“Models pose in clothes. People live in them” was the mantra of revered fashion designer Willi Smith. His designs pushed the boundaries of fashion from as early as 1976 creating affordable street-wise clothing that rejected the notion “we the rich can dress up and have fun, and the rest can dress in blazers and slacks”
Patrick Kelly was a Mississippi born fashion aficionado who rose to fame in Paris in the 1980’s for his eccentric yet elegant women’s designs. His creations were worn by the likes of Princess Diana, Bette Davis, Grace Jones, Jane Seymour and Madonna to name a few. He was adored in the Paris fashion world and was the first American to be voted into elite Parisian fashion designers society Chambre Syndicale joining the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix among others.
With all that’s happened to the Black Community lately, I’ve been feeling a void. A void for justice, for racial harmony, for more queer-positive role models of colour… From the Michael Brown murder to the proceeding Ferguson Riots and Black Lives Matter movement to the epic failure of the Academy Awards in their decision not to nominate more actors and directors of colour; it feels like the etchings of a new Civil Rights Movement. One in which not only minorities, women and the disabled have a voice but also the LGBT community- specifically our Transgendered brothers and sisters.
So my contribution to this new unified movement is to shine a light on some queer specific black brilliance. Lately way too much of my time has been spent feeling jilted about the outright racist bullshit that’s happened and continues to happen in our society. So this month I’ll be spotlighting black LGBT identified powerhouses that left a unique mark on the worlds of fashion, art, music, political activism and mainstream culture.
So we’ve all heard the adage “the best indicator of future choices is past decisions”, or something like that? I always thought it was just another thing people say as a scare tactic.. Like if you whack it too much you’ll go blind. But I’ve just come to realize that it’s sorta true. Not the whacking part mind you; it’s related to he most recent “situation” I’ve landed myself in. And it has to do with guys and the patterns we form for the “type” of guy we think we want.
Preference: “a greater liking for one alternative over another or others”
Racism: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”
I stumbled across this video a few days ago and it’s been playing on my thoughts ever since. As a “black guy”, I can’t say how many times I’ve been slapped in the face with this. Both from potential dates and from friends. I never quite understood racism; far less racism in the LGBT community. But as far as this video goes, it raises some important questions. Is having a racial preference necessarily prejudice? And when does a preference move from genuine adoration to deliberate exclusion due to racial features?
With last week’s coming out declaration by Apple CEO Tim Cook finally settling in, I’ve started to reanalyze what it means for me to be out at work. I work for one of the “big five” banks in Canada in a non-influential role and I wonder if my openness about my sexuality has done anything to further the acceptance of LGBT’s in the workplace or whether it’s had any positive or negative impact to my current career.
As I’ve rightly said before, dating is a maze of unknowns. I recently met a very attractive guy at a party where we shared a few chuckles and a few drinks and decided that we’d like to see each other again. Now anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m attracted to a certain type of man- usually the burly brooding bear type- and he was all of the above.
We chatted casually via text for a week before embarking on a first date. Our date consisted of the usual ice breaking banter and slowly threaded onto deeper more personal topics- like dating history and what, if anything, we were looking for. Then suddenly my charmingly handsome date dropped the “I’ve got something to tell you” bomb. I put on my best nothing phases me face and listened intently for what was to come.