An Open Letter to Black Same Gender Loving Men by David Malebranche

My heart is heavy.  My soul longs for relief.  Yesterday my dear friend, mentee and little brother, Warner McGee, transitioned after being taken off life support by his mother due to a protracted illness.  The details of exactly which illness robbed him of his future at this point is irrelevant – the painful reality we face is that yet another talented, intelligent brother has left this earth way too soon, leaving many of us scratching our heads in disbelief.  What happened?  Why him?  What more could I have done to prevent this tragedy from transpiring?  These questions hauntingly reverberate in my head like a vise, slowly squeezing it until I feel like it will explode.

 

Warner was young, gifted and black.  He overcame many early life adversities to graduate from Morehouse College with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public health.  He later went on to get his doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  He was brilliant, hardworking and passionate about promoting the general, mental and sexual health of Black men.  He was a good friend and a bright spirit.  He was a little brother to me. And his story, sadly, is not unfamiliar to us.  In recent times, the story of a talented Black same gender loving man being “suddenly” struck down in their prime has become somewhat of a yearly ritual.  Word travels through telephone, email and social media.  Everyone is shocked, saddened and surprised.  And over time, as the details around the death of our brother unravel, we discover that his passing was not so “sudden” after all.  There was an underlying medical, mental, spiritual and/or psychological issue at the root of his journey.  And for some reason, until it was too late, no one knew about it but him.

 

For many of us navigating through this world as Black same gender loving men, it is not easy.  We have to worry about the inherent racism in general society that pegs us as ubiquitous threats and outsiders, regardless of what we wear or what level of education we have attained.  Simultaneously, we are seen as the purveyors of moral depravity in the larger Black community despite our historic and present contributions to our collective advancement.  We are seen as the hedonistic pedophiles who do nothing but dream of imaginative ways to corrupt youth; the outcasts who have turned our backs on anything spiritual simply because we respect and acknowledge our natural romantic desires; and of course, we are pegged as the main reason why Black women get HIV at higher rates than women of other races and ethnicities.  With all this placed on top of our backs every day in addition to our routine daily struggles, we foolishly spend the majority of our time trying to prove ourselves to our non-Black and/or heterosexual contemporaries.  We want them to view us as trustworthy so passionately that we overcompensate with extraordinary creative and work achievements, acquire prestigious work titles and accumulate as many letters behind our names that a business card can possibly handle.

 

But in the process of responding to this intersectional oppression from being both Black and same gender loving in a society that does not care to feature either social identity, we lose something. We lose ourselves.  We stop caring about our needs and instead choose to prioritize the safety and health of others.  Over the past decade I have personally witnessed and heard of numerous Black same gender loving men who serve as healers and saviors in our community yet suffer in silence with their own health issues until succumbing to an untimely death.  It is unnecessary and I don’t think I can receive another phone call, email, or post on Facebook announcing the death of another Black same gender loving man.  I can’t go to another funeral and hear another eulogy that coats over the rich multifaceted nature of our lives to simply relegate them to “He was a good Christian and loved Jesus.”  I just can’t.

 

And I am not just referring to HIV, though I’m sure that is the health issue to cross most peoples’ minds when they think of Black same gender loving men.  Contrary to popular belief, we also have to deal with mental health issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and the myriad other maladies that afflict Black men.  For some reason, those of us who are the healers in our families, relationships and communities, when afflicted with an illness ourselves, choose to not follow the advice we give so many on a daily basis.  We deny the condition exists, fight tooth and nail to avoid medical care and refuse to embrace any homeopathic or medicinal remedies that can facilitate a healthy life.  Instead, put quite simply and bluntly, we choose death.

