Men At Twerk Are NSFW: Big Freedia, Drag DJs and Men In Queer Culture — Are they Putting Miley Cyrus to Shame?

“Miley Cyrus’ twerk-filled performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards has become the most discussed, polarizing few minutes in a show that saw an ‘N Sync reunion and silhouetted Kanye West singing “Blood on the Leaves”. More than one think piece has accused Cyrus of appropriating and exploiting black culture for her own benefit at the detriment of its pioneers [like Big Freedia].”

                                                                                          – Jason Newman for Fuse.TV

On The #MileyTwerk Controversy and Queer Black Culture

“I’m a singer. I’m not a twerker, I’m not a rapper. I’m a singer…. I really can sing. And you know I can twerk—watch my videos. So there.” – Singer/Pop Artist Miley Cyrus 

[Note: In principle and practice, many of the clips and links below are NSFW. Not. Safe. For. Work. Surf with caution. Some of the content doesn’t prepare you for this fact pre-launch.]

Feminists are not having it.

Kids in San Diego are getting in trouble—like “suspended” in trouble.

Hannity and Limbaugh are hornswoggled, all about this “shocking new twerking thing.” The word “twerk” has made it into the dictionary. Women are even twerking in church…on camera.

But y’all know twerking is nothing new. By now, you’ve likely traced its roots back to Africa’s diaspora, strip club feasts of fancy or your garden variety YouTube/Vine video. Let’s just say it’s familiar.

Twerking’s “a new thing” for Miley Cyrus to do in public (not counting press campaigns planned far in advance of any twerk attempts), so therefore it is “news.” Girlfriend is owning it as-is—so by now ya gotta know, it is Miley’s full intention is to twerk poorly and call attention to the fact that there’s not all too much junk in her trunk.

Ms. Miley ain’t out to win twerk-a-thon championships, and nothing that a Disney grad does—one who’s still on top—is accidental.

Now that that’s out of the way: folks can’t tell what they find most offensive about Miley’s runaway bootie: her lack of hip gyrations, her cultural appropriation, using African American folks as props alongside teddy bears, or her choice to milk every last drop of so-called shock value from ratchet living ’til it’s dry.

MC’s camp is well aware that the so-called American TV demographic isn’t ready for a real-deal twerk. Why would she practice twerking aiming to make that look authentic when it wouldn’t get on the air for the world to see? (Let the “people props” get closer to that.)

As for cultural appropriation, using people as props et al—this is nothing men (and/or Madonna!) haven’t done for decades in the entertainment industry—does that make it okay?

While ratchet/twerking music and culture’s aimed at dancing and partying all night (among, ahem, other ideas), twerking draws upon elements of queer culture. We are everywhere, so why would this not be the case?

LGBTQ folks find Miley’s new-found popularity scenario to be familiar: she’s shining in the spotlight, riding the wave of a cultural trend that’s been around in this form for at least 20 years. When such a trend makes its way to heteronormative culture and is performed by (at least more) heteronormative superstars, it’s salacious, sexy and provocative. “Controversial.” When it’s performed by LGBTQ folks in-community, people are confounded and disgusted. Granted, “disgust” is a subtextual form of interest and arousal, but most folks don’t take much time to process through that appropriately.

Too, to hear Huffpost/AOL tell it, their #MenAtTwerk compilation is one of America’s funniest home videos. As it’s taken out of context, that’s one viewpoint—but because of the platform and audience Huffpost has, such a viewpoint leaves room for much misinterpretation. In-culture, the #MenAtTwerk bootie-clap collage could be considered to be hot, fierce, authentic, queer-inclusive and/or funny at the very least. Not just “funny.”

Back in February, RuPaul and Big Freedia released the hypnotic video and single “Peanut Butter” ( flanked by raw, hot models and dancers (courtesy of Chi Chi LaRue and Big Freedia), and a whole…lotta…arse. (The title of the track is “Peanut Butter,” so no surprises there). This underground club banger’s selling well and re-popularized twerking in-culture in a way that Miley still has yet to understand. Ru and Freedia are internationally famous pop stars too—you just don’t hear about them in the press every…other…second on every other channel.

