Breaking Up and Growing On.

Breakups are hard. They can feel like a huge part of you has been ripped out of your chest, leaving you breathless and gasping for air as the world spins on. Heartbroken and heavy, we can feel alone in this new space that exists without the person we once held in such high regard. One second they were here with us, laughing joyously at everything that lights us both up, and the next, they disappeared out of our lives forever. Such a sudden change, if not handled with care, can create disruptions in our wellness and well-being.

When remembering the ache of such feelings in my own life, I realized just how far stretching the grief of these losses can flow. Furthermore, I recognized how the term “break-up” falls short in accurately describing our actual experiences. Most often the term is used only to describe the end of a romantic relationship, however break-ups come in many shapes and forms that all result in the underlying feeling of grief. Friends who have loved each other for years fall out, family feuds end in unforgivable disappointment, mentors show their true colors after years of gaining your trust. Each and every one of these break-ups can take hold of our hearts in an attempt to break us, but with a little reframing, we can use the pain of loss to show gratitude and appreciation for our time together. Additionally we can use that energy as determination to rise above, entering into the next chapters of our lives. Though their season in our life has come to what often feels like an abrupt end, the lessons they have taught us live on. So go ahead, be gentle with your heart and take some much needed time to remember what once was while celebrating what is to come.

1. Acknowledge Your Pain

News of break-ups often bring with it an onslaught of emotions. Ranging from feelings of hurt, anger, and sadness to confusion and even a bit of relief. No matter what feelings come up for you during this time, it is important that you acknowledge your feelings. When a sudden and drastic change occurs in our lives it is easy to overlook how it makes us feel. Instead of allowing our emotions to surface we can sometimes suppress them in an attempt to “just get over it”. Unfortunately emotions do not work that way. They come and go in their own time and it is up to us to simply acknowledge their existence in our lives. So no matter what comes up for you as you tend to and begin to mend the wounds of a breakup, be sure you are giving yourself, and your emotions, the space to exist freely and without judgement. 

2. Let it Out, Then Let  it Go

Once you have acknowledged your feelings and given them the space they need to become whatever they need to become, you now have to express them. Yes, you read that right, express them! Now I know some of you are thinking “wait, why would I want to go and do something silly like “express” my feelings”? Well, I’ll tell you why. Your emotions are sources of energy, and energy is meant to flow. The longer you hold onto your emotions, the longer they continue to build up inside of you. This build up causes stagnation, keeping us going around in circles instead of progressing forward. Not to mention, it can even sometimes lead to feelings of resentment years after something has taken place. Avoid these compounded feelings by simply letting them out, remembering that this can look however it needs to for you. Personally I write, and it also feels really really good to hit things so I kick box, but for you, it can be painting, dancing, running, meditating, creating something new or even joining a new kink group, the choice is yours. The point is, get up and let your emotions out! After all, life is about moving forward, not staying stuck. 

3. Be Patient With Yourself

After you start the process of letting go it is easy to beat yourself up when old feelings come up all over again. Starting to think things like “Uggghhh, not again, I already dealt with you”, you can start to feel as if your healing isn’t working, or at least just isn’t moving fast enough. My advice, SLOW DOWN. Break-ups of any kind are hard on us emotionally and they can require time, lots of time, for us to recover. Emotional growth is not a race, it is just that, growth, meaning it is a process, a journey, that takes patience, understanding, and time, but don’t worry, one day before you know it, the pain won’t hurt so much. 

4. Recognize that Your Break-Up Doesn’t Define You

Being half of a partnership or a core member on a team for so long can make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Providing feelings of connectedness we can easily feel happier around another person. If that relationship or connection ends, the emotional road traveled after is a slippery slope that if we are not careful can trap our minds into basing our self worth on an ended relationship. Accept this as a reminder not to do that. Nothing or no one other than you defines who you are, least of all a relationship of any kind.  Even if the relationship didn’t work out, that is not a testament to your character or who you are as a person. You can still get up and go be great without them. 

5. Fall in Love With Yourself Again

When in relationships of any kind it is very easy to give lots of our time, energy, money, resources, and even attention to other people. Though it is great to spend time cultivating important relationships, it is of the greatest importance not to forget the most important relationship of all, the one you have with yourself! Break-ups are harsh but they give you the space you need to be yourself again. You can do what you want, when you want, and always on your own time. This is a perfect time to enjoy life without having to consider the thoughts or feelings of anyone but yourself. It is a time to be completely and unapologetically selfish. Take yourself on a date, pick up that book you have been wanting to read, or even just sit back and relax with your own thoughts. Reconnect with what it was like to just be with yourself and allow your heart to fall in love with you,  as it  is one of the greatest gifts of all. 

Cast Your Vote for the SWEAT 2021 Hype Jawn!

VOTING STARTS NOW FOR THE SWEAT 2021 HYPE JAWN!!! Visit Tinyurl.com/HYPEJAWN to vote!

View the Video Submissions here and cast your vote now!

Voting Ends : August 22 @ 11PM EST



The SWEAT 2021 Team is looking for the LIVEST, HYPEST, LIFE-GIVING HYPE JAWN to party at the Biggest LGBTQIA+ Event in the Tri-State Area! Finalists will have the opportunity to audition LIVE for a spot on the SWEAT 2021 Team!

