You are invited to one of this year's most highly anticipated events.... FLAWLESS! For people who have been following The 7 Magazine, you all know that 7 is my favorite number. For about 4 years now I've anticipated 07.07.07 and now it's fastly approaching. There is no way to predict the future but there are things and events in life we look forward to and this is one of them. I would like to invite you to come share what promises to be a magical evening in New York City. This party will bring a new flavor to the social scene. Come to have a good time. Come to meet someone new but whatever you do... COME! FLAWLESS 07.07.07.
As we glide into June we get to slide down yet another rainbow. Yes, June is Gay Pride Month or at least it is here in New York City. There will be PLENTY going on this month so grab your Next and H/X Magazines and plan your calendar.
In this issue you will discover The Shadow's take on what pride means to him. FLAWLESS model for the 2nd year in a row, Maurice Murrell lets us in on how his life has been over the past year. This coming MONDAY on The & Show, Jared and I talk with Devon Christopher, Publisher of Bleu Magazine about his involvement with the Gay Prom. This promises to be an affair to remember.
Special shout out to CLIK Magazine. CLIK is our national magazine sponsor for a FLAWLESS Engagement held on Saturday July 7th, 2007. Mark your calendars, this is an event you won't want to miss. It is for the grown and sexy only. Check out our announcement later in the magazine.
I had the opportunity to bond with some of New York's finest party promoters, check out my recount of my experience in "Boys in the Woods". Speaking of parties, Men Are From Mars returns with what promises to be 2 ULTRA HOT parties so make sure you are there. Friday we will be tearing down the walls on Friday, June 22nd at Webster Hall with SHOWCASE and Sunday, June 24th: Return to MARS at MARS2112. These parties are going to be crazy packed with boys wall to wall so don't miss it. Visit our new website: www.menarefrommars.net Enjoy this month and remember to be PROUD of who you are. Also, feel free to remind someone close to you how thankful you are to have them in your life. That's PRIDE!
1. So, you were were FLAWLESS last year for the month of JUNE, how does it feel to be FLAWLESS one year later?It feels absolutely, fantastically, Flawless. Lol... It makes me feel ecstatic, because this all coincides with CLIK. I just found out I have a spread in the magazine again for winning the cover contest and here I am being FLAWLESS again. Suffice to say, I couldn't be happier and I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart. There are so many good looking guys out there whom should be here, but yet here I am, representin' for the underdog; the lil guy..once more.
2. How has your life changed in the past year?It's been real weird. As again..I'm not a model if you let me tell it. I did the magazine and since then I've done over 5 magazines, two calendars, a book cover, two art/coffee books, an up and coming movie, and two fashion shows (go figure at my height during NY fashion week). From that, the transition has been writing for a couple of national magazines and being published in a book...man its been a crazy year.
3. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment to date?The movie, the book cover, the interview for The & Show, the magazines, the writing and art direction behind the scenes..but most importantly, deciding to become a foster/adoptive single parent..but that is another topic in itself.
4. When you look in the mirror what do you see now compared to what you saw 5 years ago?I'm sharing this with you as someone else might be going through it as well. Up until this year January 07, I hated the way I looked. I mean truly hated. This year, that stopped through various reasons. Its been a beautiful transition mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know I would get the question, "but if you hate the way you look, how could you do all those things (magazines, covers,etc.)?" For me it was easy to separate the two, because again.. modeling is based on a projected perception. I will say on a more shallow level (if there ever was any), I've had guys that wouldn't talk to me five years ago try to talk to me now, some not even recognizing who I was....funny huh?
5.What is your definition of GAY PRIDE?Being proud to be you. We hate ourselves as a community so much that we celebrate the more "anti-gay" one. Being DL and "Straight-acting" (no one ever notices the word 'act') makes you more desirable in our community. Gay pride is about so much more. It's about loving all and everyone in any aspect of being masculine, feminine, open, flamboyant, and reserved. Its just about being Gay and being proud of that. I say for this year and for all the rest to come, "Love whoever you are, don't let anyone tell you differently....baby..we are all beautiful in all shapes, sizes, colors and demeanor.
6. Describe your ideal mate.I wrote about him in my blog and it will be featured in a book. The piece is called,"I can't tell you what he looks like" In a nutshell, he's not about looks and trying to be in everything. He's easy. He's affectionate, he's sharing and committed. He loves to eat and chill; while going out and bringing it home. He gets what it is to be in a relationship, because more importantly he's not selfish or self-absorbed. He gets me together in every way and does it for me even when I'm not in his presence. He's already here...I just don't know his name yet.. 7. Where is your favorite place to visit and why?Hawaii. I've just always wanted to go for the beauty of it all. I love the ocean, the wind, the scenery. It just feels like a beautiful place to be, to clear it all and that is where I will be. Very soon.