‘Bout That Actual Life: On Actually Fierce Twerk Game

“I haven’t really seen one bad comment about my twerk video,” she said, then added jokingly, “This is the first thing! All right, I can’t sing, I can’t act, I’m dumb, I’m a hillbilly, but I can twerk, so whatever!” – Miley Cyrus

What did not get as much mainstream press time in this latest cultural case study? Rap Artist-Musician Big Freedia, killin’ it with a jaw dropping set at the Afro-Punk Festival, which took place on the same day as the VMAs did, in the same city and cultural mecca (Brooklyn).

Still, Rap Artist-Musician Big Freedia’s mic is on. People are watching, listening and learning. Big Freedia isn’t any fly-by-night dilettante or hobbyist. This artist is the real, live deal—she’s been all up in Bounce culture and then some since 1999. While promoting her new FUSE show Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (, she’s making her voice heard, sharing her reflections about the repeated #MileyTwerk spectacle.

While she’s honest about leveraging this strange, emerging opportunity, Big Freedia minces no words: twerking has been screwed and chopped by mainstream culture, and someone from within the culture itself needs to set the record straight.

Sissy Bounce is here, it’s queer, and it’s always been with us.

Reigning Sissy Bounce Queen Diva: Big Freedia Takes New Orleans Bounce to the World Stage

In Her Own Words

“… It’s offensive to black culture and black women who’ve been twerking for years. Every time we do something, people want to snatch it and run with it and put their name on it. And they still don’t even have the moves down yet. Just get me and Miley together so I could give her ass some lessons.” – Big Freedia, on Miley Twerk-A-Mania

Big Freedia doesn’t just make Bounce music—she makes Sissy Bounce music.

She had plenty to share regarding Miley’s twerk-storm. From a recent interview with Fuse TV (, here are a few thoughts Big Freedia shared with her audience:

…. she was trying to twerk. For one thing, we have a dance in bounce music called ‘exercising’ where you just open your legs and shake your butt a little bit from side to side… but she still didn’t even get that right because she didn’t have any butt control. She needs more practice.”

When you have my dancers, they’re professionals. They’re from New Orleans and know what they’re doing . When they started dancing, it was original twerking. Miley’s dancers were prop dancers. None of them were professional dancers.”

They could’ve used girls from New Orleans, even if they were not black, who knew what they’re doing. They’re just using anybody possible just to get that buzz since twerking is hot now. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this, though. I knew the twerking thing was really taking off, but I didn’t know it would blow up like this.”

FUSE asked,Going back to Miley, let’s say you were the choreographer and saw her performance as a dress rehearsal. What specific tips would you have given her?”

Big Freedia responded, “Don’t do it.”

Big Freedia also told she plans to release a response track called “Twerk It,” which “explores the roots of twerk vocabulary.”

Twerk Couture: Bad Girls Twerking Badly Still Puts Twerking On the Map

You can’t really explain [twerking],” Miley said. “It’s something that comes naturally…It’s a lot of booty action…. I’ve been practicing probably for the past two years, in my own time in my living room.” – Miley Cyrus, to E Online

This is an achy-breaky trend that will not die, and Miley isn’t even attempting to backpedal her way out of it. She is riding it for all it is worth to her—and she’s not in this twerk game alone. She of course has handlers and press people. In her mind (from all press interview accounts), Miley really is just chilling with her friends and doing what she loves.

It’s A Feminist/Black/Queer Thing: Miley Isn’t Here to Make It Rain.

On Channeling Nothing

RT @MileyCyrus “Mile, if twerkintwerkin woulda been invented…. And I had a foam finger…. I woulda done the same thang you did.” – DAD

If you watch Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” video or even Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the point of the shimmery video spectacle is not about making sure celebs and models are “dancing well.”It’s all about the performative pantomime. Again, we already know this yummy aesthetic quite well: Andrew Christian and Chi Chi LaRue’s underwear ad campaigns alone take bootie-shaking to beatific heights, masterfully conjoining commerce, spectacle and eroticism. –

Don’t let Miley’s twerk game fool you: titillation sells, and you can always take that to the bank. Twerk is another set of clothes for Ms. Cyrus. Miley’s still got time for high fashion photo shoots with Terry Richardson and has covered V, Cosmo, Harper’s, Elle UK and counting in recent memory. Those magazines don’t (yet) encourage ratchet couture spreads, and this twerking thing is but another momentary fashion prop for some.

Too, engaged to a man or not, Miley is gay-friendly and (many say) a queer lass indeed. Playing at queering culture isn’t something that can be shut on and off. Cyrus makes a proactive point to remind her fans about this, and the We Can’t Stop video is all about playing at bi-chic tropes and omnisexual aesthetics that may or may not keep happening when cameras stop rolling.

