Dear Summer, …Bathe Me In Air With No Conditions

 

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Dear Summer,

Bathe me in air that has no social, political or financial conditions. I want to feel free. I just want to go on more adventures, be around artistic energy, connect with creative people, learn new things about life and grow. For the first time in six years, I want to taste the sweet fruits of my labor. Last year, if you remember, I wasted a lot of the time that you and I spent together. Instead of utilizing the space you gave me to develop new ideas or create colorful content, I wallowed in the routine of ‘woe is me’. I sat in your face each day and complained about what you were not doing for me, when I should have been taking advantage of the resources you had already placed in my reach. There was even a moment when I completely turned my back on you and refused to accept your favors. How they looked to me up close and personal wasn’t at all the way I envisioned them to be in my head. You allowed me to be selfish and ungrateful in those moments. However, you also refused to gift me with anything new until I showed appreciation for everything I had already unwrapped. I thank you for it. I learned that you cannot and will not move me to the next phase of my journey until I’ve mastered the tools, completed the tasks, aided the people and conquered the fears associated with each level of life.

Here I am Summer, another year later. Since you and I last met face to face, I accepted and faced the challenges you gave to your sisters to hand down to me. Fall forced me to open my heart to a complete stranger who I met online. I thought he was going to become my new love interest after I left my number beneath one of his Instagram pics. You knew all along that his purpose was merely to reignite my artistic passion; an ability to create fictitious plot lines that parallel real life situations. I kept telling the universe that I hated talking on the phone. As a result, it became increasingly difficult for me to build new relationships with other people. My guards had been up for so long, that my fists were blocking new friendships, associations and romantic love from reaching my heart. Fall challenged me with a new sense of vulnerability. For the first time in years, I was able to experience that familiar connection with someone from a distance. Though he and I never met face to face, Fall allowed my emotions to paint a story that affected the lives of many others, ‘boi inv sible: No Miracle On Monday’. I wrote and for the first time, voiced a coming-of-age tale about a sixteen year old boy named Isaiah. In a single day, Isaiah was confronted with deep rooted insecurities regarding his race, class, gender, sexuality and body image. The creation of ‘boi inv sible’ allowed me to find my voice again in front of the camera, as well as through the written word.

By the time Winter unpacked her bags on my front step, I had already been introduced to the three people who were chosen to help me meet this new challenge. I had not regularly stepped outside of my creative, comfort zone at the start of this New Year. As a result, Winter challenged me to practice a skill that she knows I’ll need in order to be successful in the next phase of my journey. Using resources that had already played a huge role in my public, online platform, Winter encouraged me to interview other people. She told me that the universe needed to see how well I could engage with individuals sitting alongside me on camera. I needed the practice of asking questions and controlling a conversation that had little to do with my personal experiences. Winter felt that I had already proven I could captivate an audience on my own merit. In due part to the fact that I was asking the universe to bless me with a television platform, I had to demonstrate an ability to use my present resources in a TV-esque manner. Winter intentionally created two practice sessions that would draw incredible attention to my brand, but would force me to see success, as well as shortcomings.

In a video release called, ‘My Boyfriend Is The Bait: Poppa and Redd Balenciaga’, I interviewed a young, gay, black couple. For thirty minutes, we discussed the intimacies of their relationship, coming of age in their biological, family structure, as well as their individual roles in the ballroom scene. The interview was very successful, as I asked direct questions, received complete responses, and created what felt like a healthy conversation.

Two months later, Winter presented me with the challenge of sitting down with Micah Dixon and talking to him about his broken relationship with transgender model and celebutante, Amiyah Scott. The interview was released in two, fifteen-minute parts and was panned by many viewers who aren’t members of my core support circle. A lot of the comments stated that I talked too much, asked leading questions and seemed to side with Amiyah Scott. While the viewing audience had no idea that Micah was incredibly nervous and had stopped the interview a few times during filming, I had to accept my flaws in the ways in which I conducted our conversation. I thought I would make Micah more comfortable if I figuratively held his hand throughout the interview, but my approach seemed to alienate the viewing audience. I didn’t initially realize that Winter was also testing me. She wanted to find out if I would run and hide behind my computer screen as a result of the public backlash and character attacks that resulted from the ill fated interview. Winter knew that I emotionally couldn’t handle the criticisms that saturated my platform when the first chapter of my literary series, ‘Dupont Circle’ was released in 2010.

As a significant part of moving beyond this level in my journey, Winter had to be confident that I was now strong enough to endure harsh words and other online critiques from those reading or viewing my public material. I was very relieved to have not been affected by the not so pleasant feedback. I think that it helped me to have shown the footage to my dear friend Sheriea before the two-part interview was released. She basically told me the same exact things about my personal, on-camera performance that I later read from viewers. Winter taught me two lessons during her season. She allowed me to see my strong and weak skills as it pertains to engaging with others in front of a camera. She also taught me to trust and somewhat rely upon the honesty from friends and other confidante’s before sharing my work with strangers.

When Spring came around me with her bright smile and colorful aura a few months ago, I had no idea the type of challenge I would be forced to conquer. Spring has always been my favorite. No offense to you. I knew she would test my character or refine my skills in one way or another. However, it was unclear if I’d be using my familiar resources or if Id be exposed to something new. Spring came to give me something that I truly needed at the time, but first she wanted me to prove my consistency. I began sharing my life through written and spoken words six years ago. However, between the dawn of 2011 and midway through 2013, I did not produce content on a regular basis. Summer, you already know that I would become increasingly frustrated with what felt like a lack of mainstream opportunities. Though I had received awards for my work, appeared on numerous radio talk shows and had built a successful online following, there were plenty of times where I still felt like a failure. I didn’t understand that this phase of my journey wasn’t designed to focus on me, but more so created to reach those who felt silenced, uninspired and somewhat broken. I didn’t grasp the fact that when I stopped writing or when I took extended breaks from recording videos, my actions created a sense of abandonment in the hearts and spirits of those I serve. Yes, it took me a long time to comprehend the fact that I am being used to serve the people. This position was chosen for me when I moved to California to be with you in 2008. Now it’s understood that there was never supposed to be a huge, tangible ‘payoff’ for my contributions and work.

