Monday, February 28, 2011

My Personal Inspiration: Jason Bartlett

What better way to end the month than to recognize an individual who is African American, openly gay, a father, and has served as a political figure for our country. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jason Bartlett at a conference that we were both presenting at in West Palm Beach and I was instantly swept away with his charm. When meeting this very intelligent gentleman I was delighted to learn of all his accomplishments and to learn how humble and kind he is. I am the most excited to honor Jason Bartlett as my final inspiration for Black History Month and I challenge each of you to discover your own inspirations for your individual lives.

Jason Bartlett is an American businessman and politician from Connecticut. A Democrat, he was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011, representing the state's second district in Bethel, Danbury and Redding. He was defeated for re-election on November 2, 2010.

Bartlett was raised in Redding and graduated from Redding Public Schools, before earning a B.A. in political science from the University of Connecticut.

He was elected a state representative in 2006, defeating Republican Phil Gallagher by 4,112 votes (54 percent) to 3,524 (46 percent). In 2008, Bartlett was re-elected to a second term, polling 54% — a margin of 945 votes. In 2010, Bartlett faced Republican Dan Carter and was defeated.

He had previously run in 2002 and 2004, losing on both occasions to Republican Hank Bielawa. He lost by over 450 votes in 2002, but the 2004 result was exceptionally close — Bartlett lost by just 87 votes, with 49.6 percent of the vote to Bielawa's 50.4 percent.

For over a decade, Bartlett has owned and operated his own mortgage company. He is the owner of Connecticut First Capitol in Bethel as well as a restaurant in Hartford. Bartlett is no longer with the mortgage company he owned and operated, and now works for the National Black Justice Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to ending racism and homophobia by empowering black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

He raised two sons, the children of his deceased uncle and aunt. Now 21 and 19 years old and both attending community college in Connecticut, they came to live with him when they were 11 and 9 respectively.

Bartlett is gay. Although his district is 96 percent white, Bartlett is African American. He served for a time as the country's only openly gay black state legislator, a distinction he lost when Simone Bell was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in December 2009.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Is It Time For The Friendship To End?

I have probably asked this question alot more than any of the other questions that has ever crossed my mind. Throughout my life, I have been the best friend to many different people. I have always been that person to go to for whatever. It was very strange to me, considering the fact that I was an outcast back in high school.

If you define the word "outcast" it means a person that is the complete outsider. The person that no one wants to talk to. People have told me in my ear that they never wanted to be my friend and I was still voted "Friendliest Male" during my senior year. They even gave me a metal for it during the awards ceremony.

But before and after graduation, I removed a large amount of people from my life. They began to show their true colors and I had enough of their lies. They showed they didn't care about me, using me, abusing my respect, taking advantage of my trust, everything you picture, they did it all. Of course I was devastated by everything. I began to lose my trust in everyone that has been a part of my life. This is not just from friends, but other people related to me.

After everything ended with my fake friends I noticed that everyone was out of my life. I was alone with no one to talk to. It took some time to get used to being alone, but it was a good thing. I learned to stop being dependent on my friends and stand on my own too feet.

When it comes to life we encounter one or more people that becomes our friends. We begin to hang out more often and reveal to each other some of our personal stress and secrets. As the days, weeks, months, or evenyears gone by the interaction between you and your friends begin to change. It changes for the better or it changes for the worst. If it starts to change for the worse you're in for a crazy adventure involving arguments, backstabbing, and possibly addiction.

At the end of the day, the one question you try to avoid pops up in your mind. Is is time for the friendship to come to a indefinite end?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beyoncé in Blackface


Gregory DelliCarpini Jr.


Beyoncé is spotlighted on the new cover of French fashion magazine L'Officiel Paris.

This issue marks the magazine's 90th anniversary and in celebration, Beyoncé agreed to “return to her African roots.” For the spread, the singer was shot in blackface, tribal markings, and traditional African-inspired clothing designed by her mother. The entire spread seems to be dripping of an in authenticity that stems from the use of blackface. Used throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, blackface as a performance tradition served to proliferate racist stereotypes in the United States.

It might have been more interesting to see the singer clad in fashions created by contemporary African fashion designers, rather than to see her wearing fabricated, mock-tribal wear. Do you think the spread and the use of blackface is offensive?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Seven Part Series Coming Soon...

It's been a minute since I've given voice and it's because for so long I had been locking away my fears.  You see, I have to hide from you because I am afraid of you.  My life is so twisted right now with a budding career in community development, a novel coming out this summer and the launch of my new talk show In The Spotlight.  I have alot on my plate, but I am riding this wave like a champ!

