Hey 2016: Hello From The Other Side

It’s the end of the year. The end of 2015! 2016 is just a few hours away, depending on where in the world you are. That last line I feel the most right now. I’m reminded how I get to see nonstop celebrations about the new year on social media because of my friends all over the world — old and, especially after this year, new. Shout out to the Philippines!

Sempre um intercambista 

Where has this year gone? I’ve done so much. Been to so many places. So many things. And yet I still have a lot to learn.

I have NO idea what 2016 has in store for me. It shall be one hell of an adventure though, I’m sure.

Positive energy for that one.

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#100toWatch: My Selection as a 100 Black LGBTQ/SGL Emerging Leaders to Watch!

I am excited and honoured to announce that I have been selected as one of the National Black Justice Coalition‘s 100 Black LGBT/SGL Emerging Leaders to Watch! Over the past year, I have used my platform as a gay Black writer to be a voice for injustices and marginalisations throughout the world, and I am so happy to have the support of NBJC behind me! This announcement comes at a time where speaking out against injustices is more important to me than ever. From the injustice served to the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to the 42 missing Mexican students who disappeared after staging protests targeting corrupt government officials, the only way I can find peace is if I stand up for the world I deserve to live in. Thank you to all who have supported me in creating a better world for us all. I can’t wait to meet my fellow leaders working to build a brighter future where justice and equality are granted to all.

To learn more about this campaign, click here.

Raven-Symoné: “I’m An American, Not An African-American”

I love Raven-Symoné. I always have. As Olivia, she was my favourite character on The Cosby Show (until the adult me realized the legendary-ness of Mrs. Claire Huxtable), I shared middle and high school years with her as Raven Baxter on That’s So Raven, and I even have some of her discography on my iTunes. But all of those things aside, I have loved Raven-Symoné as an individual who has always held a strong head on her shoulders despite whatever madness may be going on around her in celebrity culture.

So when I found out she sat down with Oprah for a “Where Are They Now?” segment, I knew I’d be all about it.

In this recently aired special, Raven stirred the waters when she said, “I’m an American, not an African-American.” Now before I dive into this loaded statement, I want to make sure you all understand the context in which she says it. In this case, Raven was answering a question Oprah was posing to her in regards to her sexual identity—since August 2013 when she made a tweet saying she could marry whomever she loves with the support of the government, Raven’s sexuality has been a question people have been dying to have an answer to.

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We Are One Beloved Community

Last week I was in Washington, DC to attend/volunteer for the National Black Justice Coalition’s OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit, a four-day long summit that convened key stakeholders in the Black LGBT community, including elected officials, policy advocates, activists, and emerging leaders. To say it was an amazing experience would be an understatement—it was beautiful, uplifting, and most of all, empowering.

For the first time in my life, I was around people who both looked like me and identified in the same community, who I could reach out and talk to with open arms.

From the moment I walked in on the first day, I was embraced with a “hello” and a “Yasss honey, WERKK!” (in reference to my Beyoncé pin I adorned all week). From that moment on, I felt around family. Continue reading