Who do you think should be the next SWEAT 2021 Hype Jawn?

Breeze @capturingqueens
Lola @lolaabarbieee
SaySo @youknow_sayso
Jemstyles @boss_jemfly

As seen in @visitphilly TOP Summer Event Pick of the Week, The SOLD OUT event SWEAT is BACK for the second installment of the BIGGEST POC LGBTQIA Dance Party in the Tri-State Area!

@themaineventphilly, @sway_philly & @jaylatay are SHUTTING CAVANAUGH’S RIVERDECK DOWN AGAIN w/ the SEXIEST Crowd, the DOPEST Vibes, and the HOTTEST DJ’s!

Date: Sunday, August 29, 2021, 3-8PM EST
Location: @cavsriverdeck
417 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19123

FREE PARKING
21+ for entry
LGBTQIA+
5 Bars + Food + Drink Specials
Riverfront Views
Beautiful POC Folk!
Contests + Games

Party Vibes provided by @djhoney215@Deluxxtheog & @mrtryfe
Hip-Hop, Trap, Reggae, Afro-beats, House, Club Hits, & more!

Hosted by @JayLaTay
Co-Hosted by @famesexandmusic & @theqreater

Sponsored by @beyondthebelltours
Get your tickets and we will see you there (again)!

Promo & Media Partner
@lezcronymz

A Woke Jawn’s Guide to Winning a Wet T-Shirt Contest.

WARNING: “Tiddy” “Tittay” and “Tittie” are used interchangeably throughout this text.

The first time I had seen anything close to a Wet T-Shirt contest was on a late night Girls Gone Wild commercial. I was about 14 years old and still learning about my place in society as a woman. The women on TV seemed to know theirs: the open end of a champagne bottle. They didn’t seem to care about getting wet or about doing it on camera for that matter (although we later learned some of those women didn’t consent to their image being sold for profit on after hours TV). It was a man’s world and damnit they were going to wet some titties for your DVD pleasure whether the “civil” part of our society liked it or not. Truth-be-told my 14 year old gay ass LOVED IT. Even up until this very moment titties brighten my day like a newborn baby being reunited with its mother after an 8-hour work shift.

CISGENDER: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

Oxford Languages

Nevertheless, this was one of my early examples of how white, overly Cisgender men interacted with seemingly drunk women after hours when their girlfriends (later coined wifey-material) weren’t around. The man vs. heaux vs. housewife dynamic. Although, I wasn’t always sure which one was the heaux from the TV looking in.

WIFEY: A phrase often used to describe a girl whom you feel possesses certain qualities that qualifies her to be a model wife for you.

UrbanDictionary.com

I was brought up being told there were two types of women in this world: heauxs and housewives. Heauxs got fucked and housewives—they seemed to cook and clean a lot but never have the time or energy for a good ol dick-me-down. They seemed miserable and uncommitted to themselves or their own sexual needs. I’m not saying this was the case but this is how the dynamic was portrayed in television. So to be a heaux or to be a housewife in this world of binary womanhood?

Deal With Your Internalized Whorephobia.

Let’s go back to where I referenced my place in society as a woman. We’re all too familiar with the traditional, gender-based roles that plague our individual existence. This concept became increasingly primitive after subsequently unlearning years of what I now understand as whorephobia.

WHOREPHOBIA: the expression of underlying or direct discomfort with sex or sexual expression, generally directed towards Sex Workers, Sexually Active People, or more commonly Women who may or may not be sexually active.

UrbanDictionary.com

Whorephobia runs especially rampant in relation to Black Women who have been overly sexualized in American culture. In Black is the New Boudoir we discussed Black women’s journeys and relationships with their sexual beings and physical bodies.

“Historically, POC have been hyper-sexualized in mainstream media in a way that renders many of us overwhelmingly cognizant of our sexuality and others’ perception of it.”

Fame Neal, Black is the New Boudoir (2018)

As women become more sexually empowered and less concerned with a patriarchal society’s views on their expression of their sexuality, things like Wet T-Shirt Contests can be in every respectable woman’s future. Needless to say, it’s the protection of women that needs to catch up. While certain states are slowly approving Topless Laws they still lack protections for sex workers and therefore continue to perpetuate violence against women. LGBTQ Safe spaces to party like SWEAT 2021 are critical when it comes to validating sexuality and gender. When you feel safe, loved, and protected you’re more likely to let you freaq flag fly high.

Cleanse Yourself of the Notion that Your Own Sexuality Should be Suppressed in Order to Combat the Patriarchy.

Denial of one’s own sexual needs can lead to blindness and numbness in your—just fucking with ya. However, studies do show that the information we encounter regarding sexuality early on can either lead to sexual empowerment or sexual repression. Repression happens in response to restrictive ideas or attitudes about sex or sexual expression. Our early caregivers, religion, the patriarchal society we all love, or your prude/vanilla ex are all critical influences in ones sexual development. Sexual Repression can lead to reluctance to act on sexual desires, sex-related fear and anxiety, guilt associated with sexual desires, and harsh self-judgment of sexual thoughts. FUCK THAT. What do YOU want.

Patriarchal masculinities is a term that can be used to describe those ideas about and practices of masculinity that emphasize the superiority of masculinity over femininity and the authority of men over women. Ideas about and practices of patriarchal masculinities maintain gender inequalities.