Thanks to Gary English, Michael Robinson and the staff at POCC in Brooklyn, New York City’s top promoters were able to have a meeting of the minds to plan for a more exciting future for Black Gay New York. It was a warm May afternoon when Brooklyn bar owners Calvin (Langston’s) & William (The Chocolate Bar), celebrity bartender (Lloyd), The Hot Boyz (Rich & Raheem), Mike Haynes-Ebony & Dray Ebony, Derrick L. Briggs, Ken & Kevin (Langston’s), Rodney (First Fridays) and yours truly, loaded a bus and headed north for four days.
The bus pulled up in front of POCC about 15 minutes before our departure time. Everyone scattered for their last minute snacks, liquor and whatever else they needed for this retreat to Lake George, New York.After a four-hour drive we pulled in to The Sagamore, a beautiful resort tucked away in the mountains of Lake George. As we grabbed our things and disembarked from the bus, Sagamore staff greeted us and took our names and bags to our rooms. We then entered a historic white house were we picked up our card keys and paid for incidentals. Our appetites were satiated with fresh fish, chicken, salads (pasta & green), vegetables and yes… DESSERT!
My stomach was full so I headed back to my room to rest and allow my food to digest. Besides it was getting late and I wanted to be fresh for our first day of this empowerment seminar. The temperature had dropped significantly so it was a little brisk at night. I lucked out and ended up with a room to myself so I was able to let my hair down and walk around naked. I lounged across my bed and watched Heroes. Unbeknownst to me, my peers were all gathering at the bar having cocktails. I was later advised that I was being anti-social for missing the bonding session. I was drained from the bus ride and I really wanted to enjoy a good night’s rest in the comfortable king-sized bed.
I woke up bright and early because I wanted to dive right into what was in store. I took a hot, 20-minute shower, got dressed and headed to the conference center. It was chilly and a bit damp out but the scenery was breath taking. It was great getting out of the city. The air was fresh and I could hear sounds very nostalgic of my country upbringing in Augusta, Georgia. As I walked into the conference center I was greeted by the smell of fresh bacon, fresh baked pastries and coffee. The wait staff smiled and provided everything I needed. There was orange juice, cranberry juice and even tomato and pineapple juices! The spread was LAID OUT!
Evelyn, a very knowledgeable woman who stood about 5’5”, and weighed about 120 pounds, with locked hair and an infectious laugh, greeted us into the seminar. She was to be our fearless leader for the next few days. She was the one who created paradigms for us to cause shifts in. She was the one who made us sit face to face and have what was called “Straight Talk”. Under her leadership we were able to come together and set standards for how to create a better New York for the Black Gay Community.
On this day Fred Pierce and James Saunders, who drove up the night before, joined us. It’s amazing what a little communication can do to enhance relationships. Things were said and brought up that happened years ago and I had no idea that it was being held onto. However, through this work, we were able to put our differences aside to create common goals for our future. Some of our goals were to make New York City the #1 hot spot for Black Gay Entertainment and Night Life. We also want to lower the percentage rate for the spread of HIV with more outreach. We hope to expose the community to things that are culturally based so that it’s not just about “THE PARTY”. We as men have so much more to offer, we just don’t have the outlets and we don’t show up in large numbers to events where we can’t pick up a date.
The night before we were to head back to New York, we all gathered in Michael’s room for some libations and conversations. We ended up playing “dirty hearts”. If you have ever played this game, you know where it can end up depending on the players. For the most part I managed to escape some questions, however, I was caught twice with hearts. The game was fun; it showed that we all have that human side to us. I think what happens is that people take party promoters for granted, in that they think that’s all we do. Never mind the fact that we have to be present at the parties each week, we have to make sure that the word is out there about the party to assure a decent crowd and the list goes on. After that evening, I felt closer to my peers and ready to create a better tomorrow.
The next morning I woke up with a slight hangover, I swear three drinks do it every time! I wanted to be sure to have a full breakfast since my next meal wouldn’t happen until I got back into the city. These last few hours were crucial to complete the four days. We needed to walk away with a plan. How did we plan to execute our goals? The reason we were brought to this place. It was clear that once we all got back to the city, we would get wrapped up into our regular lives again. We each committed to doing our best to make a difference. Only time will tell what these powerful black men can and will accomplish so with that said…. IT’S ON! New York is on the RISE!
