Beautifully human: celebrating 50 shades of Black Pride In 2017

by Waddie G – The G-Listed

In September 2017, The G-Listed celebrated its one year anniversary of news coverage, op-eds and community spotlight featuring LGBTQ people of color while celebrating the things we love about mainstream Black pop culture and queer culture. Since changing the name of this medium from The G-List Society to The G-Listed, I, as a passionate writer about the current urban LGBTQ experience, aim to find ways where I can celebrate our platforms, voices, legacies and past events that benefitted individuals, groups and communities.

I conceived the idea of celebrating living Black LGBTQ people who built legacies and are extending platforms that empower other Black LGBTQ people to live in pride to be their authentic selves. Regardless of our unique identifications, we look for people who identify closely with our identities to inspire us to live freely within our identities and pursue the excellence and quality of life we desire while walking in our authenticity.

Thus, the Beautifully Human: Celebrating 50 Shades of Black Pride was born. This celebration of Black LGBTQ platforms is different than the annual Black LGBTQ Power 100 list for two reasons. This is not a celebration or honor of people based upon current work or achievement; instead, this is about legacy, community impact or potential of community empowerment. Secondly, this annual celebration will feature 50 people at a time, with no repeat of names for each succeeding year — thus, each year, 50 newer names and platforms will be honored on 50 Shades of Black Pride.

These people whom I chose to honor on this inaugural 50 Shades of Black Pride list were selected for special reasons. I thought of the people who championed The G-Listed. I thought of the people who were the subjects of The G-Listed that drew the most community reaction. I thought of the people who inspired and empowered me outside of this platform. I thought of the people whose hard work should be exalted as paradigms of Black LGBTQ excellence more often. I thought of the bravery of unsung icons and newer voices whose unique voices deserve more acknowledgement now and in the future. These 50 platforms I celebrate made me smile as they are exemplary of the voices that makes Black LGBTQ media necessary to represent Black LGBTQ people instead of seeking validation from others.

As these 50 brilliant voices were asked to choose a quality should we as Black LGBTQ people should take pride in, I was blown away when noticing almost everyone said “resilience.” I even smiled as I read their pearls of wisdom to all Black LGBTQ people as well as the compliments they cherished mostly for their platforms. As you read about each of these 50 brilliant voices, I hope you smile and are as proud of them as I.


1. Aaron Paul
Pop Dance Recording Artist / Celebrity Fashion Contributer (Us Weekly Magazine)
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is how resiliant we are. We are a minority within the minority. Yet we prove to be successful in many arenas. Our struggle has made us strong!

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is am a beacon of light for our community. I was told this by a fan in Phoenix AZ. Because I always carry the torch for the LGBTQ community through my work, music and my social activism.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is don’t just be defind my your LGBTQ gender. We are all that and so much more! And as proud as I am of myself and my community, We are all gods children and deserve our rightful place in equality for all in our society and in our humanity!


2. Abdur-Rahim Briggs
President-CEO, Project Briggs, Inc.
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is resilient.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is dedicated, consistent and committed to the cause and will well being of our community – No One Will Out Us!

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is public service isn’t just a job. It’s a calling. It’s hard work, and it’s largely unsung. The work matters to me because it means something to make our community better. In fact, it means everything.


3. Alexis McSween
Bottom Line Construction & Development, LLC.


4. Alyce Emory
Co-Founder, Beyond Bold And Brave presents Black Lesbian Conferences NYC
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is even in doubt and with seemingly insurmountable challenges, we push through to get our work done.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is, “Thank you for creating this space that recognizes and respects us Black Lesbians. How can I help you continue this work?.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is be and remain honest with yourself first.


5. Anaré V. Holmes
Writer/Producer/Firefighter
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience and ingenuity. When we recognize the gift of our being, we’re unstoppable.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is when others tell me how my ability to love hard or desire to save lives affirms and impacts people in a meaningful way.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is the personal impacts performance. Understand how your personal biases inform how you treat those you love and work with. Engage in courageous conversations outside your comfort zone. It’s amazing what can be learned when we are vulnerable.


6. Anna DeShawn
E3 Radio


7. Anthony Antoine
Singer/Songwriter and LGBTQ activist


8. Anthony Galloway
Equality Illinois
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is everything. Everything truly explains it. Black Queerness is so sexy and smart.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is “I loved Fahrenheit Chicago and thanks for bringing Cakes Da Killa and COR.ECE.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is I am so grateful to be the owner of my narrative. I get to live it and then share it with others. And because my friends are in that space too it becomes an unlimited support energy.


9. Ben Pitts
Board Member, Project Briggs


10. Bisi Alimi
Executive Director Bisi Alimi Foundation, Public Speaker, Actor
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our positivity and awareness.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is “Thank you for your work, because of it, my daughter came back home.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is we have no choice about a liberated Africa LGBT struggle, because our inaction is action in itself.