 

I am not saying that if we are dealing with a specific medical issue, we have to become the spokesperson for that topic.  This is not everyone’s calling.  In the midst of saving the world and trying to prove our worth to societies that may never fully embrace us, however, we must at least acknowledge our mortality.  We cannot always be the Supermen we think we are or so desperately want others to believe.  So if you find out you are HIV-positive, you certainly do not have to scream from the rooftops your revelation or become the poster child for HIV treatment or advocacy.  But tell some close friends and family that you trust, be conscientious about following up with medical providers, and take care of your body with whatever therapeutic options are available.  The same principle applies if we get diagnosed with high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, depression, or any other medical condition.  It is no different. When people know exactly what you are dealing with day to day, things that happen will not be such a “surprise,” but something that makes sense and may facilitate quicker action to remedy the situation.

 

So why choose a slow protracted death?  Can we blame White Supremacy and society’s relentless attack on black male bodies and psyches?  Do we point the finger at the pervasive sexual prejudice against anyone not engaging in a “heteronormative lifestyle”?  Is it our churches’ fault for trying to brainwash us from a young age that we are damaged goods, or should our biological families assume more responsibility for more easily accepting a heterosexual sibling’s chosen drug problem over our natural romantic inclinations?  Is the CDC at fault for ignoring us for years until they couldn’t sweep the statistics under the rug any longer?  Or is it our own fault for not taking the time to check on each other when we know that something is wrong?  The truth, undoubtedly, is that the intersection of all these factors may contribute to this choice.

 

Part of the reason why we allow this benign neglect to consume us to the grave, however, is that after years of hearing what we aren’t worth from various sources in our lives, we actually start believing that our lives are expendable – despite ample evidence to the contrary.  We are the ones who serve as the rocks of the family.  We are the loving dependable uncles to our precious nieces and nephews.  We are the sons who pay attention and devote the most time to our aging parents, while our heterosexual siblings complain about being too “busy” with their marriage and kids – as if our lives are devoid of any commitments, responsibilities or obligations outside of ourselves.  We are the educators, the lawyers, the public servants, the health care employees, the customer service personnel, the ministers and ministers of music who selflessly devote our lives to our communities every day, while all the while listening to the whispers of disapproval of our born sexuality penetrate the tender flesh of our backs like so many steely knives.  After a while, despite these facts, we still believe we are unworthy of love and life.

 

The solution to this dynamic is clear – we need to be there for each other and stop waiting for a church, the CDC, our local congressperson, or President Obama himself to save us.  It is often said that as Black same gender loving men, we get to choose our non-biological families, especially when we encounter challenges with our biological families.  If that is the case, we must realize that as with any family, things will not always be perfect.  We cherish the moments where we can travel together, go clubbing, or to house parties together, and provide unwavering support to each other through school, work, and relationship difficulties. And there may be times when we may betray each other, say mean spirited things we don’t really mean, and even get on each other’s nerves and have knockdown, drag out arguments for the ages.  But this is the case with every family, biologic and non-biologic.  So since we have chosen each other, we must honor ourselves and our chosen family through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, through sickness and health.  And yes, ‘til death do us part.

 

So wherever you are, whatever you are doing in the course of your busy day that may involve interacting with another Black same gender loving man, look into his eyes and gaze into his soul.  See yourself in him. Whether he is a friend, lover or family member – look through the perfectly faded hair, the letters behind his name, the designer clothes, the impeccable payment record of his rent or mortgage or whatever kind of car from which he emerges to greet you.  Look past any troubles he has paying bills, quirks in personality or annoying habits.  Look through him and simply take a moment to ask him if he is ok.  And if he gives you a dismissive answer like “I’m fine,” ask him again, and with the side-eye you usually reserve for giving shade, let him you know are serious.  Then stand back and be prepared for a more elaborate and real answer than you could have ever anticipated.  And when you are finished listening to him, wrap him in your arms and tell him that you love him.  It may be the last time you get the opportunity to do so, and it may be one of the few times he will hear those three words and know that it is coming from someone who truly understands him.  And maybe, just maybe, he will come to realize that he has another choice.

