Thursday, August 18, 2005

Indiana's First Black Gay Pride!

Indiana Black Pride 2005........................

The directors and volunteers would like to thank the entire community for their support of this Indiana's first black gay pride event! The Kick-off event at The Madame Walker Theatre attracted a little more than a hundred people and was attended by Representative Julia Carson, Representative David Orentlicher, City County Councilwoman Jackie Nytes, and City County Councilman Scott Keller. The event was sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. The premier event for the three day festival was the picnic in the park at Watkins Park in Indianapolis, although official numbers are still be figured, crowd estimates were 400-500 people!! Again we were visited by Julia Carson and Councilwoman Jackie Nytes, as well as city council President Steve Talley! With over 35 booths and a full day of entertainment there was plenty to experience at this historic event. Most folks brought grilles, coolers, and chairs however great food was available from our food vendor "Larry'! Saturday night IBP cut it up at the Pheonix Bar and Grille until 3am to the hot sounds of DJ REDBONE. The club was packed and everyone was in a festive mood with Tricky and Stephion working the mic's, Jasmine, Tahirah, Jeremy, and Antwann wore the dance floor out!!

On Sunday morning Jesus Metropolitan Community Church hosted IBP for a community worship service. Once again we were joined by Representative Julia Carson and Representative David Orentlicher as Rev. Darlene Garner brought a powerful word that encouraged the filled to capacity congregation to stay in the srtuggle and keep the faith. Afterwards we dined on delicious soul food and sweet desserts as we sat back and tried to take the whole thing in!

I believe I speak for the entire board when I say that we were overwhelmed by the support of everyone that came out to the weekends events! We cant wait to do it all again next year!

Indiana Black Pride.....

more pictures are posted at:

Please join us for our next general meeting on September 23rd! LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!!

Kanye West, we never knew ye

Kanye West calls on rappers to stop homophobia
Thursday August 18, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) Kanye West says ``gay'' has become an antonym to hip-hop and that it needs to be stopped.
During an interview for an MTV special, the 27-year-old rapper launched into a discussion about hip-hop and homosexuality while talking about ``Hey Mama,'' a song on his upcoming album, ``Late Registration.''
West says that when he was young, people would call him a ``mama's boy.''
``And what happened was, it made me kind of homophobic, 'cause it's like I would go back and question myself,'' West says on the show, ``All Eyes on Kanye West,'' set to air Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET).
West says he changed his ways, though, when he learned one of his cousins was gay.
``It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, `Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I've been discriminating against gays.'''
West says hip-hop was always about ``speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers, but everyone in hip-hop discriminates against gay people.'' He adds that in slang, gay is ``the opposite, the exact opposite word of hip-hop.''
Kanye's message: ``Not just hip-hop, but America just discriminates. And I wanna just, to come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, `Yo, stop it.'''
West's sophomore album hits stores Aug. 30.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

This week Minister Louis Farrakhan was quoted as saying that Mexican President Vicente Fox was correct in his allegation that Mexican immigrants take jobs "that not even blacks would want". Fox has been sharply criticized by Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton for the racially insensitive comment and the Mexican President has since admitted that he regrets the comment. The problem I see here is one that continues to plague black America; we have a problem dicussing the family business.

There are things that we just dont want to discuss in public forums for fear of having those discussions used against us as some sort of political or moral leverage for "THE MAN".

Kanye West may have said it best in his song family business. "If you say you didnt do it then I believe it and if you did then thats family business"! Micheal Eric Dyson also talked about this issue when addressing Bill Cosbys comments regarding lower income blacks. We all know that there are some issues we need to discuss as the black family. The amount of emphasis and importance we place on education being a primary issue. However, the mistake that Bill Cosby made was that he said it in public where the largely caucasian dominated media could record and tape his words.

Same problem here: Vicente Fox said something that we all know is true, but he was politically incorrect for saying it publicly! My Uncle Harold was a janitor at Glendale Mall for 27 years. My Grandmother was a maid and cleaning woman for a wealthy doctor for 18 years. My grandfathers brother washed dishes at the Sweden House and the Hilton at the circle.

Something happened during the 60's and 70's. Our parents that had come from less educated, lower income parents were striving to be better than their predecessors. The industrial age was booming, especially here in the midwest. Largely we were able to move out of the kitchens and maids quarters and earn a better living wage. Some, but not all, of our parents realized that these blue collar and entry level white collar employers would pay college tuitions and allow us to save for our childrens educations. African American enrollment and graduation rates have doubled over the last 20 years for most American Universities. There simply has been more opportunity for the black man in the 80's and 90's than ever before in this country's history.