However, Spring did present me with an honor and a gift for the work Ive shared over the years. In due part to the fact that I consistently wrote and posted new articles to my Xem Says website, Spring put me in the physical presence of those who love me from afar and somehow benefit from my words. In a very impromptu planned meeting, Spring brought a special group of my supporters together in New York City and wrapped their arms around me. She gave me the gift of reassurance. For three hours, she allowed me to physically experience my purpose on earth through direct interactions with those I serve. She then honored me by allowing art director, Khary Steph to invite my work into the first volume of Pink Rooster Studios’ ‘THE TENTH’ Zine. I don’t always accept offers to partner with other artists, but Spring forced my hand. I always selfishly think, ‘how is this collaboration going to further my career?’… as opposed to ‘HOW WILL THIS CONTRIBUTION SERVE THE PEOPLE?’. An original piece I wrote called, ‘Seeing Ourselves Behind The Selfie’, was published alongside the works of some of the most talented and recognizable personalities amongst the black, LGBT community. When the opportunity was initially presented to me, I had no idea that the project would be released in the professional style of a 160 glossy-page, hardback book. The honor presented me with the unselfish ability to say that I am officially a published writer.

Now, Summer…I’m standing on the side of this cliff waiting for you. I’m not sure whether you want me to jump first and have you catch me or shall I stand here until you present the next challenge? Honestly, I am ready to take the dive and Im carrying your god sister, FAITH in my front pocket. The last time I turned my back on my comfort zone and leaped off the ledge, I landed in Los Angeles, California. It was during my time living in North Hollywood that ‘Xem VanAdams’ became a face, a voice and a personality on computer screens across the country.

I’ve now accepted my responsibilities and have learned my role as a servant of the universe. I have been obedient and have conquered the challenges that your sisters placed at my doorstep. I carry with me the lessons learned at the hands of Fall, Winter and Spring. So…from you, I once again ask to be bathed in air that has no social, political or financial conditions. I want to feel free. I just want to go on more adventures, be around artistic energy, connect with creative people, learn new things about life and grow… into who I’m destined to be.

 

 See You Soon,

Xem VanAdams

7 Key Things To Keep In Mind Before Texting Him A Racey Pic This Summer

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Guys are visual creatures by nature. We are stimulated more by what we see, as opposed to content we’ve read in a book or something we happen to have heard on the radio. Men may not remember everything you said while telling a story or expressing your feelings to him. However, he will never forget how you looked or the expressions you made while doing so. The details regarding the color of your shirt may become blurry over time, but once he stamps in his mind that you were physically attractive in that moment, the memory is forever sealed.

In this day and time, many of us establish casual and intimate relationships through various social media exchanges. The default Avi sparks initial interest and then offline contact information is exchanged. Depending on the type of guy you’ve attracted, he is more than likely going to ask that you send him a nudie pic within the first two or three text conversations. To make you feel comfortable in obliging his request, your new summer interest may forward his own racey photo first. For some people, receiving an unsolicited, nude pic from someone they’ve recently met can be a complete turn off. For others, the photo may intensify interest and actually encourage you to send one of your own.

Before you decide to hit the send button and share your private parts with this new man, there are seven key things that you must consider. After all, once you share this photo, the relationship between you and the new dude may not extend further than your casual, text conversation.

7. DONT SEND AN EXTREME  CLOSE-UP SHOT – Yes, while many guys are turned on by having your body directly in their face behind-closed-doors, we prefer to gaze at photos where we aren’t confused by what we’re seeing. Often times, people will place the lens of their camera phones so close to the featured body part that the photo becomes distorted. It’s almost difficult to determine what has been captured. Aside from that, men enjoy looking at the lines and curves that surround specific private areas on your body. Don’t zero in on the tips, nips and holes.

6. USE NATURAL LIGHT & MINIMAL EDITING – Part of the thrill and excitement of receiving a racey pic from someone you’re already physically attracted to, is seeing their naked body photographed as close to how it will look in person. The worst thing you can do is create an unrealistic image of how you look in the flesh. While the guy you’re wanting to entice may fall in love with your edited form, he will be extremely disappointed once the two of you are undressed in front of one another for the first time. Photoshop, filters and other artificial lighting applications honestly detract from the allure of racey pic exchanges. If your guy wanted to see professional, polished photos, he’d log online and search one of the easily accessible, adult sites.

5. CLEAN YOUR BEDROOM/BATHROOM – The background of your ‘private pic’ will be examined once your guy stares at the racey pic long enough. Sometimes, we assume that no one pays attention to the pile of clothes sitting on the floor or the toothpaste stains on the mirror. However, if a man is truly interested in pursuing you, he’s going to take notice of the room you’re posed in. Remember, guys are visual creatures. To help him determine the type of person you are initially, he will focus on how you live. The ways in which you keep your home environment can say a lot about who you are as an individual. Additionally, you do not want to accidentally photograph medicine bottles, addressed envelopes or other personal items in your photo. In our day and time, people will enlarge and magnify pics in an effort to figure out private information about you. Be cautious of every product or piece of paper that is mistakenly captured in your pic.

4. USE ANGLES THAT DON’T FEATURE YOUR IDENTIFIABLE TATOOS, BIRTHMARKS & PIERCINGS – It is so important to keep in mind that a casual exchange of nude photos can lead to a permanent, online disaster. Even though you may crop your face out of a racey pic, please remember that our unique, body art can sometimes set us apart from the crowd. As people post ‘random pics’ of others on tumblr, instagram and other social media networks, you don’t want your personal, private pic to be easily identifiable in a public, online forum. Your face may not be attached to the body, but that one-of-a-kind tattoo that’s plastered across your chest can easily be matched to every other semi clothed photo you’ve shared on Facebook.

3. SHOW A CLOSE FRIEND BEFORE SENDING – Those of us who are close to our same sex friends usually engage in open discussions about our sex lives and relationships. We talk about our bodies, we workout together and even ask for opinions regarding improving certain physical features. Our friends sometimes notice flaws and/or progress that we rarely see when standing in the mirror. As a result, it really is a good idea to let your friends see the racey photo you want to send, maybe in comparison to another that you are considering. You’d be surprised just how many little things your BFF may notice about your body or the background that you totally didn’t see or want seen by someone else.

2. DELETE THE UNWANTS – Honestly, not too many of us can stand in a mirror or hold a camera in front of our face and capture the perfect body shot or selfie with one click. It often takes at least twenty different shots, poses and angles before we secure what can be considered, racey-ready. Most of us always take a series of photos with our phones or computers before deciding upon the perfect pic to post. As a result, please remember to DELETE the horrible nineteen pics that did not make the final cut. Imagine losing your cell phone or leaving your computer open at Barnes & Noble and having just anyone see those less than flattering nudie shots. THE HORROR!