Google

Learn to Love the Exhibitionist in You.

Bitch you is beautiful and if it empowers and enlivens you when others enjoy your body and expression of sexuality: shake dem tiddies. What makes you feel alive? What empowers the Goddess in you? What allows you to overtly show the sides of you that you’re forced to suppress. Bish you WOKE now: Shake dem tittays!


Practical Tips for Tits (During the Contest)

Wear a T-Shirt. Graphic Tees are okay but for the full visual effect be sure that your nipples will be visible after your shirt endures a lucrative liquid splash.

Tell the DJ to Play your Muh’fkn Song. There’s nothing like fucking up the contest to that one song that get’s you HYPE AF. Need some ideas? Here’s the Official SWEAT 2021 Summer Dance Mix by Deluxx the OG. FUCK. IT. UP.

Get Creative. Can you hoola-hoop while being doused with water? Can you hoola-hoop and twerk? Bish you TALENTED. Bring your gawd-given talents to the stage, I’m tryna see something.

Get a Water Hypeman. At SWEAT 2021 you wont need any but feel free to invite your friends on stage to help with the visuals. What are the homies here for anyway?

Have a Drink or Three—and a designated driver. More Drinks=More Creativity. It’s science.

Nipple Rings Rule. Who doesn’t enjoy bedazzled boobies? Wet T-Shirt Contests are the perfect place to show them off.

All Tiddies Matter. All sizes, old and new, If I can take off my top so can you! (Somebody hit up the Dr. Seuss franchise ASAP that rhyme GOES!).

Confidence Takes the Titty cake. Winning Wet T-Shirt Contests isn’t about having the biggest tiddies in the party. It’s about confidence and having fun NO MATTER YOUR BODY TYPE. If you can get the crowd worked up, you’re in there. At SWEAT 2021 all body types and GENDERS are encouraged to join in the fun. LEGGO!

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PRIDE in Self Expression

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Ideas pile up, turning into distant memories the longer they lay dormant. In the silent creases of night, cobwebs form on dreams that only hope to one day be brought to fruition. Have you ever felt like this before? As if everything you think about, everything you wish for just doesn’t seem to be coming to you. Now with all this new-agey talk about manifestation and bringing your desires to you, does it more often seem like your chances are running away? 

I myself have fallen into these feelings many, many times over the past few years and have eventually come to realize just why I am so gullible to this trap. Although it is always set up in the same very predictable way, I never could find a motivating enough reason to step over this trap to journey forward into my destiny. I was scared. That is something that I am in many ways still trying to deal with for myself. Usually lost somewhere in a space of comparing myself to others, I became afraid that if I did make a move it would all be in vain. The craziest part about that is by listening to this fear, my moves were in vain anyway. 

“…every time we deny our self expression, we are in turn denying the best parts of our existence.” 

Recently I was reminded of my favorite Audre Lorde quote where she says “When we speak we are afraid that our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid, so it is better to speak”. Always hitting me and giving me the perspective I so often need these words gave me the kick in the butt I needed to remember to appreciate myself, my talents, and all that I have to offer the world. See I have begun to understand that the more that we hold ourselves back from self expression, the more we are offering our souls up for auction. Each of us, beautiful and unique in our own rights, have been placed here on this Earth for a purpose, and every time we deny our self expression, we are in turn denying the best parts of our existence. 

“When we speak we are afraid that our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid, so it is better to speak.”

Audre Lorde

Now don’t get me wrong, this is by no means an easy task. Asking us to go out into the world and be ourselves without fear all of the time sounds kind of insane if you asked me two years ago. I mean really, just be myself, all of the time, what would that even look like. As I dive deeper into such thoughts I find that it looks exactly like shaking the dust and cobwebs off of all of my goals, and it gives me the freedom to create the life I want to live. No longer hanging on by the edge of my seat I am not determined to make the transition from passenger to conductor. With these new realities glaring in my face I am ready to conquer the world. I am ready to set myself free, and that my dear readers is what I would like to encourage you to do for yourself.

With yet another PRIDE month coming to an end, I challenge you to continue living as if you are free from the constraints that people, places, and things try to put on you. Give yourself permission to live out loud and be proud of who you are and what you are accomplishing even well past the month of June. It is time that we realize that there’s room enough for all of us to eat, so let’s stop short changing ourselves for the sake of others. Remember old dreams and bring them back to life within you. Stop living out the expectations of others and choose to live for you; make yourself happy. Because if there is only one thing I have found to be true, it is that no matter what life throws at us, having the freedom to express all ranges of who you are and how you feel is of utmost importance every month of the year.

So with that I say get up, get out and go create a life that is authentic and meaningful to you!

Community or Impunity? Oppressors in Queers-Clothing.

As most BIPOC people are aware, systematic discrimination continues to be a part of the very black, brown, and rainbow fabric of—wait for it—the LGBTQ community. 

Racism and transphobia in the queer community?! Oh my! said no one.

There’s no question the Trump era has exposed under-and-overlying bigotry or at least the undeniable apathy towards it. Our generation is discovering forms of racism and inequalities our fore-folk didn’t have the time or energy to unpack because they were more attentive to things like simply staying alive. This one is on us. 

