In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.
Today, intrepid Philly journalist — and Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus songbird — Sandy Smith. Sandy’s made quite a mark on the local journalism scene, most notably, as he explains below, being one of the founding members of The Penn Current. He currently writes for a handful of Philly media outlets, including Philly Mag’s news and Property blogs, but you can usually find him blogging away on his main gig, the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog, where he reports on everything from new city construction to historic, hidden architectural gems.
What's your Philly connection?
I’ve lived here long enough, I may as well be a native, but I’m not. I was born and raised in the Heart of America — Kansas City, Mo. — and love bought me here 30 years ago. I met my ex when he was visiting a friend in Boston, where I went to college, in 1982. One year later, he dragged me here kicking and screaming. The place has grown on me since then.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect! Seriously. Instead, I found out I had a knack for writing and decided to pursue a career in journalism, to my mother’s dismay. I get to live the dream vicariously through my work now.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My Mom and Dad, for better and for worse. Mom had big dreams and aspirations for both my brother and me, and I just hope that some of what I do now would have made her proud. I had a conflicted relationship with my father, but as I’ve grown older, I realize there’s a lot of him in me - and I’ve vowed to myself not to follow him down the path he ended up taking to an early exit from this planet.
Finish this sentence: I feel fiercest when …
I’m in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, and enjoying the company of friends old and new.
What's your proudest achievement?
I don’t think I’ve achieved it yet! But so far, I think it would have to be my work with The Penn Current, which two colleagues and I launched in 1998. We had fun, we broke some rules, and we racked up a bunch of awards for our work.
If you had one super power what would it be and what would you do with it?
I’d have the power of healing. This world is still hurting from all sorts of ills — bigotry, want, fear, hatred — and I’d use my power to close the wounds from which they spring.
Finish this sentence: In 10 years I …
... will still be plugging away at the keyboard, only now as the nationally syndicated columnist I should have been long ago.