For my Diary of a Natural Gal Style Files interview, I worked with an amazing crew to shoot the pictures. The photographer was Garen Hagobian and the stylist was Rico Cherry. I can’t wait to post the full interview here. Here is an excerpt:
Kisha Roby: I would describe your style as sultry school boy, where do you draw inspiration?
Victor Yates: Is that a good thing (laughs)? I use to only wear black and gray. That’s it. Then my best friend started picking out clothes for me that I wouldn’t normally wear. I went from school boy realness to wearing cowboy boots, with khaki linen cut off shorts, and shirts and sweaters from the 80’s. I love 80’s Adidas shorts, vintage designer clothes, and conversation pieces. Today so many things inspire me. I like patterns, textures, and bold colors and mixing things together that the average person might think is strange. Since moving to Los Angeles my thrift store obsession has grown. Buffalo Exchange and Wasteland are my top thrift stores in L.A. But out here thrift stores are like coffee shops.
Kisha Roby: When did your passion for writing begin? What is your ultimate dream for your writing career?
Victor Yates: I started writing poetry at 14, after reading Maya Angelou’s work. I loved libraries and would read a lot. Also, my mother loved books and she would buy books for me as well. I remember trying to read The Firm, by John Grisham, and not being able to understand it. I hope to write quality fiction books and venture into short stories and writing plays.
Photographer: Garen Hagobian
Stylist: Rico Cherry
Email: rico243@yahoo dot com
Interviewer: Kisha Roby for Diary of a Natural Gal
Check out the teaser video to my interview with Frenchie Davis for GBM News. She talks about everything from her new single and the video for, Love’s Got A Hold On Me, to the Voice vs. American Idol, to questions about sexuality. Stay tuned for the interview.
Frenchie at 12th annual GLAAD Tidings Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Chapter 1: Pages 1-5
Dad told us the drive was four hours. It’s been eight. He misread an interstate sign and drove the wrong way in Battle Creek heading toward Chicago. The windy city. Where we’re from. Where as a kid I hid in Harold Washington Library sneaking little peeks of naked models in photography books. We couldn’t figure our way out the gray
Image by mattbatt0 via Flickr
and green maze. Endless highway. Endless grass. Dad stopped at another gas station I never heard of. The whole time my obnoxious older brother kept screaming, “Move off me” at Ricky. He felt crammed. We’re all crammed thigh to thigh in the moving truck baking under Michigan heat, dad, my brothers, me. Reed Jr. or just Junior, my obnoxious older brother is asleep, thank God, on the passenger side. Reed Jr. hates to be called Junior. Between Junior and me humming to dad’s hand-me-down camera is Ricky. Ricky is 11. Sleep is a memory Ricky lost. Dad’s red eyes squint at something. Something he doesn’t see. His face scrunches up into a look of miserable confusion. We’re lost. I suck my teeth. As soon as I hear myself make the sharp sucking sound I know dad’s going to say something. I cough loudly to cover up the sound. A quick red-eyed glance isn’t burned into my face. Dad didn’t hear me, thank God. So we’re lost. Again. At least we’re lost inBeverly Hills. Our new house can’t be too far. Some people might be upset moving from where they’ve lived all their lives. I’m not. I cross my hands over my arms and close my eyes. Dad jerks my arm. “Stop that,” dad snaps. “That’s what girls do. It’s feminine.” Dad’s words are an instant Polaroid of summer. I’ve heard “girls do that,” “that’s feminine,” “that’s girly,” almost everyday. I stare at dad’s words in front of me like pictures from a front-page story too important to put down. Substitute the word feminine for gay. That’s what he’s really saying. It’s gay. I’m not. Gay. I haven’t done anything sexual with a guy. The closest I’ve come is with a friend, we weren’t really friends, he was in all my classes. There were slits in his bathroom door thin enough quarters could slide through to make a wish. He liked throwing knives at the door. It killed time. Sometimes I’d rub my fingers in the grooves. All smooth. Perfect for spying. The first time I watched him undress and shower was an accident. He wouldn’t go out unless he showered. We were talking about my photography assignment at Union Station. The shower came on. I heard the bathroom door close sitting in the living room. Guess I was too slow answering the Continue reading
Lina Jaros Series titled “Beyond the Walls”
i looked at my cell phone. mom called. i didn’t hear the phone ring. i purposely set the ringer to silent. hearing merry Christmas or happy anything makes me a bundle of nerves. the holidays remind me of family. i try to distance my family to keep the unspoken things between us unspoken. how do you articulate mom i’m gay over the Christmas turkey. mom that’s why i have never brought a woman home for the holidays. holidays are too awkward as a gay black man. there’s always an empty seat at the table.
i tend to disappear around the holidays. they remind me how lonely gay life can be. the longest relationship i’ve had lasted one year. we were young and thought we loved each other. i think we loved the idea of being intimate more. relationship building was a foreign language to me.
my dislike for holidays started in 99. my boyfriend and i were in college in atlanta. we were inseparable. i was supposed to spend the holiday with my family. i decided to spend time with my boyfriend instead. he had an apartment off-campus near lenox mall. i remember calling my grandmother saying that i would call her on Christmas eve. i didn’t call her. i didn’t call on Christmas either. i called the day after Christmas. i said i would call her the next day. i didn’t. i stayed at my boyfriend’s apartment until new years day. we watched the countdown on TV drinking Asti Spumanti champagne (I threw the cork and label away two years ago) and fell asleep on his fire engine red sofa bed. i caught the marta and bus to my grandmother’s house in stone mountain. the garage door was open, which wasn’t strange. i saw grandma on the cordless phone talking. she looked upset like she was crying. she was crying. she looked up at me, jumped up, and gave me a big hug. i thought someone had died. she thought i had died or something tragic happened to me because i didn’t call her. that stayed with me for a long time.
dog collars are to control
black, something written on it, in silver
he jumped up
i picked him up
men shouldn’t be so heavy
Image via Wikipedia
I gripped the steering wheel trying to press his number. I haven’t mastered the art of using a cell phone and driving at the same time. I got my license six months ago. That part of driver’s ed was omitted purposely by my instructor, Mr. Green. For what reason I do not know. Mr. Green is a tire expert. Mr. Green taught us that people die in car accidents because of two things. Losing control of their car and speeding. On the first day, he told the class when someone died in a car accident he was called to the scene, which I thought was rather odd. Why would a driver’s ed instructor be called on the scene. Mr. Green also owns a funeral home. At the time, when I heard this it didn’t make an impression on me. I was trying to remember what was the brake and what was the accelerator. The SUV in front of me braked hard. My leg shook. I looked at the license plate, the red flashing lights, back at the license plate. BGREEN. I eased back into my seat. Mr. Green didn’t see me.
he poses in the bathroom mirror
head tilted left
benson and hedges cigarette pressed
against dark lips
white towel around his waist
he smears foam shaving cream
little strokes, cut
memories of our mothers