This is the chronicles of an African-American man torn between two worlds, the secretive underworld of down-low brothers and the false reality of being married. Experience the joys, pains, and reality check of a Down-Low Brotha.
Chronicles of A Down Low Brotha
Caught Between Two Worlds
Saturday, August 7, 2010
The summer months are often know generally as the months when not only does the temperature rise but also the temperatures of people's passions and libido. I had the opportunitiy to travel this week out of town to a Convention where there were the delegates and convention attendees were mostly African-American religious people. Nevertheless, it was more of a glorified church convention, where many of the guys were flamboyant and extremely effeminate to the point that many of the women, were blatantly saying, "This is a shame!" Now I don't have anything against anyone's preference but I do not agree with you trying to push your preferences on other people and get made when the one you're pursuing isn't interested. (yet I digress) I happened to also be in Raleigh, NC On business and Not too mention before I flew out of Raleigh, the Omega Psi Phi International Conclave was going on. We'll talk about greeks in a later post..
The one thing that both of these events had in common is that they were dominated by african american men, with a good portion of these men in attendance are on the down low and specifically at the conference to hook up with other dudes. It is as if the benefits and perks to being at the convention was the many men you could look at and say how fine they are or who you could possibly hook up with via craigslist, adam, or the usual stare and make conversation. None of which I think I'm interested in.
The experience i Had just today, was a bit overwhelming. While I don't mind the attention, I must admit it was a bit uncomfortable, to see guys blatantly gawking and many of them flamboyantly. As my party and I made our way into the convention center, heads and eyes began to turn as if to say "fresh meat." I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life but something was different, it wasn't subtle admiration it was blatant, obvious, and open. An unsettled feeling came upon me and I immediately wanted to grab my registration materials and run for the door.
I have had my share of church conferences, such as megafest, manPower, and the like, but this was the first time I had ever been to this gospel music conference which had an international appeal. Something that I observed was the number of clearly gay or down low men, who had no problem in looking, gawking, or saying wassup as a man that attracted them walked by.
It goes without saying that the Black church has played a major role in shaping who we are as a community, through slavery, Jim Crow and the injustices we face in the 21st century, our relationship with God and the church has been paramount. I think the same thing can be said for gospel music. I can remember the first time I felt a connection with God, it was me singing in the church choir and leading various songs, including a Clark Sisters rendition of Is My Living In Vain. There was something about gospel music that caught my attention and made a relationship with God seem accessible even at my young age. I remember as a youngster being very gifted to sing. I would be frequently called upon even through my teens to do sermonic selections, solos, or to lead devotional service. But internally i was struggling. As i grew and went to college I joined the college gospel choir, and eventually in my junior year, decided to leave something I loved because of the stigma associated with guys who were in the "choir"
I would later realize that gospel music was the one aspect of the Black church where I was free to praise God openly and honestly without experiencing the condemnation of the "word". As I am now coming to embrace and understand this secret lifestyle and the backlash from the church for identifying openly as such, I can't help but notice all of the gay men and women who were at the forefront of the gospel music industry. We've all seen them in church, on tv, we own their cd's, everyone whispers about them, they're flamboyant, attractive, talented, anointed and unmarried.
Praise and worship would not be the same if gay brotha or sister so and so was not leading the choir and bringing souls to Christ. The music in a Black church can ruin the worship experience if the choir is not on point and whoever wants to argue with that can do so all day long but that's just a fact.
We've always been apart of the church, we sit and listen to ministers damn our souls to hell and preach conversion through prayer Sunday after Sunday in silence. Meanwhile, our self -esteem plummets and we allow man to convince us that we won't have access to the kingdomn of God because of who we are. I'm personally sick of this lie and I'm sick of all of the men who "AMEN" this religious dogma and then retire home to feel the touch of their boyfriend.
How many gospel artists do you know that fall into this category? Probably too many too count. But of course no one in the church or the gospel music industry will have a problem with your homosexuality as long as you don't talk about it.
Translation: We'll let you sing in the choir,even let you hold the title of minister of music, buy your cd's, and enjoy the presence of God as a result of your gift, but the moment you admit you're a homosexual you might as well be Lucifer himself. I know of a young man who is extremely gifted but struggles with homosexuality, and the reason why i say struggles is because his pastor preaches so strongly against it. He had even been silenced in the church for a brief period, after he was caught in a homosexual indiscretion with one of the lead elder's sons. I sometimes see the pain in his eyes as he leads praise and worship, but he genuinely loves God but somehow he is limited because of his struggle.
I'm not calling for every closeted gay man in gospel music to come out, I understand that they are at risk of losing their fan base and their livelihood. But I am challenging them to be sensitive to the fight for tolerance, and acceptance.