I find that recent Amiyah Scott post this to be actually quite hilarious… NOT BECAUSE of how they are treating her, because transmisogyny, or transphobia is NOTHING to LAUGH about… but what it all means…

They LITERALLY hate her because she is beautiful…

I don’t know Amiyah personally, and only talked to her a handful of times since 2007 (never met her either), but from what I saw in her is that she is comfortable in her skin. I even defended her for this VERY thing not too far back. But at this point, she is a shining star not unlike Sidney Starr, Isis King, Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, because she has been popular for a LONNNNNNNNNNG time so they ought to know who they are getting before they even approach her….

What they are doing which i find funny, is crowding her mentions, and being in conflict with their masculinity, because to deem ANYTHING or ANYONE attractive that is outside of heteronormative behavior would be seen as gay and “they can’t have that”…

Check the replies though…. It reminds me of this one interview Pinky (the porn star) did a while back where she talked about doing either transsexual porn, or having sex with another female wearing a dildo, and how men would be both aroused and confused and end up hating her due to her either having an artificial appendage, or having sex with a woman of trans-experience who kept her appendage.

Mind you they would not ask these questions to a biological cisgendered male, and although they consider Amiyah by male pronouns, they would discriminate against her by asking her size, what size condoms, etc. which in turn also speaks to their insecurities, and their curiosity…

I said all that to really say that they damn near hate themselves because she subverts what transsexuality is considered to be (freakish, abnormal), by being a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, SO beautiful that a heterosexual (hypersexual-ha) cisgendered male will question his own sexuality and hate HER for it.

Well, I say Bravo, Miss Scott. Do you.

 So my mouth is literally like :-O  the whole time…and laughing my ass off… Mind you his mixtape is called “Pretty Boy Realness”. 


I think that this song is BRILLIANT! But honestly, I understand the confusion or the disdain because of his pussifying of the male anus not unli
ke the misogyny men do when speaking of women’s southern parts. In gay culture, it is not uncommon for Bottoms to be treated as if they are softer than “tops,” that they are “bitches,” or that to be the receivers of sexual intercourse would strip them of masculinity or “realness”. So in this song, he asserts his dominance as a way of proving HIS realness and masculinity by continuously pussifying the anus, and the men who are twerking and shaking their asses as the objects, or the video hoe as you will…

BUT on another hand, I rather enjoy that the queer artist can appropriate an ideology not unlike what the straight world does in the same video…. You could place Melyssa Ford, Buffie the Body or any of the new video girls in the same video, change the boy pussy to “pussy” and it would be okay…I think the confusion and fear is that people don’t accept that this occurs…and would rather not speak of it.

And another thing is that he uses “Wowzers” by Lil’ Wayne as the music choice, which in itself is a VERY misogynistic song where he talks about pussy in a very provocative way (with Trina as the featured guest acting in a dominant role controlling her own body towards her suitors).

And honestly for those who criticize him for only saying what he likes, what would it mean for say a gay male or a trans individual to dance to “Wowzers” over “Throw that Boy Pussy”? I think it is very liberating for a queer individual to have an artist who mimics their behavior of “ratchet,” or sexual performance. Otherwise, they would be forced to find their agency in heteronormativity, and they shouldn’t have to. 

Props to you homie.

 


“Gay men, specifically those who are deemed by society as deviant from heteronormative behaviors, i.e. effeminacy, are conveyors of “cool” more than ever before. The sad part about it all is that these conveyors are cool are akin to nothing more than a purse de jour or Pink Friday MAC lipstick for women, specifically black women. A trend where the originator is still considered invisible as a viable part of society, let alone a caricature meant for entertainment of those who oppress them.”
— Daniel Warhol

Vogue Knights- June 17th, 2012 (2nd Part) (by fdhobson)

Vogue Knights- June 17th, 2012 (by fdhobson)

Never Forgotten

What Does Frank Ocean Coming Out Mean For Him And For Black Music?

Why the Odd Future singer’s revelation is a historic moment for the hip-hop generation.

Frank Ocean heard the whispers. On Monday (July 2) the singer faced allegations of being gay after a UK journalist questioned Frank’s choice of pronouns on songs from his forthcoming debut album Channel Orange. Words like “him” were used in places where we’re used to hearing “her.”