“Pillow Talk” with Smoke

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This edition of “Pillow Talk” I had the pleasure to talk with a friend of mine and very popular urban porn star that burst out into the scene back in 2011 with Black Rayne’s “Breed It Raw” videos. From his initial scene, he was an instant hit with fans. His sexy looks, great body and juicy ass along with his healthy sexual appetite has made him a sought after porn star with other companies. I had an opportunity to talk with Smoke recently about his upbringing in the Seattle area, his love of family, Aaliyah and so much more in this in -depth interview. I hope you enjoy!!!

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1.    Tell us a little about yourself  (age, what your childhood was like, etc.)

I’m 26. I come from a very big family with lots aunts and uncles so I have a lot of cousins. LOL. My childhood was pretty good despite early on I had experienced domestic violence with my parents and I didn’t like that. But once they divorced when I was 12, things got better. I don’t really have a relationship with my father though. He doesn’t even recognize me. Kind of sad but life moves on!

2.    Many might not know you’re from the Seattle area. Lots of us don’t think there too many of “us” in the Northwest Region of the Country LOL. What is the gay scene like in the Seattle area? Especially for Men of Color?

The gay scene is the same like any other major city. Lots of clubs, guys drinking, smoking and fucking, etc. LOL Many black men don’t date other black men, which is somewhat common on the West Coast. I’m not against interracial dating but just hate to see self -hating black men. And the black men who date each other in this area have dated people that I know, etc. Its like Six Degrees of Separation LOL.

3.    I’m assuming your porn name isn’t your birth name. J  How did you come up with your porn name “Smoke”?

I got my name basically from the fact I like to smoke some weed. LOL. Simple as that. LOL And it’s great that in Washington State you can smoke a small amount “legally” 🙂

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4.    You’re relatively a newbie to the gay porn business. Your introduction into porn started with Black Rayne/Breed It Raw about 2 years ago. How has your experiences been in the porn business so far? (The good & The bad)

It’s been really weird. Initially, when I started, I got a lot of accolades from customers and industry people. But what I didn’t like was people trying to create all this drama to work with them (i.e. sleep with them, drama, etc.) and I wasn’t trying to do that. I just wanted to do my job and bounce!

5.    How did you get involved in the porn business? Were you “spotted” and encouraged to do it by friends or you just knew you were a sexy exhibitionist and wanted the world to know what you can do in the bedroom!!! LOL

Ever since I was a kid I was very sexual. When I was 19, I applied to work for CocoDorm but I chickened out at the last minute. A few years later once I moved to San Antonio, I connected with Breed It Raw again and we took things from there!

6.    Since your introduction into porn, all of your scenes have been bareback/raw Is this by choice? Would you be open to do condom scenes if the opportunity presented itself?

It was by choice mainly because that was the 1st company I decided to work for and they do only raw porn. I am open to condom scenes. But I have to be honest and say I prefer it raw. It just feels better.

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7.    In my prior interviews, I’ve asked about the ongoing debate whether or not people performing Bareback/Raw porn encourage viewers to perform “unsafe” sexual practices. Many critics believe it has lead to the rise in HIV infections in the gay/bi community, particularly with young Black/Latino males. What is your take on their analysis?

Personally, we are all adults and we make our own decisions on if we will use condoms are not. You can’t blame the porn industry for actions of individual choices. I’m sure most of it like it raw but we, as individuals, make the decision whether or not to use a condom.

8.    So far, you’ve mainly worked with mainly what some would call “Urban” studios. If given the opportunity, would you be open to work with other mainstream companies (i.e. Lucas Entertainment, Raging Stallion/Falcon, etc.)?

Yeah man. If they reach out to me, I would be more than interested in working with them

9.    When we first meet a couple of years ago, I mentioned that I am working hard to launch my own production company, MEN Entertainment, which will put a positive, mature and fresh face of Men of Color in porn! Much of the porn featuring black and latino models are mainly based on negative stereotypes perpetuated by both whites and within the black/latino community. I would like to know your take on this!

What I would like for your company to do is expand the visuals of Men of Color in porn. How many times can we fuck in the same hotel or apartment? LOL. Do something where we are at work or out and about and have spontaneous sexual experience. Also, tap into the fetish market as well. I know we have talked about how you will do that and I can’t wait to work for your company.

