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

"Most of my fortitude to continue doing the work comes from the moral outrage I feel about the injustices that Black people endure disproportionately daily."

- 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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

City Gym Boys (NYC) 2010
16-Month Wall Calendar
The Day After (LOL!) & The Latest Addition To
My Black Male Calendar Collection (80+)

Hey Y'all,

I didn't expect to be reporting back to soon with another blog entry on calendars! However, this came in the mail today and so I took some quick pics to show ya. Besides Ebony Soul calender, City Gym Boys is my second most favorite calendar. This is the City Gym Boys 2010 calendar and it is a true 16-month calendar that runs from November 2009, all the way through 2010 and two additional months of January and February of 2011. So that's pretty qool!

The Calendar For Each Month Is Not Too Functional
In Terms Of The Clarity/Size Of The Monthly Dates.

However, If Eye Candy Is All You Care About,
And That's Mostly What This Calendar Is Designed For,

This calendar, unlike the Ebony Soul 2010-2011 calendar is not as functional in terms of using it as a date planner; meaning, the dates for each month are small and each of the 16 monthly calendars itself take up only 25% of the calendar space (see picture above) when extended and hanging on the wall. The other 75% of the calendar is taken up by each of the 16 models/body builders. All previous City Gym Boys calendars have pretty much followed this method. Like I can't use the 2" x 1.5" yellow sticky post-it notes which helps me organize the things I need to do in life (appointments, events, etc.) on this calendar like I can with the Ebony Soul calendar. In essence, this calendar is really meant for pure eye candy unless you have the calendar very near to your work space, computer desk or wherever and then you can see the dates more clearly. It's not a problem for me though; eye candy is phine in this instance. I typically have 3 or 4 Black male calendars hanging up in any given year anyway, so one of them usually fits my post-it note needs.

What I definitely LOVE about this calendar is if you look closely at the pic above (click on it to see the bigger version), in the lower right hand corner it shows the flag of the ethnic background of the model. This is true for each month. All the models have an African heritage or Latino heritage background.

Background wise, City Gym Boys is based here in New York City and they are a collecive of twenty-something Black and Latino men. On their website under "About Us..." it says:

City Gym Boys is an elite team of natural bodybuilders from the inner city dedicated to mentoring young men and women on the lifelong benefits of fitness and exercise.

City Gym Boys was founded in 1997 by owner Charles La Salle to reach young men and women in the New York City area. "Our mission is to help eliminate the onset of obesity, particularly among African-Americans and Latino’s in the inner city, by getting teens hooked on working out. If we can get 15 to 23 year olds to make fitness a habit, then we are on our way to reducing diabetes and heart disease", says La Salle.


City Gym Boys travels around NYC as well as around the United States for different functions and events. As a same gender loving brutha who has been to three of their functions over the years, I can tell you that 90 to 95% of the crowd at these various functions are women, who also get autographs. Despite that, I have gotten my calendars autographed. And yes, there is this subtle dynamic and curiosity of why this tall 6'-3" and relatively masculine Black man (ME) is asking for an autograph. The fellaz are always polite and never disrespecftul. However, they have been to some Black Pride events here and there such as Washington, DC and they will be at Atlanta Black Pride 2009 next month (I believe) for the Labor Day weekend. So they should be used to the SGL experience, I suppose unless some are down low themselves.



Yusef (aka Da Prince)
His Arms Are Leaning on Me! LOL!

Of all the City Gym boys models, Yusef (aka Da Prince) is by far the best looking one. Case in point, when I went to one of the City Gym Boys parties they had last year in NYC (see pic below), all the models came out one by one and all the women were cheering. But man, when Yusef came out, he got a really huge round of applause and loud ass screams from all the women in the joint! It was crazy.

The pic below is from last year's party event. I bid, then bidded again, and then outbid some girl to finally win the framed City Gym Boys print. While shooting the event myself, I met and chatted with the photographer who shoots the calendars for City Gym Boys as well as the framed picture I won. Everybody who won an auction piece took pictures as part of a publicity campaign. I quickly gave the photographer who shoots the City Gym Boys my Nikon D200 DSLR camera and had him shoot a few pics for my own collection which you see below!

It took some real courage for me to bid in the auction (as I was the only guy who did so) and stand there for publicity stills afterward. But I needed to stand in my own light and authenticity and enjoyed da boyz as much as the women did (without al the screaming, of course, LOL!).