Inquiries made to Ocean’s publicists for any sort of statement or clarification from the 24-year-old singer-songwriter went unanswered. The rumors could have been dismissed as just that, rumors. Then Frank spoke. Just after midnight, an hour into July 4—America’s day to celebrate independence—Ocean freed himself, finally.

Read More HERE.

Walk for Me, and Werk While Doing It…by F. Daniel Hobson

"To live so completely impervious to one’s own impact on others is a fragile privilege, which over time relies not simply on the willingness but on the ability of others-in this case blacks-to make their displeasure heard"

For those that do not know, I am a part of the Ballroom culture (not as much of a participant as I was in the past, but still have strong ties within it). and one thing that really pisses me off is the exploitation of it’s people. From Azealia Banks’ blatant rip-off of Queen’s English to her and Lady Gaga’s calling their “spectacles” by the same name as the elaborate and competitive filled “balls” the community produces, to every black woman’s implementation of the occasional “Honey”, “Chile”, “Life”, “Shade”, etc. It is becoming an instance of a culture being taken from those who have no place to belong to in the heterosexual patriarchal society designed to exclude them. 

I have gone to these events, and participated, over the past seven years, and recently every now and then you will see the white spectators who will occasionally stand in their groups, shunning the actual performers and house participants, as they don their little digital cameras to snap photos of the nameless individual who gets called out by “Jack” and “Selvin” to hit a dip. They sit in the balconies, sip their drinks, and in reality have no idea what work went into these performances. they just witness the “spectacle” and not the “ritual” (to take bell’s words from “Reel to Reel”). I remember going to Vogue Knights in NYC, and you would see the occasional white “queen” or “white cunt” come out for OTA Never Won, or Never Walked, and the crowd would go up (because, of course, there are still hints of whiteness and white society being praised and adored because what it ultimately stands for), and they would go back to their friends and kiki, and you would NEVER see this white person EVER again, and definitely not at a major ball. Why? [The million dollar question]

You see these people like Chris Brown and Lil’ Mama voguing in videos, you see Beyonce doing the “Leiomy Lolly” and Willow Smith whippin’ her hair harder than the Legendary Yolanda Jourdan. You see Big Sean with his ASS out in skinny jeans that would make a vogue femme blush, and Lil’ Wayne in jeggings that would make the occasional BQ Realness look harder than the thug on the corner (and there are men in the scene who walk these balls who do such). You have Nicki Minaj and Azealia [again] pulling out their limited-edition gay cards to get the queer buck.  These stars exploit our culture, but then do little to support it. 

The problem is most people in the scene do not understand when they are being sold a dream, when they are being exploited, used, abused, and tossed away when they are done. The problem lies in the fact that many of these people are still in dire conditions while those who worked with them are making guap off of their success.

Just a few weeks ago, a “sister” of mine [Lorena (Escalera) Xtravaganza] was killed amidst a fire in her apartment, and all the Times could say was that she was 25, curvaceous, and that her neighbors thought she looked good “for a man”, and that she always had ads up on sex sites. Fuck the fact that she was a human being who lost her life, regardless of being transsexual [not a drag queen or transvestite], but they viewed her as a spectacle, an object, which is what a lot of these “spectators” do to various individuals in the scene.  In the words of hooks, as she describes Jennie Livingston’s documentary film, Paris is Burning,

"Much of the film’s focus on pageantry takes the ritual of the black drag ball and makes it spectacle. Ritual is that ceremonial act which carries with it meaning and significance beyond what appears, while spectacle functions primarily as entertaining dramatic display."

Most of the inherent rituals and historical texts within the Ballroom are not as readily visible to those who only spectate as an outsider of the community [both the Ballroom and the urban Black community], so it is easy to see a lot of these things only for what is presented on the surface. In the case of white spectators, it is even easier to overlook a lot of historical content apparent within the ballroom, and just see the spectacle of what is on the floor. 