Another Trump-Era exposé was the successfully-attempted silencing of not just “fake news” but ALL NEWS. Facebook released a statement during the 2020 police brutality protests that clearly demonstrated the social media giant bully’s intent to erase any mentions of police brutality, riots, or black lives matter protests. Instagram didn’t @ me or anything but not being able to report on the events that were causing trauma to Black people everywhere? It was akin to being spiritually CHOKED. WHO’S agenda was the decision to silence history-in-the-making serving? The need for uncensored online community and content has never been more evident.

Many of us find our tribes via online platforms. People who think like us. People who don’t. People who challenge us. People who inspire us to go on. People who help us feel like we belong in times of uncertainty. People whose lives we can’t even begin to fathom and so we learn about other communities in an attempt to become better human beings to ourselves and those around us. Whether on or offline, for some of us, these “safe spaces” are the only place we can be our authentic selves. 

“Safe(r) Spaces” is a term I, myself, have thrown around and is a branding of a sort that signifies your organization has certain practices in place to make said event or platform “safe” for all users or guests. In short: none of the isms, phobias, nor sexual harassment will be tolerated. There’s obviously an extreme margin of error here. Like the time we booked a Center-City Philly lounge for a day party strictly for LGBTQ Women. The owner double booked a high-school graduation party for part of our event but promised that their party would be sectioned off. To our horror, it was not and I spent the evening on crowd control escorting the men from the other party who were hitting on our guests back to their assigned area. 

Another twist of events occurred when a podcast guest tweeted our private zoom link to their followers during the interview. We were subsequently spammed by asshole gay-bashers and had to cut off access to the LIVE interview. Was this intended to be a safe space? Yes. Did it end up being one? You can answer that question. As a result, we started stressing to guests that they could not share the zoom link publicly.

Bottom line: You can have rules in place yet humans will be humans. So you have to have a game-plan for that, too.


Now let’s consider Safe Spaces in terms of online spaces. Chatrooms, Facebook Groups, Zoom Meetings, Community Discussion Forums—all the spaces we gather to share information pertinent to us and our respective cultures and identities. We use online spaces to share our thoughts and advocate for one another. It is a critical tool in bringing us closer together culturally and sharing the collective and individual challenges we face.

So what is our duty as LGBTQ community event  organizers when we step into online spaces? Organizers and event curators utilize online platforms such as Facebook Events, Facebook Groups and other viable sources to spread the good news of events, critical programming, and resources.

The same spaces are also used for accountability measures—especially when it comes to getting the word out about the latest infringements on LGBTQ rights. When Chick-Fil-Hate was exposed for their anti-gay policies what did the gay community do? We organized boycotts, sent petitions, stood at the picket lines, stopped eating those delicious chicken sandwiches—all in the name of gay rights. Fast forward: What happens when Black rights are being infringed upon (I mean when aren’t they though)? Better yet, to stay in LGBTQ territory, Black Gay’s rights? Historically, not much. Hence the reason why we had to add Black and Brown stripes to the LGBTQ Flag AND had to justify our reasoning to the white, gay community as to why it was necessary.

Needless to say, in a world where the concept of justice is few and far between, Blacks and other whistleblowers need these community-based platforms to disseminate information  regarding unfair treatment, discrimination, and community resources. And we expect to be heard by the very people whose events, forums and missions we support—is that too much to ask?

When a white woman called out a local Philly Lesbian bar for problematic behavior on the Philly-based Sip City Mixer Facebook Group Page it was. I know because I have receipts. But before we get to that, let’s discuss Virtual Silencing and the presumed roles of Facebook Admins.


Virtual Silencing.

Facebook Group Admins establish a virtual presence and adopt the dangerous habit of playing God with commentary. In these virtual spaces that we create, we assume the position of “Admin.” For those of you who are new to this, an “Admin” is either the creator or co-assigned authority of a Facebook page.  What is an online admin’s job exactly? What expectations do we have of a person who has the ability to progress or cease and desist information at their fingertips? Think of it in terms of Facebook’s silencing of Black and Brown people’s voices and accounts of the police brutality protests in 2020. Facebook Admins, especially trusted sources, essentially have the power of the media. The power to play God with information being dispersed in their communities. The power to censor.

As an admin, if you don’t want certain information being shared in your group, it won’t be. It’s as simple as that. Let’s apply this concept to the aforementioned scenario where a whistleblower’s commentary was removed from a post. 


Back to The Scenario.

A few months ago ( I needed time to process) a white Facebook group member called out a local Philly Lesbian bar for problematic behavior on a post shared by the  Philly-based LGBTQ social group Sip City Mixer. The post shared  an article that brought attention to the LGBTQ bar closures happening all over the U.S. due to covid (presumably). More importantly, the article highlighted a local Philly Lesbian bar that was closing due to financial issues. The post itself was intended to draw attention to the Philly bar and a slurry of commentary on how to assist the bar in its financial crisis followed. But then a commentator sifted through who kept it real. 

I’m heavily paraphrasing but the group member questioned the continued support of this particular Lesbian bar due to it’s history of “problematic” behavior. I had never actually patronized the bar but being a Queer women’s event curator in Philadelphia certainly contrived my curiosity. We began conversing about the allegations of “problematic behavior” and then the admin hopped on.

