The Rambling Millennial: Let’s Talk About Decadence: He Went On Safari Y’all

Hey guys, just gonna chime in here again this week, and also give a shout out to my awesome homies for making the black church post(s) the most viewed to date.

We Gotta Talk About It

Well, another Decadence has gone by, the confetti has settled, the gays have departed to their respective cities, and the gay pride flags being flown by straight owned businesses have magically disappeared.

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Everything seems to be just about back to normal, including decadence being just as white as its ever been. No hate, sisters. Just factual observation. So, we’re gonna go back a bit and reference my Gayborhood post, and for good reason, where I also mention the celebration that is Southern Decadence.

The Photographer

I mentioned that post because a good friend of mine, who happens to be a fantastic photographer, read that Gayborhood post, and fiercely disagreed with parts of it. Namely the parts about the Gayborhood being shockingly white. He’d like to believe that there are plenty of black folks strutting their stuff in the Gayborhood.

So in turn, he set out to prove me wrong through his photography, telling me was on a mission to capture the “black faces of decadence”.

AFRICAN SAFARI

His mission sounds like an innocent one, a mission to promote inclusion and acceptance…however…y’all…homeboy literally went out on safari to pick us out in the wilderness, like zebra.

It may sound really harsh of me to say, but I really respect the gentleman who went on this mission. However, brother and sisters, it seems that a whole lot of us still remain oblivious to what the actual issues are.

You’re not helping, homies

My people, we don’t need you to go out and photograph the exceptions to the rule. We need you to use your influence, resources, and talents to address the issues, and the roots of these issues. And all the blindness people experience regarding both.

Y’all, decadence was just as white as its ever been, and the 80 photos you have of the black guys in the crowd won’t help our struggle. It will only reinforce, that the idea of there actually being a struggle, and that millions of black men feel disenfranchised from the gay community, is fallacy.

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My Italian Sister

I was speaking to a wonderful friend of mine during the decadence festivities, discussing, of course, how incredibly white it was. We also discussed my photographer buddy’s plan to photograph black guys, to prove that we are apart of the community — instant eye roll. Immediately pegging that he was attempting to present it as a nonissue.

It is absolutely no different than well-meaning tourists coming down to NOLA, galavanting around the French Quarter and Marigny, then taking the bus on down to the lower 9, to see where the black folks live.

Guys we don’t need your photographs and input, we need you to listen, understand, and then help.

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Maybe One Day

I was trying to figure out where I might have lost y’all at, but maybe I never had you at all. Brothers and sisters, I’m not angry all the time, nor do I “want” to see systemic racism, especially not in the gay community. I’m just here trying to find the problems and fix the game. This isn’t a witch hunt or anything of that nature. But. It’s time to tell the truth.

We need your help to bring the rest of our sisters up to speed.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to see all of the struggles that we’re speaking of, don’t run. Don’t fret from it. Tell your neighbor what you’ve discovered. Your voice is powerful, especially when speaking to folks who already respect your views and opinions.

Slightly Deeper

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The gay community is really special, for many reasons, but mainly because, unlike America, it unknowingly created a culture of systemic depravity for brown people. Like I said, it wasn’t purposely done, it was the only way they saw they could further gay rights as a whole, so brown folks were placed on the back burner. However, similar to America, today, the effects of that decision are definitely being purposely ignored. Why? Because it doesn’t effect enough of the gay majority. Sound familiar? ‘Murica.

But once again, everyone wants to partake in black culture, but not black issues. If I had a nickel for every time I heard Bitch Better Have My Money, or saw a white, gay sister wearing a shirt with Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj lyrics on it this past weekend, I’d have a shit ton of nickels.

Bring it On Home

Y’all. Once again, I’m not angry about any particular situation. Just calling out the way it all is. Hell. Even the Southern Decadence Grand Marshals are usually white, or ambiguously Latin or Hispanic.

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This will change with or without you, brothers and sisters, the revolution is now. But it could be a unified movement. We’ve gotten the right to marry and keep our jobs, now let’s turn our attention to the most marginalized of our community. We could change so many lives, by banding together and challenging the hierarchy that we’ve all had a hand in creating, knowingly or knowingly. We just have to do our homework about the system that most of us have never considered, then get to work. 

