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    Entries in pride (3)

    Tuesday
    Jun142016

    Our Family, Our Pulse

    As a collective that has spent the last six years building and growing spaces where our community can feel safe and free and inspired, we are sitting very heavily with the deep loss of lives at Pulse in Orlando.

    Often, when we think about safety and safe spaces we think about mismanaged masculinity removing opportunities for our community to feel comfortable. We think about our young, ratchet asses doing too much and perpetuating all the problematic shit. We think about how often we have been challenged to do better by our community--by you--and how we sat down one day, quite literally, and committed to a different type of life. For us that means constantly striving to prioritize the health and well-being of ourselves and our communities.

    That commitment means we have had to evolve.

    Our conversations, ideas and ways of thinking have had to evolve. The way we party certainly evolved too.

    Deciding to take the big jump into "venues" was an effort to embrace the hundreds of people who showed up to our tiny spaces and partied with all their heart and soul. We needed more room. We quickly realized venues--especially in gentrified/homophobic Brooklyn, so often mean opening our community to unknowns we can't control: shitty bartenders, lying managers, violent bouncers, random attendees dragging the vibe. So we stepped up our work to really engage those spaces and to hold them accountable for their actions. In both senses we have had tremendous success (and def some colossal failures).

    Through everything we have had our family.

    As we figured out how to even throw parties, you've been there. We have sought freedom together on dance floors, in back yards, galleries, basements, lofts, warehouses, bars, beaches, community centers and more. As we trained with community leaders and learned how to facilitate safe(r) spaces, sometimes still dropping the ball, you've shown up. You've sent us affirming messages the next day. You've whispered to us about shady revelers, helped identify and ban bigots and thieves, together we have prevented police involvement...all the beautiful, important things communities should do for each other. We are the most loyal, the most vulnerable and the most resilient: black, brown, latinx, native and mixed heritage queer and trans people of color.

    That's us. That's our family. The people at Pulse are our family too. Our family who began their night the way we try to live our lives: together, proud, and celebrating the work of our heartbeats--our pulse.

    There is no way to prevent people hell bent on murder.

    There is no way to prevent hatred.

    There is no way to build up enough fortresses around our bodies and lives to truly feel safe. This world has made clear its feelings of fuckery for those of us whose identities, bodies and love don't fit.

    There is no way to train or plan for unbelievable violence.

    But what we do have is the commitment that we have had every year since we started:

    We will celebrate
    We will remember
    We will create
    We will laugh
    We will cry
    We will transgress
    We will take flight and make the sky open for us
    We will protect
    We will live on and on and on
    in every corner
    on every dot of land across this imperfect earth
    We will be there.

    We will BE there.

    Family, we invite you to continue your courageous act of being.

    We love you.

    Always,

    bklyn boihood

    Wednesday
    Jun082011

    The U.N.Eyewitness’ New Year’s (ahem, PRIDE) Resolutions...

    Now, I never was the type of person that thought June, the almighty PRIDE month, meant that I was instantly liberated and free to be me. That’s almost as ridiculous as Black History Month being the only time I can truly tap into my Blackness. Or, McDonald’s profiting off of it with the “Black 365” Campaign. JOKE. However, I decided that, though I’ve been going to Pride since I was 15 and “questioning” in Baltimore, praying that the news cameras didn’t film me with my beads around my neck, I should do something commemorating Pride season this year. What better way to do that then with the gayest resolutions that I’ll try my dearest to fulfill in the next six months?

    RESOLUTION #1: PERFORM IN DRAG.

    I’d been twiddling around with this idea for months, but not really secure about it. Of course, performing in drag means you exude confidence that you didn’t even know you had, and I think I’m ready for that step. I’ve been the loudest muthafucka in audiences during sing-a-longs, and the one on the street singing Jodeci’s “Come and Talk To Me”, equipped with all the gyrating of K-Ci and Sisqo combined. Instead of creating an audience guerilla-style (which I’ll do regardless), why not perform in front of a formal audience who’s there to see you in action? Ladies, gents, and genderqueers, I present to you…*drum roll* REIGN A. CHAOS, coming to a stage and youtube channel near you. I’ll be specializing in 90s boy band R&B classics, boo-yaaaahhh!! I’m gonna seek out a leather suit a la R. Kelly’s 12 Play album just because, as you know, costuming is everything.

    **If anybody has any suggestions for spaces/events/people I should get in contact with, do hollatchahomie!

    RESOLUTION #2: EMBRACING THE QUEER.

    Apparently, bois don’t paint their nails. I’m not a big fan of painting my fingernails per se (the chip irks the shit out of me), but I’ve been buying a shitton of nail polish because lately, colors on my feet just look soooo amazing. So what if they’ll be sheltered by plimsoll sneakers because I don’t like sandals…it’s for my own enjoyment.

    I’ve also recently realized I have a limp wrist. And on weekends, I flip it. Frequently. Especially when drunk. And with that limp wrist also comes flailing arms. And neck. The next thing you know, I’m on the floor voguing. What??? How did this happen? Wasn’t I just doing my two-step? Now I’m not saying I’m an expert at it – no, miles from it. The queens could teach me a thing or ten about how to really werk. But, what I’ve loved about this natural expression of mine is that I’m in a community of folks who embrace me for it (despite my masculine leaning presentation) which only makes me want to scale up in fagulousness. In the times that I occasionally wear my silver bob wig, I transform into Q. Electra, and the floodgates of rainbow heaven open. (She’ll be making a guest appearance at Pride this weekend, just an FYI).

