Nov 19, 2015

The Color Purple Shines on Broadway...

Cynthia Erivo.... Good God Almighty....

Mind you, I don't really follow theater, broadway, musicals, off broadway, international shows and all of that as closely as some of my friends do. I believe it is for this reason that prior to seeing The Color Purple last Tuesday night, I had never heard of her. But what a great introduction to this fantastic woman and her amazing vocal instrument.

I have seen The Color Purple twice before when the show was touring and

Apr 28, 2015

At A Glance: Patrick Ian Polk's "Blackbird"

Since our interview with Julian Walker a few months ago, I have eagerly anticipated Patrick Ian Polk's next work Blackbird, based on the 1986 novel of the same name. I will say, from jump, that I do recommend you see Blackbird, that it is a great independent work, and that you will find yourself invested in the experience. For me, someone who grew up for a portion of my life in Mississippi, Blackbird, at times, was very easy to relate with.

With Blackbird we are given another work in the very recognizable style of Patrick Ian Polk. That is, a movie containing people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and

Mar 13, 2015

Why Didn't Your Panel Talk About Gamer Gate? Pax East 2015

Recently, I had the great opportunity to moderate the "Why It's STILL Awesome Being a Female in the Video Games Industry" panel at Pax East 2015 in Boston, MA. I had a great time, reunited with some great acquaintances, made some new friends, and, most importantly, participated in a very important discussion regarding the state of the industry as it relates to women and their progress over the last few decades.

After the panel, I was asked via a number of methods a couple of questions that I have seen pop up again and again: "Why did they have a dude host a female panel?", and, "Why didn't you all talk about Gamer Gate?" In the video below, I provide my responses.

Mar 6, 2015

Planet Fitness drops member who complained about ‘manly’ trans woman in locker room.

RawStory reports: A Planet Fitness gym in Midland, Michigan revoked the membership of a woman who complained that the trans woman she was sharing a locker room with looked too much like a man.

And here's what I have to say about that...


Feb 16, 2015

Newcomer Julian Walker rubs Elbows with Big-Name Celebrities and shows Promise

Rookie actor Julian Walker is having the time of his life. Not only is the University of Southern Mississippi student close to graduating, he is also the breakout star in the poignant new film, "Blackbird."

The coming-of-age drama, based on the 1986 novel by Larry Duplechan, tells the story of Randy Rousseau, a saintly choirboy in small-town America struggling to reconcile his sexuality and conflicting religious beliefs. 

Walker nabbed the lead role after submitting an online audition tape. He had never acted before, and didn't think he had a true shot at landing the part. But just weeks later, he suddenly found himself on set and in the presence of some of the most acclaimed names in entertainment. 

“I was so scared,” Walker says about 
his first days filming. “But it was amazing. Everybody was so welcoming and kind.”

For a debut acting gig, Walker’s rising moment could not have gotten much better. Academy Award-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique stepped onboard to play Randy’s despondent mother, Claire. And two-time Image Award winner Isaiah Washington took on the role of Lance, Randy’s estranged father. The Jackson, MS native was also surrounded by the likes of  Terrell Tilford, Torrey Laamar, D. Woods, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, and Nikki Jane

Patrick-Ian Polk, the film’s director, knew instantly Walker was the right choice.

"Even though Julian had zero acting experience and training, I could tell he was the real deal," Polk says. "He's a Mississippi native; he's openly gay, which is so refreshing in this day and age. And he has an amazing singing voice! He's like a black Chris Colfer!"

Polk mentored and helped the newcomer rehearse before production started.

Growing up singing in the church himself, Walker quickly identified with his character. The promising young actor, who has known he was gay since kindergarten, was able to draw from previous experiences dealing with his own sexuality. Those points in time offered a tangible reference. “It was a familiar feeling,” he says. “I thought something was wrong with me just like Randy.”

While relating his personal journey of self-acceptance helped Walker deliver a honest portrayal, he admits being vulnerable and open also proved to be one of the more difficult parts of the process. “Reminiscing about when I was having a crush on someone, or the nervousness of coming out to my family and friends, or being in denial [about being gay], that was definitely quite emotional for me,” he says.

Walker officially came out when he was 18. He was dating someone at the time and felt he was ready to share that part of his life. “It’s hard trying to hide who you are,” he says. “I wanted to be open, [so] I told both of my parents.” Fortunately for Walker, his parents were, and have been, fully supportive and accepting of his sexual identity. He hopes "Blackbird" will inspire others to do the same. “Everybody deserves to be loved,” he says. “[We should] stop judging others, and let people be themselves.”

He wants those who see the film and are grappling with their sexuality to know that comfort and support is always available. 

“The internet is amazing,” he says. “When I was younger and growing up I thought I was alone. I thought nobody was going through what I was going through. [But] in this day and age, you can look up anything you want, or find stories of people going through the exact same thing you're going through. There are answers out there. Don’t feel like you're alone.”

Although sexuality is a prevailing theme in "Blackbird", Walker believes the film addresses many other issues facing young people today. “[Randy] is dealing with so much that a lot of teenagers go through,” he says. “From his sexuality, his sister going missing, his parents’ separation, [to] teen pregnancy.” 

Walker is looking forward to the next phase of his career. He is optimistic his performance will help open doors for future roles. He would love to be on Fox’s new hit show, Empire. But for now, the soon-to-be college graduate is eager to share his roller coaster experience with the public when "Blackbird" opens in theaters on April 24. 