11. Calvin Clarke
Entrepreneur and Owner of Langston’s, Moe’s Fort Greene and Bedford Hall


12. Diedra Meredith
Chairwoman of the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA)
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is they are inexplicably resilient.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is, “Thank you for all the work and sacrifices you have given to provide this platform for us. Please call on me whenever you need.” – singer/songwriter Marck Angel

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: Don’t be afraid to fail, equally embrace failure as you embrace success. When you’re harshly criticized, take it constructively because critics are not doing the work. YOU ARE! That’s how you create the change in the world you came here to be. F.L.Y.


13. Earl Fowlkes
President/CEO Center for Black Equity
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience in the face of adversity.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that the Center For Black Equity provides information and advocates on behalf of our diverse community.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is that it’s often the small things we do and I can make a big difference in people’s lives.


14. George Bellinger Jr.
highly respected HIV/AIDS activist and LGBT advocate


15. Hope Giselle
Founder of The Allowme Movement & Hope Disguised
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is the creativity we possess.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is, “You are the definition of America most deadly weapon which is a strong educated black woman.Continue being you and being a Pilar to black woman hood.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is time is omnipresent. You can’t get away from it so make the best of what you’ve been given.


16. Ian Edwards
Entrepreneur & Owner of 6|4 Luxury


17 & 18. Jamal Sims & Octavius Terry-Sims
choreographer and fashion designer (and influential couple)


19. Jean Wimberly
Founder of Circle of Voices, Inc.


20. Jide Macaulay
Founder & CEO House of Rainbow
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is awesomeness.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is “life saving” and “transformation.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: Always be your authentic self, life is precious.


21. Johan Amaranthe
Co-founder & President of Paris Black Pride
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is resilience.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is being a visionary leader.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is “still we rise” because we are strong, beautiful, creative and magic.


22. John Roach
Chicago Brothers United


23. Joseph Williams
The Misunderstood Social Worker


24. Kayza Rose
Co-Founder and Executive Director at BlackoutLDN


25. Kaz Mitchell
Co-Founder & Executive Director of Circle of Voices, Inc.


26. Kenya Hutton
Program Director, Center for Black Equity, DC Black Pride
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is resiliance.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is I speak for those that feel they don’t have a voice of their own.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: Stay true to your self.


27. Kevin E. Taylor
Pastor, Author, Activist
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our audacity. There is something so powerful about showing up JUST AS YOU ARE and having done the work to care more YOU then “them.”

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is, “I never thought a pastor could be so cool!” I love being reconciling with their heart and the hurt. I also love the stories I get from people about my novels! Opens my heart to keep writing.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is DO YOU: ALL OF THE OTHER SPOTS ARE TAKEN! We want to be accepted but we present a fraud hoping for acceptance and then we feel bad that they like the fraud! “I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” (Kurt Cobain)


28. Kirk Myers
Founder & CEO of Abounding Prosperity, Inc.


29. Lee Soulja
President of New York City Black Pride


30. Maurice Foley
Founder & Producer of Xscape Events


31. Melvin Browne
Owner/Managing Director of Lemon Brands
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that I Inspire and Motivate People to Chase Their Dreams!

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is “Never Take NO for an Answer.”


32. Michelle Elizabeth Brown
Radio Host of Collections by Michelle Brown
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience. We come back stronger, better!

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is I connect, educate and lift up my community. My voice/platform is needed for the community.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is never give up, follow your dreams but most importantly you do you!


33. Nathan Hale Williams
President of iN-Hale Entertainment, LLC
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resiliency in spite of all of the challenges.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that I inspired someone to CREATE and not just CONSUME.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is you will never live your best life until you move and live in authenticity.


34. Patrick Riley
television producer/celebrity event producer/media personality
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is OUR RESILIENCE! We have suffered through much and continue to struggle in some ways. However, with God’s grace, we – at large and by and by – try to recover from our difficulties and tough times with flourish and character. Quite the unsung testimonial when you think about where we were. For just one example: Because of who Black LGBTQ Pioneer Bayard Rustin was, he couldn’t be heralded as the architect of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and the March on Washington and many other civil rights movements before then. And now, with resistance, there is evidence that we are here, and we can tell more and more of these stories that have been suppressed – if not – erased from the annals of time.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is when I was booked to host the red carpet for Motown the Musical’s Opening Night, which was to include interviews with Motown Founder Berry Gordy, my favorite diva Diana Ross, and all of the other Motown legends and Hollywood and Broadway A-listers. After 45th Street rocked from the crowd roar when Mr. Gordy and Miss Ross jumped out of their limo together, they soon approached me. “Watch out for this one, BG!” said The Boss on their walk up to me. “He [pointing to me] has a memory of steel!” Sure, I’ve interviewed Miss Ross before and have followed her from the front rows of her concerts for 30+ years. She should know. Also, the industry has been kind to me. Many of the divas have shouted me out. But MISS ROSS said it out loud…and to Berry Gordy…in front of my face! And I heard it. I get lots of compliments but that one is THE BOSS of all of them. video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK1yncqPlOQ. Though my brand centers around pop culture and entertainment, my integrity and reputation inside the circus of it all is important. So, to be approved from on high by MY QUEEN is SUPREME!