#webetterwerk #marriagequality #isnotequalityforall #wechangetheculture #blacklivesmatter

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The Rambling Millennial – Let’s Talk About Black People: 
Black Lives Matter, and Yes, That Includes Lil’ Jerome With the Twist Too

The Rambling Millennial – Let’s Talk About Black People: Black Lives Matter, and Yes, That Includes Lil’ Jerome With the Twist Too

Hey, y’all! Thanks again for your support of this little undertaking. I hope you’ll stick with me while I figure out how to navigate this thing and keep this bad boy on track. So, bare with me while I specifically … Continue reading

The Rambling Millennial – New Orleans – Let’s Talk About the Gayborhood

What’s up, my people. Hope you guys got a chance to check out my little break down about The Red Dress Run several days ago.

I’ve been trying to figure out  the best way to take on this next part of NOLA living that also, somehow, doesn’t seem to get very much attention in the Big Easy, life in the gay community…namely, life for brown folks in the gay community. So, uh, strap in, and let’s go for it yo.

Since recently relocating to Palm Springs Cali, a lot of people ask what it was like to be a member of the gay community in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country; and it got me thinking, I don’t really know. I haven’t gotten my membership card back since I quit doing drag. It feels like I’ve had a visitor’s pass ever since I stopped wearing makeup.

What I discovered when I took my wigs off, is that there isn’t much room for black men in the gay community outside of that role in that beautiful 12×12 radius. The Big Easy Gayborhood is a reflection of NOLA’s favorite pastime, pretending she’s not racist.

For beyond the confines of drag queen-dom, black men find themselves blessed with yet another box the gays have placed us in, fetishism. BBC. Big Black Cock. Mandingo. Dat D. Plenty-O-Meat. Sincerely having to explain to countless men that, no, I’m not a dominant, aggressive top, nor do all of us have a 13 inch penis. Let me elaborate, during my short time on this Earth, I have been both the drag queen and the black dude with muscles. And let me tell you brothers and sisters, it’s a real toss up between which one involves more fuckery. For both have one tiny thing in common….I was black as fuck while participating in both constructs. And these two social mechanisms are constantly handed down to black brothers in the big easy.

You may be wondering why all of this is relevant, by now you’re probably rolling your eyes going, “why does every mother fucking thing have be about race?” The answer? Because it is. American society is literally designed to make everything about race. Black folks didn’t make that decision, the Founding Fathers did. It is also designed to make well-meaning white folks blind to this fact, and in turn, spend a large majority of their time trying to ignore or disprove it. But. Before I lose y’all, I digress.

The argument in New Orleans is often…(wait…let me pause…when the issue is actually acknowledged by the gays)…well, where are the black people? Fair question. This epidemic of non-black participation in the gay community stems from the wild amounts of colorism and racism that runs rampant in the rainbow parts of the big easy.

I’m sure you’re shouting at your screens saying, “I’m not racist just because I don’t find black dudes attractive!” Nah. Let me stop you, brother. It does. “Colorism is a close cousin of racial prejudice, and like racial prejudice it is closely linked with the urge to obtain and keep power over others” (Jennifer Hochschild, Professor of Government, Harvard University – The Skin Color Paradox) What does this brilliant quote mean? If a dominant majority of a community doesn’t find an entire race of people aesthetically appealing, that feeling will manifest itself in a myriad of ways in said community. And what does that mean? Like straight culture, everything in the gay big easy is white washed…like hardcore yo.

Just look at Southern Decadence, one the biggest gay celebrations in the country, which takes places in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, is nearly all white. This is evident, yet again, in even the promotion of Southern Decadence and observation of the celebration. White drag queens, white local favorites, white go-go boys, Britney Spears blasting on every corner, white tourists, C-list white celebrities, Dolly Parton impersonators, and finally, Deborah Cox — So everyone can marvel at black culture, appropriate it, and then send those who create it on their way. (Yells, “Gurrrrrlllll” and smacks invisible weave) 

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-Slight side bar: The gay community owes a large debt of gratitude to black culture, namely, black women. Like a whole lot. But. That’s a subject for another post, sistas.-

So, when you factor in all these constructs and idiosyncrasies, you get your answer. Black men have never really felt invited to the party, so we stopped coming, and for those that do make their way to the party, we find ourselves in those two constructs. Drag queen or the dude with a big dick. And my drag queen sisters at least to get have a personality, in a rather limiting form, but there’s opportunity to assert your person-hood. Big dick man stands in the back watching the show until a grossly misinformed white brother walks up on him inquiring about said dick size.

Every time I try to bring this all home for you guys, another point reveals itself to me.

My gays. Don’t be angry with this assessment and observation. Let’s talk about how it got this way, and let’s move forward to correct it yo.