1. ACCEPT THE FACT THAT HIS FRIENDS WILL SEE YOU NAKED – Though we’d like to think that guys have enough integrity and honor to not share our racey photos with other people, you must acknowledge the fact that many of them don’t. Guys not only love to ogle naked bodies, but they also love bragging to their friends about the naked bodies they’re sleeping with during the summer months. Even if a man begins to like you or care for you beyond the casual texts and racey photo exchanges, a lot of them show your pics to their friends when they first meet you. The friends may not ever mention it, of course. However, DONT SEND WHAT YOU DONT WANT SEEN BY OTHER PEOPLE.

There is nothing morally wrong with capturing and sharing photos of your private parts. However, once the image is sent in a text or forwarded online, the image is immediately sealed in time. Use your best judgements in deciding whether or not this new guy is even worth the effort in you taking naked photos of yourself. Then, if you do decide that he is worth the time, be sure to send a photo that is flattering and realistic to what he may get a chance to see face to face. Forwarding a racey or risqué pic through text messaging is a risk that you should take only if you’re completely confident and comfortable with what could be the end result. 

I Feel Like The Ugly One Amongst The Group That Nobody Ever Tries To Talk To When My Friends & I Go Out

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Most people will say they get dressed up to simply go out, dance, drink and have a good time. It’s no secret, however, that many single individuals are hoping to wrap their Friday or Saturday nights by exchanging numbers with someone they find physically attractive or otherwise, appealing. While the intent may be to party alongside close friends, it certainly makes one feel good when total strangers offer to buy us a drink. There’s nothing more exciting than igniting a weekend by meeting a potential date. Even when we’re not looking for love or in search of a sexual rendezvous, the flirtatious attention we receive from one or two men amongst the crowd can easily become the highlight of our evening. It then makes sense why people sometimes feel that their night out was a waste of time when they don’t meet someone new.

It is important to remember that it takes a lot of guts for a guy to walk up to someone he doesn’t know in an effort to express romantic interest. It becomes even more challenging when that someone is surrounded by their circle of friends. We often assume that men aren’t approaching us because he noticed that our skin is starting to breakout or maybe the top we chose to wear isn’t too flattering as it folds over our less than flat tummy. Whenever we do catch one of the guys looking in our direction, we naively convince ourselves that he’s staring at our ‘obviously attractive’ friend; the Kim Kardashian amongst the group. Meanwhile, most guys who are out in search of a new date or love interest are surveying the crowd for a little more than the sexiest person on the dance floor. It’s very rare that men will even approach the conventionally cute ones. A man is not only waiting for the perfect moment to say something to you, but he is also hoping that you will ease the awkwardness by sending a signal of mutual interest.

If you feel ‘ugly’ when you enter a social setting, that particular attitude is going to exude through your mood and your ‘I don’t belong here’ demeanor – It is very easy for men to determine that someone suffers from a low self esteem. It becomes even more apparent to onlookers that you lack confidence if you are out with a circle of friends who are rather outgoing and fun. While some guys will prey on your insecurities, others will simply stand clear of you. No one really wants to invest time into convincing someone that they do, ‘belong in the room’. Sell yourself a little bit. You shouldn’t be pulling out your phone every seven seconds, pretending to reply to text messages. Stand upright, look forward, sway to the music that’s playing and smile. Confidence is a very attractive trait, one that tends to impress and draw attention from men.

However, though guys can be lured by confidence, many of them don’t want the ‘one’ who is dancing on the stage or the bar all night – It’s usually the friend who doesn’t draw added attention that gets approached most often. If you ever notice, most face-to-face exchanges take place in the darker, discreet areas of the club. Guys tend to feel more comfortable talking to the individuals who appear to be rather reserved, but still able to have a good time. Dating is already a difficult task for a lot of people. It can be intimidating for some men to even consider grabbing the attention of someone who everyone else is obviously staring at. Being the loudest or wildest one in the group isn’t going to make you the most appealing to others.

While tipsy flirting is a turn on, drunken thottiness certainly is not – People drink socially to sometimes ease the tension of being in a crowded room and having to directly or indirectly engage with strangers. Sometimes, folks don’t realize that they’ve had too much to drink until their three shots of tequila catch up to their second glass of wine. Nothing screams (((TURN OFF))) louder than the friend who can’t maintain their balance on the dance floor. Guys simply aren’t going to try and talk to the one amongst the group who wobbles up to every other man, feeling on them, slurring their words or being overtly sexual. This individual is looked upon as the LIABILTY amongst the group. Men don’t want to add that level of drama to their personal lives.

If you so happen to become the object of someone’s gaze or constant stare, don’t be quick to look away – Often times, men will interpret you looking away from them as an expression of disinterest. As a result, they will automatically count you out as an end-of-night prospect. Even if you are shy and immediately become nervous as he continues to peek over, lock eye contact for at least three seconds. This will possibly give him the nerve to approach you.

If a guy does approach you, let him lead the conversation, but don’t leave him hanging – Some dudes are going to immediately get close to your ear, and ask for the phone number. Most, however, are going to lead in with a series of simple questions and compliments; i.e. what’s your name? or I think you’re really attractive. Try your best to not simply give him one-word answers. After telling him your name, continue your response by asking him his. If you’re thanking him for a compliment, be sure to say something nice about his top or the way he smells. It seems odd to people when guys initiate the public interaction, but then walk away before trying to exchange contact information. Usually, they’re uncomfortable with the flow of the conversation and sense a possible rejection. Feed off of his energy by giving him as much attention as he is offering to you in those few moments. This is when having a charismatic personality sets some of us apart from the others.

When a guy asks for your number or tries somehow to ‘talk to you’, it’s because he finds you attractive and feels comfortable doing so. Whether you realize it or not, how you look physically isn’t always the factor that determines why men aren’t approaching you. Your mannerisms and other behaviors can invite men into that space of wanting to know you beyond the club, or your actions can make them feel completely uncomfortable. Go out into social settings with the intent to truly enjoy the music, food and quality time spent alongside your friends. When you are truly comfortable within yourself, that level of positive energy will always attract the types of men that you’ll actually WANT to meet. 