I've invited Karen Minors, author of It Is What It Is to join me for seven weeks in a dialogue about our journey from head to novel.  Every novel started in someone's head so for however many pages of text you read, you spent time in someone else's head.  How does that feel?  By the time this series is over, you will know exactly how we took our dreams, captured them on paper and allowed our friends, families and fans to experience our twisted stories.

Log on to EVERY THURSDAY starting next week!

Start writing your own story.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arts.Advocacy+Wellness: "Spotlights LaTonia Phipps & Fishing In Brooklyn"

LaTonia Phipps & Fishing In Brooklyn

Theater artist, poet, and teaching artist LaTonia Phipps, is emerging on the scene with her powerful one-woman show Fishing In Brooklyn.

“One woman’s solo-de-tour towards forgiveness and rebirth as told through thru the eyes of her younger self. With a live djembe drummer and sans props, this multi-talented actress transforms into multiple characters telling this autobiographical story as she revisits memories of her late mother. She quickly discovers this journey was not in vein, when she reconnects with her African and Latin roots and ultimately her true self. A 16 character piece that blends humor, slam poetry, dance, music, drama, full of possibility and hope.”

After seeing her show last Friday, it was imperative that I introduce her to the Future Forward family. Here is what she shared:

Tell us about your background...born, raised, cultural roots.

Cultural roots wow… Well I would say some amazing country in Africa. But to be a bit more specific. My fathers’ people came from Jamaica to Costa Rica where my dad was born. While my mothers people came from South Carolina. Around the early 80s’ their paths crossed and a pretty little brown girl name LaTonia, with a whole lot of sass emerged onto the rough streets of Bedstuy Brooklyn. Majority of my childhood was spent in Brooklyn and then around various part of New York.

You are an amazing talent with so much light, where did your love for theater and poetry begin?

My love for theater actually began with my parents; they were both performers, which I didn’t find out in detail until later in my adolescence. My mother was a former model and was a character in her own right. She was also a clothing designer and would capture a room with her colorful patterns without saying a word. And my father, an actor in the early 80’s, he was and is the greatest storyteller I know. However, with English being his second language it was a bit of deterrence for him. Nonetheless, you couldn’t help but follow his storytelling of his youth and experiences within the world; I refer to him as my own personal griot. This vibrant upbringing definitely leads me straight to the stage. With poetry, as a child I grew up very shy and would only speak to people indirectly or sometimes not at all. Poetry was my voice, and every time I would perform these pieces they would sang out rhythmically as in a piece of music. I didn’t know at the time that this type of poetry was called Spoken Word… I just knew I had a gift and needed to be heard.

Your creative genius brought you to Fishing in Brooklyn. How did you come up with the title and what brought about the story?

At 18 I was given an opportunity to study theater in St. Petersburg Russia and also Ghana, West Africa it was during this trip I gave birth to "Fishing’ In Brooklyn." I felt as if each person I came into contact with was a puzzle piece that fit into a larger plan. I immediately began to question my own puzzle. Where did I fit? What was my history and story? On my travels I also begin to gain a better understanding of the term "Mother"... mother tongue, mother language, mother to child relationships, all symbolizing the beginning for me. Immediately I realized I hadn't officially healed from my mothers’ death. So I took a big gulp delved into childhood memories of time spent with her mother, research my own cultural upbringing and deemed the show..."Fishing’ In Brooklyn". The term is a metaphor for me "fishing" for a deeper understanding of myself also the last moment I had with my mother was of us Fishing in Brooklyn together.

What do you feel nightly, internally and/or externally, when you share this story so seamlessly?

Internally… honestly it is the most terrifying yet fulfilling trip I go on each night I perform FIB. Because I never know how the show is going to go. The audience could completely love it and give me ravenous applause or they could completely dislike it… either way your up their for an hour and you need to make it work. There are16 characters in my play that means there are 16 different ways I could tell this story from 16 different perspectives. So each night I say okay tonight’s your night (referring to one of the characters) make it count. And I go on a journey of newness, like I’m telling it for the first time. Externally…the play is very universal so I’m always watching to see who I’m affecting, who I’m healing, who I’m offending and who I’m loving through my words.

Can you speak a little to the spiritual references in the show.

The spiritual reference I focus on in my play is a West African deities name Yemyah (referred to as the Mother of all bodies of water and the fish within them are her children) found within the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. During the creation of this piece I was curious to understand the connection between me and my mother and also the connection between Africa and me, and all the other brown children apart of the descended from the Diaspora.