Contact: Dana BaxterESSENCE212email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECIARA, LUDACRIS, NE-YO, THE O’JAYS with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, ROBIN THICKE AND STEVE HARVEY added to the essence music festival.Nation’s Largest Annual Celebration of Black Music and Culture
“Coming Home” to New Orleans July 5, 6, 7
New York, NY (March 26, 2007) – In an all-star lineup, Ciara, Ludacris, Ne-Yo, The O’Jays with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, Robin Thicke and Steve Harvey have been added to the Essence Music Festival roster, it was announced today by Essence Communications Inc. These artists join previously announced Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.“Ciara, Ludacris, Ne-Yo and Robin Thicke are amazing performers, new to the Essence Music Festival stage and we’re so thrilled to have them,” says Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc. “The O’Jays with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, along with Steve Harvey are all a part of the Essence Music Festival family and we welcome them back to New Orleans for our coming home celebration.”The annual celebration will also kick off with a star-studded opening night gospel extravaganza.The night-by-night schedule of performances will include:THURSDAY, JULY 5 FRIDAY, JULY 6 SATURDAY, JULY 7Main Stage Main Stage Main StageGospel Opening Ceremony Robin Thicke Ne-YoCiara Steve Harvey Lionel RichieLudacris Chris Brown Mary J. BligeThe O’Jays with Keith Sweat Beyoncé Maze featuring Frankie Beverlyand Johnny Gill
Tickets for the evening concerts are on sale immediately at ticketmaster.com, (800) 488-5252.
A portion of the proceeds will support the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools in New Orleans. For updates on performers, hotel accommodations, ticket prices and weekly promotions log on to www.essence.com.
Sponsors of the 2007 Essence Music Festival include presenting sponsor, Coca-Cola; major sponsors Budweiser, McDonald’s, and the U.S. Army; and official sponsors L’Oreal Paris and Vaseline. Additional sponsors will be announced in the future.The 2007 Essence Music Festival is produced by Essence Festivals in association with Festival Productions Inc. – New Orleans and AEG Live. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). ECI is also the publisher of ESSENCE magazine. ESSENCE, after 36 years, continues to be the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women.
Stephen Andrieux, a New York-based entrepreneur recently launched his long awaited webzine, kuttinedgeonline.com. After three years of development, Kuttinedgeonline.com has been met with great reviews and membership to the developing site and is growing everyday. The site recently celebrated its 500th member. A great accomplishment for an idea that has been met with cynicism that all the black gay community is about is Sex, Flamboyancy and HIV.
When we asked Steve why he took on such a project he explained to us that this site was developed because of the many conversations he had with friends and acquaintances complaining about their website experiences. Although, met with some adversity that the site would be successful, he decided that it was worth the effort to support the community by providing positive representation of what it is to be black and gay in a world that still has a hard time accepting the people let alone what is considered to be a lifestyle.
“All I ever see is porn.”, “I want something that I can relate to.”, “ I want to see images of real men and women doing positive things.” Where are our leaders?”
Over and over he heard the same comments and he put people to the challenge. “Well, why do you do something about it he would say” and that is where it got silent.
Those conversations and experiences is what prompted him to pull together Kuttinedge. A website that helps empower, inform, educate, build pride, develop stronger bonds and relationships, and uplift the African American Gay community.
The site features many sections including News and Editorials, Profiles on people making a difference in the community, Health and Fitness section, Advice and Articles that will chronicle positive and negative aspects of relationships, Entertainment, Nightlife, Networking and an amazing Online Shopping Experience. Steve is calling this site the people’s site and giving them a voice. An opportunity for them to share a part of themselves and to let the world know that there is strength in our numbers and that we can indeed support each other.
The site led by Stephen Andrieux and Mathew Raoul, is well on its journey of becoming the place to go to for information and resources. Kuttinedgeonline.com will also feature a new online philanthropy PROJECT EDGE geared towards raising funds to aid in supporting the gay – African American community at large. PROJECT EDGE will try to dispel the myth that the “ THE BLACKS DON”T GIVE” THEY DON”T SUPPORT THEIR OWN COMMUNITY!” Project Edge will award grants to organization and individual looking to make a difference, award scholarships, raise funds to aid in the fight against aids, and donate funds to organizations that help support the gay African- American population. One dollar of each Monthly paid membership ($9.95) will be donated to Project Edge to help build the bench towards supporting the community.
If your are interested in becoming a part of the experience Kuttinedge is currently looking for contributors who have a unique and Kuttinedge perspective on being BGLT. In addition they have been on a mission to contract with people in the community who have products such as books and music, clothing, jewelry that need a vehicle to get the word out about their product or service Kuttinedge has given upcoming author’s, such as Orean Chatman and Kevin E. Taylor, as well as bring feature programming such as Nathan “Seven” Scott and Jared Shuler’s, The & Show.
When you get a chance check out the site @ www.kuttinedgeonline.com let them know what you think.