You Will Not Add My Light Skin To Your Collection Of Pink Faces

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Over the past thirteen years, I have witnessed some of my associates and other contemporaries wear their light skin as a public badge of honor. I’ve known guys to hand select their friends and associates solely based upon complexion, and other surface qualities as well. Each of us has also engaged with men who strictly date and involve themselves intimately with other black dudes who look to be biracial or ‘mixed with something’. Despite the fact that darker skinned men have become the premiere sex symbols of our generation, there still exists this preference for light-brights amongst the minority, LGBT community.

I was raised in a pan African household. This means that from a very early age, the values, principles and teachings of Marcus Garvey and Patrice Lumumba framed my upbringings. I was taught everyday of my young life that black people needed to unite socially, politically and economically in order to remain strong and reach our ultimate destiny. It was made very clear to me that my presence in this world did not begin with the slave trade, but instead as a descendent of royalty. I was made aware of Queen Hatshepsut and King Thutmose long before my preschool teacher would hail Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta as the mother and father of our Civil Rights movement. Having pride in my blackness and understanding the struggles I would face living in America framed the lessons I learned outside of the conventional classroom setting. I was never aware of the fact that my complexion, eye color or other physical attributes would cripple my credibility amongst the black community or somehow allow me to coast along within mainstream, American society. As a result, I didn’t grow up with a superiority complex pertaining to my physical attributes. All I knew was that I was one of only four other black boys in my class, and it was imperative that I master the principles of math and science. I did, however, come of age feeling as if I was better equipped to face the world when compared to my classmates and other peers. I was introduced to the dynamics of race, class, gender and sexuality long before I would sit in college level courses that were focused around such concepts.

When guys meet me, especially the ones who are unfamiliar with ‘Xem VanAdams’, they are often taken aback by my organic nature. Within our same gender loving community, light skin men are assumed to be arrogant, standoffish, consumed by their physical appearance and lacking any real, intellectual or cultural depth. Lighter skinned men are seen in our community as being soft, sexually submissive, and surface minded as it pertains to character and integrity. Until a lot of men listen to me speak or express myself otherwise, I am already tapped as another card-carrying member of the ‘PINK CREW’.

While I certainly don’t judge or chastise other individuals for their preferences, I refuse to allow myself to be added to a collection of types. If I can look through photos of every dude that a man has dated, and most of them could pass for my twin brother, I often lose interest in pursuing romantic possibilities. A lot of people say that they don’t want to be chosen for their physical appearance, but I am one of the few who genuinely means it.

When guys tell you that you are beautiful, I believe they are making reference to the framework of your mind, spirit, energy and overall aura. When dudes say that you’re sexy or hot, they are solely focused on the flesh; your face, body and dominate, physical appeal. Sure, as it pertains to too many light skin men in our community, the surface attractions that stem from others are enough to validate their position in the world. For me, contrary to the beliefs of some, I don’t seek that level of acceptance. There’s nothing cute or admirable about being added to a long line of others, simply based upon the fact that your look matches their prototype. In life, when you allow your physical characteristics to define your worth to another man, or a specific social group, you are devaluing your purpose and presence in the world at large.

 I may ‘look the part’, but you will never catch me playing it.

Why Am I Still ‘Going Through It’ When I Was The One Who Ended The Relationship?

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For the past few months, possibly even a year, many of you have faced Monday mornings by saying to yourself, ‘this is the week that I’m going to “get over” him’. You have made yourself feel like a loser time and time again for being unable to emotionally heal from your most recent, romantic breakup. You have become accustomed to remaining in control of every aspect of your life. Things aren’t always perfect, but you certainly maintain a level of structure and organization. Therefore, the fact that you endure these moments where your feelings for another human being dictates your mood, often times has you labeling yourself a failure.

You decided to walk away from a romantic situation that had become toxic to your heart and damaging to your mental stability. Still, as each day passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the pain that is directly associated with your breakup.

There are several factors that contribute to your inability to simply ‘be over it’ at this present moment…

YOU MUST FIRST EMBRACE THE SADNESS. It is perfectly okay to grieve the loss of someone you once upon a time felt romantically connected to. As human beings, we have a tendency to make ourselves feel guilty or foolish for maintaining an emotional attachment to someone who has mistreated or disrespected us. We beat ourselves up for being unable to clap twice and remove the love that our heart carries for a man who no longer exists in our lives. We don’t embrace the idea that as human beings, WE ARENT IN CONTROL OF OUR FEELINGS. WE ONLY CONTROL HOW WE ACT IN RESPONSE TO MATTERS OF THE HEART. The fact that the relationship only lasted one year, six months or maybe even four weeks often makes us think that the feelings should disappear in half that amount of time. It’s a burden of pressure we place upon ourselves; now piled on top of the open wound that isn’t being given the room to heal.

RELEASE CONTROL & BE WILLING TO RELY UPON THE SUPPORT OF OTHERS IN ORDER TO HEAL. For those of us who are identified amongst our peer groups as being the ‘strong one’, it’s sometimes difficult to then call upon others for help. We have been placed in a social position of leadership; often times requiring us to remain confident, focused and in charge of our personal and professional lives, at all times. We are the individual who others look to for solid advice, encouragement, physical assistance and guidance. We’ve existed in this role for so many years that it almost seems impossible to pass the anchor to someone else. However, during a grieving period, releasing some of your control and other secondary responsibilities becomes a part of your healing process. While you may not feel comfortable opening your broken heart to everyone around you, it is imperative that you choose one friend or one family member to confide in.

When we openly discuss our feelings with others, we are removing pieces of the burden that we carry around on a daily basis. Part of the reason why people post their personal struggles on social media is to free themselves of the heavy, emotional weight. It is unhealthy to hold back tears and internalize a pain that runs deep within your spirit. Allowing someone else to carry a part of your burden provides room for you to replace hurt feelings with a sense of comfort. Regardless of how private you are as it pertains to your love life, you must be willing to share some of those pieces with someone other than your partner. Now that the two of you are broken up, you CAN NOT rely upon them to reach out to you via text, email or phone calls to discuss ‘what went wrong.’ That is no longer their role.

