Tag Archives: Gay community

A Writer’s Year in Review

English: Hollywood Boulevard from the top of t...

Hollywood Blvd. from top of Kodak. (Credit: Wiki)

At the start of 2012, I experienced two major transitions: being accepted into a fiction writing program and moving from Long Beach to Inglewood. I knew the writing program would help me advance within writing, however I didn’t know what to expect. I had a publishing deal with a small publishing company, but I thought, why not workshop my book to get more eyes on the book. Their suggestions took the story from surface to being able to exist above the page. The story itself did not changed; I brought more of the contrast between race, immigrant life, religion, and identity out in front of the reader.

Beyond having breath breathed into my book, in 2012, I:

  • Read at the West Hollywood Library on 12/8/12
  • Was invited to read at the City of West Hollywood’s Pride Festival, “One City, One Pride” taking place in June 2013
  • Was invited to White House Briefing for Black LGBT Emerging Leaders 2, 24, 2012
  • Was invited to read at Soulful Salon, for In The Meantime, a LGBT community organization
  • Started writing for Campus Circle Magazine
  • Started writing for Qulture
  • Started writing for GBM News
  • Interviewed Frenchie Davis, DJ Danjazone (LMFAO’s Tour DJ), Diana King, DDm, and Orikl
  • Wrote my first poetry review for a literary journal
  • Submitted a fiction piece to one of my favorite literary journals
  • Read at my first book fair, West Hollywood Book Fair
  • Was published in the anthology, For Colored Boys
  • Started working as an Editorial Assistant for a academic publisher
  • Went to 10 author readings

On New Years Eve 2013, with a group of friends, I wrote down on paper what I did not like about 2012 and I burned it. With each new piece I completed, part of me was afraid to branch out and take my writing career to the next level (writing for a major magazine and be able to freelance write/edit for other publications). The paper turned from white, to egg-colored, to ashes in the fire pit in East L.A. While watching it burn, I reflected back on other details of 2012: I learned that I would be working for LAist.com (for the Spring term) and I made it to the Semifinalist round for the Point Foundation Graduate Scholarship. Also that I got the courage to submit new poetry to four literary magazines and I pitched an article idea to Essence magazine. No New Year’s Resolution to lose fat or be a better person, I want to reserve all my energy into writing. And whether or not all of those opportunities fall into place, I will keep striving to become a better writer and be part of the writing community.

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Reading at West Hollywood Library

West Hollywood Library Grand Opening & Dedication

West Hollywood Library (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood)

Recently I read from For Colored Boys at the West Hollywood Library with Antonio Brown and Jonathan Kidd (contributors to the anthology), and actor Jorge Ortiz. I edited and posted the reading on YouTube; please watch the videos and comment. I will be reading again at the West Hollywood Library during  the City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City/One Pride’ Festival in June.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question and Answer Session

Stay tuned for more information on the West Hollywood Library reading in June.

US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

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Film to Watch: Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness

Marriage Equality Interview Excerpt with David Wilson

Thomas Allen Harris‘ documentary, Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness, premiered at Aaron Davis Hall in New York April 26th. Harris’ film connects the Black civil rights movement with the gay civil rights movement for Marriage Equality. Marriage Equality, the documentary, “interweaves archival footage and photos with contemporary interviews to illuminate events surrounding the pivotal Massachusetts state constitutional convention on Same Sex Marriage which gave new momentum to the national same Gay Marriage movement as a Civil Rights issue,” according to Harris.

The documentary taken the perspective of communities of color stars Byron Rushing. Byron Rushing has been in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1983 (Ninth Suffolk district). A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, Byron is dedicated to human and civil rights and sponsored the gay rights bill. One of the original sponsors of the bill were Barney Frank in the 70’s.

Byron took the campaign for Marriage Equality into the Black community, “directly challenging many religious leaders, and defining the right to Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Rights issue on par with the liberation movements of the 1950s and 1960s.”

Byron Rushing @ Cambridge Rally Against Prop 8

Black, straight, and gay and transgendered civil rights ally, Byron was also the chief sponsor of the law to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Massachusetts public schools. He believes everyone, gay, transgendered, straight and oppressed, has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The documentary was commissioned by Tribeca Film Institute’s ‘All Access’ Program in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Dep. Byron Rushing, Consultation Spkr

Image by GC Media Hub 09 via Flickr

The director, Thomas Allen Harris, is an out and proud gay Black man, who was raised in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and New York City. Harris founded Chimpanzee Productions, Inc (I’m not a fan of the name) in 1992 and through the company produced and directed Marriage Equality the documentary. Other movies Harris has directed include: VINTAGE – Families of ValueÉ Minha Cara/That’s My Face (which aired on the Sundance Channel), and the Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela.

Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela Trailer

“Chimpanzee Productions utilizes a wide range of media, including video, interactive platforms, still photography, installations, performance, and film; to draw audiences into an internal and external dialogue that transcends the artificial barriers which separate people from each other and themselves.”

For more information on Marriage Equality screenings go to their website.

Listen to Thomas Allen Harris and Bryon Rushing on NPR on Talk of The Nation.

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