During the middle passage when brown and black people were brought over there was a grave connection to water. It’s where our Ancestors died, bathed, sweat, drank etc… Our history, our beginning, our truth is buried within the womb of the seas. It was important for me to make that connection in my own search for my mother and understand this beginning.

Your work is now being compared to some of the Masters in one-woman performance such as Anna Deveare-Smith and Ntozake does that make you feel as an emerging artist on the scene?

I feel deeply honored to be compared to such greats as Smith and Shange. They are the mothers of our time. I could only hope that my work would be as refined as there’s that some young playwright/actress will be compared to me one day and I can past the torch along.

Thanks Latonia...very engaging interview and story! Make sure you guys check out Fishing In Brooklyn:

Wow Cafe Theater
59-61 E4th and bowery (4fl)
February 25 and 26 @8pm (Last two shows)
Discount say "Fish" at door $3 off.

with Cornelius Jones Jr.
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Stay connected with me:
FaceBook: Cornelius Jones Jr.
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FaceBook Fan Page: FlagBoy Official Fan Page of the Actor

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Break 2011 PARTY TIME in Las Vegas

Spring Break in Las Vegas

MARCH 17TH - 21ST , 2011


Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day 2011

GLO News: 2010 Black Members of Congress on LGBT Issues

(CBC 40th Legislative Session) in Washington, DC

My Personal Inspiration: B. Scott

As the month of February continues I will continue to highlight individuals who have personally inspired me to be the individual that I am. Many people that have inspired me of color are in the arts, entertainment, and beauty world; however I am inspired in so many other ways that range from health backgrounds, political, and athletic. The next individual would have to be one of the first rising internet gaylebrities that I can think of and is still going strong. I have had the opportunity to meet this diva several times and I really do think that he deserves all the recognition he receives and really want to give him a special honor for black history month. Thank you B. Scott for all the wonderfulness you have done for our community and holding it down for all gay men of color.

B. Scott, (born Brandon Scott Sessoms on March 21, 1981) is an American television personality, radio show host and internet celebrity who is best known for his YouTube videoblogs and website
Sessoms, as B. Scott, who is openly gay, has become a popular internet personality through his visibility on YouTube and his personal website,, which primarily focuses on the five pillars of Pop culture: Celebrity News, Fashion, Music, Nightlife, and Miscellaneous Entertainment. The website's intent is to approach entertainment and celebrity news with a positive spin. The name was selected in an effort to give his website a readily-identifiable personality with the mission of conveying a positive outlook. In May 2007, B. Scott started incorporating YouTube videos into his website to personally connect with his readers. The videos include personal observations, celebrity news, musical performances, political commentary, interviews and messages of encouragement to the audience. The videos are produced out of B. Scott's Los Angeles residence. The YouTube site maintains a subscriber base of over 90,000, and has won numerous awards for viewership and subscriptions. B. Scott has won the Best Video Blog by The Black Weblog Awards in 2007 and 2008. In January 2008, B. Scott was selected by YouTube to become one of the company's partners.
In 2009, B. Scott created 'The B. Scott Show,' a talk/variety-style internet show that ran concurrent to the original videoblog. Interview subjects included celebrities and important figures in the LGBT community. Interviews are conducted in B. Scott's home and broadcast on both the YouTube channel and the website. Celebrities interviewed have included Ne-Yo, Ashanti, Eva Marcille, LeToya Luckett, Mariah Carey, Jordin Sparks, and Chilli (of TLC).
B. Scott’s YouTube channel has led to recognition from numerous celebrities. Popular blogger Perez Hilton in 2007 named B. Scott his “Favorite New YouTuber”. In addition, on June 19, 2009, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx declared on his Sirius Satellite Radio channel “The Foxxhole”, “I love B. Scott. He’s very attractive. He looks like a cross between Prince, Rosario Dawson and Lenny Kravitz.” This unsolicited acclaim helped open B. Scott to a new level of recognition.

B. Scott is one of the first black gay internet gaylebrities to cross over into mainstream entertainment with appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and on the Oxygen Television Network. With all of his hard work and dedication this is one gaylebrity that is not going anywhere anytime soon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Black History Month: The Nat King Cole Show & Marian Anderson

By J9 of J9's MusicLife

To celebrate Black History month, through February check out a series of features acknowledging parts of black history as it relates to music.

