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With graphic language, Wilson told an approving audience punctuated with Amens, “Lesbianism is about to take over our community.

Women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It

ain’t natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that.

 

 

A queer year in the black community

By Irene Monroe

 

In looking back over the past year of major events and issues confronting the lives of African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, I realize that we have accomplished quite a lot. In crossing over into 2006, while standing on the shoulders of our LGBTQ foremothers and forefathers, here’s a glimpse back at our creative genius and collective strength that got us through the raging culture wars of 2005.

Building an African-American civil rights organization

In coming up with the idea of building an organization that addresses the social justice issues of African-American LGBTQ people, founder and president Keith Boykin created the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) in 2004. As a civil rights organization of black LGBTQ people and our allies, the NBJC is dedicated to fostering equality by fighting racism and homophobia. The group advocates for social justice by educating and mobilizing opinion leaders, including elected officials, clergy, and media, with a focus on African-American communities.

In October 2005, the NBJC became official when the organization was approved for 501(c)(3) status. And in November 2005, NYANSAPO, the magazine of the NBJC, premiered. The magazine is a first-time comprehensive look at how African-American LGBTQ people live out the intersectionality of their multiple identities.

Standing in need of prayer

On the church front, our community heard the usual cacophonies of hollering homophobes confusing hallow homilies with hate filled messages. The shock and awe, however, came from our allies.

In July 2005, one of Washington, D.C.’s prominent African-American ministers, the Rev. Willie F. Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington who in 1999 opened his church for a forum on discrimination against same-gender loving (SGL) people, set off a firestorm with his now-notorious sermon denouncing gays and lesbians. 

With graphic language, Wilson told an approving audience punctuated with Amens, “Lesbianism is about to take over our community. Women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that. No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can’t make no correction with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female.”

In August 2005, the well-loved and lauded liberal African-American pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, who has a same-gender loving ministry in the church, wrote in the church’s magazine The Trumpet his real views about this segment of his congregation, causing many parishioners to leave the church.

In his article “Maybe I Missed Something!” many of us who admire him got to see how our issues are not a priority in his present-day prophetic social gospel intended to ameliorate the social conditions of all God’s African-American children. “While our denomination grappled with how to address that human problem, the denomination also, at that Synod, voted to ordain a homosexual. Guess which item made the newspapers? Maybe I missed something!”

And in his closing tirades on SGL issues, Wright stated this: “Are 44 million Americans with no health care insurance less important than ‘gay marriage?’ Why aren’t Black Christians in an uproar about that? Maybe I am missing something!”

When the article came out in light of the United Church of Christ’s stance on ordaining and marrying SGL people, it was disheartening for many of us to know that Pastor Wright broke rank with his liberal denomination to stand in solidarity with a more conservative Black Church position.

Campaign against homophobia

While our connections and contributions to the larger black religious cosmos are desecrated every time homophobic pronouncements go unchecked in these holy places of worship, there are, unbeknownst to many, African-American ministers who support the ethos and expression of our spirituality. These ministers understand that in standing within the Black Church tradition of a prophetic social gospel, one can be unabashedly Christian, unapologetically black, and also uncompromisingly SGL- friendly.

In August 2005, the Rev. James A. Forbes, senior minister at the Riverside Church in New York City, held a conference to address anti-gay rhetoric spewing from pulpits in conservatives churches.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, along with his National Action Network, has become a leader in the fight to stamp out homophobia in the Black Church. Why the personal stake in the issue? His sister is a lesbian. In the October issue of The Advocate, Sharpton stated, “I understood the pain of having to lead a double life in the system [since] we grew up in the church.”

And while misogynistic and homophobic lyrics are a mainstay in hip-hop music, hip-hop artist Kanye West is on a campaign against homophobia by challenging his fellow rappers to eschew those rhymes. During an interview for an MTV special, West disclosed that he changed his views when he found out his cousin is gay. “It was kind of like a turning point when I was like, ‘Yo, this is my cousin. I love him and I’ve been discriminating against gays.’”

Tied in a knot

Today the topic of marriage equality is still debated with African-American ministers leading the campaign against it. Ironically, however, most of the African-American LGBTQ community is not too wedded to the idea, either.

