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A Victory on Many Fronts


Just as we placed this issue to bed, Moonlight was announced as the Academy Awards Best Picture winner. Never mind the mix-up during the awards presentation, this is a “wow” moment on a number of levels.

The fact that a coming-of-age story about a Black boy/teenager/man dealing with a drug-addicted, verbally abusive, single mother; poverty; bullying; and sexual identity issues is celebrated in this manner speaks volumes about our society. Yes, we are evolving, but to what extent.

What does this victory mean regarding homophobia within the Black diaspora? Does this film’s exposure raise awareness within the larger LGBTQ community about the lives of queer Black youth? And, what does this award do to validate the stories of our brothers who’s existence mirrors that of the film’s main character?

The stories in this issue shed light on a number of these concerns. Kenrick Ross explores the challenges faced by LGBTQ people living in the Caribbean. Yarde’ Noir gives his take on the queer reality show that is the Black church. Philadelphia Black Pride President, Le Thomas talks about #A Movement to address the challenges they face in the city of brother love. Writer, R. Anthony Martin’s new book, Broken Places tells a fictional yet real-life story of struggle against homophobia, racial profiling and sports exploitation. And Leslie Hall talks about the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program to engage and empower Black LGBTQ students.

From center stage at the Oscar’s to Black churches, and the halls of HBCUs throughout the country, and beyond – Black Boy magic is in full effect! Let’s continue to shine.

Speaking of shine – my favorite part of this issue is our feature on singer, songwriter Avery*Sunshine as she embarks on the release of a new album entitled 2064. We had the great pleasure to share her story back in 2014 (May/June). Since that time, it has been nothing short of amazing how her career has progressed. With a bonafide #1 R&B hit in “Call My Name,” the lady has staked her claim to future Diva status. An ally for everything righteous, including LGBTQ equality, Sunshine has been travelling the world sharing her modern-day soul music with all who will listen. Shine on Avery, shine!

Together we can make a difference,

Jamil A. Fletcher