An Eulogy for a ‘Queen’ by F. Daniel Hobson

No, I am not doing this to add to the growing number of media sources that showcase both harsh and inaccurate criticisms of a ‘boy who dressed in women’s clothes’ [Thank you for rewording your article as the first was very offensive,  Jess Wisloski, ], nor will i talk candidly about the men she brought back and forth into her apartment or the sex ads she posted on websites, and whatnot [Really NYTimes? And a group of ‘transgender performers’ to describe her family? How disrespectful ] All of that is not important to me, nor do i think it should have been said, but the media is what it is [Although THIS article did give her a little bit of dignity of some kind.] 

I am doing this because I lost a good friend. Albeit one that I referred to as a sister on more than one occasion, because of my affinity for her as a human being, and an artist.

We came from the same community, and I heard of her through our participation in the Ballroom Scene. I at the time was a budding photographer armed with a broken Canon XT, attempting to shoot some of the most beautiful people New York City had to offer. One of my times back in the city after I was interning at VIBE Magazine, I met Lorena at Escuelita’s, a popular hangout for LGBTQ youth where performances by local entertainers were broadcasted. It was the modern-day equivalent for Sally’s Hideaway (a popular transgender spot during the 80’s-early 90’s). Drag Queens, Femqueens (transsexuals), Gogo Dancers, Ballroom participants, LGBTQ self-identifiers, Heterosexuals, celebrities, you name them, they stepped foot in this local spot. It currently escapes me what actually was occurring that night (probably a mini-ball), but I remembered that night I met Lorena.

Besides one or two individuals in my house, I never really talked to many femqueens in the scene, and I definitely never worked with one, but I recalled Lorena from her videos on Youtube as one of the new “It” girls of the Ballroom Community. She was just starting out, made her debut a year before, and rocked the Ballroom with her beauty and her “realness” (The main categories she walked in this community were “FQ Face”, which admired the feminine qualities of 5 prominent facial features [Eyes, Nose,  Teeth (smile) , Structure (overall proportion and symmetry), and Skin (Clearness and Evenness)] and FQ Realness (Being passable in mainstream society by successfully eliminating any cultural markers that you were born a male) [It must be noted that this category differs dramatically depending on the gender/sexual identity the participant who walks a category of Realness identifies as]. She also walked Sex Siren (which praised the sex appeal an individual possesses), and Lorena Escalera was all of these things. I gave her my card that night and went about my way for the rest of the night, eventually meeting her again a few months later at the Latex, where she saw me sweating in a three-piece black tuxedo attempting to get various shots at the event. She    cooled me off with her ornate fan she donned a few hours earlier [Yes, these functions last for many hours], and proceeded to have conversation with me about working together. I was surprised she remembered me, because I was still fresh and not as popular in the scene as she was, but she gave me her contact information and we eventually made a date to shoot.

My first time working with Lorena, I was surprised at her bravery and unbothered attitude about life. She sat in a local Starbucks around Columbus Circle waiting for me, in a multi-colored off-the shoulder number, hair done in a low chignon, and a face with minimal makeup prepared for the shoot that day. It was over 90 degrees that day and burning, so she retouched her makeup every few minutes with a golden compact she carried in a small black clutch.  Being the gentlemen I was, I offered to carry her luggage.  She changed into her first outfit which was a black ruffle dress that she wore in a popular Youtube clip that introduced her to the world. For a crowd of hundreds, there she stood, brave and unabashedly confident, mimicking the W Magazine editorial of pop singer Madonna and her boyfriend Jesus Luz we used as inspiration for her looks. The crowd looked on, and marveled at her beauty, and commented on her performance, except one lady. Tattered and worn, she heckled us for almost an hour straight, spewing various hurtful epithets at Escalera, calling her everything from “whore” to “bitch”. Lorena just stood there, laughed at her, and continued on with her shoot. Always the professional, we stayed in this area for two hours, before the lady became more and more overwhelming, I proceeded to yell back at her, in clear anger, and she only got louder, blocking my shots, until we decided it was best to leave.