We have all heard the young drug dealer or gang member say that they wont work at McDonalds for $7.00 an hour when they can make 10 times that amount on the street. Visit your local McDonalds today. Who do you see working the fry station? Mexicans are indeed where black folks were some 40 years ago. Taking what work many of them can get and trying to get their piece of the American dream. The biggest difference is the way that Mexican immigrants have chosen to wield their economic power. It was no accident that Vicente Fox made those disparinging remarks. The Mexican community is very aware of the their position in what is arguably the strongest economic system in the world. Vicente Fox is leading his people to political strength and economic strength and unless the African American community can start to find ways to improve relations with the Mexican poulation we will be left behind.

Farrakhan told the truth. We dont like to discuss our family business. Farrakhan seems to be telling a lot these days. The 10th anniversarary of the Million Man March is being officially called the Millions More Movement with a mission to open the march to women and gays. Seems Farrakhan is preparing to tell some more of the family business.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

48 hour countdown!

Today is Wednesday, August 3rd. In just 48 or so hours we will kick off Indiana Black Pride. I just cant really wrap my mind around it. We have been working on this since last August. In the beginning it was myself, Nita McBride and my friend Neil. About the time that we realized that we had to have a board Neil and Nita dropped off for various reasons. Thats when I met Tiffany, Jasmine, Jeremy, Antwann, Stephion, and Tricky. I have half jokingly referred to them as my 6 kids, but if the truth be told they have become my closest friends and my family. Each of them is as different from each other as the moon is from the sun. Tiffany is our Vice-President and Treasurer. We took a long road trip to bloomington together once and I really got to know her. She is one of, three girls all bi-racial, and the only one that is lesbian. Tiffany is super intelligent, analytical thinker, micro-manager, and detail oriented. When it comes to numbers and policies she is the glue that has kept our organization from becomin a ragtag sloppy group and has us on the track to becoming one of the most talked about start up not-for-profits in our area. If I had to draw a Treasurer for IBP on a blank piece of paper, my rendering would be an exact replica of Tiffany. Jasmine fills the position of Secretary of our organization. What Jasmine brings to our group is much more than a notetaker and minutes keeper she has become the embodiement of our collective spirits. Its quite strange really because I asked Jasmine to be on our board because I learned that she had experience organizing and running a black student group in college. I knew she would be organized and articulate and could represent IBp well. What I didnt know about Jasmine was her spiritual energy and how it would be so vital to the success of our organization. As cohesive as we have become over the past few months, there have been plenty of arguments and disagreements. Too many times to mention here it has been Jasmine that has calmed everyone down and helped us to make sense of the chaos. I value Jasmine. Next, I have to talk about Stephion. I never would have thought that I would consider Stephion as close to the executive committee as I consider him today. Over the past 8 months Stephion has mixed it up, wrangled, and had words with EVERY board member. Some of us more than once. But the one thing that we have always been able to say about him is that he has passion! Stephion is our marketing man and like any marketing man worth his salt he is a grand dreamer. He has ideas and schemes and ways to make things HOT and SIZZLE! If we could have afforded to give him $50,000 we would have had the hottest marketing campaign this side of Atlanta. I truly believe that. But we haven't had $50,000 and sometimes we have had to shoot his ideas down. But rather than be discouraged Stephion just keeps showing back up at the table. Maybe pissed, maybe not but he always comes back to the table. Over the last few weeks Stephion has really stepped up his game. Always present for IBP events, lately Stephion has been on fire for IBP. Working overtime to get the word out. Stephion is invaluable to IBP. I guess Jeremy will be next. Jeremy is our operations chair and at 25 years old the youngest member of our team. I love Jeremy with all of my heart because he can get excited about a project or an idea and light a fire under everybody in the room until we are all fired up. Jeremy has done all of the footwork and leg work to make the pride in the park event come together. I call it the grunt work because it is a lot of behinds the scenes detail stuff that I dont always have time to pay attention to and he does it with a glowing smile on his face. When I first met Jeremy he was a young aspiring black gay film director and he was eager to be a part of something that was a positive change for the better. He jumped at the chance to help us on this project and his attitude has always been I will do it! We can do it!! woo, woo, wooo!! Antwann is our business development chair and his job is to make sure that we remember what we are trying to accomplish and that we are not just a pride planning committee. Antwann is the one who sits at meetings and furls his eyebrow and starts doing the math in his head when the ideas are floating around the room. Antwaan is our smarter, wiser, younger brother. Now Antwaan will cut up, I remember the road trip to Ft. Wayne for a bowling social. Antwaan is another one of our anchors keeping us grounded and realistic about our plans and goals. Finally, there is Tricky. Tricky trick trick is our entertainment chair and he is amazing.........................gotta go for no