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: The dashing Marquise Lee, who is most known around town as co-creator of Philly’s monthly NSFW Dance Party. The monthly affair gives Philly’s homo set one of our few outside-the-Gayborhood event options, but perhaps his most significant contribution to the community is his work for “I’m From Driftwood.” As director and editor of the video series, Marquise has helped compile a database of thoughtful stories told by LGBT people around the country. After a brief hiatus, the project is re-launching on March 5 with a weekly video story program. The next NSFW dance party, Teqnicolour, is on Feb. 27.
What’s your Philly connection?
I grew up in the burbs of Dallas, Texas, but landed in the northeast for college. I came to Philadelphia, in 2004, a bit sheltered and naive. Philly opened my eyes a bit and helped me find courage to explore and discover who I am. While I don’t have any family here, I call this city home.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, my interests could change from month to month/week to week. My mom had a truck-driving boyfriend, so for a while I wanted to do that. My grandfather was a mechanic, and after hanging around his shop I wanted to work on cars. From there, a cop/detective, a professional athlete, an actor, a radio DJ, one of the guys with the orange cones and headphones at the airport, a designer. I could go on and on…
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I’m inspired by people who follow their passions and dreams and actually do things. There are a bunch of people in this city — and in our community — who work hard to make things happen. Those people help make this city great. They energize me and motivate me to continue doing what I’m doing.
Finish this sentence: I feel fiercest when …
… I’m collaborating with others to realize a common goal. Or right after I intentionally say something funny and my joke hits its mark.
What’s your proudest achievement?
I’m most proud of the work I do with “I’m From Driftwood.” The stories we’ve collected and shared have touched so many people. When people reach out to tell us how the project has helped them, it’s validating.
If you could have a super power what would it be and how would you use it?
Time manipulation. I feel like life is passing by so fast, I’d like to slow it down a bit.
Finish this sentence: In 10 years I …
… will be 10 years older… Is this a trick question?