Overlooking a sparkling spring view of the Atlantic Ocean from a Fort Lauderdale hotel penthouse floor, I sat among an intimate group of activists and community service workers talking about art as activism and what makes that potentially igniting mix possible when it strikes. Several minutes deep into this discussion, we began exploring the idea of something that seems obvious when talking about it now but felt like a profound bit of news to us as we unpacked what the boom-bust history of movements had in common with one another when they each began. For instance, what did the works of Black women writers in the ‘70s that formed a new era in Black women’s fiction have in common with the ‘20s and ‘30s-era Harlem Renaissance workers who peopled Wallace Thurman’s “Niggerati Manor” in New York, many who’d go on to create the iconically single-issued Fire? Or, the Black gay men and feminist women of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC who comprised the first wave of Black gay and lesbian literature and documentary film in the ‘80s and early ‘90s have in common with Georgia’s Dungeon Family that helped launch Southern hip hop and R&B in Atlanta in the 1990s? What did socially conscious people who produced, however temporarily, societally challenging work that impacted both their culture and communities have in common?
February 20, 2019 – Atlanta, GA – Black people represent only 13% of the population but 50% of people living with HIV. The epicenter of that epidemic continues to be the Southern region of the United States and has been for some time. In response to the endurance of the epidemic and the anemic response to that epidemic as it relates to black Americans, particularly in the South, on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a group of activists and organizations are demanding change. The Counter Narrative Project, a national black gay men’s advocacy organization located in Atlanta, joined over 50 signees on a five-point statement of principled stances demanding the following: …
February 14, 2019 – Atlanta, GA – TheFulton County Board of Commissioners will deliver a proclamation honoring the legacy of a Black gay poet, HIV activist, and cultural pioneer who made both Black and American history, Atlanta’s own Tony Daniels. The proclamation will be presented during the February 20th Fulton County Board of Commissioner’s Recess Meeting at 10 am, in the Fulton County Government Center Assembly Hall located at 141 Pryor Street SW in Atlanta, GA. The proclamation is expected to officially be delivered by District 4 County Commissioner Natalie Hall of Atlanta.
I have a funeral Saturday. His name is Nathan D. Strickland, Jr. He was 28-years-old. After a lengthy battle, one I truly believed he’d survive, he “suddenly” succumbed to cancer. His marks the first death I’ve had in 2019 of a Black man, a fellow brother. He will not be my last. Last year, I experienced the deaths of 20 Black men. Last year I experienced the deaths of 20 Black men. Last year I experienced the death of 20 Black men. This stuttered trifecta of trauma was not a typo. It’s a weight that needs to be restated to be felt, to be heard, to be understood.
January 8, 2019 – Atlanta, GA – News outlets are reporting that the body of another black man has been found at the home of Ed Buck on January 7th. His name has not been released. Only a picture of his body on a gurney. In 2017 the body of Gemmel Moore, a young black gay man, had also been found at Buck’s home. Buck was investigated, but the L.A. County District Attorney’s office declined to file charges. In less than two years, two black men are dead, and Buck is free.
December 18, 2018 – Atlanta, GA – The Counter Narrative Project (CNP), a national Black gay men’s advocacy organization won the 2018 POZ Award in the Best Video Series category, for Revolutionary Health. “This is such an incredible honor. We are so very grateful for the support of our community,” said CNP Executive Director and co-host of the Revolutionary Health series, Charles Stephens. The Atlanta-based talk show also is co-hosted by the esteemed clinical practitioner and researcher David Malebranche, MD, who only one month before received a proclamation from the city of Atlanta for his local and national work in HIV.