Bleu magazine is making history by holding the 1st annual "Gay Prom" on Thursday June 7th. This idea came from the publisher who asked the staff one day "If you were to have your prom again, who would you take the second time around?". Most of us gay men were not able to experience prom the way we would have liked it, so Bleu Magazine which is more than a magazine, but a lifestyle decided to create an annual prom for those to experience it "their way" the second time around.
This prom is an all inclusive prom for anyone who felt they did not experience prom the way they wanted to. This includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and straight allies.
We will have performances by artist from the new gay label named Twist. The prom will be hosted by one prominant man in the gay community Nathan Hale Williams. It is expected to be a night full of memories, fun and laughter...a night one would not want to miss!!
From rent parties, church fish dinners to Lou Rawls and Jerry Lewis telethons charitable has always been a vehicle to support causes we believe in and are passionate about. As we progress as individuals and a community, we somehow believe that the struggles for these causes no longer need our support to continue their existence. With cutbacks in governmental funding and corporate philanthropy it is now more imperative than ever that we extend ourselves in any way possible whether monetarily, volunteering our time or other resources. We all have a responsibility to assist in sustaining the existence of small organizations,grassroots efforts and causes that have and will continue to build and strengthen our community as a whole.
when it comes to your sexuality, how proud are you? that is a question that i’ve been pondering lately, and as this is pride month (at least in new york), i thought i’d bring the subject of gay pride to the forefront and have a little one-sided chat with you all. cool? ok, here we go…
i’m pretty gay. scratch that… i’m really gay. i’m in the process of interviewing the people in my life about who i am as an individual from their perspective. one of the questions i ask of said interviewees is, “what is something that everyone knows about me.” several of these people didn’t even twitch before they answered, “you’re gay” or “homo!” or something to that effect. at first, hearing this jarred me quite a bit. i mean, i am in no way (anymore) ashamed, scared or disappointed about my sexuality. i love who i am; but at the same time, there was a moment in hearing their answers where i found myself a bit unsettled in imagining that upon meeting me, one’s first thought could possibly be, “oh yeah… big fag!”
this then begged the question, “well, if that’s a concern of yours, then how proud are you of your sexuality?” how can i sit here as a comfortable, successful and self-loving gay man in one minute, and then be concerned about what others were going to say about my sexuality the next? it didn’t make sense, and i had to check myself very quickly. there was a time when i didn’t even want the voice in my head to know that i liked boys. nowadays, the voice in my head picks out which boys i should go and talk to at the club. that took a lot of work, but at the end of the day, i am able to look myself in the mirror and proudly acknowledge the fact that i like a good dick every now and then. and there’s nothing wrong with that.
that being said, i wouldn’t say that i now skip around the streets of new york, pride flag in hand, preaching the joys of my homosexuality; but i don’t necessarily hide it either. i am very proud to be a gay man, and even prouder to be a black gay man! there is something so special in that phrase “black, gay man”… something incredibly powerful. to sit here as a minority of a minority- happy with my life, and who i am regardless of how others view me is a tremendously great feeling. i’m not going to suggest that i have no problems and never run into any sort of scrutiny over my sexuality, but i will say that i’ve been able to overcome those situations through an understanding and a love for myself. i only have me… period. i can’t control you, your thoughts, your words, or your actions; so why even try? if someone has a problem with my being gay, i only have to remind myself that their problem has nothing to do with me, and then i’m good.
think about it. if someone you know, or even don’t know approaches you and makes some sort of negative comment about your sexuality, where does that come from? it certainly doesn’t come from you- you would never subject yourself to something like that. it comes from a space of fear, uncertainty, ignorance or just plain stupidity on the part of that person. it has absolutely nothing to do with you. maybe that person is fighting with their sexuality and is looking for a way to vent. maybe that person hates the fact that you are a lot happier in your gay life than they are in their straight one. who knows? all i know is that i can’t help being gay. i can’t help seeing boris kudjoe and getting all kinds of happy. i can’t help but to be the person i was created as- a black, gay man. and because i love the man that i am, i can’t help but to be proud!
so how proud are you? some of you are so proud of being gay that you can be seen on any given sunny day snappin’ for the kids up and down the west side highway. others show their pride with the magazines and tv shows they’ve created- giving the community a voice and calming the fears of both society at large, but also some of those still hiding very deep in their own closets. some of you are so damn proud that you throw parties for yourself commemorating the day you came out.
i don’t care who you are... a little gay, or a whole lotta gay. if you look inside yourself, eliminate all exterior circumstances, comments and concerns that are out of your control, and you find that you actually like, if not love the person you are; then you should be proud! so this year, as we enter gay pride 2007, make sure you celebrate! march in the parade. have a cocktail at your local gay bar. have a little cock. do something! celebrate who you are because you’re beautiful, you’re exactly who you’re supposed to be, and you’re worth more than you ever dreamed you could be.