We went to Christopher Street, which was a lot more liberal than Columbus Circle had been that day. These streets held a vast history for the many LGBTQ individuals that walked them, from homeless youth, to transsexuals working as escorts, down to the local kids who vogued at the pier. Lorena and I knew these streets all too well. It was then I got to learn more about this mysterious figure. She informed me how she had recently become a FQ [femmequeen, or transsexual female]  around the age of 19-20, roughly the same time we came into the scene, but when she was growing up she was always “really really cunt (feminine)”. I found this to be astounding, considering we were both 22 at the time, and for her to be as stunning as she was with minimal cosmetic surgery, she was completely passable as a woman, a beautiful one at that. She ended up moving to New York in the hopes to better her chances, staying with a few of her house members from “The Royal House of Xtravaganza”, a collective of various individuals (both heterosexual and LGBTQ) who all performed across the world within the Ballroom Community, as well as outside of it-her first and only house at that point. She considered her ‘gay parents’ to be the overall parents of her house, Icon Father Jose Xtravaganza, popular for his time as one of Madonna’s legendary dancers during her Blonde Ambition Tour and the popular video “Vogue” that solidified Ballroom in the mainstream, and Icon Mother Carmen Xtravaganza, a popular entertainer in the community who also was one of the notable personalities in the Jennie Livingston-produced documentary, Paris Is Burning [You may recall her iconic line, “…but that voice, is STILL THERE” when referring to the significant changes her sister Brooke went through to become a gender reassigned female]. We discussed everything from who we liked/disliked [she really loved Beyonce and the model Joan Smalls], the categories we both walked [She told me the ‘Body’ category she walked with a popular male figure in the scene the night I met her was merely a ‘favor’ to him, and she never considered it a valid asset to her repertoire of things she was good at, regardless of the fanfare she received], what we disliked about being in the community [‘the girls can be very shady, and jealous’], and where we hoped to be in our lives.

We went by the pier and so many passerbys stopped to comment on her beauty with each click, and she would constantly readjust herself and i would cover her so as to not leave her exposed for those to see. We walked back to the stop on the 1 Train and as we walked I saw how she spoke to the male streetwalkers. Very seductive, like a vamp tempting the allured, I told my own mother Jahaira and uncle Derrick (the latter who was a bigger brother of hers in her house) how I feared for her: partly because she was so beautiful, and the other because she was so NICE. It was scary to see, because you always heard stories about these tragic female personalities who were killed, raped, or sexually abused in cold blood by their admirers, especially on a street such as Christopher (One being Venus Xtravaganza). I felt like she was a sister of mine I wanted to protect and look out for, although she was not in my house, even though I would later feel like a little brother, because I looked up to her because of her proudness, her bravery and her love and admiration for her loved ones. I use that word incessantly, because that’s the best terminology I can give to describe her: BRAVE…and FEARLESS.

We worked together one more time in 2010 a year later. We both accumulated a bit of experience in the scene due to our respective categories and lives outside of the scene. By then, she became a premiere performer in the NYC Metropolitan area, renowned for her performances of everyone from Beyonce (her most notable), Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj. If you ever saw her perform in person, it was a true experience. I was shocked because you never expect someone to be SO GOOD to the point of perfecting the performance better than the individuals who created them. She later would travel overseas to Ibiza, Spain and wow the crowds internationally as well. Armed with her own Hair and makeup artist, Victor Noble (who i later became friends with as well) we turned out another photoshoot in Brooklyn. Again hecklers of young female teens from a high-rise window shot epithets of ‘SLUT’, ‘WHORE’, etc. to an unaffected Lorena. In fact, she laughed along. Again, I admired her bravery and her strong skin as she went ahead with the shoot, giving her 100% like any other performance on a main stage. After the shoot was done, she lit a blunt, and all three of us smoked it heading back to the train station.

Since then, she became one of my STRONGEST confidantes in the community. I called or texted her many times over the past two years, either to ask her advice, plan her next shoot [she was in Ibiza at the time so it never came into fruition], or talk about things that bothered me such as my own self-esteem issues being in the community, being kicked out of my house, or to get her opinion on effects or categories i planned to walk in the scene, and she would always have something positive to say. Always smiling, always joking, always in a light mood, she sought out to conquer the world, so to speak. I’m sure she had many more high hopes as we all do in life, but the life she led was nothing short of BRAVE and to be lauded. She did so many things people of her age and identity dreamed to do, and she did it VERY WELL.

