The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Shaded Me, And I Liked It

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 9.30.42 AM

Monday mornings typically start with me rolling over and banging my bald head on my cell phone, then checking one or two emails. Last Monday morning, I received a startling email from Instagram. The subject line said, Warning. I almost peed on myself.

“Hi,

We’ve removed or disabled access to something you posted on Instagram because a third party reported that it infringes their intellectual property rights.

We strongly encourage you to review other content you’ve posted to Instagram to make sure that it isn’t in violation of our Terms of Use. Accounts that repeatedly infringe our Terms may be deactivated.”

I responded immediately, but of course, the email bounced back.

In my head, I browsed through my Instagram feed and took note of all the copyrighted images. Almost every other person that I follow has a copyrighted picture of a celebrity, a company logo, or Kermit the frog sipping tea. On my Instagram, about 99.9% of the pictures and videos that I post I have personally taken. Then, I remembered the day before I went to Janelle Monae’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl. I had posted pictures and video from the concert, which was amazing. I developed a new level of respect for the uniformed artist. Did Janelle report me to Instagram I thought? Then, I thought about the several hundred Janelle Monae concert videos I have watched on YouTube. Song lyrics came to me: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under The Written Word

It happened. Reading at the Downtown Los Angeles Library for ALOUD

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 11.24.41 AM

Breaking out into a sweat, from running, into the auditorium is how my reading started. I was late for the sound check. Actually, I was the last person to arrive. I sat in my seat in the front row and listened to the first reader read the first five sentences of her piece. Then it hit, it was really happening. I was reading in the ALOUD series at the Downtown Los Angeles Central Library.

I had known about it for about five months and I pushed it to the back of mind. Work (my numerous gigs) came first. Turning in my thesis project for school was a priority as well.

event-detail-985-MFA1-2928

When I sat in the seat, my nerves tightened and made me question everything I had practiced for my performance. I stood when it was time for my sound check and everything came rushing out.

What follows is from later that day. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under The Written Word

Does Makeup Make The Man

B Scott Before and After Makeup

B Scott Before and After Makeup

In 2006, BET broadcast the 3rd season of its reality series, College Hill, and undraped its first ever openly gay personality, Ray Cunningham. Since that season BET has featured Miss Lawrence, from the Real Housewives of Atlanta, on Rip The Runway, but has lacked in airing more out talent. This year the network hired B. Scott to host the televised 106 and Park Pre-show of the 13th annual BET Awards.

Before taping started, BET asked the fashion columnist to put together a potential ensemble to wear. B. Scott requested Chris Brown’s stylist and instead BET asked B. Scott to work with their in-house stylists.

“After a few weeks of sending over mood boards and going over approved looks, we decided on a few options,” said Scott. “All of which were generally more masculine than what I would wear if I were able to decide on my own: blazers, long-sleeved dress shirts, black pants, and loafers.”

“We didn’t know at the time that Los Angeles would be in the middle of a record heat wave, and the options we selected just weren’t weather appropriate. The day before the show I spoke with BET’s style team and we agreed that it was okay to have a more weather appropriate ensemble option.”

The agreed upon ensemble was a sleeveless and button-down, long, black shirt and flowly black pants. A man or a woman could wear the outfit; it is a genderless look.

“Not only was it agreed upon among the stylists, I met with a producer of the show the night before and showed her the ensemble. She said it was acceptable and requested I send over a picture so that she could forward it to whomever she needed to. The picture of the complete outfit was sent over and everything was fine.”

But everything was not fine. After interviewing A.J. Calloway live, Scott said he was “yanked backstage” and told his “look from head to toe wasn’t acceptable.”

“I was returned to my trailer and forced to change into one of the other outfits while other producers waited outside. I changed quickly and returned to set, only to be told that I had been replaced by Adrienne Bailon and wouldn’t be going on at all.”

So what happened between the look being approved and the start of taping?

B. Scott, equally known for his gender bending look and entertaining YouTube videos, has had guest spots on various television shows such as Extra, Hair Battle Spectacular, DTLA, and even BET’s 106 and Park, where he appeared twice and in full gender bender mode. Was it the straightened hair, or the smoky eye makeup, or the high heels that had Scott yanked off air? Eventually, Scott was asked to return on-camera, in the approved and more masculine look: a navy blazer, dark dress shirt, blue slim pants, black loafers, and sans maquillage.

BET issued an official apology via the Associated Press and said:

“BET Networks embraces global diversity in all its forms and seeks to maintain an inclusive workforce and a culture that values all perspectives and backgrounds. The incident with B. Scott was a singular one with a series of unfortunate miscommunications from both parties. We regret any unintentional offense to B. Scott and anyone within the LGBT community and we seek to continue embracing all gender expressions.”

In response to BET’s statement, B. Scott said, “I want a real apology from BET. This was a not a mutual misunderstanding or miscommunication. I pride myself on being very professional.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the fashion columnist has suffered professionally due to his appearance. Scott was asked to step down as a columnist from the website, Concrete Loop, when fans left hundreds of derogatory and negative comments. Most recently, Scott left the FoxxHole, the uncensored radio station, due to an exclusitory environment.

Will BET lose viewers over this wardrobe malfunction? Some loyal Love Muffins, the handle for B. Scott fans, have already started boycotting.

A fan on Scott’s website said, “[BET’s] actions were uncalled for and their poor choices are a reflection of why many of us choose to no longer support the network.”

Another fan said, “I pray Deborah Lee [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET] is made to step down, as this is unacceptable.”

Lee, who has been at BET for 28 years, has been criticized in the past for the network’s less than positive programming and portrayal of young Black people. The juxtaposition of negative portrayals of young Black people and B. Scott is interesting on many levels because B. Scott, a young Black man, is known for his inspirational advice that he provides on his website and on various guest columns. One solution to this problem would be for BET to invite Scott to appear on 106 and Park and have Lee or another network executive to better explain the last minute yank on B. Scott’s ponytail and quickly before the incident morphs into a Paula Deen-outpouring.

