On Sunday, December 29, 2013, I met Poppa and Redd Balenciaga at the home of Father Harold Balenciaga. During our 45 minute sit down, this young, black, same-sex couple openly discussed the intimacies of their romantic relationship. We tapped into the challenges they face trying to stay together in an environment that promotes separation, ways in which social media affects their bond, the non-conventional role that the House Of Balenciaga serves in their individual and coupled lives VS. the structure of their biological families, as well as the everyday, behind-closed-door routine that allows them to remain united.
THESE ARE THE IMAGES AND INTERACTIONS that the world needs to witness as it pertains to gay men of color. Instead of the one-dimensional caricatures that are painted across reality television, its time that our love stories and real life tales are featured in mainstream media. Poppa and Redd represent the many black, gay men around the world who aren’t accurately represented in scripted or non-scripted television. I am proud of them both for being candid on camera and opening their lives to every young, middle aged and older being who are unable to walk into a movie theater or turn a channel to see this TRUTH on a daily basis.
PLEASE NOTE that in the past six years that I have recorded, edited and released videos publicly, I have never faced as many technical issues than the problems that were involved in creating this particular project. While I fully stand behind the content included in the below posted 32 minute clip, I am not 100% satisfied with the quality of the actual video footage. The release of this particular interview was delayed for several reasons following the initial promotion. The interview wasn’t lit properly during filming. As a result, the footage digitized very dark. The programs and software that I usually use to edit my videos would not brighten the footage without disrupting the contrast or quality of the original visuals. Though Poppa and Redd both agreed to a rerecording session, I decided not to reshoot. I was afraid that we would lose the authenticity of the conversation, as well as the natural, raw body language and interactions. The alternative was then to request the assistance of one of my right hands, Syrai VanAdams. He worked with me for HOURS to find and download editing software that would brighten my footage without making the visuals too grainy. This process took at least 4 days. Once the footage was enhanced, cut and edited with b-roll and music audio, the video file became too large to upload properly. Syrai VanAdams then spent an additional 3 days locating programs that would allow me to convert and compress the video file to a format that is accepted by Youtube. I have tried to remain patient during this process, as I realize that I am still being tested. I decided to release the edited video despite my dissatisfaction with the quality of the grainy footage. I love the story that Poppa and Redd share on camera regarding their individual lives, as well as their coupled relationship.
Just as with anything that I have ever publicly written or recorded since the dawn of 2007/2008, I hope my supporters will be inspired or entertained by this latest Xem VanAdams release.