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10. You’ve become a well-known performer from your photos and videos on various Blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to your work with Breed It Raw. Your handsome clean-cut appearance, nice body and juicy ass are huge turn-ons for many of your fans! With that comes some negativity from some people who have a negative viewpoint on porn stars (even though they are secretly watching you…LOL) How do you handle the criticism?

At first it used to get to me. I was wonder why so many people could be so mean and all. But at the same time, I got so many comments and messages from people who said they liked my work and that outnumbered the haters. So I just didn’t really focus on it. Actually the negative comments, etc. made me a stronger person and made me work harder to make sure my scenes were hot!

11. Does your family know you are in the adult film business? If so, what are their thoughts?

Some of my family knows but not all. LOL. Some of my younger cousins do but they haven’t told the others (I don’t think). And at this point I really don’t care!

12. We all have a type of guy that turns us on sexually. What kind of men are you sexually attracted to that’ll ensure your best performance on film?

For filming, I don’t really have a type per se since I see it as work.

13. You have worked with some sexy men during your porn career. Two scenes that stand out are with co-stars Antonio Biaggi and the 3some scene with Romance and Knight with Breed it Raw! Which porn stars have you really enjoyed working with?

I enjoyed working with Big Redd, Jermany, Romance; Knight, Slim Thug and Antonio Biaggi

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14. For future films, which porn stars would you like to do a scene with?

I would love to work with Addiction, Venom, Dream and Race Cooper!

15. What I, along with other men, find sexy about you is that you exhibit a natural masculinity. I think you have become so popular, and will have staying power, because not only are you attractive but you are very passionate with your sex as well. However, we have only seen you bottom. Are you willing to be versatile on film?  In your private life, are you a strict bottom or versatile?

Oh Definitely. My first scene with Breed it Raw was with Jermany and I was supposed to top him but I got stage fright I guess. LOL. I couldn’t get hard so he ended up fucking me. But I’m definitely down to do versatile scenes and would prefer it in future work.

16. You have done 1 on 1’s and 3somes scenes on film. Do you prefer one on one or 3somes/group sex?  How about in your private life?

I prefer both actually while doing it for work. I’m not really into 3somes in my private life. I’m not really into the open relationship type of thing. I could be with the right guy but as for right now, in a relationship I’m truly 1 on 1.

17. What’s your favorite position to be fucked?

Lately I prefer to ride dick but overall I LOVE to be fucked doggy style!

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18. Fetish films (i.e. Leather, Spanking, Piss, etc.) are becoming very popular. Yet you haven’t done any on film. Are you willing to do any on film?  If so, what fetishes would you want to explore on film and in your private life?

Yes definitely. I am into Assplay. Dom/Sub Roleplay. Watersports. Some Bondage.  I think there should be no boundaries in the bedroom. And I’m willing to try new things and if I like it, then I’ll do it again. And I can see myself doing all those on films!

19. Now that you have been in the adult business for some time, do you have any regrets? If you could start all over, would you go into this business?

I honestly don’t have any regrets. I chose to work in this industry because at the time I entered it with expectations that I thought were important for me at that time. But now that I’ve experienced it, I realized those things weren’t as important as I thought and my views of porn have somewhat changed.

20. The life span of many guy’s porn careers are 1-3 years.  But I have a feeling we will see you go on for a few more years. You just seem like a natural exhibitionist. How long do you see yourself being in the business? What are your plans upon retiring from the industry?

Again I do love sex and the whole exhibitionism type of thing. I can see myself doing more erotic modeling and dancing. I don’t see myself doing much porn too much longer!

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21. I’m sure many of your admirers would love to get with you. So you know I’m going to ask…Are you single at the moment? J (If you’re single, what type of guy do you want to be with?)

Yes I am single at the moment! J

22. If you are in a relationship, has your work in the adult industry been a problem when you initially started dating? (Answer if you are currently in relationship)

In past relationships, it has caused some problems. For instance, when I was active in the industry some of my partners thought since I was having sex with various people, they felt they could as well! And that’s not the same thing. I was doing it for work and they were just doing it ..just because! So that caused some issues!