Sylvia Rivera warned us against becoming a movement of only white, middle class people 41 years ago; and today, so many of the ways in which LGBT equality has played out, has been about white, middle class men. -if you don’t know who Sylvia Rivera is, Google her…today-

“While the freedom to marry whomever we choose is a fundamental and monumental victory, the most marginalized of our community are still struggling”…this brilliant point was made by our girl Laverne Cox.

Even during the height of the movement in the 70s, when Harvey Milk was leading a large majority of the conversations about equality, a large majority of his platform stood on appealing to his white, middle class counterparts. The ole “we’re just like you” argument. This is not to take away from the amazing work that Harvey Milk did in anyway whatsoever, he changed the world for all of us. However, brown people were never a focal point of the movement, and that fact has manifested itself in every way possible with the development of the gay community ever since, not just NOLA, but with the development of the community nation wide.

Listen, this gonna be harsh, but, “The dirty little secret about the homosexual population is that white, gay people are just as racist as white, straight people.” (Keith Boykin, Writer – For Colored Boys)

Listen y’all, while I obviously can’t speak for an entire race, not my own, and most certainly not any others. I challenge and implore you to ask your other brown sisters about their experiences. Gay, black men are not the only men singing this song. Do your research, sistas. Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Hispanics, pretty much any brown person you can think of; has, will, and can attest to feeling and experiencing racism, colorism, and stereotyping in the gay community.

Let me be clearer, this isn’t a rant about white men not finding me attractive or white men not wanting to date me. This is about white culture, yet again, asserting its dominance and power in what is suppose to be a cornucopia of inclusion and acceptance. Those of us that do not see ourselves as part of the LGBT community, see it to be a white community with white experiences. Because gay, black men face racism in the LGBT community and alienation in the black community, this means the only support structures that speak to our perspectives, continue to alienate us.

I am not angry with any particular individual or any individual action. I am simply calling into question the structure of the entire community. Basically guys, those of us who feel excluded, should not settle for our marginal inclusion. But. Call on our white sisters to examine this structure with us.

I just think brothers are just a bit tired of shopping for outfits to wear to a party we never knew we were never invited to.

Sisters. Let’s talk about it.

#itsbeenlongtimecoming #butourchangewillcome #wearenotalone #nola #letssetthecurve

#tobecontinued #improbgonnarunformayor #wakeup #staywoke #getthecoffee #wegotworktodoCelie #itmaybebig #butitainteasy

The Rambling Millennial – Let’s Talk About the Red Dress Run

Hey folks, I hope you enjoyed the first installment of this little project. This is gonna be a brief one as I want to just elaborate on my last statements about the Big Easy.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering if there’s any truth to my claims of a wildly white New Orleans being ushered in at an alarming rate. So, I wanted to post just after one of New Orleans’ favorite annual events, The Dress Run. The Red Dress Run is a mini marathon race, that features men and women pretending to race for about 4 hours, then spending about the next 10-12 hours drinking, and like a lot of things in the Big Easy, it started out as a charity, a charity benefiting breast cancer research. However, in true New Orleans fashion, it eventually morphed into all day drinking marathon.

Once again, I wish I could say that this was one of the exceptions, and you could go out and finally experience that ever elusive melting pot that is the Big Easy, especially given that most of the people who participate in this event, don’t even register for the event and just put on a red dress and get drunk, but nah, it’s as Lilly white as ever. Lol.

Yet again, an exemplary example of just how white our fair city has become. Once more, even the website’s main page and advertisements look like ads for a Kenny Chesney concert. Yet again, we are left wondering, “Where in God’s name are all the black people?”

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The organization doesn’t even appear to care to make the event even look all-inclusive. Not. One. Brown. Person. In. One. Ad. Hell, Solange (yes, Bey’s sister), recorded a video to her instagram titled “my front yard” the day of the event  featuring the swarms of people walking in front of her French Quarter home and not ONE brown face walks by. ROFL.

I know this STILL won’t be enough to convince you. But.

#dontworry #theresmore #nola #thebigeasy #neworleans #reddressrun #werenotmadwithanyone #butwehavetoopenooureyes #westillgotworktodo #theramblingmillennial

#tobecontinued #improbgonnarunformayor #wakeup #staywoke #getthecoffee #wegotworktodoCelie #itmaybebig #butitainteasy

The Rambling Millennial – Let’s Talk About New Orleans…all of it.