STOP OVERANALYZING EVERY ASPECT OF WHAT POSSIBLY WENT WRONG. I too am guilty of dissecting every situation, circumstance and relationship that affects my life. However, I’ve learned over time that when I look too deep into these ‘situations’, my mind has a tendency to create thoughts and ideas that don’t directly pertain to what I’ve actually experienced. I’ll begin creating scenarios in my head that involve the other individual. Sometimes, the scenarios are a replay of our arguments, disagreements and other dark moments. I’ll try to make sense of why the other person said certain things to me, or the reasons why they behaved in certain ways. These moments then force me into stages of blame and misinterpretation. I’m second guessing my recent decisions; making myself feel as if I was too hard on the other individual despite how nasty, rude and disrespectful that person may have acted towards me. Overanalyzing situations that are now already sealed in time creates a space for us to once again experience the same anger and frustration that we’ve somehow moved beyond. It’s unhealthy. Instead of critically examining every aspect of the relationship you walked away from, understand the fact that you made a healthy, logical decision that your emotions now have to filter.

FILTER YOUR FEELINGS THROUGH FAMILIAR CHANNELS. It sounds very cliché’ to suggest that you surround yourself with those who love you most, but it’s a necessary step in repairing your broken heart. Secluding yourself from friends and isolating yourself from family only blocks your internal self from receiving reassurance. Your spirit needs to be saturated with compliments and laughter following a breakup. Often times, it’s our friends and other loved ones who will say things or create moments to temporarily numb our pain.

You also have to place yourself in physical environments and familiar spaces that have absolutely nothing to do with your ex or the former relationship. Familiar spaces may include the journal you use to write in on a daily basis prior to falling in love. Maybe there was a television show you watched on Netflix regularly, but stopped once the relationship consumed your time. There’s something in your life that is essential to the person you were prior to getting romantically involved with someone new. Make an effort to retreat back to that familiar channel. It will sooth your soul.

You are hurting yourself deeper by trying to force your heart to heal in a certain amount of time. Getting over him and moving beyond the daily thoughts and nighttime sadness depends upon your willingness to embrace the pain, release control to someone else to support you, pushing against your desire to overanalyze the breakup and filtering your feelings through familiar channels. You will smile again.

5 Reasons Why Gay Men Love To ‘Do’ Sunday Brunch

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Brunch has easily become the most important meal of the gay. Once the gym bunnies have completed their Sunday morning workouts, the church kweens have sung their final, sunrise service hymns, and the house husbands are finished folding clothes, groups of same gender loving men convene for delicately prepared orders of blueberry waffles, cheese omelet’s and bottomless Mimosas. It’s a weekly ritual of sorts; one that gives gay guys everywhere a reasonable excuse to get tipsy and cheat on their tank top diets. Adorned in everything from oxford shirts and blazers, to simple cardigans and snapbacks, Sunday brunch provides guys who like guys with a comfortable setting to detail and discuss everything they didn’t have time to text during their iPhone group chats. It’s the one time each week where gay men can eat carbs without feeling guilty and drink before noon with no apologies.

Easter Sunday, I received three separate invitations to join male friends and associates for brunch at different restaurants. I turned down the requests, as I decided to spend the entire day with my family. However, it dawned on me during the early afternoon that the guys in my life really do enjoy ‘doing’ brunch. I thought about the more recent occasions where I’ve actually seen my buddies face to face. It seems we are always sitting around a circular table, early on a Sunday afternoon. We’re each eating pancakes, while running our mouths about the possibilities of falling in love again and desperately needing a vacation. I also then realized that it isn’t simply my circle of male friends and associates who get together each week to sit down and partake in this signature, midday meal.

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Gay men specifically have become the most popular patrons at any restaurant or café that hosts a good Sunday brunch.

Here are 5 simple reasons why

 

5. IT’S SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: “I’m doing brunch with such and such” is something pseudo ‘FAB’ to say when casually asked about your day plans. Gay men love to feel that they are somehow a part of the crème-de la-crème. It’s very Nikki Newman & Katherine Chancellor-like to respond to a Sunday morning inquiry by saying, “Oh, nothing really. Ken, David, Jason and I are just about to DO brunch at the Marriott Waterfront”.

Of course, the gays aren’t sitting on sticky, wooden chairs at The Waffle House, or standing in a self-serve line at Old Country Buffet for brunch. When we get together for our weekly face to face, we’re dining on the rooftop terrace of the W Hotel’s, POV Lounge or sitting outside of some well-known, downtown café’. Some groups of friends keep it very cheap and casual. However, location has become as essential to our brunch dates as the items listed on the menu.

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4. THE PICTURES: Groups of gay men tend to be a very ‘show and tell’ type of crowd. We love nothing more than being able to capture photos of ourselves out and about. A Sunday brunch session isn’t adjourned until our entire circle of successful, attractive, charismatic friends, otherwise known as the ‘bros’, are posed for the classic ‘GROUP SHOT’.

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Aside from the signature, #MyCrewIsBetterThanYourCrew candid, taking pics of the food, perfectly positioned on fancy, white plates has become a BRUNCH MUST DO as well. Regardless of how dry the blueberry pancakes may look, how hard the eggs feel, or burnt the bacon may taste, for as long as the food photographs well, gay men will pull out their phones to snap a pic and upload the food display to all of their social media timelines.

3. BRUNCH GIVES SUNDAY A PURPOSE: Sundays tend to be filled with tedious tasks that we’ve put off during the entire week. The day is rather slow in pace. Fridays after work or class, many of us do happy hour with co-workers or random associates. Saturdays are designated for running errands, shopping at the mall and if we’re lucky, going on a hot, late night date. Then, we wake up Sunday morning to hit the gym, go to church or clean. Before facing the bustle of a new week, brunch becomes that special ‘something’ we have to look forward to.

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2. THE TIPSY TALK WITH TRUE FRIENDS: There’s nothing more comfortable or fun than being able to say anything out of your mouth and knowing that your honesty won’t spill from the table. With our busy work and school schedules, there simply isn’t enough time to detail our daily life happenings online or during the iPhone group chats we engage in between meetings. When all of our buddies are buzzed and full of good food, everyone in the group has their guards down. We take advantage of brunch by using the occasion to tell-all.

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1. THE BOTTOMLESS DRINKS: Gay men may spill tea, but they will never waste a good, alcoholic drink. Regardless of age, race or social standing, gay men everywhere generally love their cocktails. An event doesn’t officially begin until the alcohol is served, right? When we pay $30 – $50 per person for an upscale or down home, all-you-can-eat brunch special, it is expected that pitchers upon pitchers of Sangria and Bloody Mary’s will flow throughout the afternoon. And if the Mimosas are watered down with more orange juice than champagne, we will keep requesting glasses until a strong buzzzzz sets in.