    Now, some of you may be wondering: how does a female-bodied person do drag, performing as a male-bodied person in drag? Isn’t that just appropriating? For one, I find it to be extremely liberating that I don’t fit into this rigid ideal that has been established in order to be “authentically” boi/masculine/AG/stud, etc. I exist outside of the box, in the grey area. That grey area is the land of the queers, where anything is possible. That’s the beauty of it, right?

    RESOLUTION #3: GETTING OUT MY DREAMS (NO KANYE-O).

    I’ll be performing at open mics and events in and around NYC very frequently this summer, as a little birdie in the universe told me that I wasn’t taking full advantage of my New York life. Since I’ve started scaling up in the past month, my life has opened wide: I’ve been meeting some of the most amazing people, queer and hetero, who have been willing to help me get on, tap into other performances and venues across the city, to provide a platform for my poetry. It has been an amazing month already, and I chant that it’ll be an amazing summer. Travelling is also a BIG part of this (shout out to Cali! Whoop whoop!)

    Just so you guys have a sneak peek of what those performances are, and because it’s PRIDE season, I wanted to leave you with this poem I wrote called “The Radical Homosexual Agenda”:

    See y’all on the dance floor Friday! I promise I’ll behave. Promise. Stay proud, y’all!!

     

    -The U.N.Eyewitness.

    Wednesday
    Jun082011

    The Bad Gay Gives Into Pride

    I own one piece of rainbow accoutrement.

    Okay, two. The rainbow belt I own, I’ve never really worn. In 2007 I went through about a 2-week phase of donning flags on my keychain or on a ring before I felt silly. I’ll give it to myself though…at least I got over my aversion to wearing flags publicly to begin with.

    For many years I liked being quietly gay. That is, carrying on in my relationships with women as I pleased but not really talking about it, except in the very small and intimate circles that I had built for myself in which I could feel normal. My quiet gayness led me into situations I hated (like straight clubs), into good-ol’-boys clubs (like groups of closeted Christians) and into conversations with “allies” that reminded me a lot of those familiar “you’re Black but you’re different so let me ask you this on behalf of Black people…” moments from freshman year (read: life).  I was quietly gay. 

    Like real quiet.

    Like silent.

    Like, found myself on a few days trying to not look too butch. Or kept telling myself ‘its cool if they don’t want to come to queer parties’ while they easily expected me to show up to theirs. Like being out at work but only saying “we” when I was referring to my girlfriend and I. Anonymous gay. Quiet gay. Silent gay.

    In that era of myself a rainbow felt too loud. It felt too bold. Too telling, too political, too attention grabbing. Too personal.

    Let us light a damn candle for growth and the passage of time.

    That quiet gay is long gone in so many ways. First of all, I’m not interested in playing my sexuality safe or anonymous or quiet. I am what I fucking am. All day, everyday.

    Travel with me, if you will, to pride season circa 2007 when two major things happened:

    1) I wrote about being gay publicly for the first time and realized how critical it was for me to do that more often. (Cue my two-week obsession with outward expressions of gayness in the form of cheap rainbow novelty items.)

    &

    2) I spent my first ever pride in Lansing, Michigan (I know, don’t even say it) and was given a ribbon by a random man in a speedo and some roller skates. I wore it—all weekend—and then pinned it in my backpack where it resides to this day.

    It was a momentous year. I was in love. I was out. And most importantly I had come to terms with the fact that I deserved much more than quiet—I deserved noise. Fanfare. Excitement. Attention. Presence. It was the first time I gave into and embraced pride.

    Instead of rehashing what I wrote with such passion 4 years ago, I dug it up from the annals of myspace to share with you, dear queer-ohs.

    Enjoy.

    And happy pride. And bring your asses to Southpaw on Friday night.

     

    -@the_bad_gay

     

     

    ON PRIDE.

    MMW, 2007

     

    This is about the party.

    It is about the flag-waving, hand-holding, body painting, fagulous, fabulous, sweet, fruity, colorful, joyous shouts of being out and alive. It's about the sounds. The bullhorns and catcalls; the marching chants and strong voices that demand flashlights be shone on our inalienable rights (that already exist but are being ignored). It is about the pumping music; the boom-boom bass of rap and trashy pop and techno through remixed rhythms; the crazified throb of a crowd so passionate about moving and laughing and breathing and loving. It is about luring out the old timers, the post-gays, the queens, the newcomers, the studs, the papas, the silent, the kings, the curious, the allies, the flaming, the queer, the sheltered, the womyn and bois –all of our wonderful family to come on out

    AND

    GET

    DOWN.

    Because today, these days, this month—you won't get my heavy sobs. You won't get my mornings and nights and afternoons wondering why it seems so hard for this country, this world to expand its narrow mind.  You will only get my hollers of praise for my young colleague who came out to his military family. A wide grin for my newly dubbed homeboy who started his transition. My look of encouragement to the little girl in the department store working her way towards the boy's clothing section. The, 'oh-my-gravy, that-is-so-cute' grin to the young couple on the bus. The feeling of inner peace walking by a store with a simple flag in its door.  I am rooting for us all. I am dreaming of the Stonewallers who rioted and spoke and fought and lost blood but gained pride. This month is not about prying open doors.  I'm walking through them.

    If you don't like me                                                                                                         

    I

    don't

    care.

    Pride is about self-praise. It is about internalizing beauty and accepting self. It is about opening the gates of our community to all who come bearing love and rainbow-colored support. It is about reminding us, as we dance dance dance and pray and remember and hope and believe and laugh and smile and cry that our lives are not in vain. Our hearts are not crooked. Our minds are not askew. This is beauty. This is commemorating fighting back and facilitating the fight forward. This is pride. This is us.

     

    -@momannwill