Charles LaSalle, the president of City Gym Boys had the mic at oem point and asked the crowd to give all the auction winning folks a round of applause, and so I ("BIG ROD") had his name called out and was shown LOVE by the audience and the other City Gym Boys with claps of applause. That felt good! It shows that Black SGL folks can be visible!!!

I Bid And Won One Of The Auction Pieces
NO! Not The City Gym Boy Standing Next To Me,
The Framed Picture! LOL!

(June 4th, 2008)

At Home With My Auction Piece The Next Day

Overall, I rate this City Gym Boys calendar 4 stars out of 5. A bit tad higher than Ebony Soul calendar which is saying a lot.
You can click the very first pic at the top of this blog entry if you're interested in buying the City Gym Boys 2010 calendar or click here: City Gym Boys 2010 Calendar. If you wanna view the pics I took from the City Gym Boys parties they are in thebe two photo albums below with music (turn ya speakers on!). Just click on whichever photo album you wanna view:

Ebony Soul 2010-2011 18-Month Wall Calendar
The Latest Addition To My
Black Male Calendar Collection (80+)

Hey Y'all!

Well, it's August and you know what that mean??? It means it's that time of year when new calendars traditionally begin launching for use for the next year. I have been collecting Black male calendars as a hobby for about 9 years now. I have a total of 81 Black male calendars in my collection! YES! I AM A SERIOUS COLLECTOR! YA HEARD! LOL!

Can't You Tell I'm A Happy Camper! LOL!

There are awards given out for best calendars (I forget what they are called) and Anthony Ragland is a 4-Time World Award Winner for his Ebony Soul calendars over the years. And if I had to give out awards myself there is no question that I'd give one out consistently to the Ebony Soul calendar series. It is by far my favorite and best produced calendar hi-liting Black men: from the selection of Black bruthaz, to the posing/directing of the bruthaz, the composition/framing of the bruthaz to the situations/locations. The only thing I'd say is missing is a lack of Black history almanac vignettes that could be added to the boxes on particular days where folks can get at least a weekly dose of our African heritage. KWANZAA is included though.
The Ebony Soul calendar series is produced by the photographer on the project - Anthony Ragland himself. This brutha has a nice eye and I LOVE his work!! As I mentioned before, Anthony has a knack for selecting good lookin' bruthaz.

AH! Gotta LOVE It!
Excellent Art Direction Layout On The Back Cover!

Not only that, Ebony Soul is the only regularly published Black male calendar that consistently produces a TRUE 16 or 18-month calendar. That means there are 16 or 18 individual bruthaz featured for each month. Not that crap where a calendar features the last 4 months of the existing year on one page (and is too small to be functional anyhow), and then features 12 bruthaz going into the next year. Some calendar producer calls this a 16-month calendar when, Uhhhh... NO!

Michael (February 2011) Lookin' Mad Guud and Sexy!

Overall, I give the Ebony Soul 2010-2011 calendar 3.5 stars out of 5 this time around. It's not 5 stars this time because the situations/locations and model direction shots aren't as good as the two previous calendars before it. However, Anthony has definitely got daring and gone risque for the first time with some nude shots (but you don't see genitals or butt), yet keeps true to his artistic integrity and didn't fall into a crude soft-porn category! (THANK YOU, Anthony!) Nevertheless, I have and LOVE the calendar overall.

Julian Is A Mad Hottie!
He's My Favorite Model In This 2010-2011 Calendar
As Well As The Previous Ebony Soul 2008-2009 Calendar

You can click the very first image of the calendar itself at the top of this blog entry where you can order it directly from Amazon.com via Anthony Ragland's website. The calendar costs a little more than most calendars at $19.99 plus $5 bucks for shipping, but just remember it's a true 18-month calendar and will last a little more than a year and a half on your wall. Anthony ships the calendars out USPS Priority Mail (2 to 3 day service) so you'll get it pretty fast.

Another notable calendar that is real
HOT and that I recommend, too, is City Gym Boys!

Be qool y'all! Peace!


UPDATE (Tuesday, August 25th, 2009):

Hey Black Family,

I sent Anthony Ragland, the producer/photographer of the Ebony Soul Calendars, an email a week ago and I got a response back and wanted to share it with y'all:

Hello Big Rod,
First of all, thank you for your continued support and compliments on our calendar. Your blog was well written and with a great sense of honesty, both with the compliments and slight criticism.

Our goal is to produce a product that everyone will be proud of, not just the models included. We do receive a lot of feedback each year and I include those thoughts in fine tuning our upcoming productions.

Thank you again,
Anthony Ragland