In terms of controversy and criticism goes, Miley takes it all in stride. Trained to deal with the public from a very early age (at least years old), she and her handlers know how to keep people talking and to take “faux rebellion” nowhere near the bleeding edge of real rebelliousness.

As for the pop star’s heiney? Here we have the good ol’ “Goodie I still get to look trick:” you criticize a woman for shakin’ what her momma gave her, telling your partner, the press, your friends, “Oooh! This is just scandalous!” All the while, you’re never taking your eyes off her bum and assorted hijinx. Scandalous attention is still attention.

We Can’t Stop Miley Cyrus. We Won’t Stop Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus’ only responses to criticism have moved along two main streams of thought.

Here’s one: when criticized for her unicorn onesie twerk video, Cyrus essentially said [paraphrased] “J. Dash is happy…no one heard of his song “Wop” before I did that.” And two: when hip hop legends such as Jay Z shout her out in their rhymes and in the press, people tell Miley he’s dissing her. Her responses?

RT @MileyCyrus Somewhere in America a Jay Z song is onnnnnn

RT @MileyCyrus That’s a win win forrrrrr me.

RT @MileyCyrus Call it what you want. But I don’t see Mr. Carter shoutin any of you bitches out. #twerkmileytwerk

And Jay Z agrees.

Miley is still working with (and yes, twerking with) Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg), Odd Future, Ludacris, Big Sean, Pharrell, Juicy J, Nelly and many other rap artists du jour. The Yin Yang Twins wrote a stripper pole-ready song about her tush and twerking it. (

The verdict is in: Miley is “right” on all accounts.

Shameless Plugs

Speaking of accounts, Miley’s still posting pictures of her bootie @MileyCyrus, and you can keep up with Big Freedia’s latest pics and posts @Bigfreedia.

So let’s get a move-on #MCTWERKTEAM…. Assume the #MileyTwerk position and represent.

“Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” debuts Wednesday, October 2 at 11/10C on Fuse TV and you can buy her album “Queen of Bounce” on iTunes by clicking here (

You can learn (and dance!) more by watching the documentary “Big Freedia The Queen Diva” here:

You know Miley’s on top of the promo gig too: according to Miley’s Twitter TL, you can of course pre-order #Bangers / Wrecking Ball on iTunes here: (

Now Playing – Big Freedia – Y’all Get Back Now

Because she is royalty, let’s give the Diva the last word. Big Freedia recently told the Daily News:

Twerking—and it’s a lot more than twerking—comes from a long history of music and dance in New Orleans. Twerkin’ happen around the world for a long time now, so I’m very excited that it’s coming into the public eye, as long as it’s respected.”

We could say more on the matter and likely will.

But wouldn’t you rather be dancin’ and watchin’ all up on this anyway? Let’s free you up to do that. And let’s keep it real: how many times have you had to switch to your “kitty pics” screen-saver so you wouldn’t get caught watching “Peanut Butter” on loop? Oh—that was just us? Oh, okay. Right.


“One of Us?” Not As Much…On Fatboy Slim’s Queer Behavior

“The most ironic thing is that most of what we do was invented by black, gay Americans in the first place.”

– Fatboy Slim, on EDM / House Music

Fatboy Slim: Queer…or Just European?

Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) is not one to dither around or dilly-dally when it comes to sonic expansiveness and creative perception. While serving as producer, writer or DJ, Fatboy “Jack-of-All-Genres” Slim happily bounces from genre to genre to suit each new mood, project or opportunity. His range of landscapes at-play include Independent Pop, British Hip Hop and House, Big Beat and Dance music, naturally.

Born Quentin Cook, this UK underground boy gone massive came from punk rock beginnings and scruffy indie aesthetics before heading away to college in Brighton, then segueing into club and DJ culture.

Cook enjoyed a brief stint as the bassist for UK alt-pop outfit The Housemartins and experienced his first dash of fame during the band’s “Happy Hour” phase. Soon enough, Cook worked his way back to clubbing and DJ’ing, finally gaining a critical mass of attention and fans with his production and mashup skills, and eventually coming into his own with the fame and success of the hypnotic tracks “Praise You” and “The Rockafeller Skank.”

