you have to know that this is probably the toughest and most difficult challenge I have faced in a long while — revealing myself publicly without having a hat on.
if you realize, I have never once in the past ten years recorded a video or taken a picture without having my head covered.
once my hair truly began thinning, it became a BIG INSECURITY for me. up until that point, I had never lacked confidence about anything. and to this day, going bald is still the only issue I battle with my physical self.
while I know that “looks aren’t everything” or that I possess internal qualities that some consider to be appealing, I can’t help the fact that only within the past year or so have I begun to look at myself in the mirror for long periods of time without having on my durag, or a skully or fedora or a fitted/snapback of some sort.
I have considered paying for a hair transplant or taking advantage of other modern day follicle restoration procedures for men, but for now…it is what it is.
the year was 2008. the individuals you see pictured here birthed an era of digital content that would blueprint the essence of building an independent platform. additionally, each of these trailblazers developed successful online media that created a path for the many others who have come over the past 10 years.
during this period of time, we were a youthful, bright eyed, intelligent group of creatives who were more concerned with sharing personal narratives, talent & social commentary than we were focused on “numbers” or gimmicks to draw public attention.
these are the faces of a movement – one that would execute just HOW to create videos & blog posts that were entertaining but still informative. this group of LEGENDARY & PIONEERING individuals exhibited levels of social consciousness & real life storytelling that would inspire an entire generation of then teens & other twenty somethings who were otherwise feeling lost, alone & desperately searching for someone who shared their personal struggles.
WE paved the way for every single blogger, podcast host, web series writer, director + actor, “out rapper”, website owner, youtube creator/personality & other self identified public figure you see or watch online to this day.
there were no others.
when we came along, there were no other already established VISUAL “personalities” whose coat tails we could ride or COPY in order to secure ourselves an audience. every viewer, reader or “fan” who supported our platforms, did so based on the authenticity of our individual merits. no one was pretending to be the friend of well known online figures in order to secure themselves an opportunity.
make no mistake about it ladies & gentlemen… these faces framed the golden era of online content.
honor each one of them by combing the internet to see the videos, skits, clips, interviews and blog posts that planted the seed for what social media in our community has become today.
from LEFT to RIGHT…
1. B SCOTT of lovebscott.com
2. DERRICK L. BRIGGS of the trailblazing ADTV
3. XEM VANADAMS of xemvanadams.com
4. KEVIN & MAKAEL of “the skorpion show”
5. QAADIR aka TAMIYA
6. YOBOI NEWNUE
7. ALONZO LERONE
8. BRIAN PATRICK DAVIS of concreteloop.com
9. DRAMA DUPREE
11. TRON of whatsthet.com
12. LONNELL WILLIAMS of 3lwTV
13. FABLED VERSE
14. ANDRE ALLEN of andresflava
15. DJ DOO DIRTY of “the doo dirty show” (radio) – first of its kind.
16. ACONNECTION TV
NOT PICTURED: Brandon aka “Miss. Prada” – now known as JOANNE THE SCAMMER, Darryl Stephens, Jensen Atwood & the cast of “Noah’s Arc”, Quincy Lenear, Deondray Gossett & the cast of “DL Chronicles”, Adam Irby of “AdamsWEBlog”, Dwight Allen O’Neal of “Christopher Street: the series”, Nathan7Scott & Joseph Flownery (JoWork).
*if I have missed anyone who was relevant to that pioneering 2007-2008 era, it is by genuine mishap. feel free to call their names!
All of the significant details that framed Tupac’s life are so glossed over. The movie delivers in a very, “this happened, then this happened, and oh…lets not forget about this-real-quick” type of fashion. Two and a half hours is PLENTY of time to effectively illustrate the high’s, low’s and in-between’s that made Tupac the lyrical and prophetic force he became. The film never even makes mention of his mainstream role in “Poetic Justice”. Leila Steinberg, the woman who was basically Tupac’s mentor and central introduction to performance art appears for literally ONE scene. Tupac lived with Leila and her husband for YEARS. Her role in his life was pivotal to his segue into being on stage in front of mainstream audiences. How was her presence reduced to a forty-five second appearance? There’s also no mention whatsoever of the woman Keisha who Tupac married while he was in jail.