Brunch is the most important meal of the gay for every reason aside from the actual food that is served. It’s the one time of the week where men who love other men can sit amongst friends, capture new memories on camera and bask in an end of week moment where diets and horrible, Saturday night dates temporarily don’t matter.

DISCLAIMER: the men who appear in the various above posted photos aren’t to be assumed as members of the LGBT community.

 

RANDOM VIDEOS: Xemmy Dancing At Home…

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Home alone on Saturday evening, I decided to record one of my many dance sessions. Usually, to release energy between writing articles, filming new youtube segments or working out, I blast music and dance. This time, I decided to turn the cam on myself and share some of the footage with my loyal and loving audience. The videos were initially posted Saturday night via my TWITTER, FACEBOOK ORIGINAL and FACEBOOK OVERFLOW social media pages. Now Ive decided to archive the footage here for those of you who aren’t actively following me across all of my online networks. This is simply me, your ‘Xemmy Bear’ having a good time behind closed doors.

Im actually still wearing the clothing I threw on once I left the gym early Saturday afternoon. ENJOY!

BTW – you can begin following me via VIMEO, as this is where I will continue to release random videos, bonus footage and other promo content that I elect to not upload via the official Xem VanAdams Youtube Channel.

 Xemmy Wildin Out To Pharrell ft. Miley Cyrus:

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Xemmy Dancing To Justin Timberlake:

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The Xem VanAdams ‘Meet & Greet’ In New York City

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

New York City

 

Even though some of the included photographs have previously been shared via the Xem VanAdams Facebook, Twitter and Instagram timelines, it was suggested that I archive these captures here at XemSays.com as well.

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Over the past six years, God has given me an online platform that allows my written + oral human stories, experiences, ideas, opinions and points of view to reach thousands of others from across the country and beyond. Yesterday, I was privileged to meet a group of those individuals for lunch in New York City.

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We gathered at the BBQ’s in Greenwich Village to enjoy food, cocktails, conversation and one another’s company, as well. Though many of the invited attendees expressed joy in finally being able to meet me, I felt most honored to see the faces of people who have been commenting and sharing my work since 8/8/2008.

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They were shocked as they walked in and I was able to immediately identify them by their usernames. That goes to show just how loyal & consistent my audience is. Truly a pleasure! I’m now being encouraged to ‘take my show on the road’. LOL! Well… there’s no telling what 2014 has in store for US.

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If God wills it, I would love to host a ‘Meet & Greet’ in every major city where my supporters read & watch my content. Lets put it into the universe now…

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THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for being here ladies & gentlemen for this phase of my life journey. I am eternally grateful.

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I Want To Workout BUT Im Too Embarrassed To Go To The Gym & I Don’t Know How To Get Started

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Many of you at this very moment are having $29.99 drafted from your checking account on a monthly basis for a gym membership you never use. You may have signed up at the beginning of last summer or even at the dawn of this new year. The intent was either to lose weight, tone your stomach, build muscle or simply bulk up as to look great in a fitted, tank top. However, the first day you entered the facility, you became intimidated looking around at all of the equipment and all of the ‘fit’ individuals exercising on the weight room floor. As a newbie, you felt slightly embarrassed to be standing inside of the gym. Your mind began to filter thoughts that you were ‘too out-of-shape’ to even be standing inside of an athletic club. Your confidence was shot by your first gym experience, and therefore, you no longer attend.

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It was October 2012 when I signed up for my first, adult, gym membership. Prior to that, I would accompany my father to Baltimore’s downtown YMCA facility to occasionally lift weights during my summers in college. Unlike a lot of guys in their twenties, building muscle and maintaining bulk weight was never a priority for me during those years. As a result, I worked out when I wanted to and cared less about my body frame. However, two years ago, I reached a point in my life where I did not like how my body looked in pictures or standing naked in my full length mirror. I was bombarded on a daily basis with photos of half dressed guys on Tumblr and Instagram who were obviously in great, physical shape. My metabolism had begun to slow down, and I was experiencing that ‘skinny-fat’ phase. My chest, arms and legs were still small, but didn’t have any tone. My stomach wasn’t hanging over my belt, but that entire midsection was flabby and thicker than the other areas on my body. Doing a series of sit ups and push ups twice each week was no longer combatting my poor eating habits or lazy lifestyle choices. Knowing that my metabolism would continue to decrease, I decided to take control of the way my body would develop.

When I first signed up for my gym membership with Merritt Athletic Club, the timing was perfect. I was mentally and emotionally drained by what I considered to be a lack of progress in my ‘online career’. Extremely frustrated by my inability to control my life circumstances, I knew that if I started working out consistently, I could control my physical build. Though I publicly announced that I was going to begin lifting weights and working out regularly in the fall of 2012, it was seven months later that I even began sharing my progress photos. Not only was I using this time away from my online platform to develop my body, but exercising regularly also helped me release a lot of the stress I felt regarding my lack of career success. The fact that I was now placing myself in a new environment on a regular basis, truly helped me ignore my feelings of sadness and frustration. I had developed a new focus that had absolutely nothing to do with my professional goals or romantic interests. This is how working out began to easily filter into my lifestyle. Going to the gym became a normal part of my daily routine.

THE SAME CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU…

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When I started my journey to gain weight, build muscle and lose my stomach fat, I decided to also surrender my fears of judgment. I knew going into the gym for the first time in 8 years, I was going to have to start from the beginning. I did not have a lot of upper body strength at the time and I accepted that fact. I could only bench press 45 pounds. I curled maybe 50 pounds. I could only push 95 pounds on the leg press and it was almost impossible for me to successfully complete 4 sets of 10 reps for each of the exercises. While all of the black guys and white, fraternity-like boys were piled in the free weight section of the gym, I was working out on the same machines that the old men and housewives were using. I spent the first 6-7 months in the gym simply building my strength, getting comfortable with the gym equipment and becoming use to the routine of working out on a daily basis. I wasn’t embarrassed at all, as I realized that MOST of the guys who were on the heavy duty equipment had started out the same way when they were in high school and college. I simply put on my iPod and spent 60-90 minutes each day following my ‘workout schedule’.