Some lads hear it more than others, but the “Is He Gay or Just European?” trope prevails in a culture where a metrosexual is a term the British media coined to describe a distinctly European look, sensibility and sexual fluidity (often but not always attached to disposable income and class). Such themes include but are not limited to: effeminate fashion, unisex/asexual presentation and (ahem) sexual experimentation or fluidity. The fact that all metrosexual men are “straight” is of course hogwash. Too–more and more, youth culture refuses to “pick a team” or define themselves by any label whatsoever.

So now, we have the news that Fatboy Slim is a regular Pride entertainer, a staunch LGBTQ advocate, and has ‘experimented with’ men sexually.

If you’d hear it from Cook himself, it’s N.B.D., but perhaps of some interest: back in 2004, Fatboy Slim told the press, “Well, everyone’s had one try-out experience, haven’t they?”

On his relationship with wife Zoe Bell, Fatboy Slim went on, “Me and Zoe have always been convinced [our son is] gay anyway.”

The fact that such goings on were mostly laughed off and minimized typifies the sexual fluidity that is our shared human experience. In less of a “bi-chic” moment and more of a “yeah, that happened” moment, Cook’s language wasn’t quite politically correct but his sentiment speaks to a nonchalance that reveals how natural and fluid sexuality is.

Is this something we can or should ignore?

Being that Fatboy Slim’s son’s still of a tender age, Cook may be keeping laser-point specifics of his son’s life private and deflecting the concept of queering personal life or relationships. However last year, Cook told Pink News UK his that supporting equal marriage is a ‘no brainer’ and revealed, “I talk about the issue with my son.”

Cook, who’s done much education and advocacy work for local young artists in his hometown, once performed at the Terrace Bar of the House of Commons to support even more community-based music initiatives for youth. By having done so, could he be, however subconsciously, helping to open the minds of UK lawmakers to queer culture, sexually fluid living and LGBTQ art and iconography?

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, are Fatboy Slim’s remarks about his own ‘sexual experimentation’ dismissive…or “normal?”

In essence, you cannot un-queer yourself, culturally or sexually. What’s definitive here is that Cook is decidedly an ally. And for the time being, the rest is none of our “B.I.-IZ-NESS.”

Have a nosh on the concept while you nod your head to Fatboy Slim’s video, “Weapon of Choice” feat. Christopher Walken.  (Yes, Hunty’s: come back and share your thoughts with us after the jump-off.)



Queer Pressure: Raven Symoné Comes Out Twice On Twitter

Tales of Celebrity Progenies

You’re young—a sitcom mini-starlet. You’re growing up as the sitcom progeny of an ultra-conservative, ultra-strict, ultra-exacting and uber multitalented entertainer who plays your grandad on TV (Bill Cosby, “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World”). Oh! By the way—then when you’re not on TV, he’s still fathering you in the exact same way. Sometimes there are cameras on y’all then, too.

No pressure, though. Have fun with that!

Life’s challenging enough for child stars all the way through to adulthood, but these were the early beginnings for a young Raven Symoné (“The Cosby Show,” “That’s So Raven,” “College Road Trip”) making her television acting debut as little Olivia Huxtable Kendall, the bright-eyed and intelligent stepdaughter of Denise (Lisa Bonet). She’s transitioned into grownup roles and projects with virtually no scandals or trouble. She is to be commended for that.

Raven’s career steps have always been measured, squeaky clean and safe, moving from the safety of a network sitcom to the apple-pie familiarity of her own show on The Disney Channel (“That’s So Raven”).

Coming of Age And Making Your Own Choices

Ironically, Symoné’s choices contraposed those of her TV step-mom Lisa Bonet who instead chose to play risky, sensual roles (“Angel Heart”) while still on “Cosby,” making adult life decisions while she was still a teenager, and finding her own footing, in her own way. Bonet’s character on the show was so popular, the Cosby production team even created a spinoff show for her (“A Different World”), and as an audience favorite, Bonet was apparently to be “kept in line.”

Instead, Lisa Bonet got pregnant before marriage, then she married a man Cosby didn’t particularly get along with. All told, Bonet’s personal choices forced her premature Cosby Show departure.

Because one of “Cosby’s own” went on to do other things, the unspoken pressure to conform for Symoné and the rest of the cast must have been immense. In fairness, Bill Cosby always advocates that people of color present in public spaces with pride, intelligence, elegance and demonstrable educational achievement. He considered the kids on the show to be his responsibility.

