Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved
The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved<br>The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

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"Whenever I use BLACK it relates to some history of Africans in that particular place. It’s the idea of the color BLACK as a metaphor, or as a representation of African-Americans. It’s the notion of BLACK- BLACKNESS - and all its other meanings in relation to the history of race..."

- Fred Wilson

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- N. Abdul-Wakil

"In the end, what matters is not skin shade but pan-African consciousness. Loving your complexion, your nose, lips, hair length and texture, no matter what the politics or trends decide, and simply be. That's the problem with us (African folks). We're still learning how to love ourselves. So used to glorifying others and putting others first..."

- Dredlocks Tree

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)
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LAST UPDATE: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network
TOPIC: Same-Sex Marriage & Pre- Marital Sex
Part II

Ooookaaaaay...! Where do I begin.. and end...!

This is an update and post-reflection to the original posting I made

First, let me say that I was really expecting to have large turnout with a
rational and conducive discussion around the planned "Same-Sex Marriage" topic at National Action Network (NAN). I mean, after all, this was a discussion primed around ourselves as a Black community which was the appealing point of interest for me; the larger Black community and the Black same gender loving community coming together under the same roof and exploring the complex dimensionalities of this topic; unlike the Proposition 8 firestorm in California which in my mind was a largely white gay agenda from the get-go. And further, this is Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network: House of Justice headquarters, and so I expected, as I alluded to before, a meaningful and conducive discussion among Black folks.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth because quite frankly, the discussion was (excuse my language) a FUCKING MESS to say the least. There was a TOTALLY UNBALANCED PANEL with 2 moderators (NAN Executive Director, Tamika Mallory along with the National Director of Membership, Dominique Sharpton,
who is Sharpton's daughter) and 4 religious zealot homophobes armed with their christianity and spewing hate far and wide but in a midleading sweet smelling and benevolent apple pie style). Psssf!! Trust me, they would have easily qualified and fit right in for a role in Bill Mahr's Religulous (2008) documentary film; how clergies of the church use religion to justify their ironclad hatemonger views. However, the laughable subtitle in this case would have been, "Religulous: How to Further Divide the Black Community With Out-dated & Non-sense Archaic Religious Views While Hating On Black Homosexuals While Drinking Your Juice In Da Hood"

Unfortunately there was absolutely nothing funny about the "soliloquy" (I'm quoting my friend and human rights activist, Joe Pressley) the panelists ran on about successively (one after the other) for at least 45 minute and more before audience members were able to say anything at all. The overall genesis of these monologues, because it wasn't a discussion, from the panelists were at best disgusting and at worst a homosexual bashing to the absolute max.

One knew something was wrong from the very beginning when the topic started one hour late!! Apparently Reverend Sharpton was making a press statement or some announcement about the passing of Michael Jackson at another location. Michael is my boy and I love his music, but delaying a topic that Reverned Sharpton wasn't even scheduled to participate in left some shaking their heads.

Second, the headquarters had 15 people in attendance which included the videographer recording the religious zealots monologues.

Third, after all four panelists introduced themselves (two of them were Reverends Keyshawn Whie and Darren Ferguson) the tone of the conversation was set when one of them mentioned marriage as a "holy matrimony". That set-up the male/female relationship dynamic as the default and ONLY
proper way of people living and conducting their lives... things went down hill from there.

Sister Tamika, put a disclaimer out to the audience and panelists that the topic came together literally two days ago! This tracks correctly because I got the email from NAN on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 and had to e-blast it out immediately because the event was happening, Thursday, June 25th! Ouch! A two day pre-notice is far from cute NAN people! And no doubt the reason there were only 15 people in the whole building for this meeting!!

The religious zealots went on with their "between a man & woman 'holy matrimony' " rhetoric and tieing in a reaching and dubious notion (in their minds) of homosexuality no longer being categorized as a mental illness; it was considered an illness until scientifically overturned as mental and emotional disorders by the American Psychiatric Association (ASA) in 1975. They think the ASA was wrong in that assessment, by the way. And they went on about the church being in danger and under attack with being forced into granting marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples because of legislation being put forth in the state of New York.

The panelists suggested a devious spiritual connection between depressed people, suicidal people, homosexuals as examples. The devious connection was if any of these people with these attributed "symptoms" are within proximity of others or touching others, then you'll miraculously become depressed, suicidal or homosexual, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. etc... yeaaaaaah, okay!!

When the floor was finally opened up to the audience and some rebuttals incurred due to note taking by Joe Pressley and his partner Steve Williams, the ol' Black person struggles vs. homosexual struggles came up and the notion of a Black person's plight and skin color cannot be compared to the "behavioral" (choice) of someone who is homosexual. Again, the ridiculous arguments of comparison and competition and who or what is more hierarchical than the other. Well... some of us are Black and homosexual and that is inseparable.

The panel and Sister Tamika got belligerent by cutting off Joe Pressley as he was constructing his thoughts into a very rationale conversation (being objective as I can here). Joe did not receive the same courtesy when he had the microphone to express his points. Though he got some of his points out it was met with constant rebuttal interruptions from the pastors.

However, we didn't back down and caught Sister Tamika contradicting herself and she was challenged. The contradiction was that she stated half-way into this quagmire that the discussion was put together 2 weeks ago. Then she stated that the topic was to ascertain the
panel's views on same-sex marriage. First, as I stated at the top of this blog entry, the email went out 2 days ago, and Sister Tamika stated at the top of her opening salutation that the topic was put together in a hurry 2 days or so ago. Clearly, with the piss-poor attendance it clear in my mind this was hastily thrown together. And when we called her out on the contradiction of the time-line she immediately got defensive and restated she meant to say "2 weeks ago". And yet still, the executive director of the NAN only got an e-blast out 2 days before the event??!!!

As far as the direction of the topic hinging on the panelists' views on same-sex marriage, that clearly was not articulated on the flyer and we lit her up for that. What could she say? Her answer was that she apologized for that not being indicated on the flyer properly. And when we called Sister Tamika out on the unbalanced nature of the panel, she stated that she called and asked some "LGBT" pastor representatives to come and that they either declined or no were available because of scheduling conflicts. Well, how could anyone commit to something when you ask them at the very last minute??? When Joe Pressley asked
"Who did you call?" , Sister Tamika rebutted with a flat "that's not important" answer. All this begs a critical thinking conclusion that this was NOT put together two weeks ago as stated.

Steve Williams got so disillusioned by the disrespect, irrational and non-listening stance of the panel that he abruptly got up and walked out while shaming the organizers for this very skewed and biased discussion. Shortly thereafter it was a very contentious dynamic in the room and Joe was leaving and I packed up my camera equipment to leave. I personally was way too through with the dynamics in the room, but I was hanging around so I could hear my friends' remarks and get some pics for this post entry. Steve and Joe's friend Julius, a same gender loving brutha who is studying to be a priest remained in order to hopefully get his point across in a rational and non-combative pro same-sex couple stance.

There's no doubt that this panel was challenged by their own oratory views, and I suspect they weren't used to be challenged (especially in their respective church congregations and people just go along to get along sometimes). As Joe and I walked out I was getting these stares from other people in the room and I suspect they didn't know what to make of me and probably the way the dialog went.

More to come... maybe.