The entire production is just so singular. We never get into the mind of Tupac Shakur or delve between the layers of his fears, his internal struggles or the seeds of his unique artistry. “All Eyez On Me” is nothing more than an expensive snapshot of the headlines that most of us 30 and over are already aware of. The ONLY “detail” or tidbit of information that the movie introduced me to is the fact that Tupac was involved in a long term relationship with Quincy Jones’ daughter, Kidada. I had no idea that she was the main woman in his life up until his death.
The film is just so horribly directed by Benny Boom. It’s very difficult to believe that he graduated from Temple Universities film program. There’s absolutely no visual illustration. The narrative isn’t painted on screen. The entire script and overall production spoon feeds the audience – as if we are pure idiots. We jump back and forth CONSTANTLY between scenes of Hill Harper interviewing Tupac in jail circa 1995 and then the actual events unfolding before us as Hill & Tupac verbally discuss them. It’s juvenile filmmaking and a trite cinematic tactic.
The ONLY real standout acting performance stems from Danai Gurira who stars as Afeni Shakur. Her facial and verbal delivery is superb in comparison to the other pedestrian players. I’m not taking anything away from Demetrius Shipp who stars as Tupac, but he seemed to merely be going through the motions during half of his screen time. If it were not for him physically resembling Tupac to the core, I would not have been convinced of the passion, the power and intensity that evoked the spirit of Tupac. “All Eyez On Me” just is not a good film overall and I would much rather see a seasoned director take on such masterful work in another box office or 6-8 part, television series release.
People are jumping on John Singleton for wanting to include a jail rape scene in his version of the Tupac story, as well as Tupac talking to a severed head, but the common, everyday individual has no idea what real life information Singleton was privy to. Tupac may have really been raped in jail, but of course, his image and hyper masculine presence forced him and the public alike to deny such claims. John Singleton’s inclusion of the severed head and having Tupac talking to this image of himself illustrated Tupac’s love of Shakespeare and the battle of man vs. himself. I would have preferred that type of visual storytelling, as opposed to this pitiful L.T. Hutton/Benny Boom version that has Tupac randomly quoting bits and pieces of ‘Hamlet’ throughout the film. UGH!
…and lets not even talk about the monstrosity that is the ending. Would it have killed the creative team to show Afeni battling with the heavy decision to pull the plug on Tupac’s life support?…or even to show Tupac laying on his death bed and shaking the mattresses with both hands clamped down at his sides because he had something he wanted to GET OUT, but could not speak? THESE are the stories that have been told by close friends who visited him between September 6, 1996 and September 13, 1996. The film should NOT have ended with Tupac’s body laid out on the Vegas strip and a slew of title cards plastered across the screen highlighting his “Hollywood” achievements. The gospel music that played beneath the ending scene was very misplaced and drowned out the heavy emotion.
I don’t care what the millennials are saying about “All Eyez On Me”. It was terribly spliced together, and in such a way that reflected a very amateur team behind-the-scenes. I saw the film yesterday afternoon at the Columbia AMC here in Maryland and I left the theater feeling extremely disappointed. “All Eyez On Me” pales in comparison to every black film released between last summer 2016 and present day.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR COINS! Wait for this pedestrian mess to be released ON DEMAND and in DVD/Blu-Ray format.
It is 2016 ladies & gentlemen. There is absolutely no reason why our inclusion in mainstream television programming should STILL focus on these tired, lazy, DL characters and their associated “down low” experiences. It truly KILLS ME that producers are still seemingly perpetuating the idea that two black men can’t exist in an openly loving, monogamous, mentally & emotionally stable relationship. And if a black man does exist in a healthy union, his partner HAS to be of another ethnicity.
While I certainly am pleased to watch and support the Jamal Lyon’s, Tariq Muhammad’s & Milan Christopher’s of the world, I want to see them on screen in a way that reflects the reality of a changing, more accepting cultural landscape.
BLACK MEN DO EXIST IN ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER BLACK MEN who are out to their families, desire marriage, seek longterm partnership and are comfortable within their sexuality.
The large majority of us are NOT wasting our time chasing behind closeted rap stars & athletes who have not yet accepted their same sex attractions or feelings.
In my opinion, these “DL” storylines, though written & performed fairly well, do nothing at its core to lay bare the most visceral, romantic elements of male interaction. And because there are so few representations of gay, black men on screen, there is no time or space to waste on pure “entertainment”. We, as a community tend to accept and get excited about seeing these washed storylines because the only alternative in black, gay media comes in the form of start and stop web series’ made for YouTube or digital/print magazines that unfortunately never reach beyond a tiny segment of readers. I WANT TO SEE MY BROTHERS ON SCREEN accenting the sentiments of two men, living as partners, working to build a home together, establishing finances, raising a family and committed to loving one another, eternally.