YOU SHOULD NOT JOIN A GYM SIMPLY TO POST PICS ON INSTAGRAM CAPTIONED #GymFlow – You absolutely have to want to see real results…

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1. Your first day at the gym should either be a Friday evening, Saturday night or a Sunday morning. Most gym facilities are extremely empty during these hours. You will have plenty of space and time to become comfortable using the different pieces of equipment, and trying out exercises that best fit your physical goals. I advise that you take an experienced individual with you for this first session. I brought my father along with me for my first, Sunday workout. Together, we created what would become my gym routine for the first 3 months of lifting weights regularly. We chose two pieces of equipment for each body part that I wanted to build; 2 chest exercises, 2 bicep exercises, 2 tricep exercises, 2 shoulder exercises, 2 back exercises, 2 ab exercises, 2 glute exercises, 2 quad exercises and 2 calf exercises.

Together, we also decided that I would perform the 2 chest, shoulder and back exercises on Mondays & Wednesdays. On Tuesdays & Thursdays I would complete my glute, quad and calf exercises. Fridays were dedicated to biceps and triceps, as Saturdays would be focused on abs and other cardio. On Sundays, I would stay home and rest. KEEP IN MIND that your biceps and triceps are automatically being worked when you’re lifting to build your chest, back and shoulders.

YOUR FIRST DAY AT THE GYM SHOULD NEVER BE A WEEKDAY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 6am-10am OR 4pm-9pm. This is when the facilities are crowded with the regular, more experienced patrons. YOUR FIRST DAY AT THE GYM SHOULD ALSO NEVER BE A SATURDAY. Everyone who has skipped or missed their weekday hours will be piled on the weight room floor.

2. Keep in mind that even though it may feel as if ‘everyone is staring at you’, most people are too focused on getting in and getting out of the gym to be focused on how your body looks. Most people in the gym are just as insecure with their bodies as you are. Even individuals who look to be in great, physical shape are desperately trying to fix what they consider to be a problem area. NO ONE is looking and laughing at you. Believe me, most individuals inside of the gym are silently supportive of seeing someone else begin their exercise journey.

When I first started working out, I always kept my body covered in sweatshirts, compression pants underneath my hooping shorts, and anything else that would hide my skinny-fat frame. It made me feel comfortable. I knew the day would come when I too would simply wear a tank top or a sleeveless shirt the ways in which the more muscular guys were wearing on the gym floor.

3. DO NOT SKIP YOUR SCHEDULED WORKOUT DAYS. Consistency is the ONLY secret to seeing results. It does not matter how much weight you lift or how many miles you run on the treadmill if you aren’t repeating the routine on the same days each week. For me, it has always been easiest to hit the gym as soon as I wake up in the morning; especially during the weekends. You want to get into the gym before the weight of the world hits you each day. It can be extremely tough to find the energy to workout after sitting in a classroom or behind a cubicle for eight hours. If you absolutely CAN NOT fit an early morning workout into your schedule, I certainly do advise that you purchase a pre-workout drink or pre-workout pills. These supplements often send a surge of energy through your system. Use the supplement two hours prior to leaving work or school. By the time you get in your car, your body honestly does feel rejuvenated. For guys especially, the pre-workout supplements will make you feel slightly horny, a bit stronger and excited about releasing the tension on the weight floor.

4. While a lot of older guys will deter you from using protein shakes, creatine and other supplements to help build muscles and put on mass weight, I certainly encourage it. The faster you begin seeing results, the more encouraged you become to continue working out on a regular basis. To be honest, I hate the way protein shakes taste, and I hate the nauseating feeling I get 20-30 minutes after drinking them. However, most others that I have spoken to do not experience the nausea. I began using flavorless Creatine powder in July 2013. I would add 5g-10g each day in my water or cranberry juice each morning. It helped me appear thicker, and also aided in my muscles not feeling incredibly sore the morning after an intense workout.

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I drink the GNC ‘BEYOND RAW’ RE-BUILT MASS SUPER ANABOLIC MASS GAINER protein shake. For those of us who simply want to gain weight, have a little chest, nice arms, round thighs and an overall ‘thick but not too muscular’ look, this product has certainly aided my journey. I also drink Vanilla-Creme MUSCLE MILK from GNC or regular Vanilla ENSURE from the grocery store during periods when my system simply can’t stomach and tolerate the protein shake.

5. USE THE SAUNA or STEAM ROOM. While some people are extremely uncomfortable sitting in their towel or compression shorts amongst strangers, the sauna and steam room truly do relax the muscles. A 10-15 minute session following heavy weight lifting exercises can make a lot of difference in how your body feels the next morning. Many individuals stop working out after the first few days because they can’t endure the soreness that affects their joints. The only way to avoid the pain is to either drink protein shakes of some sort, or to spend 10-15 minutes in a steam room following the workout. Even for me, when I increase my weight on the bench press, curl or any other exercise every 3 months, my body gets sore from the change. The pain is a signal to let you know that you have properly worked the muscle. If you aren’t experiencing initial pain after working out a new muscle or attempting a new exercise, you aren’t properly exercising.

6. YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST CHANGE YOUR DIET! Developing the ‘summer body’ you desire is 80% NUTRITION and only 20% EXERCISE. There is no point or purpose in you hitting the gym three or four times each week if you’re still going to eat anything your heart desires. Thankfully, in my case, fish has always been a huge part of my diet. I eat salmon, tilapia or whiting almost daily. Since fish and chicken are already HIGH in protein, it was very complimentary to my muscle building diet. I began eating oatmeal or boiled eggs for breakfast each morning. Oatmeal burns stomach fat and eggs are also HIGH in protein. As I would get extremely hungry before lunch, I snacked on greek yogurt of assorted flavors, unsalted almonds, apple slices or raisins. I stopped eating Doritos, chips, soft batch cookies and donuts altogether. My lunch consisted of grilled fish or chicken, steamed broccoli or asparagus, maybe some brown rice and an apple or grapes. Since I am most hungry after working out, I would have my protein shake after eating a full dinner, as to fill me up completely.

TO BUILD MUSCLE, THE GOAL IS TO TAKE IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF PROTEIN EACH DAY AS YOUR WEIGHT. Protein is ingested in GRAMS. I weighed 153 pounds when I started working out in October 2012. My shake already contained 60 grams of protein. This meant that I had to supplement the other 93 grams in the foods I ate; i.e. fish, chicken, eggs, greek yogurt and almonds. Some guys drink two protein shakes each day; therefore securing that they will exceed their protein gram intake.