Lorena, La Reina, You truly were a princess of your house and symbolized all things ‘xtravagant’. You gave your all in everything you did, was a positive role model for the community you were a part of and etched your statement into every person’s lives that you touched. There will never be another woman quite like you, because you truly are THE QUEEN. Sleep with the Angels now. God has you. My condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

'Paris Is Burning': Diddy 'borrows' title from documentary on NYC LGBT culture

Rapper turned business mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has never been shy about his affinity for opulence. He’s been bragging about his bank roll for years (in songs like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems”), and he even named his latest attempt at the next best thing in musicDirty Money. So it’s no surprise that the trend continues with his latest creative project, Paris Is Burning, a short documentary film about extravagance.

Diddy released the first trailer yesterday, shot by French director Julien Bachelet. The 1 minute clip follows the Ciroc owner through a maze of screaming paparazzi as he hops in and out of his limo to attend a fashion show, shop for Rolex watches, and simply enjoy the life his wealth affords him.

As he shops, he muses to the camera, “I’m fresh out the store, you see how we do it… collecting Rollies…. I’m a have over 100 Rollies within the next month.”

Me on The Luna Show #70 (Circa 2009)

What Black History Month Doesn’t Teach You About the Harlem Renaissance

As one looks more into the politics of respectability—a discourse that displays how many members of the black middle class strive to silence what they deem to be the moral inadequacies of those most marginalized, we are able to identify historical instances that were stifled in their time period and still today. We must reclaim the stories (and most importantly the histories) of those who have been pathologized throughout the generations. I believe we can find stories that add to black history if we begin to take a closer look at the individuals who were cast aside and labeled deviant by black and white societies. One of these narratives is that of the Ballroom Scene and how we can place this subculture’s origins back into the Harlem Renaissance, a time where some of the most salient black art found its inception.

In the early 1920’s the Hamilton Lodge Ball became the most popular yearly assembly of the LGBTQ community. This is the earliest documentation of what now can be considered the origins of the ballroom scene. The Lodge Ball that took place in the Harlem neighborhood of New York was documented in several newspapers throughout two decades, and was highlighted for having majority black audiences and participants. .

The organizers of this ball— “Hamilton Lodge No. 710 of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows” – called it the “Masquerade and Civic Ball” officially. However, it was also known in Harlem as the “Faggots Ball” by the late 1920’s. In 1937 the ball recorded having up to eight thousand guests who attended. An observer of the Hamilton Lodge Ball explained that the ball brought together “effeminate men, sissies, ‘wolves,’ ‘fairies,’ ‘faggots,’ the third sex, ‘ladies of the night,’ and male prostitutes…for a grand jamboree of dancing, love making, display, rivalry, drinking, and advertisement.”

Balls similar to the Hamilton Lodge Ball found more space and popularity in New York. However, Balls and the Ballroom scene in the 1920’s and 30’s was not exclusive to New York. There are newspaper articles that can locate similar LGBTQ Masquerade and Civic Balls happening— in the same time period— around the country including places like Chicago, New Orleans & Los Angeles. However, the Hamilton Ball in Harlem, due to its stature gained the most attention. George Chauncey, a historian, argues “at least a handful of other cities hosted gay subcultures of considerable sizes and complexity.”

These subcultures that were known as “faggot balls” but would contemporarily be categorized, as “drag balls” would eventually evolve into what is now known as the House Ball. These multifaceted queer and of color subcultures—found as far back as the 1920’s—have always been social spaces of safety and acceptance for those involved in the ballroom scene.

Those who thought they were a disgrace to the black community have often muffled these spaces of safety for members in the LGBTQ community of color. Some have tried—sometimes succeeding— at erasing these instances from black history. Others have tried to separate these stories and disengage them from the black experience. During this black history month we need to retake ownership of this history of the Ballroom Scene as having a place in one of the great eras of black history. We must continue to fight against the politics of respectability and show the generations to come that even those who are most disenfranchised create a culture of resilience, resistance, and spirit. This is the Black History that I care to know, just as much as any other history.