. I still feel like I'm caught up. And I guess that's good thing. It's OK to talk about me, but hatin' and conspirin' agaisnt me is another thing.

DA-PROFESSOR:I see that your shows features you dancing with dancers. What made you decide to dance instead of walk back and forth?
JR: Janet Jackson (laughs). I admire her concerts and I saw her live, and with this CD/DVD, all the videos will have dancing. I have a crew of dancers adn we're rehearsing. I'm hoping that next year we can do a tour, and at the end of the it, make a DVD of the tour and sell it. I didn't dance as much then than I'm dancing now.

DA-PROFESSOR: I also admire that you're also extremely smart and business-minded. How important is it to be business-minded?
JR: Extremely (laughs). I gotta say when I was at the Out Music Awards in 2009, I met Tori Fixx, and talking to him helped me a bit. Meaning he was telling me you have so many CDS you should have your music on I-Tunes. It would be a great thing to have your music on I-Tunes basically because I was selling my CDs on my website strictly from me, but now I understand to have my music on I-Tunes other than that contacts and business needs to be taken care of. Business and entertainment is what I'm all about.

DA-PROFESSOR: Which cities have you performed in?
JR: Atlanta, New York, Dallas, Florida, Ohio, Indinapolis, Portland, Oregon, Those are big cities. Last year, I was supposed to go to Brazil, but I couldn't go because for 1, I didn't have my passport, and # 2, there was some crazy things they wanted me to do.

DA-PROFESSOR: Last year, there were many Gay Teens and Adults who were being bullied and committing suicide. How did that affect you as a person?
JR: That's why I made a song and video about this. It affected me deeply, because I personally know a few people who were Gay bashed in Chicago. I don't wanna say it gets better, but people needs to be involved and try to look out for each other.

DA-PROFESSOR: There are many Gays who wanna see LGBT Rappers and singers perform at their Prides, yet many pride organizers don't wanna recruit them. Tell me from your prespective why?
JR: If they don't wanna book you, then they don't wanna book you. I'm not sure why they don't wanna book you. It's Gay pride and you have Gay performers; that doesn't make too much sense. If they don't wanna book you, there's not much you can do about that. I don't know if it's a bad repuatation that make people not wanna book you.

DA-PROFESSOR: You have several artists you're working with. Who are they?
JR: Melanie. A singer. I'm working with a young man, who's sings on my second single. His name is Tristan. There's Kyle Daquan. Domonique. Those are my artists and they're not all Gay.

DA-PROFESSOR: What other business ventures you're working on?
JR: There is a sitcome that I'm currently creating, tentatively called "Boys Town" and hopefully be recording by the end of September.
There's my second season for my dating show "R U The Boy?" I'm filming that now and that would be released in September. Then there's the Talk-show I'm looking to start towards the middle of the summer. I have a porn company that I'm putting on hold. People keep asking me to make a movie. I'm not in the movies. Recording the album. I produced a couple of tracks for Cat-Eyez.

DA-PROFESSOR: Do you plan on having a clothing and fragrance line?
JR: Actually I tried to do the fragrance line a few years ago. I took a haul back because it took alot of money to do. I didn't know about how getting it into the store, so I'm trying to stragetically do this. I did make one bottle for myself.

DA-PROFESSOR: You lived in Chicago all your life?
JR: Yes. I also lived in Atlanta for a year and a half.

DA-PROFESSOR: What was it like living in the ATL?
JR: Difficult. Very difficult. I'm a brown-skinned boy and most of the boys who are worshipped are light-skinned boys with pretty skinn and they weren't checking for me. You had a few people who were digging me, but most people are very pretty and light-skinned and I'm not a pretty light-skinned boy who's skinny.

DA-PROFESSOR: JR Me and my best friend Donald Peebles an author and blogger speaks about this issue alot. Me personally, I'm not a color-stuck person. I like both Dark and light-skinned men, but it seems like many wanna get with a light-skinned person, though they may or may not be a good person, and when light-skinned guys wanna get with dark-skinned men, many of their associates get mad. How does it feel to know that people are still color-struck?
JR: You know it's so weird. My friends who are light-skinned were on my dating show, but what I'm trying to explaint it to them they act like they don't know what the hell I'm talking about. And I hate to put this in this context, you know how there's White privilage? They don't really know they have the privilage to everything because of their skin color. Look at Beyonce. She's talented, but come on. If she was dark-skinned, it would be the bigger issue that now. So that's what I really feel. They don't realize they have privilage and they actually saying they're realizing it now since I bring it to their attention.

DA-PROFESSOR: You're from a city that has major history and where talented artists like Chaka Khan, Jody Watley and Da-Brat's from. How does it feel to come from that city and how do you plan to keep their legacy alive?

JR: Well, being an Out performer, very difficult. The new single is getting attention from mainstream America. My goal is to get people to unnderstand that Gay people are just as talented obviously because not everyone in the straight world is necessary straight. And if I kicke the door down, i can give Chicago the attention it has. Alot of people don't know their history very well cause they say I'm the first Gay rapper there is and I'm not; there was a few people before me but I would say rapper/singer alot of people don't think that Chicago people are talented.

DA-PROFESSOR: If you have the opportunity to work with any mainstream artist, who would it be?
JR: (Laughs) There's only one; Janet Jackson. I really don't need to do a song with her. I just wanna get on one of her the stages and do the dances with her. That would be enough for me (giggles). That's all I need to do.

DA-PROFESSOR: You know Janet and Michael teamed up to film the classic "Scream" video. What did you like about the video?
JR: The dancing!! I love the break down scene when they did the dancing together. That was so epic together. I really wished that they would have danced more in that video. I really do. Michael was known to be the dancer and for the females that would be Janet. I loved the weird music. I really want to make a song like that with an open Gay artist in regards to Gay bashing.

DA-PROFESSOR: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
JR: In 5 years, I would hope to have cracked the mainstream a little more. I got a message from Trey Songz a few weeks ago saying he liked my music video and my song. I hope to reach people like that and they give me a chance to be in that creative community to share my music with the world. 10 years, I should be sitting on my ass behind the scenes, running stuff beign a puppet master.

DA-PROFESSOR: How do you think you're making an Impact on the Gay Music Scene and Gay community?
JR: The impact is very strong. It's so shocking. I have to question 'Are you talking about me? because unfortantely when "Addicted To Boyz" came out, You Tube shut my page down due to the sexual nature in the song and everytine I put up a page, they would take it down, so I lost alot of people. I'm searching people and they're searching for me. I get messages from people in Africa. Japan. Austrialia. It doesn't reflect on my twitter page. It reflects on my I-Tunes page. When I see who brought what. There are a couple of young guys from Chicago who told me I told them something, they got their act together and now he's pursing a career as a professional artist. One guy told me he was scared to come out and after seeing one of my videos and it influenced him to tell his father who he was and what he wanted to do.

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