23. What is something your fans might be shocked to know about you!

I’m incredibly shy. When I’m out, some people say I look I’m disinterested or mad when I don’t speak but its not that. I’m just a shy person. LOL

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24. If there is anything you could change about yourself, what would it be & why?

I don’t really care for my hairy body. I know most people think I’m smooth but that’s because I shave it off. But I’m naturally hairy and don’t really care for it!

25. What hobbies do you enjoy? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spending time with my family. I love those times with family. I love running. I’m also into writing poetry and slowly getting into writing music. Watch movies and cook! Go to museums and plays!

26. Just recently the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the lower courts decision on Same Sex Marriage in California. It’s now legal in 13 states and DC. What are your views on Same Sex Marriage? Do you see yourself getting married?

I think same sex marriage is a great thing. I’m glad more states are recognizing it. Yes I do want to get married and have two kids. That’s it. LOL

27. Here are Daddy Rod’s list of “quickees” I ask each interviewee.

  • Name 5 of your favorite music artists –

Aaliyah, Kelly Rowland, Brandy, Tamar Braxton, August

  • What’s your favorite color?

Red

  • What’s your favorite movie?

Romeo Must Die, The Lion King, Queens of the Damned

  • What do you fear the most?

Never truly knowing how it is to be loved!

  • Boxers or Briefs or Jocks?

Boxer Briefs

  • East Coast or West Coast?

West Coast

  • What’s your favorite lube?

Gun Oil

  • What’s your favorite curse word?

Fuck

  • If you could meet any celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  • Aaliyah. She was so amazing. Her albums were the best. I spin “One in a Million” to this day!
  • If you can be anywhere (i.e. islands, city, etc), where would it be and why?

I would love to go to Asia. I love their culture and especially love their cuisine!

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28. Thanks so much for your time. I wish you all the best. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans? Do you have a website, twitter or blog where your fans can reach you?

I appreciate the love from all the fans who have hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Tumblr, etc. It really means a lot to me!

You can reach me:

Email – smoke.brb@gmail.com

Twitter – smoke_evryday

Tumblr – incrediblesmoke

Instagram – erickane

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"Pause"

The PAUSE Campaign is social marketing campaign developed by Eight Peace Productions in collaboration with AID Atlanta’s Evolution Project. “PAUSE” is a short film that tells four intertwining tales that connect a group of gay men through their decisions. The film is intentionally vague and open ended. We hope that viewers see themselves, their lovers, & friends in this short film. PAUSE isn’t about safe sex, it’s not about transmission, nor is it about alarming statistics. PAUSE is us. It’s a glimpse into our passion, desire, connections, sex and decisions. We want nothing more than for viewers to ponder the possibilities as they view this short film. Why? Because, the impact of our decisions, sexual or otherwise, goes far beyond infection rates. Our decisions have a tremendous impact on how we see ourselves and how we impact the men in our lives. The film is meant to remind us that everything is a choice and one of the best choices one can make is taking a moment to think. Give yourself a PAUSE. Allow yourself to contemplate before making any decision.

Enjoy this short film!!!

Porn Star – Joe Simmons

This is my all time favorite porn star – Joe Simmons. He burst out in the porn scene back in the mid 1980’s and made over 20 films until the early 1990’s. Not only was he sexy as hell (i.e. nice body, great smile, etc.) but he was also versatile and would do lots of fetish type of films. In my opinion, there really hasn’t been a porn star like him since his passing!!! He died of AIDS related illnesses back in 1995. Rest in Peace sexy!




In Memoriam – Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Oscar winning actress, Model and Humanitarian, Elizabeth Taylor has passed away of congestive heart failure. She was 79. She was the founder of AmFar and worked tirelessly for HIV/AIDS research and other charities! She is also known for her many marriages and special friendship with Michael Jackson.

Thank you Elizabeth for your love and support of the HIV/AIDS cause!