Could it be that black gay men fear leadership? I ask that question time and time again when I look in and around the community for role models.
Once upon a time, a personal acquaintance had the reigns as the black gay 'savior'. He was that out black man that we saw on BET and CNN. He was the one out there in the trenches rallying for our rights and our voice. His popular website was the place to go for information and conversation on black gay culture. Our savior has since denounced his title and has morphed his web presence to a mainstream audience and rightfully so. For some reason, gay men aren't interested in seeing or hearing other men when it comes to politics or growth and development. Mind you this is only my opinion, but think about it. In the grand scheme of things, who have you paid attention to or listened to as you have grown into this community? I have an answer for you... The Promoters!
Promoters have the loudest voice in the black gay community. Its for the simple fact that everybody likes to party and promoters provide the space for us all to do that. However, partying is not enough. Partying is just another excuse for us to not grow up. Given what usually happens at parties, dancing, drinking, dissing and drugging, there is no room for true engagement or fostering new and healthy relationships. Don't get me wrong, I have met some incredible people in the party scene, but I am also one who likes to take the relationship outside the club. I want to know more about the people that I give high-fives to on a weekly basis. I yearn to know the bar fly that claims the corner seat each week. Who are the people in your neighborhood?
I enjoy being a leader. Admittedly, I once thought that I could be a part of the community transformation, but I have since thrown in the towel. A true leader should never quit, this I know. But, until we learn to appreciate and support one another, our growth will continue to be stifled.
I close with... Who would you choose to be your community leader? What does s/he look like? What makes you follow this particular leader? Will the black gay community ever catch up to our white counterparts? Where are our neighborhoods and privately owned businesses? Chew on that.