It can be featured in the most basic form of two 22 year olds in their senior year of college: sharing their first apartment together, struggling to make ends meet, one working, the other unemployed, but both making sure the other eats daily and has his basic needs met. I’m not pitching fantasy situations here.
Networks and production companies need to STOP sensationalizing the “DL” man and his “struggle to be himself”. ITS TIRED. They do it specifically to throw black, gay men a bone (see… we included you) – all while echoing the perspective of the masses that suggests our interactions are abnormal or our carefree, sex filled, irresponsible, ungodly “lifestyles” are all the same. We are painted as being unworthy of traditional love.
It’s the antithesis of my reality and to those I most commonly meet, befriend and engage with across the country.
If God ever grants me the opportunity to create LGBT content beyond the Internet, it will be my priority to redefine the depictions of black gay male relationships – the connections we’ve established with ourselves, our families, our partners and the universe as a whole.
DITCHING THE FAMILY! headed to Los Angeles, California to spend Thanksgiving with my Marvin✈️ –
May God bless you this holiday season. 2015 has been the absolute best year of my life spiritually… since 2008. Each day has been filled with a sense of peace and mental tranquility. I’ve been able to think, create and engage clearly. I was telling Chrissy yesterday at brunch that this is the first time in 7 years that I have consistently lived and existed in the present. 2009-2014 was filled with so much self imposed pressure to have this mainstream media career and to accomplish this and achieve that. I pushed away potential love interests, ignored situations designed to form new friendships and set aside other opportunities for advancement in other aspects of my life all because I was so focused on “making it”.
But I gave all of that up on Christmas Day of 2014 because I got tired of living so miserably – being unable to literally appreciate the greatness of my present life because I was dead set on creating a “successful” future.
Listen to me when I tell you that GOD IS GOOD. Ask him to please give you comfort in your most uncomfortable circumstances and he WILL. You simply have to believe in the core of your heart that he CAN. The things that usually stress you out or sadden your spirit will no longer affect your days. IM LIVING IT! Call upon him to guide your journey and please STOP telling him how to bless you. STOP asking for surface, tangible favors. I haven’t experienced this level of peace and contentment for years and it feels amazing to look back on 2015 with a smile. Each day of this year has been pierced by light, solely because I decided last December to step away from the darkness of my own rushed, selfish desires. Now I know better & that’s why I live in the universe freely. My focus is no longer geared towards when When WHEN, but instead I’m basking in the glory of now, Now, NOW.
Thank you Heavenly Father – and HAPPY THANKSGIVING my love
Trying to connect with a guy over the phone can be an extremely daunting task. As KIK exchanges and direct message (DM) conversations have dominated contemporary means of communication, it almost seems awkward to ACTUALLY engage in regular, verbal conversations. Once upon a time, building up the nerve to ask a guy for his phone number was a supreme challenge. Now, figuring out what to say to him once he requests to TALK as opposed to TEXT puts many teens and twenty-something’s into a space of oblivion. No one wants to place themselves in the position of being the one to call, but feeling extremely uncomfortable trying to figure out HOW to fill those long, silent pauses. The easiest and most common convo starter is to ask, “what are you doing?” —
but what do you say to follow up when he simply responds with that one word reply… “nothing? “
COME UP WITH OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS – The honest truth is that most guys are very dry and draining when it involves engaging in phone conversations. They have become extremely use to typing their responses and often asking someone in the background what to say first. Therefore, being forced to verbally interact with a new romantic interest can really catch him off guard. The majority of his responses are going to be quick, one-word replies — as he will most likely not throw the same questions back at you. This is why everything you ask him should be a question that requires details or the telling of a story of some sort. One of the best questions to present to a guy during the first major phone conversation is, “why did your last relationship end?” – This question not only forces your potential new dude to speak in full sentences, but his response will truly give you insight into how he handles his heart, his role as a boyfriend and the feelings of the individual he’s romantically linked to. It makes little sense for you to present open-ended questions that won’t provide the types of information that you will need to make an informed decision about moving forward with him. Remember, the first phone conversation exists as the precursor for the first official date.