With continued silence and no action from the communities on the topic of same-sex marriage, the issue nonetheless will not be disappearing anytime soon.

Social research, moreover, shows that African-American same-gender households have everything to gain in the struggle for marriage equality and more to lose when states pass amendments banning marriage equality and other forms of partner recognition.

In November 2005, Equality Maryland and the NBJC published “Jumping the Broom: a Black Perspective on Same-Gender Marriage.” The publication was produced to initiate dialogue in churches, fraternal organizations, media outlets, and NAACP chapters.

The statistics revealed the following: Forty-five percent of black same-sex couples reported stable relationships of five years or longer. Even if marriage becomes a legal option, clergy will decide whom they wish to marry. And 20 percent of black men and 24 percent of black women in same-sex households are denied health care benefits for their partners by the government.

Million more steps for an inclusive march

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the historic October 1995 Million Man March, the Minister Louis Farrakhan announced on May 2, 2005, the plans for the October 2005 Millions More Movement March.

Not surprisingly, however, Farrakhan’s invitation to an “all-inclusive” and broad coalition of African-American civil rights leaders and organization once again excluded LGBTQ activists and organizations.

With a promise that there would be an LGBTQ speaker at the event, Keith Boykin was dropped on the day of the event, but Cleo Manago, founder of Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), an Afrocentric support system for the empowerment of black men of diverse sexualities, was not. Why? Manago mirrors the fundamental sentiment of Farrakhan’s theology — a conscious separation from the dominant white heterosexual and queer cultures.

Having their say

Bestsellers in the writers’ corner came from books discussing the topic of African-American men “on the down low.” And J.L. King became the country’s poster boy by exposing the behavior in his 2004 bestseller, On The Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of ‘Straight’ Black Men Who Sleep with Men.

Keith Boykin’s 2005 bestseller, Beyond the Down Low, dispelled the hype that men on the DL are the root cause of the AIDS epidemic by exposing how the Black Church and its sexual politics contribute to this subculture

“Ex-gay” activist and minister K. Godfrey Easter depicts his recent and dramatic transformation from being gay to now being straight in his memoir Love Lifted Me Because of the Church: Why One Can Not Be Gay & Christian. When asked what brought about the turn around, Easter replied, “God did it! All I can say is that inside me, the instant love cataclysmically collided with wisdom, a great separation took place — me from homosexuality.”

And best-selling author of How Stella Got Her Grove Back,” Terry McMillan, is “waiting to exhale” from the news that her once boyfriend turned husband, Jonathan Plummer, who inspired the blockbuster hit of the same title, is gay.

Coming out moments

With October celebrated as “coming out month,” the fields of sports and entertainment had their moments.

Three-time WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes came out in an interview with ESPN’S The Magazine.

And after a dearth of black actors in “Queer as Folk,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “The L Word,” a deluge of applause was heard throughout the nation’s LGBTQ community when the black cast of “Noah’s Arc” premiered on Logo, a gay and lesbian cable channel.

Final farewells

Within the African-American community, we have lost many of our great heroes with Rosa Parks, the mother of the 1960s civil rights movement, leaving us in November.

When we lost R&B crooner Luther Vandross, the queries about his orientation still surfaced. Vandross finally came out before his death to set the record straight. He was “bi” — not sexually but coastally. He had homes in both California and New York.

posted 11 January 2005 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in Jesus

By Yvonne Terry-Lewis

"Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in Jesus" is an engaging book that confronts the universal experience of living with death and dying. The author personifies the personal loss of loved ones as "Sister Grief." The book, partly autobiographical, provides a holistic plan for conquering grief through faith, through a special relationship with Jesus. This plan is designed to help navigate one through the grieving process.

The book includes personal stories, poetry, testimonials, letters, practical suggestions, and strategies based on a love for the divinity in one's life. Although the circumstances that cause grief may be sad, this book is filled with love, encouragement, and hope that lead one towards spiritual health and wholeness. What Consolation Is Christ to Suffering   

The Michael D Terry Scholarship Board

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 12 March 2012

 

 

 

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