The Admin addressed the group member who called out the problematic behavior stating that the group member’s accusations on the post were “inappropriate” given the intended nature of the post. The group member was then invited to create a separate post in which their allegations could be brought to light. What I got from the Admin’s response was that there’s a time and place for everything? Drawing lines where problematic behaviors or practices should or shouldn’t be discussed is problematic within itself. The group member then questioned the Admin’s judgement call and our comments, not the post, were deleted after a few exchanges. I’ll let that marinate. 

Now Let’s Unpack.

  1. A person in an online community informs the masses, on a post created by Admin, that a Lesbian bar in their community is known for problematic behavior. Our comments on the post are then deleted. Literal erasure, no?
  2. The Admin, who happens to be white (use where applicable), thought it was appropriate to silence a voice calling out problematic behavior in our community.  In other words, a white community event organizer took it upon herself to censor vital information which could prevent a person of color or a transgender person from entering an unsafe space. YES, LGBTQ spaces can be unsafe.
  3. I’m a woman of color. A woman of color who NEEDS to know what businesses I should and shouldn’t patronize. I take my businesses black, queer and you can hold the isms. When our exchange was interrupted and subsequently deleted I felt erased. Unimportant. But I know better than that. So you’re going to hear us now. 

Soon after this exchange, Sip City Mixer posted a Facebook Poll asking it’s members their opinions on how the social pop-up should go about screening for proof of vaccination. Now I want to be clear on the fact that this piece in particular isn’t a Vacc vs. Non-Vacc piece, however, it’s the premise. So stay focused. 

To keep it One-Hunned, I am completely against requiring proof of vaccination for social events, especially, LGBTQ. See our position on vaccination requirements below.


Lezcronymz will not be requiring proof of vaccination at any of our events. PERIOD.  We have no interest in influencing the personal health decisions of the general public nor do we have an interest in discriminatory practices that will isolate specific populations including the Trans Community, BIPOC, or Low-Income Households. Our events are for everyone and will not be caught up in vaccine politics. We will, however, continue to enforce C*vid Safety Guidelines including but not limited to mandatory face masks and Statement of Health Forms.  Our events will operate at 80% Capacity or less to ensure the continuation of social distancing.

ADDITIONALLY, we will not be holding our events at venues which require proof of vaccination nor will we be partnering with organizers for events which implement such policies.”


As you can see, we’re dead ass. In any case, this was the position I stated on the Poll. I hadn’t checked back to see if anything was deleted ( I was counting on it, though). About a day later, I received the following message from a former member of the Sip City Mixer Facebook Group:


“Hey there, my name is <RETRACTED> and you and I had a brief interaction on sip city. I know this is a big ask but I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. I had responded further on the vaccine thread with what I felt was a productive feedback- and Rebecca has deleted my comment and muted me entirely. I made my comment Bc I myself am trans and I’m trying to help. My further comments that were deleted were stating that I do not support showing proof of vaccination Bc it is racist. I was writing a follow up comment with vaccination data in Philadelphia when I received a message from Rebecca- admin- that I’m muted. Low and behold, she also deleted my most recent comment, calling out the fact that asking folks to prove vaccination status is racist. I now feel powerless and unable to defend myself. The message she sent me is aggressive and then ran off. I’m trying to see if there are other admins I can contact to try and let them know that this is happening. I can see that you made similar comments in the thread but Rebecca won’t delete or mute POC because she has done that in the past and gotten shit for it but now thinks it’s ok to do it to me- a trans person. I know this is a huge ask but is there any way you can reach out to her or anyone to let them know this is happening? She is not responding to me. I can show you the messages.”


This was followed up with the following screenshots from a conversation between Sip City Mixer Admin and the former member:

I don’t know about ya’ll but that was A TRIP for me to read. I personally reached out to the Sip City facebook group asking if there were other moderators to which the Admin responded she was the only one. Welp. I think we should unpack again.

  1. This is what happens when you have an unchecked, privileged white woman running an LGBTQ group that is supposed to be setting the standard of inclusivity yet uses her power to silence or full-out erase the voices and concerns of trans and BIPOC folk.
  2. The sheer audacity of the Admin to gaslight an individual providing critical information and conversation surrounding social policy: Trump-Era Censorship.
  3. We can’t trust that LGBTQ organizers have our back or even understand what that looks like. Yet they have a responsibility to learn better and do better than the rest of the world. They also have the responsibility of holding  themselves accountable when they are checked. That didn’t happen here.

Because I’m a solution-oriented individual I think the removal of R.K from Facebook Admin duties for Sip City Mixer is not only appropriate but necessary to stop any further trauma to our online LGBTQ family. Additionally, let this be a lesson to us all to have a VISIBLE second in command in which to deal with community complaints so that we can continue our missions of providing safe(r) spaces for all.

Crowd control is a huge part of online community security. We need moderators to keep conversation respectful, thoughtful, and inclusive. We don’t, however, need them policing and erasing concerns which don’t matter to them personally. BIPOC folk are silenced enough in our own communities. Told whats best for us or how we should think by people who have never walked in our shoes. So when we step to non-poc leaders and organizers with valid concerns we require them to be heard and dealt with.

Respectfully, the Black, Queer, Woman who stirred the white woman’s pot. Cue Moneybagg Yo’s Time Today.

Why WAP Makes ’em Mad.

