Tag Archives: DJ Baker

You Are Not Alone: A must see documentary on black gay men and depression

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

The L.I.F.E Center in Inglewood attracted a record number of its congregation to attend a Friday night screening of a documentary on sex. Well not exactly sex but at the end of the 65-minute documentary the audience was up on their feet, standing, applauding the project’s ferocity and portrayal of black gay men dealing with depression. You Are Not Alone interweaves a single narrative on a man’s path to destruction with piercing interviews of over 20 gay men, mental health professionals, and religious leaders as well as a mother whose son committed suicide after being bullied because of his sexuality. The mother’s story is the most difficult to watch because her pain is visceral and present. The stories are blunt, brutal, and dark, but important and necessary to be heard by young gay men of color.

“A Black gay man dealing with depression should know that his mental illness is treatable and he need not suffer in silence; he is not alone,” said Antoine Craigwell. The interviews were conducted by Craigwell and Stanley Bennett Clay wrote and directed the project.

Craigwell has screened the movie in New York City, New Jersey, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. to raise awareness surrounding homosexuality, stigma, and depression. Mental health is often neglected in the black community. Sufferers are often looked down upon for seeking treatment and those who seek treatment often don’t continue.

The documentary traces the life of Cedric, a young professional whose early expressions of his sexuality were stomped on by his father. His father beat him mercilessly in an effort to eradicate any perceived traces of homosexuality and to force him to conform to his expectations. In a world that has become homophobically rabid, Cedric’s father’s violence lends itself to a segment of society that condemns and ostracizes anyone who demonstrates a departure from what is considered the norm. This father typifies many parents, whose reactions to their sons, are born out of fear of  homosexuality or how society will view their child. Cedric struggles to understand and accept himself, and is forced to live two lives: a hardworking businessman and a drug abuser, both collide and he doesn’t feel he has any reason to live.

You Are Not Alone started out as a book project. Craigwell interviewed a number of black gay men who experienced depression. The project changed shaped and Craigwell recorded some of the men who he had previously sat with. The film features Rob Smith, DJ Baker, Ty Martin, Jamaal Stone, Taylor Siluwe’, Rev. Kevin Taylor, and others.

“During many of the interviews, while the camera was over my shoulder, and as I was asking questions, I was also wiping tears from my eyes as I listened to the stories,” said Craigwell.

I had the pleasure of moderating the panel after the screening. The panel included: Antonie B. Craigwell, Stanley Bennett Clay (who wrote and directed the re-enactments), Lester Greene (who plays in the documentary), and Rev. Russell Thornhill of the L.I.F.E Center.

Check out the discussion below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Filed under The Written Word

Notes on Shoe Shine Boxes: Another Essex Hemphill poem

A young woman wearing pink high-heels at Helsi...

Image via Wikipedia

HOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Ronald Gibson, 20, was found shot to death in the 2700 block of Arizona Avenue, N.W. Police said Gibson was wearing a dress and high-heeled shoes at the time of his death. According to Homicide Det. Lloyd Davis, Gibson, also known as “Star,” hung out during the past two years in the area near 14th and Fairmont Sts., N.W., an area frequented by drag queens who solicit sex for money. Detectives say they have no suspects and know of no motives in the case.
 The Washington Blade, 1/8/82

The poemHOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Grief is not apparel.
Not like a dress, a wig
or my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
It is darker than the man I love
who in my fantasies comes for me
in a silver, six-cylinder chariot.
I walk the waterfront/curbsides
in my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
Dreaming of him, his name
still unknown to my tongue.
While I wait for my prince to come,
from every other man I demand pay
for my kisses. I buy paint
for my lips. Stockings for my legs.
My own high-heeled slippers
and dresses that become me.
When he comes,
I know I must be beautiful.
I will know how to love his body.
Standing out here on the waterfront/curbsides

I have learned to please a man.
He will bring me flowers.
He will bring me silk
and jewels, I know.
While I wait,
I’m the only man who loves me.
They call me “Star”
because I listen to
dreams and wishes.
But grief is darker.
It is a white dress
that covers my body.
It is a wig
that does not rest gently
on my head.


Published in Blacklight Vol. 4, No. 4

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

Toni Newman Interview with DJ Baker about LL Cool J and Eddie Murphy and other Celebrity Clients

Taken during MyCokeFest at Centennial Olympic ...

Image via Wikipedia

DJ Baker interviewed Toni Newman today on his 900th show, the Da Doo-Dirty Show. The Da Doo-Dirty Show is the longest running LGBT urban daily syndicated radio program on the internet. In the interview Toni Discusses her life on the street in Harlem and many of the clients she had as a transgendered prostitute including LL Cool J, the smooth rapper, known for licking his lips during concerts and interviews.

Click on the link below to hear the interview. The link goes to Podomatic.

The Da Doo-Dirty Show is an hour long. To skip to Newman’s interview scroll to 56:40 mark or listen to the whole Da Doo-Dirty show. In the show DJ Baker discusses:

  • Celebrity Apprentice and who goes home
  • Who’s joining the X Factor
  • Will Smith playing a slave in a Quentin Tarantino “Spaghetti Western
  • Oprah’s OWN Network
  • 50 Cent canceling his headphone line
  • Gay-bashing outside a Texas Gay Club
  • And out music news

Toni Newman Interview Discussing LL Cool J, Eddie Murphy, Brian McKnight, and many others (This is the interview link)

If you like DJ’s radio show  also check out his late night show below.

Continue reading


Filed under The Written Word