By day, Stro Kyle, 30, works at the Attic Youth Center as a program specialist. But after sundown, he’s an emerging black queer-events promoter. Ahead of his all-inclusive Beards N Queers celebration this weekend, Kyle chatted with us about navigating the events scene in the Gayborhood and confronting racial conflicts as a way of bringing more inclusion into Philly’s LGBTQ community.
What made you interested in producing queer events in the city?
Philly is so diverse — it’s a city that thrives on individuality. I was born and molded to be unique and to never see myself as a follower — to find my true identity. The queer community holds these values, and I can identify with the scene. It’s literally a melting pot. I grew up with so many different art forms and musical styles. So for me, I believe my imagination is large enough to inspire the queer community. I’ve always dreamed of holding huge festivals and events that push boundaries. Contrary to what people believe, Philly is a breeding ground, an event promoter’s dream. Going to the Made in America festival confirmed that for me. Read more »
Isaiah Solomon Freeman
White|Wash, directed by Philly native Isaiah Solomon Freeman, is an experimental horror film — set in an imaginary world where marginalized images are the standard — about an aspiring actress and single mother who experiments with bleaching when she realizes there are roles for women of a darker complexion.
What inspired you to do this film?
Growing up, I had self-confidence issues. I realized that I hated my features that didn’t represent European features. I hated my nose, my complexion, and my lips. I talked to friends who felt the same way about themselves. When it came to writing my senior thesis film, I wanted to do a horror film, but I also wanted a film that dealt with race. I was reading The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, when I realized that dealing with colorism would be a perfect topic to get a conversation started as well as incorporate a horror feel. Read more »
Hillary Clinton (center, Matt Rourke, AP). Protesters (left) and Bill Clinton (right, photos Dan McQuade).
A version of this column also ran in the Philadelphia Tribune.
Black people love “Billary” (i.e., Bill Clinton plus Hillary Clinton equals Billary). But Billary doesn’t love Black people. Never did. Let me count the ways:
1. Billary believes Black children are vicious animals. When she was being her real self in 1994 and not a presidential candidate, she described Black juvenile delinquents as “super-predators (with) no conscience… (who need to be trained) to ‘heel.’” First of all, she completely ignores America’s blatant racism that created and continues to create inadequate schools, little or no job-training, and poverty-stricken neighborhoods, all of which in turn creates delinquency. Second, our children are not irredeemable and remorseless monsters with no conscience. A very small percentage of them instead are young, immature, alienated, and misdirected human beings who made mistakes. And third, our children ain’t no damn dogs that need to heel. Read more »
Like some rabbits need a carrot dangling in front of their face, some runners need a little motivation to get moving. Well, here’s your carrot: the Philly-based non-profit TechGirlz is challenging runners to compete in a nationwide running challenge. The pay-off? Your logged miles will go toward helping middle school girls across the country pursue their interest in tech by raising money to fund TechGirlz workshops and their TechShopz in a Box program. So if you’ve been slacking since #RunStreakPHL ended, time to get back in the saddle!
Read more »
Caitlyn Jenner is now endorsing Texas Senator Ted Cruz for president.
Coverage this week of LGBTQ news couldn’t be any more of a headache.
The same tropes of homophobia and transphobia showed their nastier sides on social media and beyond with adverse reactions to the difference in opinions and expressions in Hollywood. Read more »
Sheena Howard, PhD, is an assistant professor of communication at Rider University.
You’re no stranger to G Philly and examining social dynamics pertaining to race, queerness, and communication. What current projects are you doing to further this dialogue?
Right now, my documentary Remixing Colorblind, which will be premiering on February 25th at the Ritz at the Bourse, is taking up most of my time. The film explores the ways in which higher education shapes our perception of race. My experience as a doctoral student at Howard University really transformed how I thought about identity and how influential higher ed is in shaping our notions of race. I really found myself at Howard University. While I was there, the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation, on a personal level, really became clear to me. At Howard University I became aware of the influence institutions can have on a person’s sense of self and others. I carry that awareness with me and it continues to shape the projects I work on. Read more »
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s map of hate groups in Pennsylvania.
The number of hate groups in Pennsylvania rose slightly in 2015, a new report says, while dropping greatly in New Jersey.
The Southern Poverty Law Center last week issued its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism Report, a project that also includes the center’s interactive “hate map” showing which groups are active in each state.
The map shows that Pennsylvania has 40 documented hate groups, up from 38 in last year’s report. New Jersey, meanwhile, saw a radical change — from 40 groups in the 2014 report to in 2015. (Delaware had just five named groups.) Read more »
Wanda Sykes at the 50th anniversary of the LGBT civil rights movement in Philly.
It’s horrible when people, especially professors, tell you how to think. It’s even worse when they try to explain why.
“I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to come out, given how the black community is known for culturally being more homophobic than everyone else,” my white professor at Penn told me after a lecture. “For some reason, they just seem to be less accepting.”
This is bullshit – but if I were him, I would have probably drunk the Kool-Aid too given how society has depicted the situation. Read more »
Mrs. Meers, the controversial character, as seen in the 1967 movie version of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” | Universal Pictures
The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts has dropped a planned staging of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie after students complained about racist portrayals of Asians in the play.
Two students — Jasmine Luca and Tai Joselyn — described the controversy in a Tuesday essay for The Notebook, saying the play should be re-named Thoroughly Racist Millie.
“Millie depends on disturbing stereotypes toward Asians,” the duo wrote. “The lead character, Mrs. Meers, appears in yellow face and is directed to speak in a fake Chinese accent. But since Mrs. Meers is not Asian, what do you think happens when someone mimics a Chinese accent to almost a completely non-Chinese audience? Just look at any of the YouTube videos of this character purposefully mangling Chinese.” Read more »
The heads of Penn’s dorms are no longer called “faculty masters.”
Penn has changed the title to “faculty director.” The Daily Pennsylvanian reports it came after protests at other Ivy League schools cited the term as evocative of slavery.
(Penn’s dorms aren’t even called dorms; they are called “college houses.” Eh. It’s an Ivy League school, go figure.)
“The faculty and staff of [College Houses and Academic Services] have been mindful of ongoing developments on campuses across the country. These include concerns about the historical connotations of the title of ‘Faculty Master,’” College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dennis DeTurck wrote in an email to college house faculty. “This small but important step will be taken immediately, and over the next few weeks all references in college house literature and on CHAS websites will be amended to reflect it.” Read more »