"I just hope more than anything people can look at the screen and see themselves." 

Feb 5, 2015

Phylle, 'Boul (Bull)' - Exclusive Song Premiere

Close to a year after the release of his last album, singer-songwriter Phylle returns with a banger. 

His new single, Boul (Bull), offers a first taste of his upcoming third studio album, “Mr. Carter.” 

Check out the Redris-produced track below:

Feb 4, 2015

Phylle: On Music, Marriage Equality, and Relationships.

Almost a decade has passed since singer-songwriter Phylle [fil•ee] first offered up his fresh, debonair approach to romance with debut single, Making Love. Two albums and a Grammy nod later, the Philadelphia native is still proving it’s more boss to be the good guy on upcoming release, “Mr. Carter.” But unexpectedly, it has been more than melody and verse to propel the R&B crooner into leading status. His recent union to husband Antoine Nolan has quickly turned the self-proclaimed ‘urban gentlemen’ into an inspiration and blazing proponent for marriage equality.

“We realize that we’re blessed, and to whom much is given, much is required,” Phylle says about his advocacy work with Freedom to Marry and Georgia Equality. “It was important that we step up.”

And stepping up is just what the outspoken entertainer has been doing. Since joining 
forces with the two LGBT rights organizations, Phylle and his husband have

Jan 28, 2015

REALITY CHECK: Men are Victims of Sexual Violence Too.

REALITY CHECK: Men are victims of sexual violence too. 

That is a hard pill to swallow for many people, and even laughable for some. But sexual crimes against men happen every single day. All types of men are affected, and cases occur in just about every place imaginable. 

Most statistics say about 10-20 percent of males in this country experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime. However, numbers are probably much higher in reality. Men who experience sexual violence typically choose to never disclose their encounter, not even to close family members and friends. They often find themselves battling repercussions alone buried in secrecy and shame. 

"Males have the added burden of facing a society that doesn't believe [sexual assault] can happen to them," says psychotherapist Elizabeth Donovan in a recent interview for CNN. "Men are viewed as those who seek sexual conquests instead of those who fend them off."

For years the national conversation surrounding sexual violence has seldom included male victims. Even rarer has been the number of support services geared toward helping them recover. 

Jan 23, 2015

Youtube Personality GloZell asks President Obama about Gay Marriage

Streamed live on Jan 22, 2015, YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green interviewed President Obama about the top issues facing them and their audiences. Along with other important issues such as the Affordable Care Act, race relations in the United States, and US relations with Cuba, President Obama was asked, by GloZell Green, about whether he thinks that the Supreme court will make gay marriage the law of the land or not:

GloZell: This is dependent on the supreme court ruling, but do you think same sex marriage will be legalized in all of the United States during the time that you're in Office and what can you do to push that along? 

President Obama: Obama: Well, we've done a lot, obviously, to push it along, I announced my beliefs that same sex marriage should be legal that people should be treated the same... as an administration before the supreme court, we argued against the Defense of Marriage Act that was treating married couples and same sex couples differently in terms of federal benefits. The supreme court is now going to be taking on a case... My hope is that they go ahead and recognize what I think the majority of people in America now recognize which is two people who love each other, and are treating each other with respect, and aren't bothering anybody else... why would the law treat them differently? Why? There's no good reason for it, and so as a consequence... I'm hopeful that the supreme court will come to the right decision, but I will tell you, peoples' hearts have opened up on this issue. People know that treating folks unfairly, even if you disagree with their lifestyle choice, the fact of the matter is they're not bothering you. Let them live their lives, and under the law, they should be treated equally. And as far as me, personally, just to see all the loving gay and lesbian couples that I know who are great parents, great partners, the idea that we would not treat them like the brothers and sisters that they are, that doesn't make any sense to me.

And while I'm not too thrilled about the idea that the president referred to the life that LGBTQ+ people living as a "lifestyle choice", I do appreciate his stance on the issue. See the video below for the full interview. 

Jan 21, 2015

YBN Entertainment Releases Trailer for "The Circle NYC"

It has been a long time coming, but finally YBN Entertainment (formerly YoBoiNewnue on Youtube) has released the super trailer for its LGBT people of color reality web series "The Circle NYC." If the name sounds familiar, it's because "The Circle" is in its second season, the first one being in the state of Texas. Now that producer and director Lester Matthews has moved to New York City, the characters have been upgraded and the drama has intensified. Check out the trailer below. What are you looking forward to this season? 

Jan 9, 2015

Bry'Nt: On Being Out in Hip Hop, Acting, and His Album Release

Out hip-hop artist Bry’Nt may not have a definite release date for his debut album, “Bry’Nt Park”, but the skilled MC is still reigning supreme per usual.

His latest offering, Everyday, from the upcoming EP, “B.E.”, found its way into the headphones of fans shortly before the new year. Like most of his work the track has been well-received. He credits much of that to his versatile producer Esquire. “He’s basically produced about eighty percent of my album,” says Bry’Nt.

The pair met in 2011 after Esquire reached out wanting to join forces with the Connecticut-bred rapper. “He was really adamant about working with me,” he says. “I was skeptical at first, but after I listened to some of his stuff I was really impressed.”

“B.E.” features both of