LISTEN INTENTLY TO HIS RESPONSES – A lot of people don’t realize that LISTENING is actually a skill that many of us lack. Often times, when we are engaged in a face-to-face or phone conversation, we are simply waiting for the other person to shut-up so we can chime in with our own thoughts and opinions. We hear the other voice on the receiving end, but are rarely tuned in to what the other individual is actually saying. When we take the time to actually listen to the new guy we’ve met, he will usually say something very intriguing or otherwise important that will easily allow you to guide the next phase of the conversation. As he is speaking, he may be answering your initial question, but more than likely, his reply will include information that raises even more questions or curiosities. Listening to him speak in detail certainly provides the necessary cues to bring up other topics of conversation.
My experience has taught me that guys are most honest and forthcoming with what you really want or NEED to know during moments when they aren’t being interrogated. When he starts talking, just let him go on and on and on.
PLAN AHEAD FOR THE PHONE CALL – Even though it may seem a bit corny to have your first phone conversation outlined, it really is a good idea to somewhat know which topics your new guy is most interested in. If your previous text messages and DM conversations have revealed that he loves to eat all of the time or really enjoys cooking, it makes perfect sense that you bring up food, recipes or inquire about his favorite restaurant during that initial convo. Even if you couldn’t care any less about working out, if exercising is his “thing”, it will help ease the tension to discuss his gym routine. You can even stroke his ego a bit by asking how he gets his arms so big and cut up.
People really do underestimate how much certain guys really do enjoy talking about themselves. Some of them won’t initiate conversations where they discuss their hobbies or other interests. However, once someone else presents the opportunity for them to delve in, guys will more than likely entertain the moment. Never hesitate in the beginning to address the topics and issues that you already know gets him excited, passionate and verbally engaged.
DO NOT DOMINATE THE CONVERSATION – Regardless of how dry and draining this guy may seem over the phone, never spend the entire time simply talking about yourself. These actions will more than likely turn your potential new dude off and he will avoid all future calls. If he is seemingly boring or shy, still make attempts to ask the open-ended questions or ignite topics that you know are already of interest to him. Of course you should openly share personal stories, your individual likes and other life experiences. Simply make sure that the two of you are taking turns being verbally expressive. To let truth be told, a lot of guys don’t want to be on the phone in the first place. So, once you do get him to set aside the time to talk, make sure that you are being fair in giving him the room to speak. If you have to ask, “ARE YOU STILL THERE?”… It means you are indeed dominating the conversation & he has gone silent in hopes that you will shut up.
MAKE YOUR FOLLOW UP PHONE CALLS SPORADIC – Just because the initial phone conversation went exceptionally well does not mean that the next few will be just as successful. There is no need to call his phone every single morning or every single night at the same time. When you have constant phone contact with someone new, it can sometimes limit what the two of you have left to discuss. The daily, back to back calls may even contribute to those awkward, silent moments that many of us try our best to avoid. If you stay on the phone three hours the first night, maybe allow the following day to be filled with a fun exchange of text messages and the third day spent face-timing or skyping. There is no rule that states two people HAVE to talk on the phone every single day in order to truly get to know one another better during the initial dating phase of their relationship.
Successfully getting through our first phone call with a new guy can be a challenging task. However, when we plan ahead, ask open-ended questions, listen intently, and refrain from dominating the convo, we create a space where this potential love interest will want to talk to us again. And as the two of you grow closer and your dude becomes more comfortable, maybe he will choose to carry the weight of guiding the follow up conversations.
written by Bryanna A. Jenkins & edited by Xem VanAdams
I first began my transition in 2008. At that time, I would have never imagined as a black transgender woman from Baltimore City, that I would see a day where other black transgender women were being recognized nationally for their contributions to entertainment. In recent years, it has become commonplace to witness my sisters dominate television screens, grace the covers of magazines, be included in conversations about feminism and also receive admiration for their beauty, poise and decorum. Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Isis King, Madison Hinton and Amiyah Scott all exist as shining beacons of excellence amongst black transgender women. I applaud each of these ladies who are birthed from the struggles in our community, but use their platforms not only to entertain the masses but to educate and consistently advocate for change amongst the treatment and acceptance of all transgender people.
However, my high is interrupted and I am slapped back to the reality that black transgender women are facing a state of emergency. One of the gifts that the increased media visibility of black transgender women provides is that is has amplified our multiple oppressions.