Cosby himself wound up caving in to his own self-created pressure, ultimately revealing foibles of his own (of a sex-scandal nature). Everybody’s got to unfold their own lessons, and the paradoxes in the real-life story lines here are more than relevant.

Why Coming Out Is Squeaky Clean, Too

By default, “heterosexual anything” is considered to be normal, squeaky clean and non-threatening, so long as the sacredness of the marital institution is preserved.  The naughty things any two consenting adults do (while “straight and married or coupled”) is pardoned.

Any sexual or gender expression outside of the norm still connotes questionable behavior with it a whiff of taboo or wrongness, i.e. “dirtiness,” to it. Culturally, this is a myth that we all need to transition away from. Doing so frees not only queer folks from pressure, but it frees straight people to alleviate free-floating pressure, as well (see: the “50 Shades of Gray” best-selling fantasy book phenom).

When you walk around “feeling wrong as a being,” you start having to justify doing “bad or wrong things” as a being, whatever those things mean to you (often people reach for addictions, whatever their familial taboos are perceived to be, or so-called “out of character behavior,” in an effort to feed the feeling of “feeling bad or wrong.”) In essence, this is chasing displeasure to fuel more of it. Even when doing things that feel good to you, you might perhaps do them to excess, or never let yourself fully enjoy them.

Heterosexual people find themselves to be casualties of such pressure on a daily basis. Human sexuality is fluid—any scientist or psychologist can tell you this. When people in the healing profession refute this idea, they usually cite religious reasons why this should not be, which validates the fact that such fluidity is indeed the norm, or they cite anti-queer statistics funded by faith-based projects or organizations.

It is only a matter of time before our thoughts and our actions stray from such pressure, and because each person’s path is their own to experience, claiming your own truth as what’s truly normal is going to make your life experience—including coming out—easier and feel less “aberrant.” We act “out of pocket” and erratically when we feel wrong or “made-wrong” (see: Cosby scandals, above.)

Because television kindles such a felt sense of intimacy,  Symoné’s viewers and fans believed their grown-up Olivia was straight-laced, likely straight, and free of new decisions, choices or surprises. Because she took her time during her coming out process and picked an opportune time to share her news, the story was nearly anti-climatic.

Raven Symoné’s short and sweet “Coming Out Tweet” made a debut of its own, to soft applause. In her own words, Raven tweeted her support for LGBTQ culture, all the while proudly incorporating herself into it, by tweeting this:

             Raven-Symonè  |  @MissRavenSymone I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud       of you.

Her fan base voiced pleasant “out of left field”  surprise,  ultimately lavishing her with support for her social share. She then received loving feedback from friends, celebs and other well-wishers thereafter.

Since sharing her big news, she has since been spotted happily attending gay pride events ( and simply enjoying her life.

Her latest reflections on sexuality in the press continue to be private yet positive, and over a year ago, she’d left glittery little breadcrumb clues for those who were at all curious, due to outing pressure from American tabloid “The National Enquirer:”

In May of last year the actress posted sub-tweets to no one in particular, tweeting:

“I’m living my PERSONAL life the way I’m happiest. I’m not one, in my 25 year career to disclose who I’m dating. and I shall not start now.

My sexual orientation is mine, and the person I’m dating to know. I’m not one for a public display of my life.

However that is my right as a HUMAN Being whether straight or gay. To tell or not to tell. As long as I’m not harming anyone.

I am a light being made from love. And my career is the only thing I would like to put on display, not my personal life. Kisses!”


Kisses indeed.

Letting your hair down on Twitter’s absolutely liberating. When do we get to see your frolicking, footloose and fancy free tweets?

Don’t Call It A Comeback: Lady Gaga + TLC = “Posh Life”

                                                “The world says we’re not brave until we bleed.”

– From “Posh Life”


It’s official: Lady (Godiva) Gaga is back on her horse, naked as the day she was born, and raring to go. So much so, she’s let her “Posh” go leaking all over the Internet.

Sounds naughty, doesn’t it? It’s not—it’s just posh.

‘Shoutout to My Homos:’ New Divas Demo Collab Mentions “Family”

Post-hip surgery and past-hiatus (if lawsuit drama, full-on nude V. magazine spreads, “Machete Kills” and podcasting piercings counts), The Divine Ms. Lady Gaga’s back and collaborating with TLC to celebrate dual album debuts.

