“…Black gays…sudden shocking disappearance was hardly unnoticed…many Black gay religious…in protest chained themselves to church doors.”
“…counterpart to a Black mainstream’s internalized racism…internalized homophobia bares the same uncanny result: homosexuals…are quite ‘disposable’ to conventional gays. Following tragic suit…most gays ‘essentially’ do not love themselves…”
Trouble In Black Paradise Chapter 14: The Bible As A Weapon In The War On Gays, page 303; & Chapter 16: “Sexual Power” Honed As A Tour De Force In The New World, pages 370 & 372.
Greetings charged-up readers!
Trouble in Black Paradise sees a deadly “cutting edge” frontier simmering under the nation’s radar.
The door to Stage 3 burst open to shake-up “the house!” The honeymoon was over!
Five years on “cloud nine” can no longer thwart a showdown with the ultimate: Moving into my inner life’s “cutting edge frontier.”
I explode onto a public minefield and sexually “come out!” (Society then had never even heard of AIDS).
Uncharted underground scenes need careful navigation. And behold! A “second nature” switch clicked—that offbeat training (from both C.E.B.I.S. & Buddhism) instantly fit as my goggles—peril lurking feasibly in every shadow.
It took a painstaking year of overview to settle it. The alternative mold crystallized the rolling up of my sleeves. Training whipped up like a salve of pride—lather now for a traumatized gay men’s community struggling with imminent birth, pockmarked with shame.
Imagine—surprise rippling remote trails where my bold Afro visual sports the new homosexual “value,” stalking obscure male arenas—mere presence on a campus of “discards” delivering legitimacy’s jolt!
And finally! Here comes The Men’s Center, San Diego’s first major “non pub” (or “sexual desperation” setting) where gay men at last could explore our greater selves—beyond sexual pressure zones—addressing our collective needs “above ground” and how we actually fit within a hostile world.
Eureka! The C.E.B.I.S. model strikes again! Proven results glowed in a majority white male space filled with convention and fear, but also hope. In Center forums I had to challenge those status-quo shortcomings (racism, sexism, towering self-deprecation, deficient history views and the like).
By 1986 gay people of color “global” collectives had began coalescing.
Black lesbians and gays arose in key San Diego and Los Angeles hubs—perfect launching pads in dire need of my community development model.
And a global forum had presented grand opportunity: I facilitated the only workshop on “The African Way” at The First International Lesbian & Gay People of Color Conference (1986 at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel).
These workshops I now brought to gays were fashioned on a unique concept: “alternative” educational performance assemblies for public schools.
In 1977 I and the late Busara Sadikifu-Abdullah had created “Kuumba: A Voyage into the African Experience through Song, Dance & Poetry.” Revolutionizing assembly presentations (based on the C.E.B.I.S. model) great demand found us touring the entire San Diego City & County Schools Systems (see photos also in Pt. II of this blog). It was a roaring success (huge transformation for both students & staff—cross culturally all across the county proper).
True to interchangeability I had thus fashioned my “gay recharge” assemblies on our Kuumba model. I named them “The Ndaba Gatherings”—Ndaba being mine and Busara’s “troupe” name (Ndaba is Zulu, indicating an important space—or corral—where vital things are shared).
At the Ambassador Hotel a standing room only crowd gave thunderous applause—tear filled responses drove the comments period. Astonishment and humility gripped me. By now AIDS’ monstrous arrival was profoundly and tragically visible, literally commanding the Conference’s agenda—as it was obvious where the greater impact lay.
Thus in San Diego I co founded P.O.C.A.S.E., pronounced poh-kah-see (People Of Color AIDS Survival Effort). A bleak 1987 landscape festered: no local minority healthcare, social service, cultural or political agency was even mentioning the term AIDS—but you can bet the virus raged.
Deeply ambivalent agency reps did show up to our call-to-arms meeting—an unprecedented gathering who’d never even fathomed gay “presence,” let alone gay leadership reality, or AIDS as disproportionately devastating minority communities.
Eureka! Public segments once absolutely foreign (and even hostile) instantly were whipped into waging action—unheard of! Straight based agencies got steered toward resource, pushed to set-up AIDS targeting facilities in their sites—and by gay People Of Color leadership. Indeed!
We didn’t stop there.
Organized was a very successful first ever Conference On AIDS in San Diego’s Minority Communities. Given the layered social baggage (unresolved homophobia, racism, power tripping and exploitation attempts—status-quo politics and rancor) it could never have happened without my C.E.B.I.S. model rocking at the core.
All of this is far more fleshed out (and quite eye-opening) in my book “Trouble In Black Paradise.”
Here we are 29 years later in San Francisco, at Black HIV Awareness Day with “Our Voices—Bearing Witness.”
The clinical review of what’s happened for Blacks in the battle between then and now?
Progress goals are not realized by far; while other sectors actually advance, Black conditions steadily get worse.
So how are things failing in the wake of these continued “calls to arms?” Conditions for Blacks in San Diego—reflecting national scenes—are also worse than ever. So where did the C.E.B.I.S. model go wrong?
Can things really improve for Blacks? If so, what’s it going to take that’s apparently not happening?
And what about that issue comparing white gay mainstreamers—their duplicating Black liberation shortsightedness (and neglect)—bringing the same corrosion to gay communal building—stunting progress without whites even knowing it?
Questions and concerns being batted around the room deserve a bare bones response—and here comes that “nitty-gritty!”
…the conclusion is next…and it’s highly provocative!