TRIGGER WARNING: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFERENCES

We live in a world where girls and women are still not safe—especially in their homes. Indeed, Tracy Chapman’s famous song, Behind The Wall, tells an all too familiar narrative of what happens when neighbors are long-term witnesses to domestic violence.  True, the neighbors in Tracy’s song, like everywhere else this type of witnessing happens, didn’t “see” hands and feet connecting mercilessly to assault.  The neighbors in the song never saw the violence unfold; but, what they heard through thin walls sometimes resulted in police presence, eventually required an ambulance, and by the somber end of the song, we can assume that that night was the last night anyone heard the screaming behind those walls, because the woman who was screaming, was now dead.

I had a neighbor whose spouse beat her routinely—brutally. In fact, I was so distraught about it that I would leave my apartment for fear that they would come crashing into my space.  The noises were epic and impossible to reconcile. He was in the Army. Built like a muscled cyborg and she was a diminutive woman, civilian, and an immigrant.  One day, my neighbor stopped and formally introduced herself to me.  As we were doing the small talk shuffle, I realized that my neighbor was nearly apologetic for “the noises” that I may have heard.  That day, Mrs. Williams had a black eye and explained it away as an accident in the kitchen, a cupboard door was the culprit. 

We parted as the polite exchange quietly threatened to shift toward all things “off-limits.” At this stage in my life I can reflect back and only now can I recognize that not only did I not have the skills necessary to fill the awkward space with more chatting, but that it was mostly because the words that I wanted to say were locked in my throat.  My throat was locked but I wanted to say, “Neighbor, your husband is in the military, just like me. As such, the violence that you are experiencing is something that can be reported to his chain of command.  His commander can order him to stay on post and/or he can be ‘ordered’ to anger management therapy—and so much more. Bottom line, Mrs. Williams, you do not have to suffer like this.” Yet, instead, I said something banal and fitting with the American mind-your-business model. I ended up saying something like, “Well, it was very nice to officially meet you, Mrs. Williams! Maybe we can chat some more later this week or next?”

I recall us exchanging the see-you-soon-smiles that are only complete with the scrunchy eyes, and then we both disappeared into our apartments.  The next time we talked was over a dinner we prepared together in her home.  Her husband was out of town on a three-month deployment.  In that time, when we grew to be friends, I shared the information I knew about physical abuse and how to deal with it as a military wife.

Within a month of old boy returning from deployment, the noises next door went from fucking to fighting, to beatings.  A week later, he was moving out of the apartment to a room on post; my neighbor had called her husband’s commander and told him about the frequency and intensity of domestic violence she has endured and that I had informed her of her rights to bring the matter to the military leadership. 

Though we fell out of touch because—that’s life, we’ve connected irregularly over time because—that’s internet.  I know they stayed married for many years but eventually divorced.  My only questions are (1) what if I never said shit to my neighbor?  (2) What if I acted like what I was hearing next door wasn’t my business? (3)  What if the Abuser never moved on post and got the help and support he needed to be a better person? First and foremost for himself and then, as a natural consequence, for his partner and later on their daughter?

So, the reason there is so much hate in the world for the woman-first empowered “FUCK OFF” vibe is because when women are the CEO of their own sexy, as Sociologist Kathyrn Buford, PhD once described it, they send a cancel culture signal to the heteronormative vibe. It’s a vibe that says women should be seen and not heard. Much like children were traditionally handled.

But, that shit isn’t working anymore. 

#WETASSPUSSY #EATSOME #BEHUMBLE #ItsMyPussyFOH

#SelfLove, Its A Mental Flex.

woman smiling wearing flower crown

How much do you love yourself? Such a simple question yet one we all have struggled with from time to time. Now that “self love” and “self care” have almost, and by almost I mean most definitely, become buzz words in many of our social circles, it is now far too easy to merely gloss over truly loving ourselves. I mean after all, why would any of us actually want to take the time and effort to care for and love ourselves when we can instead add self care phrases as hashtags and captions to our next social media post?

“…in many ways it may be easy for us to fall into the trap of giving love to, and seeking love from, all the wrong places outside of ourselves.”

Right now though, I want you to take a second to really reflect on these two questions, “how much do I love myself” and “in what ways do I continuously show up for myself”. What did you come up with? In the spirit of loving ourselves, maybe say your answers out loud, or even perhaps write them down for you to revisit again the next time you reflect on such questions. For those of you who may have simply read over those words, I gently nudge you to actually take a moment for this self reflection. Carve out time in this safe space  to check in with yourself. In a world that constantly demands your time, energy, attention, and so much more, you owe it to yourself to take just as much, if not more, time out to evaluate your heart and all the beautifully amazing things going on inside of you. Because hidden in the depths of spaces you may rather ignore, there often lives an abundance of self love just waiting for you to say yes and tap in.

“Use your own power to cultivate a sense of self awareness that can help you realize when you are putting your feelings, desires, and needs behind those of others.”