“Posh Life,” co-written by Gaga and Dallas Austin with Austin producing, is a demo that’s already a done deal.

Damn, it’s good to be Gaga! Lest we forget, Lady Gaga began as a successful songwriter. Her “Posh Life” demo leaked mere hours after TLC’s Chilli and T-Boz announced Gaga and Dallas Austin among collaborators on an upcoming TLC greatest hits release. Ne-Yo and J. Cole are additional features.

The highly-anticipated return of TLC is already being met with much acclaim and buzz as they hit the festival circuit, promoting their upcoming VH1 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” to drop alongside the album in October. Meanwhile, Gaga’s prepping for her new single release at this year’s  VMAs, with album-app combo ARTPOP scheduled for a November release.

TLC: First In Queer-Influenced Girl Power, Fashion & Fierceness

This divas’ collaboration makes sense. TLC had swag before Bieber and 90s Girl Power before Christina. Both acts earned multiple Grammys and other awards, clocking best-selling album records and highest-grossing tours.

TLC’s “No Scrubs,” “Waterfalls, “What About Your Friends” and” Red Light Special” empowered women to take charge from the bedroom to the boardroom. And Gaga? Scroll on back to

“Born This Way” in 2011 and her countless LGBTQ-empowerment speeches or publicity stunts for a  dose of self-love.

Too, they’re all hella fashion-forward women making sex-positive art.  TLC rocks a combination of R&B-influenced and queer-centric fashion (bespoke condom eye-wear promoting safe sex, butch-dyke hair tropes), pleather and light bondage fear, bold pattern combinations and tight, body-conscious glitter and glam). As for Gaga, we’ve got two more words for you: Jo Calderone.

 ‘Bout That Posh Life: Gaga Got Game

 Back to art-pop, R&B style: “Posh Life” takes the listener to church with soulful swagger. Gaga’s customary postmodern hat tip remains, as she plants shoutouts for queers and POC in the first verse:

“He just wanted something to eat /A place to love, a place to pray/In God we trust /And it’s okay/He said, “I’m black, Latin and gay/I went to them, they turned away.”

As Gaga growls and grinds through “Posh…,” she’s serving old school TLC as best as she can. Better than the real thing? That’s the beauty of a demo…it’s just a guide track.

What’s the song about, exactly: diversity, equality somehow embodied as posh? Who knows? Herein ies the charm of Lady Gaga. Self-admittedly, she’s so fascinated with the art and science of fame, fashionably posh living and perfect pop songs, when queers hear themselves reflected in her lyrics (Gasp! On the radio!), our response is primal and her tracks go viral. The messages are mixed, but this woman thanked “God and the gays” at an awards ceremony—so just dance!

Gaga’s version of the track’s got a light, sensual groove. Still, it would be ultra-pleasurable to hear a newly-reunited TLC bust these outwardly queer lyrics with their own twist.

TLC’s official Facebook page mourns the tragic death of former band mate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who passed in 2002, while looking forward to brighter days. The group wrote: “Comin’ back with Lisa in our hearts…. We’re hard at work on new tracks and they’re gonna be some of our best ever.”

The “Crazy, Sexy Cool” movie trailer’s gorgeous and hypnotic. Have you seen it?

The Invisible Transman: Black Transmen’s Poetry Video Big-Up’s Trans* Consciousness

If you didn’t know this guy was trans and you were attracted to him, would you be heading to Grindr right now to connect? Would you change your mind when you discovered he was trans? Would you even, then, call him “he?”How might your perceptions change, or would they change at all?

For all our postmodern and progressive activism in the LGBTQ community, dissent still arises along the lines of race, gender, class and more, even in “men’s only” or “women’s only” so-called shared spaces. As we work for full equality in real-life and real-time, the conversation surrounding these issues must continue.

This month on the Black Transmen, Inc. Twitter timeline, a tweet came across the ethers that demanded attention, reading:

#BlackTransmen Inc – TRANSMEN STAND UP!!!!! via @BlackTransmen

Once you settle in to view it, you are immediately taken into another world that is grounded, centered, fierce, and empowered.

Resonance washes over you and you are reminded it’s the same world that you’re living in. Yet you know, from the minute the poet in it speaks to you, you’re moved into Xavier’s world, as he navigates who and what seems to be misguided on this guided tour.

As he claims his space and launches into “experience telling,” you are forced to think about one man’s life trajectory as a trans* man…he’s not speaking about “the black experience,” or “the trans* experience,” but the course and the work of living, according to one man.