YOU SHOULD ALSO NOT HAVE CHEAT DAYS MORE THAN ONCE PER WEEK. I only stray from my diet on Friday nights or Saturdays. I won’t treat myself to an entire pizza or a value meal from McDonalds, but I will do a quart of shrimp fried rice and two egg rolls from China Wok. I will also only drink a cocktail if Im attending a party or event. Alcohol is filled with sugar. Sugar creates tummy fat. I most recently started eating chicken cheesesteak subs again on my designated cheat day.

SNEAKING COOKIES, CUPCAKES, FRUIT JUICE, CHICKEN NUGGETS, A BAG OF CHIPS or SKITTLES in the middle of a busy day certainly does COUNT as cheating. If you become extremely hungry even after snacking on the almonds, greek yogurt, fruit or raisins, try drinking cups of green tea. I do it all of the time. Green tea also burns stomach fat quickly and will certainly curb your appetite.

7. REST YOUR BODY FOR 8 HOURS EACH NIGHT. Muscles do not grow while you are in the gym working out. Muscles only grow when they are resting. If you aren’t getting proper rest each day, your body isn’t going to recover from the heavy lifting or intense exercising that you’re doing on a regular basis. You will not receive your greatest gain potential until you are laying down and resting your body for the average 8 hours.

Overall, working out is a challenge. I don’t think I would have been consistent had I joined a gym in 2008 or 2010 when I was absolutely focused on blogging and creating youtube videos on a very regular basis. I began this journey during a period when I chose to isolate myself from the world. For seven months, I became so focused on building my body that I was able to ignore some of the other aspects of life that were not in my control. Going to the gym became as normal for me as waking up and brushing my teeth because I didn’t have other people or objectives acting as distractions. We all want to be in shape, but doing the work and making the sacrifice is extremely tough. If you simply have to start by consistently performing cardio exercises inside of your home, then do so. Only sign up for a gym membership once you know for a fact that you have the time, energy, focus and drive to remain consistent in exercising according to the initial schedule that you create.

YOU CAN DO IT. I DID.

 

Seeing Ourselves Behind The Selfie

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During the first week in March, 2014, I was approached by Khary Steph to contribute an original written piece to the first volume of his team’s new publication, ‘The Tenth’. This particular magazine has been created by industry art directors, Khary Steph, Kyle Banks and Andre Verdun Jones to express queer, black identity through various forms of artistry. The project was released publicly on April 10, 2014 in New York City. Since many of you will not have direct access to the catalogue of work, Ive elected to share my written piece with you. 

As I have previously shared via my Twitter HERE and both Facebook pages, HERE and HERE, ‘The Tenth’ has been reviewed by several top tier press platforms; including The Huffington Post, HERE, as well as BlackBook, HERE.

It was requested that the piece be a short, but analytical article that tackled the issue of gay black men and the contemporary role we play in media. Since I have spoken in great detail regarding that particular issue, I asked Khary if I could approach the piece from a ‘social media’ point of view. I wanted to dissect some of the reasons WHY this generation is so obsessed with their social media timelines. Specifically, I needed to focus on gay men of color and how the types of photos we post online are subconsciously used to give ourselves identity in a world that seems to ignore our presence. I was very surprised by my own interpretations as I began to analyze the tumblr photos & instagram pics; somehow having to create a parallel between similar visuals and the social atmosphere of present day.

 

The Tenth Promo Video (ABOVE)

THIS IS WHAT I CAME UP WITH…

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A Brief Look At The Contemporary Gay Man Of Color In Social Media

The sun peers through the muddy frame of another mid-week morning. A 21 year old, gay black man is positioning himself between where he needs to be at 9 o’clock am and the place in the world he hopes to reach before his 30th birthday. Standing shirtless in front of his bathroom mirror, wearing bright colored boxer-briefs and holding an iphone to match, he snaps a series of photos of himself. Each shot is captured at the same side view angle. However, he distorts his facial expressions to exude a combination of silly, sad, and sensual emotions. He shifts through his photo library and selects the pic that best highlights his latest efforts in the gym. Now cropping out the background mess that is piled on the floor, the young man adds a filter and simultaneously uploads the shot to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s his first selfie of the day; punctuated by a subconscious desire for social validation.

The selfie is a clear representation of the present generation that is forced into heavy-duty moments of solitude. Rejected for being outspoken, abandoned for being attracted to the same sex, distrusted for unwrapping oneself from the fibers that categorize human nature, the selfie is taken to declare a sense of dominance. We all want to feel in control of how we are seen and judged by the outside world. As a result, selfie’s and other social media posts exist to dictate our positions in the world.

Every ‘like’ that the selfie receives over the next few hours somehow contributes to this young man’s mental journey towards achieving fame, fortune and inclusion into the American establishment of success.

We live in a culture that promotes division between people. Specifically, gay men of color are forced into a social dynamic where their images, ideas, and experiences are disconnected from others and everyday surroundings as well. As a result, the gay man of color tends to overcompensate for this mainstream divide by utilizing social media as his stage to say, ‘LOOK AT ME’. The ‘LOOK AT ME’, male performance is often labeled as being extra, over-the-top, flamboyant, conceited or even narcissistic. However, it’s important to realize that some of these verbal and visual routines aren’t as much self-obsessive, as they are self-empowering.

This generation has been taught to make things happen for themselves. Modern-day dreams no longer have to be postponed until after a casting agent falls in love with an audition or a network executive decides to green light a new pilot. Since gay men of color are seemingly absent from mainstream television, film, radio and other media outlets, this same gender-loving community has begun to create their own, online platforms. From the various scripted and non-scripted series that are distributed on youtube, to the weekly showcases that are broadcast via Blog Talk Radio, gay men of color are utilizing all available resources to publicly feature and market themselves. The tweets, blog stories, status messages and selfies that are posted between each media release, serve to promote a sense of identity in a world that doesn’t seem to celebrate the individual or collective gay, black experience.

As the sun sets and the dawn of a new day is on the horizon, an entire generation will capture new images of themselves to share throughout the night. Standing in front of their mirrors with an iphone in one hand and hopes of stardom clasped in the other, another series of selfies will make way onto various, social media timelines. For gay men of color who are often marginalized and disenfranchised from the mainstream ‘American Dream’, the silent pictures intentionally scream, LOOK AT ME! It’s a visual declaration of individuality where each person creates, contours and controls their spotlight.