Sitting back and reflecting on this for myself I realized that I don’t always like my answers. As a lover and helpless romantic I love going big for those I love. Always willing to go above and beyond for others, I now question why that same drive and determination hasn’t always poured over into cultivating my own wellbeing. While I am willing to bet that so many of us have felt this way at one time or another, I believe that it flows a bit deeper for us queer folx of color. In some ways we may find ourselves trying to overcompensate our expression of love to others in a subconscious attempt to make up for what we ourselves may feel we have been robbed of. Whether its due to not being accepted as we are because of our orientation and gender expression, or simply the many anxieties that come with being Black and Brown bodied individuals, in many ways it may be easy for us to fall into the trap of giving love to, and seeking love from, all the wrong places outside of ourselves. 

Though this may be true for many of us, as these feelings begin to rear their ugly little heads in the smallest of ways, recognize this possible continued unbalanced expression of love. Use your own power to cultivate a sense of self awareness that can help you realize when you are putting your feelings, desires, and needs behind those of others. In short, these moments can help you realize the truth of how you may not be loving yourself as passionately as you think you are. Forced to accept these harsh realities, love should no longer be something you encourage in others, only to neglect it within yourself. Today, as you are here reading these words, I assure you that you can decide to reevaluate the ways in which you fall short in loving yourself. It is time to start taking your love of self to higher heights and deeper depths as you remember that not loving you is a grave injustice to yourself, and that dear reader, is a terrible injustice to the world.  

So here is to continued personal growth and development, and to turning self love and self care back into action, instead of having them only exist as good ideas for tomorrow’s Instagram post. I too am learning to love myself everyday, and I hope that you can remember to take out time to love yourself throughout your day too. Remembering that the melanin in your skin is beautiful, and the expression of your gender is nobody’s business but your own, know that you are worthy of the best love in existence. So get up and go turn those hashtags into solo dates, candlelit baths, and a splash of self confidence to match. You choose your own vibe, just make sure it’s done in love.  

Past & Present: 20 Bad-Ass Black Womxn In TV History You Should Know.

Who are your favorite Womxn of Color in TV History? Taste ATL: The Series  is celebrating the womxn who have influenced us through television and media for Womxn’s History Month!  Let’s #breakthescreen and show off the magically melanated womxn who paved the way and continue to for Womxn of Color!


1. Lyshae Rollins.

Lyshae Rollins (she/her) is a multi-faceted entertainer and producer paving the way for QWOC in TV! Originally from the South side of Chicago, she is a powerhouse of talent. Music artist, writer, Director, and CEO of Rollins Mediaverse are just a few of the many hats she wears. Rollins latest production Taste ATL: The Series was inspired from her early days on the Atlanta LGBTQ scene where she currently resides.

“I’m like a slow jam on the right beat.” Lyshae Rollins


2. Phylica Rashad.

Phylicia Rashad (Singer, Actor, Director, Humanitarian). Rashad, who received Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986 for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosbys has been dubbed the “Mother of the Black Community.” She was the First Black Actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun.” That same role earned her the NAACP Image Award. Let’s give it up for for Phylica Rashad y’all!

“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” Phylica Rashad


3. Wanda Sykes.

Wanda Sykes is a Comedian, Actor, Writer, and Producer born in Portsmouth, VA. Sykes won the Primetime Emmy Award for her work as a writer on the Chris Rock Show and in 2004 was named as one of the 25 Funniest People in America by Entertainment Weekly.

“If life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make pink lemonade. Be unique.” Wanda Sykes


4. Viola Davis.

Actor and Producer Viola Davis was the first Black Womxn to receive the “Triple Crown of Acting” by earning an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards. In 2017 Davis was named in the 100 Most Influential people in the world by Time Magazine.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” —Viola Davis

During her speech at 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards


5. Tessa Thompson.

Tessa Lynn Thomspon was born and raised in Los Angeles California and later moved to Brookyln, NY . Thompson is know for her roles in Thor, Creed, and Veronica Mars and earning a NAACP Theatre Award nomination for her performance in Romeo & Juliet. Acting isn’t her only talent as she produced a song for the original film “Dear White People” which she also starred in.

“Media truly has the power to create and shift culture.” Tessa Thompson


6. Queen Latifah.

Queen Latifah is an icon in the early hip-hop game as well as a talented actress and producer. We loved her in Set it Off (1996) where she played the “gay” role of Cleo—validating all of our queer, black hearts.

“When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.’ And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.” Queen Latifah


7. Kerry Washington.

Actor, Producer, and Director Kerry Washington was born in Brooklyn, NY. She took primetime television by storm when she killed the role of Olivia Pope on Scandal. Washington was twice nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and once for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. She also earned a nomination for both the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. For the Lesbos in the room: If you haven’t watched She Hate Me (2004) you’re sure to get your on-screen fix because she has one of the HOTTEST Lesbian scenes the big screen has to offer. You can thank us now.

“You can be the lead in your own life.” Kerry Washington


8. Debbie Allen.

Debbie Allen (Actor, Producer, Director, Dancer) is a former member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and Founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, CA. She has earned three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, five NAACP Image Awards, a Drama Desk, an Astaire Award (for Best Dancer), and the Olivier Award. She holds four honorary Doctorate degrees and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

“But out of limitations comes creativity.” Debbie Allen


9. Dominique Jackson.

Dominique Jackson is a Trans-Rights Activist, Actress, Author, & Model. Dominique Jackson is most know for her commanding role as Elektra on the TV Series Pose. In 2020, she won the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Award.