As they say, what’s personal is most universal. This artistic work compels you to  harmonize, and frankly,to  deal.

Naturally, lived experience for trans* folks articulates in ways that may be challenging to fully articulate, even for trans* folks themselves. The telling of personal stories provides a clearing. A beginning. An open window, door, opportunity. Speaking truth to one’s own power is where power begins, and where it lives. Self-appointed entitlement to create and carve one’s own path is the only language power understands and it must be claimed.

African American transmen–and transmen of color–have additional hurdles that they encounter in terms of day-to-day livelihood that cisgendered folks or folks who don’t share the same background origin might not even be able to imagine.

Black Transmen Inc. creates multimedia work, press campaigns, outreach materials, workshops and creative projects to help invite, welcome and keep transmen in the conversation, no matter where they are, and to help others to better understand and support our trans brothers of color.

You must remember–we’re all family.

In the video, a poet named Xavier launches into an avant garde poetic diegesis on what one black transman’s experience feels like, and how he embraces–rather than disgraces or dismisses–his pre-transition identity.

As he waxes rhapsodic on the struggle for equality, he shares lines such as:

“You want me to deny my feminine nature…” [He won’t.]

“They have their realities, and I have my own.” [He asserts.]

“I prefer the term trans before man….this is my reality, and I embrace that…I will do things that suit my reality….” [He notifies you, regardless of your opinion on the matter.]

Going on to explore misconceptions around assumed gender trickery, privilege, what it means to “be stealth,” ostracism and ultimately empowerment, you’re compelled to think differently about what you think you know about begin a trans* person.

Have a look. No: on second thought, have a “Stop, look, and listen.”

How does the video make you feel? Does it inspire you? Share your comments and share your love in the comments area below.

Wanda Sykes & OWN Kick Out the Jams In New HERLARIOUS Comedy Special

Call Wanda Sykes a “power lesbian” and you just might be right—the way she rocks her power, however, is with strictly comedic brilliance.

Here to make your summer sizzle with all-girl comedy giggles, Multi-Emmy and GLAAD award-winning comedian, actress and comedy writer Wanda Sykes is back in full effect.  Feeling better than ever, Sykes returns to cable television with a new production deal and an Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) TV special debut.

You’ve likely seen Wanda’s many other comedic treats including her longstanding funny business with Chris Rock, Logo TV’s “NewNowNext,” the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” team, her self-penned and produced shows  “Tongue United,” “Sick and Tired,” “I’ma Be Me,” and of course her own “she-larious”  program “The Wanda Sykes Show.”

Sykes’ new two-part OWN special HERLARIOUS debuted this week (July 13) and ends next week (July 20), teaming up queer women of color with a veritable rainbow of all-female mega talents (including straight but not narrow folks).  Said to be among Sykes’ favorite up-and-coming stand-ups, the guest starring funny ladies include Andi Smith, Gloria Bigelow, Marina Franklin, Tracey Ashley, Carmen Lynch and Dominique Witten.

Sykes’ press indicates all comediennes were handpicked by Wanda herself, and that this effort spearheads a multi-project first-look production deal that’s also pulling in NBC/Universal TV execs and production partner Page Hurwitz, said to be teaming up on several productions after HERLARIOUS airs.

Both one hour-long comedy specials were recorded in front of a live audience at Oprah’s home base, Harpo Studios.

“Life is better when you’re laughing,” The Oprah Winfrey Network team tweeted (via @OWNTV), continuing, “@iamwandasykes presents #Herlarious.”

And you know your girl Wanda big-upped OWN’s social share with her own retweet.

Sure, Wanda’s calendar is filled to brimming over with holiday jaunts to France (wife Alex and two darling kids are on board, natch) but she’ll always make extra room for Oprah.  In the HERLARIOUS sneak peek video Wanda jokes, ” I keep getting asked, ‘Wanda…why are you doing a show with all female comics?’  I’m like, because Oprah asked me to!  Shoot…Oprah asks you to do somethin’, you move.  Come on!”

To watch exclusive performances including audience Q and A’s, celeb sightings of Brooke Shields (“Lipstick Jungle”) and Kym Whitley (“Next Friday,” “Raising Whitley”), and oodles of queer-centric laughs, visit this page.

You can also hang out at Wanda Sykes’ “homepage away from home,”