I’m forced to remember that 17 of my sisters: transgender women of color spread across this country have been senselessly murdered in 2015 alone. I remember that two weeks ago our community lost 5 sisters in one week — with 3 bodies identified in a single day. I have to face the hard truth about a large majority of my sisters being murdered at the hands of men of color who each lady was engaged with intimately or romantically. Every time I see a new headline detailing the story of how one of my sisters has been callously murdered, I think of missed conversations about how necessary it is for black families especially to embrace their children who are transgender and to also continue loving, protecting, and pouring into them. I also think of missed conversations about how space needs to be given to black men who are trans-attracted – helping each one to understand and accept themselves so that they can love transgender women instead of hiding or harming them in fear of social repercussion. I remember that when most of my sisters’ deaths were reported, they were each mis-gendered, misnamed, and vilified in the news. And the one thing that I remember the most is that the same people praising the Amiyah’s, Janet’s, Isis’ and Laverne Cox’s, are the same individuals excusing and condoning the murders of black transgender women on ground level.
There is an ironic dichotomy between black transgender women who have received media visibility and black transgender women who maintain regular everyday lives.
The same people who look to mainstream transgender women as a source of information and entertainment fail to see the humanity of everyday black transgender women whose bodies are constantly under social and physical attack through systems of patriarchy and white supremacy.
There exists a hard misconception regarding the idea that since a few black transgender women have “made it”, that somehow all is well with the black trans community as a whole. I know that is not the case. Black transgender women exist at the intersection of multiple oppressed identities. In America, the oppression of being a person who is black, female, and transgendered is a unique experience that more often than not leaves most black transgender women at the fringes of society. We are most disproportionately affected when it comes to homelessness, unemployment, victims of violence and harassment, faced with discrimination, difficulties accessing healthcare, and being murdered in drove numbers.
Society is still very much uncomfortable with having real conversations about transgender people. The common understanding of our lives is limited to our body parts and neglects our lived experiences. Our narrative has been neglected for so long or has carelessly been clumped into the real stories and tales of gay males.
Additionally, black transgender people have always existed within the structure of the black community at large, but we have always been erased from cultural consciousness due to social levels of hate and intolerance. The experiences of black transgender women have been separated from the experiences of black people as a whole. The increased media visibility has ignited the process of black transgender women socially realigning with the black community in this current climate of black liberation movements.
“Blackness” or what it means to be a black woman in America is diverse and it is indeed varied.
I believe that the work truly begins by having intentional inclusion of issues that affect black transgender women interwoven into movements that are working to address black liberation such as: #BlackLivesMatter. The inclusion would help to change the trajectory of how black transgender people are not only talked about in social spaces but how our humanity is protected and uplifted.
It also remains important for those trans women who start to receive mainstream media visibility to continue bringing the issues of black transgender women to the forefront – using their popular platforms to help dismantle systems of oppression that work to diminish and devalue our lives.
There is a lot of work that still has to be done that will not only involve the visibility of more diverse black transgender women but it will also involve SOLIDARITY from those cisgender people who call themselves friends and allies to our community. Intentional efforts of using cisgender privilege to interrupt patterns of discrimination and erasure for transgender people will be vital if we are to fight for the liberation of the black transgender women we love to see entertain us online, via television or otherwise.
I am hopeful that I will still be living to see a day where black transgender women will not only be celebrated for their contributions to the world at large, but we will also be celebrated for living our most authentic lives — free of judgment, ridicule and shame.
The summer of 2015 has unified black people under an umbrella of consciousness that encourages the development of our own ideals and unique forms of expression. Seasonal events such as Curl Fest and Afro Punk have been designed to magnify the voices of black people and to also offer a platform where the black experience is celebrated instead of brutalized or interrogated. Each local and national gathering seems to attract a crowd of African-American people who are often young, eccentric and easily distinguishable from those who regularly represent our race and culture within the framework of mainstream media. These crowds are dominated especially by a slew of women adorned in their dashiki dresses, wedge sandals, big, wooden jewelry and big, shea butter infused, twist-outs to match. These women exist as this generations ethnic, online icons – the card carrying members of #TeamNatural. Seen by onlookers up and down numerous tumblr timelines, Instagram feeds and various blogs dedicated solely to their subgroup amongst black women, #TeamNatural seeks to embrace beauty on their own terms by first accepting their natural, physical traits.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a surge in African-American women who are consciously choosing to display their tight curls and natural coils as opposed to wearing Eurocentric, chemically enhanced styles. Mainstream Hollywood starlets like Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and Tracee Ellis Ross are walking red carpets and taking center stage under a spotlight that reinforces the beauty of cropped, kinky, spiraled hairdos — challenging America’s obsession with long, straight, blonde locks. Young, black girls are witnessing a change in the tides. Their big sisters, aunts, classroom teachers and moms are truly beginning to cultivate the roots of our ancestors by now embracing their natural wave patterns, instead of heating and straightening their hair strands or hiding them beneath bundles of Brazilian weave. Still, however, as more and more women begin to dump their perm kits and elect to wear hairstyles that cater to the likeness of Angela Davis, I have to wonder if #TeamNatural is all but another contemporary, pop-culture trend or a permanent movement towards changing the narrative for black women.