“You will not tell me that you accept me. You will not tell me that you tolerate me. That is not your power. I take that from you. You will respect me for who I am.” Dominique Jackson

10. Lena Waithe.


Producer, Screen Writer & Actor Lena Waithe is truly an inspiration to womxn of color in tv and film. Born in Chicago, IL, she is the first Black Woman to win the PrimeTime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy series. In 2018, Waithe was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

“Being born gay, black, and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay black female is.” Lena Waithe

11. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o studied film at Hampshire College, Massachusetts and, after working as a production assistant, graduated from the Yale School of Drama’s acting program. She’s known for her roles in 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther, and MTV’s Shuga.

“Part of being an artist is that you are always concerned you don’t have what it takes. It… keeps us honest.” Lupita Nyong’o


12. Issa Rae.

Actor, Writer, and Producer Issa Rae first caught our attention with the YouTube series Awkward Black Girl and has been killing it ever since! She received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her Hit TV Show Insecure. Rae is an inspiration to black womxn in film everywhere!

“Diversity is still a huge issue. We need more people of color in positions of power to green light content. If you want to see content of color, then it has to be in the hands of people of color.” Issa Rae


13. Dominique Boyd.

Artist and TV Producer Dominique Boyd was born & raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Throughout her career, Boyd has worked with OWN, TV One, Fox, Oxygen, Lifetime, Discovery, and WETV. She is the Co-Creator of Breaking Sh!t which produces Melanated Mental & Emotional Health Content and the short films Idea of Me and PMS.

“Chase the dream, Not the Money.” Dominique Boyd


14. Pam Grier.

Actress Pam Grier played the leading lady in Action Films such as Jack Hill’s Coffy and Foxy Brown. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and an NAACP Image Award for her performance in Jacki Brown. Grier also played in the LGBTQ series The L-Word as “Kit Porter,” Bette Porter’s sister.

“My grandfather was the first feminist in my life. He taught me if a woman can do something, a man will respect her.” Pam Grier

15. Laverne Cox

Trans Actress , LGBTQ Advocate, and Writer Laverne Cox was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category and the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time and Cosmopolitan Magazine, South Africa Edition.

Laverne Cox is most recently known for her role on Orange is the New Black when she played Sophia, a nurse in a Women’s Prison.

“It’s important with all of the messages that might tell you otherwise that you have that in yourself to say that ‘I am beautiful. I am smart and I’m amazing.’” Laverne Cox


16. Brianca Williams.


Brianca Williams was born in Tennessee and raised in the Bay Area. She is currently under the mentorship of Hillman Grad Productions and works as an intern with Lena Waithe. Williams is passionate about Black Lives Matter, Reclaim the Block, & Color of Change.

“When I realized how much power I had in manifesting, literally, everything I want is when the game changed.” Brianca Williams

17. Mara Brock Akil.

Mara Brock Akil began her writing career on Fox’s critically acclaimed South Central and later moved on to writing for the UPN series Moesha, where she earned her Producer title after four seasons.

Mara Akil created the UPN comedy series Girlfriends and its spin-off The Game. She later created the first drama series for BET Being Mary Jane. In 2018, she produced Black Lightning for The CW and created Love Is for the Oprah Winfrey Network. Other credits include Supervising Producer for The Jamie Foxx Show.

VIBE listed Akil on its “Top 100 Hottest People List” and Honey magazine named her as one of the “Top 25 Hottest Women in Urban Entertainment.”

“If you want something, work hard for it, go after it. I can’t worry about all the ‘no’s, because I believe there’s a yes, and I’ve been very fortunate to find those in my career and made the most of those opportunities.” Mara Brock Akil


18. Aryka Randall

Aryka Randall is a Screenwriter/Producer from San Diego who has been involved in the entertainment industry since the age of six.

She has written a number of web series, pilots, and short films as well as produced multiple independent productions. Randall is a self starter with a passion for film, and a knack for pushing the production train from start to finish. Her current focus is screenwriting and production.

“I was in route to El Matador beach this morning, driving along the coast and though to myself ‘I don’t know how this ended up being my life but I couldn’t be more grateful’. I hope you all bet in yourselves every chance you get. Life is dope if you let it be.” Aryka Randall


19. Nakia Stephens.

Nakia Stephens is an award-winning screenwriter and independent filmmaker. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Nakia has always been influenced by Black culture and southern flair. She studied creative writing in Shanghai, Beijing, and Ghana.

Nakia’s work has been featured on Deadline, BLAVITY, ABFF, Rolling Out Magazine, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and Black Girls Rock! Her recent work includes a development deal with Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s cable network, aspireTV and is the creator of Damn Write Originals, a screenwriting label.

“Hollywood’s a tough nut to crack…because of marginal diversity.” Nakia Stephens

20. Cicely Tyson.

(UNOFFICIAL PROFILE)

Actress + Fashion Model Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, NY and passed away January 28, 2021. Tyson’s career spanned more than seven decades and she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women in her roles. She received three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, a Peabody Award, the Outer Critics Award, and the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2013. In 2016, Tyson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 2020, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

“I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there’s nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.” Cicely Tyson

Happy Womxn’s History Month from Edible Wordz! Special thanks to our partner Taste ATL: The Series for Celebrating Womxn’s History Month with your favorite space for QWOC: Edible Wordz by Lezcronymz!