Apple iTunes

Top 10 Hotel Picks! Save up to $15* with Promo Code HOTEL15. Book Now!

Leave a comment

Filed under News, The Written Word

Movie Review: I’m So Excited directed by Pedro Almodovar

Twenty minutes into Pedro Almodovar’s new comedy, I’m So Excited, moviegoers realize that the work is a mise en abyme, in which the inner frame of the story is an exact replica of the outer frame. In the outer frame, Leon, a Peninsula Airline Operator, discovers that his wife Jessica, also a Peninsula Airline worker, has been hiding her newly discovered pregnancy. Before the discovery, Leon (played by Antonio Banderas) sees his wife (Penelope Cruz) in the face of danger, and his immediate reaction later creates a catastrophic situation abroad the plane, he is prepping for take-off, which is leaving from Spain and heading toward Mexico.

“During the 80s, I made a lot of comedies,” Almodovar said in a sit-down interview. “So this was like returning to my roots. I think I just needed to make something lighter. It’s a light, very light comedy.”

The film is a definite departure from his more recent dramatic and critically acclaimed films, Volver, Bad Education, and Talk to Her.

In the inner frame of the story, the splendid hilarity that takes place onboard Peninsula Flight 2549, is amplified through personal phone conversations to loved ones on the ground. In a comedic twist, everyone on the flight, who has not been drugged into a state of twilight sleep, can hear the conversations. Also the spoken dialogue between major characters is condensed, eliminating unneeded details and creating a fast-moving pace.

The major characters in this comedy include: the senior flight attendant who cannot tell a lie, Joserra (played by Javier Cámara); the happily married pilot leading a double life with another man, Alex Acero (played by Antonio De La Torre); a hated and highly-frequented dominatrix, Norma (played by Cecilia Roth); an aging Don Juan-esque actor, Ricardo (played by Guillermo Toledo); and a virgin and delightfully amusing psychic, Bruna (played by Lola Dueñas). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under The Creative Spark

Video Q&A with Emerging LGBT Leader Carolyn Wysinger

The name Ruth Ellis may not be as familiar to you as Harvey Milk, but it should. Ellis, born in 1899, was the oldest living open lesbian and LGBT rights activist. Before she died in 2000, her life was documented in the film project, Living with Pride, directed by Yvonne Welbon. She came out as a lesbian in 1915 and in the 1920s she met Ceciline Franklin. They moved from Springfield, Illinois to Detroit, Michigan in 1937 and lived together for 30 years until Franklin’s death in 1973. During the three decades that they lived together, Ellis became the first American woman to own a printing business in Detroit and her home with Franklin became “a refuge for African-American gays and lesbians.”

Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100 is being screened at the Art Exchange in Long Beach, this Sunday, starting at 5. Emerging LGBT leader, Carolyn Wysinger, is one of the key people responsible for putting together the screening.

Carolyn Wysinger is an activist, writer, and event coordinator, whose goal is to build bridges within the LGBT community. She earned her B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Organizations that she is involved with include: BUTCHVoices and Black Lesbians United. She is also active in the local Long Beach community as a member of the Leadership Long Beach Class of 2013 as well as a Member-At-Large of the Lambda Democrats.

Qulture writer Victor Yates spoke to Wysinger about the life of Ruth Ellis and Sistah Sinema as well as her community work.

Watch the video above to learn more about Wysinger and go to Qulture.org for more LGBT news and information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interview

Los Angeles Pride: A video tour

Being a polysemic word, Pride means something noticeably different between members of the LGBT community. Whether it is getting the masses to sign a human rights petition, dressing in drag as a cultural protest, being able to safely hold hands with a loved one in public, or donning a colorful ensemble, these acts represent Pride. L.A. Pride is a smorgasbord of the above times twenty. It is the largest gathering of the LGBT community in Southern California.

The most attended event during the 2013 L.A. Pride Celebration was the parade, where more than a hundred organizations walked. The Pride festival, immediately following, held in beautiful West Hollywood Park, featured live entertainment on multiple stages, headline performances, various dance venues, and thousands of people. A nice addition to Pride this year was Momentum, a large-scale light and interactive installation in collaboration with ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Impact Stories, The Mazer Lesbian Archives, The Lavender Effect, and The Colors of Compassion. Momentum was curated by INSTALL:WeHo, a queer art non-profit, .

In the video tour, I ask, “What is L.A. Pride?,” and hope to answer the question.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, News

Interview with Out Trainer Octavio Pozos

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet. The work is a collection of ten letters between the Austrian poet Rilke and a 19-year-old officer cadet seeking Rilke’s critical analysis. In the first letter, Rilke advised the cadet to shed his external obligations in order to expand his internal life. Rilke believed that inward concentration could help a new writer to become a great writer.

Octavio Pozos’ coming out story reminded me of Rilke’s advice to the young cadet.

At 17, Octavio’s parents found him showering with his boyfriend at their home in Mexico City and they forced him to move out of the house. Without other family members willing to take him in, Octavio moved in with his boyfriend and had to decide quickly on how to support himself. In a decision that would transform his life, Octavio decided to train to become a group exercise teacher. If his dragon was being kicked out of his family’s home and his parents not speaking to him for 10 years, then his princess is his success as a personal trainer. Octavio is also a professional group exercise instructor and has found great satisfaction in helping others improve their bodies.

Watch the video to learn more about Octavio Pozos.

Photography: Tony Wisniewski, owner of Ultra Body Fitness Gym

You might also like:

DaftPunk on iTunes

Leave a comment

Filed under Interview