In light of current political and social protests against racism, ignorance and police brutality, it seems that black women are joining forces to disengage themselves from the physical standards of beauty that have been structured by American society. Within this raging climate, #TeamNatural seems to represent not only a simple hairstyle, but also a sense of empowerment for women of color. Just as the civil rights movement of the 1960’s highlighted the civil wrongs on American soil, people began wearing AFROS as a revolutionary political statement. More than just simply an expression of fashion or style, the natural textured fro became a distinguishable representation of black power. Now, over five decades later, it’s not too farfetched to believe that the rise of the #BlackLivesMattermovement has ignited the reemergence of progressive statements that black women are making by using their virgin hair to represent self pride.
My sister exists as one of the only women amongst her core circle of friends who still gets her hair permed every 6-8 weeks, visits the salon twice each month for professional styling and sometimes elects to have her strands highlighted with honey blonde streaks. While she has spent this past summer wearing long, Senegalese braids, my sister admits that she often feels judged by her female peers and other black women alike for not jumping on the #TeamNatural bandwagon. She does not ever wear weaves, extensions or wigs. Sometimes my sister wears her hair straight, bent at the ends and a short bang that edges slightly above her eyebrows. Mostly, however, her hair is styled in shoulder length curls that fall all around her head. As a professional, corporate woman who engages in yoga and other gym related exercise programs at least 3-4 times each week, my sister has shared with me that it’s simply easier and more convenient to manage her hair when it is processed and permed.
Meanwhile, despite her personal preferences and choice of convenience over the now popular twist-out hairstyle, it seems that my sister, along with other women in her position, are possibly being looked down upon. These women may be seen by those who exist along the #TeamNatural spectrum as “still” simulating whiteness and conforming to the mainstream standard of beauty.
But if #TeamNatural exists as more than a contemporary, pop-culture trend, then it suggests to me that the movement is indeed open to enveloping all women who support the idea of progression. As black women join forces to increase their visibility on movie screens and magazine covers, inside of board rooms, along the front lines of major political parties and amongst the ranks of the powerful, decision makers in the world, ones decision to wear her hair in its natural state is only a part of the fight. That very brave and powerful decision can possibly be paired alongside the responsibility that comes with redefining a generation.
The movement could begin challenging its members to live an overall, organic lifestyle. Wearing your hair in tight curls or a kinky updo does not necessarily make one natural, conscious or socially aware. I’m also thinking of the black women who elect to have thick, afro-textured, wooly fake hair sewn into their real, braided hair as a method to merely achieve the “look” of being natural.
The natural hairstyles are merely the top layer that sits above a pyramid that can include organic eating, African dress, minimal to no facial makeup, the full use of natural soaps, toothpaste, juices and other organic, skin care products as well. Beneath the Afros, must exist an understanding of what wearing natural hair represents politically, as well as a train of thought that is focused on total abandonment of processed living.
It is my hope that #TeamNatural and all of it’s card-carrying sisters remain as visible and collectively strong long after the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag fades from online, trending lists. I want to feel that black women truly understand that their natural, physical beauty shouldn’t only be celebrated in mass numbers as opposition to racial unrest or the fight for equality on American soil. Being proud of our skin and our nappy or kinky hair isn’t a trend that only coincides with a social climate riddled with hatred and earthly damnation against black people.
If #TeamNatural continues to reign supreme in the pages of our magazines, on our billboards and amongst our everyday communities, black women take back the agency in deciding the value and politics of their entire being amongst contemporary, westernized society.
posted via the Xem VanAdams social media networks on August 20, 2015
I think we, myself included, often forget that there still does exist the earthly presence of a single man who is happily “doing him”. Not everyone spends their days and nights thinking about being in a relationship. Instead of chasing cuddle sessions, weekend dates and thick, round tail, he is content spending time with himself. He enjoys the routine of waking up, working out, heading to work, coming home, washing his truck, fixing dinner for himself, reading, watching CNN, maybe posting a pic on Instagram, taking a shower, talking to his mother on the phone for 20 minutes and then falling asleep in the center of his own bed.
