LGBT Black History Month Spotlight: The Legends

In collaboration with Philly Black Pride, we celebrate Black History Month with a weekly spotlight on local LGBT African Americans who are moving and shaking things up. Today, seven extraordinary individuals whose history contributes to the blueprint of today’s LGBTQ community in Philadelphia.



This year’s Philly Black Pride takes place April 22-26. More information on the itinerary of events here.

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight: The Organizations

In collaboration with Philly Black Pride, we celebrate Black History Month with a weekly spotlight on local LGBT African Americans who are moving and shaking things up. Today, five local organizations created by and for Philly queer people of color.

Members of Colours

Members of The Colours Organization doing outreach at a street festival.

The Colours Organization

Colours Organization, Inc. was established in 1991 in response to the lack of positive and progressive educational advocacy and support mechanisms for LGBT people of color in the Greater Philadelphia area. For the last 20 years, Colours has been dedicated to empowering and enhancing the self-esteem of LGBT people of color by serving as a resource center offering educational workshops and services. Colours offers free, confidential rapid HIV-testing and STD screenings, on the third floor of their office at 1207 Chestnut Street, in addition to diverse programming to help address social issues faced by the community.

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LGBT Black History Month Spotlight: The Artists

In collaboration with Philly Black Pride, we celebrate Black History Month with a weekly spotlight on local LGBT African Americans who are moving and shaking things up. Today, we showcase six local artists working to add a dash of creativity to our city and community. 



This year’s Philly Black Pride takes place April 22-26. More information on the itinerary of events here.

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Drag Artist/Rapper Icon Ebony Fierce

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.

Fittingly, we end our monthlong series of highlighting local black, gay icons with a literal Icon: Drag artist and rapper Icon Ebony-Fierce. Ms. Ebony-Fierce has been featured numerous times on G Philly. We love her as a game-changing local drag queen with a, well, fierce, social-political mission to promote individuality and equality. One of her most impressive moves, if you ask us, is organizing the Freak Boutique, a party that benefits a different non-profit each month by generating funds through drink sales. She also hosts the monthly, all-inclusive Neon GNDRFCK Ball for the ”afroFuturist, raver, burner, space gal, queer alien” inside all of us.

7 questions with Icon Ebony-Fierce after the jump

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Longtime Community Activist Tyrone Smith

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, a true vessel of African American history: Tyrone Smith is a longtime community activist and organizer who’s been working for the betterment of the community since the early-’80s. Today, at 70-plus years old, Smith continues to serve, shedding light on issues like HIV/AIDS, inclusion of LGBT people of color, and the importance of ancestry. Tyrone is the co-founder of UNITY, Inc., a grassroots organization run by black gay men for black gay men. He is also one of the founding members of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council in Philadelphia, which has been working to upgrade the lives of black gay men since September 2005.

7 questions with Tyrone Smith after the jump

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With TIP Project Co-Founder Madelyn Morrison-Summers

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.

Morrison-Summers (center) out-reaching at OutFest with Chasity Moore and GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales.

Madelyn Morrison-Summers (center) out-reaching at OutFest with Chasity Moore and GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales.

Today: Madelyn Morrison-Summers, who has dedicated over 10 years of her life working to provide visibility, advocacy and services to trans women in the city of Philadelphia. She is one of the visionaries behind GALAEI‘s TIP (Trans Information Project), a program dedicated to the empowerment and betterment of trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the tri-state area.

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LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Activist and Artist Christian Lovehall (aka Wordz the
Poet Emcee)

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.

lgbt black history month spotlight wordz the poet emcee

Photo by Andi Grushka.

On March 8, 2011, the inaugural Philly Trans* March hit the streets to celebrate the vitality and promote the visibility of the multi-faceted “T” community. One of the visionaries behind this movement was local activist Christian Lovehall. As his alter ego, Wordz the Poet Emcee, Lovehall uses spoken word and hip-hop to spread a message of acceptance and social change. 

7 questions with Christian Lovehall after the jump

LGBT Back History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions with Sew Regal’s Ruby Augustus

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: Entrepreneur Ruby Augustus is the national president Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc., an organization that offers sisterhood and leadership opportunities for lesbian women of color. Augustus is also the proud owner of Sew Regal, which offers custom embroidered apparel to businesses, schools, Greek organzations, wedding parties and more.

lgbt black history month ruby augustusWhat’s your Philly connection?
I was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y. I came to Philly in 2001 to attend Temple University. While in college I joined Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc. Beta introduced me to my passions: serving our community, and offering something unique and enriching to lesbian woman of color outside the party scene.  I got involved in many LGBT community service projects here in Philadelphia. Post graduation I got married, bought a home. … I have rooted myself here and am proud to call Philly my second home.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer and a video vixen (don’t judge me.)

More questions with Ruby Augustus after the jump

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Singer Cory O’Neill Walker

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 gifted Cory O’Neill Walker, a recent Philly transplant who has dazzled his way into the local art scene as a singer, actor, designer, composer and all-around lovely spirit. Locally, Cory performs regularly with the Network for New MusicOpera Philadelphia, and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus, but he may be most recognizable for his recent Fringe Festival offerings L’Heure Exquise and Cupids’s Little Prick. Last year he founded Philly’s Artsong Repertory Theater Company (ARTCy), a project that seeks to bring obscure pieces of classical music to the masses. And heads up to any of you aspiring songbirds: He also runs a vocal studio where he teaches people to sing anything from opera to pop to jazz. (Full disclosure: I took lessons from him last year, and would recommend him in a heartbeat.)

Seven questions with Cory O’Neill Walker after the jump

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Philadelphia Black Gay Pride Co-Founder Michael Hinson

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: Michael Hinson, DPA (ABD), the director of policy and programs for the Center for Black Equity in Washington, D.C. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cheyney University, the oldest historically black college and university in the United States. He is a former assistant managing director for the City of Philadelphia, the first LGBT liaison for the City of Philadelphia, founder of the COLOURS Organization, a local non-profit social service organization serving LGBT people of color,” and co-founder of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride.

Micheal HinsonWhat’s your Philly connection?
I grew up in in Wilmington, Del. and Hemingway, S.C., where my parents still live. I came to Philadelphia originally to find my full self and to grow as a young man. Thanks to three great mentors, Dr. Rashidah Abdul Khabeer, Tyrone Smith and David Fair, I found my full self rather quickly.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I wanted to be a lawyer. This dream continued until I earned my Masters in Public Administration, finally realizing why my now-deceased birth father always called me professor. His prophecy is now in full effect. [Laughs]

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Wow, it’s really difficult to name just one or two inspirations, as I am truly a “village”-raised kid. My grandparents, Benjamin and Frances Maddix provided me with my first glimpse of extraordinary opportunities. My parents, Michael, Ned and Vera, along with their amazing brothers and sisters, invested time, treasure and love in me. No matter what I achieved personally or professionally it will never rise to the opportunities they afforded me.

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