The Nat King Cole Show, First Variety Show to Feature Black Star

The Nat King Cole Show premiered on NBC on November 5, 1956.  It was the first TV variety show to star a major black entertainer, Nat King Cole.  Hazel Scott (in 1950) and Billy Daniels (in 1952) were black hosts who tried it before but they were as famous as Cole and didn't have much success.  Cole, at the time, was the highest paid black star in America and one of the most successful entertainers in the world.  Before the Nat King Cole Show, blacks were portrayed as dumb stereotypes like in the shows Amos n' Andy and Beulah.

The 15 minute weekly show debuted during a time when there was still legal segregation in the South.  The show didn't have commercial sponsorship because many viewers and advertisers didn't want to support a show with a black host.  Despite the low ratings and lack of national sponsors, NBC kept the show on air (oh how things have changed today).  The network fit the bill hoping this would eventually change. 

In December, the network increased the show to 30 minutes thinking this would boast ratings.  Along with Cole, the show featured other black and white musical artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Mahailia Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tony Bennett.  To support Cole and the show, many of these acts agreed to get paid minimum wage.

To continue reading, click here.

Marian Anderson is Denied to Sing in Constitution Hall

Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) was an American contralto from Philadelphia, PA.  She is known to be one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century.  Anderson made her debut at the New York Philharmonic on August 26, 1925 and and in 1928, she sang for the first time at Carnegie Hall.

In 1939, Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for racial equality when she was denied permission by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall, in Washington, D.C. cause of her race.

The public was outraged, famous musicians protested, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR.  With the help of Roosevelt and the NAACP, Anderson gave a free open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  With Lincoln as her backdrop, she sang My Country 'Tis of Thee before a crowd of 75,000 people and million of radio listeners.  This performance is considered one of the most dramatic civil-rights spectacles ever.

To read more click here.

Whoopi Goldberg slams New York Times for Oscar 'snub'

Academy Awards veteran ... Whoopi Goldberg has presented the Oscars four times. Photograph:

By Ben Childs

Actor furious over article on black Academy Award winners that neglected to mention her 1991 prize for best supporting actress

Hell hath no fury like an Oscar winner scorned. The actor Whoopi Goldberg has attacked the New York Times for failing to mention her in an article about black Academy Award winners.

Last week's extended feature by Manohla Dargis and AO Scott concerned the lack of racial diversity among this year's Oscar nominees in comparison to previous years. It mentioned past winners such as Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, who won the best actress and best actor gongs in 2002, as well as figures such as Hattie McDaniel, awarded best supporting actress in 1940 for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind.

There were also mentions for Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker, who best actor in 2005 and 2007 respectively, as well as Morgan Freeman (best supporting actor in 2005), Jennifer Hudson and Mo'Nique (best supporting actresses in 2007 and 2010). But there was no mention of Goldberg's win in the same category for 1990's Ghost, in which she played a fake psychic who begins to see real spirits.

"I am embarrassed to tell you it hurt me terribly," Goldberg said during an appearance on US TV show The View yesterday. "When you win an Academy Award, that's part of what you've done, your legacy. I will always be Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg, and [I] have been dismissed and erased by the New York Times film critics, who should know better."

Goldberg added: "I have made over 50 films. I have been nominated twice – once for The Color Purple, once for Ghost. And I won for Ghost."

"This is not hidden information, and to these two critics, who are the head critics of the New York Times ... it's hard not to take it personally. This is sloppy journalism."

"People in Somalia know [about my Oscar win]," Goldberg said. "People in China know."

The New York Times was, however, unapologetic: "The error lies with those who are reading the story incorrectly. The point of the piece was not to name every black actor or actress who has been awarded an Oscar, it was to draw a comparison between the number who won prior to 2002 (the year Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won) and those who have won since. And the story states very clearly that in 73 years, prior to 2002, only seven black actors/actresses won Oscars.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arts.Advocacy+Wellness: Ashford & Simpson Presents - Terry Lavell "Born This Way"

Ashford & Simpson Presents
Terry Lavell
"Born This Way"

Lady Gaga's release of "Born This Way" has sparked international attention and we in the LGBT community are thankful for our ally; our friend. However, I would like to introduce you to Asford & Simpson's version, which features Broadway performer Terry Lavell, currently starring as Mercedes in Broadway's La Cage Aux Folles. We have a new Gay Anthem on the rise...

"Born This Way" because "I am what I am..." My new Anthem..this is the Torch Song! Loving the vocals, loving the lyrics...bringing back that disco feel with a contemporary twist. This song is evoking the memories, the struggles, and the joys of our LGBT ancestors, and the journey we continue to brave today. THANK YOU Ashford & Simpson and THANK YOU Terry Lavell!

with Cornelius Jones Jr.
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Stay connected with me:
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