Every single man isn’t on the prowl for a romantic companion. He is just as content in life spending time with his nieces & nephew while his sister runs her errands. He looks forward to going to the movies to see “Straight Outta Compton” alongside the friends he grew up with in the old neighborhood. Yes, he has experienced romantic love in the past and knows firsthand the comfort that a partner potentially provides.
However, he isn’t looking for love…or expecting to even find it. He enjoys his freedom to just BE. And despite everyone’s assumptions that he’s sleeping with multiple people or entertaining numerous individuals behind closed doors, his life really couldn’t be any simpler. He’s single by choice, but open to allowing something new to impress upon his life – IF the opportunity just so happen to present itself.
posted via the Xem VanAdams social media networks on August 25, 2015
when a guy comes out of his mouth and blatantly says, “IM NOT LOOKING FOR A RELATIONSHIP. SHORTY, IM JUST CHILLIN” – pay very close attention & never forget his telling words.
it does not matter how often the two of you smoke together, have sex, wake up in the same bed or get caught up in the longest and most intimate conversations. it does not matter how many times he has asked you to help him with things that seem like tasks or responsibilities that someone would only ask of a romantic partner. the universal, social motto, “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS” does not necessarily apply to guys who arent interested in investing themselves into committed, titled relationships. yes, he enjoys spending time with you. he definitely finds you attractive. and he may have even introduced you to his mother, god sister, close homeboys and first born. so what?…
once upon a time, these moments were monumental signals that suggested a dating situation was moving closer to something substantial. now-a-day, guys pull these stunts as a part of their regular, dating routine. EVERYONE meets the homies in 2015 and EVERYONE gets invited to family cookouts.
you and your “girlfriends” are wasting time sitting around trying to figure out WHY he would have said this or done that IF he didn’t really want to be with you. when a man you have been spending intimate time with has changed his mind about wanting to enter into a more serious, monogamous relationship, he will come out of his mouth and say so.
him getting jealous over you pretending that you’re seeing someone else or him blowing up your phone because you’ve been intentionally ignoring his text messages for days, is his EGO IN ACTION and not his heart.
it’s totally cool that you play with the guy who “isn’t looking for anything serious”, but balance the time you spend with him alongside another man who IS wanting a long term relationship.
*its just so unfortunate that the guys who are willing to give us the world are the ones we are usually not organically drawn to*
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The iPhone Group Chat Live *In association with XemSays.com and Emerald Eye Entertainment
The themes of love, dating and relationships between men of the LGBT community frame this 30- minute, real life video segment. Over the past three years, out writer, speaker, advice columnist and online personality, Xem VanAdams has spent countless hours throughout each day engaged in a series of group text message and screen-cap exchanges with his two good friends, NATE and DUANTE. On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the trio invited three other guys to join them in Washington, DC for a roundtable discussion that would bring to life their iPhone group chat conversations. MATTHEW, BRANDON and CHRISTOPHER were added as round table contributors to the candid conversation. The video release offers a balance in the images, ideas and experiences that comprise the spectrum of the modern day gay male.
With the unprecedented success of FOX’s latest musical-drama, Empire, it’s no secret that the character of Jamal Lyon has especially resonated with cross-cultural audiences. Jamal’s passion, talent, confidence and external strength appeal to not only the gay male, but also to the special women in our lives who support and champion our journey. Behind closed doors, if Jamal were to be sitting with his close, same gender loving friends, this video visually peers into how the group conversation may look and possibly sound. “Love, Dating & Relationships Between Men: The iPhone Group Chat Live (Washington, DC)” invites viewers to witness and embrace some of the backstory that creates our personal lives as open, gay men living in a major, American city. Filmed by Joshua Cristos and his Malak Media team, this group of guys engages on film in a 30-minute conversation that successfully addresses the relationship dynamics that frame their individual lives, which then ultimately ties them all together.
Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Xem VanAdams is a writer, speaker, advice columnist and nationally known online personality. Xem offers love, lifestyle and self-esteem advice through original articles posted to his XemSays.com website and a series of informational and entertaining videos recorded for his youtube.com/XemVanAdams channel.