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is TRUST THAT YOU ARE WORTHY AS YOU ARE — EVEN WHEN THE WORLD, OR EVEN YOUR LOVED ONES, SAY OTHERWISE! WE – AND ALL – ARE PRODUCTS OF GOD’S LOVE. WE MUST TRUST IT FROM THE SOURCE AND GIVE IT BACK TO OURSELVES AND THE WORLD AS PURELY AS THAT. THE OTHER MESSAGES THAT DON’T FORWARD THAT INTENTION INTO POSSIBILITIES AND OPTIMISM AREN’T IMPORTANT TO THE GOODNESS THAT SHOULD BE OUR END RESULT. I AM LIVING PROOF OF THIS PEARL….and I continue to remind myself of this TRUTH as we are all human.


35. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah
Co-Founder & Director of UK Black Pride


36. Q. Hudson
Founder and clothing designer of High End Junkie


37. Renair Amin
Relationship/Life Coach, Holokleria Coaching
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience. No matter what comes our way or who doesn’t show up for us, we find a way to keep going. I think that is so amazing!

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that people have been inspired or transformed by something that I have said or done. That compliment truly blessed me because that has been my greatest prayer — if I could help just one.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is that YOU MATTER. Don’t let the naysayers of the world make you believe otherwise. If at all possible, don’t let the rain put out your fire. Burn, in spite of…Burn, in spite of!


38. Richard E. Pelzer II
Harlem2020
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is boldness.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is inspiring.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is we are worth it!


39. Rob Berkeley
BlackOut UK (founder and publisher)
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is eesilience.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is “love your authenticity.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: It takes a wise person to learn from his mistakes, a genius to learn from those of others


40. Rob Smith
Author of ‘Confessions of a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Soldier’
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our resilience in the face of adversity

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is whenever someone tells me to ‘keep doing what I’m doing’ when I feel a bit low.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is you have a right to the same quality of life of everyone else in the LGBTQ community. Don’t forget it, and always fight for it.


41. Rodd Klever
LGBT Blogger, Commentator, and Advocate
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our ability to perseverance and create a community.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is “even if you think people aren’t listening and watching you, that they are and know that we appreciate it.”

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is people without compassion and perspective are dangerous.


42. Sampson McCormick
Stand Up Comedian & Social Justice Advocate
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our ability to create magic through our artistic expressions, vernacular, and simply existing and living, even through our adversities.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is, “You’re a lot better at telling jokes than you are giving head”.. LOL. No, Seriously, that I’ve helped folks come together, think, and laugh through our challenges, differences and at life..

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is make sure to laugh and have fun while you’re living, because when you die, you gon’ be dead a LONG TIME.. have a good time while you’re here!


43. Sean Coleman
Founder and Executive Director of Destination Tomorrow
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is we are resilient, despite adversity we rise always showing our best selves.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that because of my journey they know there was a way out for them. This person recognized the fact that I struggled but overcame all barriers with hard work and dedication.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: You are enough! Be your authentic self, unapologetic and living in your truth.


44. Tai Richardson
All Girls Chi event promoter


45. Tamara Allen
B.Blyss! Productions


46. Tammy Peay
comedienne and event hostess


47. & 48. The Illustrious Blacks
Hosts/producers of On Air w/The Blacks on WBAI 99.5 FM
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM #1 and INSTAGRAM #2

One attribute I find very beautiful about Black LGBTQ- SGL people is our courage.

A compliment I received because my platform and influence that will always be cherished is that we share our platform with other LGBTQ POC artists and thinkers that may not otherwise not be given on other platforms.

A pearl of wisdom I want to leave with the community is: Be bold, be brave and be you!


49. Vaughn Taylor-Akutugawa
Executive Director of Gay Men of African Descent, Inc. (GMAD)


50. Dr. Wilhelmina Perry
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent

To all the aforementioned 50 Shades of Black Pride honorees, I salute you on behalf of myself, The G-Listed and the Black LGBTQ community.

If you did not feel some sort of pride or happiness after reading this list, may your Creator bless you outside of the dark cloud that weighs you down.

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