After 25 years of drunken foolishness in the Big Easy, I believe that I have a bird’s eye view on the way this entire country operates. New Orleans is a mystical land of blissful fuckery. Where brown people of all shades; quietly, perpetually, and more often than not, happily take positions of lifelong servitude. While neighborhoods are gutted and home-grown New Orleanians are displaced…the biggest question posed to brown people by their white counterparts? “Um…could you bring out some more bread?”.

I didn’t always harbor such ferocious contempt for New Orleans, for there was once a time I too relished in the opportunity to serve the white man in the world-famous French Quarter.

It wasn’t until I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Ireland for several months that I finally saw New Orleans for what she was; a land of overt, masterfully hidden,  normalized racism. Covered in glitter, soaked in vodka, and with just a tiny dash of…absolutely no shame.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Ireland definitely still has some work to do. For I was definitely judged by the color of my skin. But. Generally it was in a ferociously more positive light. Instead of being profiled as a “thug” or “Tyrone”…People saw my skin color as a badge of fortitude, masculinity, strength, creativity, and natural soulfulness. These categorizations are, indeed, super racist, haha, BUT, no one gets shot in the face because of the color of their skin. It sincerely humbled me to see what can happen when images of black people acting a fool aren’t CONSTANTLY shoved down the throats of a nation’s people. Like, NO ONE THERE HAS SEEN MADEA…ANYTHING. But. They have seen “Scandal” and “Roots”.

And I don’t even need to get into the gross contrast that is American media.

The Big Easy, of course, is no exception to the rule of media in America. You may not know this. LOL. But. New Orleans is one the most dangerous cities in America and home to some of the highest murder rates in the country. Soooo…what does that lead to?? You guessed it, a shit ton of black dude’s faces plastered across the local evening news every single night. While these men ARE committing crimes, the representation of black people, black culture, and black criminals are grossly disproportionate. What do I mean? I mean when it’s time to discuss the bad things about New Orleans, black and brown faces cover the pages of the stories. But. When it’s time to promote… I do not know…anything in New Orleans (Jazz Fest, Vodoo Fest, Mardi Gras, SOUTHERN DECADENCE, etc..) white faces cover the brochures  from cover to cover. (Please keep your example of the TWO black people in one of the brochures to yourself). When seeing these ads, everyone suddenly forgets that New Orleans is 64% black and none of these promotions of the amazing things that happen in New Orleans feature black people. We wish we could say it was just a couple ads, but, every day, in a city that is 64% black, we walk around wondering “where the hell are all the black people at?”.

But white people just don’t notice because they just went to Brennan’s this morning and a very nice man named Jamal waited on them…so everything must be fine, right? But what my white people fail realize is, nah, none of it’s fine.

That this a city where white folks from Michigan, Ohio, and Denmark can come up, live, and FLOURISH in black New Orleans culture and then in turn be chosen to represent New Orleans over the men and women who have created and maintained this culture for the last century. It’s literally like, “Alright ladies and gentlemen, here with some authentic New Orleans Jazz, here’s… Peja Stojakovic.”

Before you beat me to it, no, it’s not that we don’t want to share, that’s kind of the whole point, but it’s not being shared, it’s being taken from us.

I mean, like literally. The French Quarter, Marigny, New Marigny, and Bywater are laughably white. People make jokes about it, all the time. The crazy part? People aren’t noticing.

Let me rephrase, their noticing, but it’s not effecting them on the same level as brown people…so…umm..go America, right?! Nah.

Even the tourists and transplants, who are also in the midst of taking New Orleans from us, look around and wonder where in the hell this fucking so called melting pot is located.

With such gems as “Where can we find some ‘authentic’ jazz, I mean, it’s not that those cats on Frenchmen weren’t getting down, but…uh…Louis Armstrong is from here, right?”….”Dude, I guess our server was black, but this is one of the whitest places we’ve ever been to, and we’ve been to Vermont AND Toronto….twice.” And my absolute favorite from my new, brilliant, educating, latina sista, from New York…”So, umm…where the black people at?”.

And the most puzzling part of the maze? Very, very few white, native and white, naturalized New Orleanians are asking same the questions. It’s as if they’re content with sitting in a sea of white faces at the bar.

Like, omg, how could I ever come to be the only black person at a bar in New Orleans, and be the ONLY one to notice. ROFL.

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#tobecontinued #improbgonnarunformayor #wakeup #staywoke #getthecoffee #wegotworktodoCelie #itmaybebig #butitainteasy