2012 has become the most accomplished year for the Black LGBT community. As the past years and decades have seen and awarded the same familiar faces as leaders and pioneers in the community for the same, and often outdated, accomplishments, The G-List Society recognizes 50 individuals and groups in the Black LGBT community who commanded the attention of thousands and millions within and beyond the community. Their influences, voices, gifts and contributions made history and headlines in 2012.
This list of notables include familiar faces who have been on many other LGBT lists, especially as the Black representatives, as well as unsung heroes, vocal radicals and revolutionary game changers who have become the newest sensations or have received their long-overdue praise publicly.
Chosen by Waddie G. and a select group of LGBT leaders and personalities, here is the first part of The 50 Most Impressionable, Influential & Inspirational Black LGBT Personalities Of 2012, numbers 21-50. Yes, we have ranked the influential and intriguing Black LGBT people of 2012. There are a few controversial shockers included and maybe a surprise or two on who did not make the cut.
Drum roll please…
50. Red Summer (educator/poet)
Chicago native and Atlanta resident Summer is a force to reckon when it comes to the power of the spoken word. Basking in the co-signs from wordsmith icons such as C.C. Carter and Tim’m West, Summer’s literary pieces and speeches won rave reviews across the nation and has earned her a nomination for an Out Music Award.
49. 5Friends4Life and its founders/hosts Kevin Edwards, Warren A. Huntley, Carlton Brown, Dante McCommon and Freddie Johnson (philanthropists/event hosts)
Atlanta event planner Huntley became a household name in the event planning industry several years ago, but his philanthropic endeavors with his closest friends in 5Friends4Life became an admirable mainstay in the Black LGBT community. Their social events, including their annual white attire and black attire affairs, brought the most memorable experiences for thousands of attendees in Atlanta’s most sophisticated venues and settings. Look out for Huntley’s next production, the Inauguration black-tie party in January 2013, as the talk of the town when it hits Washington DC.
48. Da Doo Dirty Show and its creator/host D.J. Baker and producer Swanny River (LGBT personalities/LGBT musician activists)
The long-running online radio show Da Doo Dirty Show is the predecessor to almost every blog, video blog and other forms of Black LGBT media that debuted since 2005. The show’s creator and host DJ Baker and his long-time producer Swanny River work tirelessly to bring fresh content and exclusive interviews with LGBT personalities and well-known celebrities every weekday. Most of the LGBT music artists today, especially in the hip-hop genre, must pay homage to the show as it has been sometimes their sole venue to get their records heard to the masses.
47. Donna Payne (Human Right Campaign executive)
Human Rights Campaign is an organization which African-American gays and lesbians must support in the efforts of LGBT equality regardless of myths provided within the community about inclusion. Look no further than Associate Director of Field Outreach Donna Payne. Payne has worked tirelessly along with civil rights organization and religious leaders to support human equality for the LGBT community. Payne also serves in Boards of a few Black gay and lesbian community organization to spread the empowerment of awareness and equality.
46. C.C. Carter (spoken word artist/feminist)
C.C. Carter is the iconic voice in the lesbian community as she continues to lead her Pow Wow organization as an empowering forum for lesbians to voice their feminism, beauty and pride over poetry, spoken word, literature and song. Though she is a heroine among lesbians, gay men clamor to her effervescent and theatrical stage performances in the Midwest and other parts of America. Carter is a voice who provides a platform for other voices.
45. Frenchie Davis (singer/entertainer)
For the past decade, singer/Broadway actress Davis enjoyed a viable career in the entertainment industry with the support of the LGBT community after starring in two hit TV singing competitions. In 2012, the powerhouse diva revealed her bisexual identity to the media, and the fans in the LGBT poured in their support by the bunches.
44. Ra-Fael Blanco (celebrity publicist/event producer)
Celebrity publicist Blanco is one of the hardest-working unsung heroes in the entertainment industry. Bringing widespread attention to independent musicians who once were mainstream artists is no easy task, but Blanco makes his clients become household names once again with ease. With clients including former Danity Kane singer Dawn Richard, Day26 singer Willie Taylor and multi-genre singer/composer B. Slade on his roster, Blanco’s media influence to their latest projects have see miraculous sales results, sold-out shows and media attention that a former mainstream music artist can only dream about.
43. Darryl Stephens (actor)
This veteran actor won the hearts of the LGBT community since his starring role in the TV series “Noah’s Arc” a few years ago. Once the LOGO television series ended (abruptly), fans clamored in support to revive the series once again, especially when the show and its principal characters have been rumored to continue the franchise for the past three years. Though a “Noah’s Arc” reunion, spin-off or continuation never materialized, fans rejoiced and supported Stephens’ bid to return to TV stardom with the newly hit LOGO series debut of “DTLA.”
42. Zekeera “Zee” Belton (event producer/philanthropist)
Though most LGBT personalities enjoy a following within their gender demographic in the Black LGBT community, Belton is a rarity who is adored equally by men and women. As the event producer behind A-to-Z Productions, Belton co-hosts several events annual which draw the Black LGBT community by the hundreds throughout the east coast. She also serves as the lesbian liaison for the AIDS philanthropic Al Sura organization and the annual tropical destination of Inferno Dominican Republic.
41. Terrance Dean (writer/relationship guru)
Dean’s best-selling books about down-low same-sex relationships in the entertainment industry afforded him to be a relationship expert in 2012 for top Black entertainment websites including Bossip. Weekly, Dean provided advice to unsuspecting women and men about potential down-low behaviors of their loved ones.
40. Zebra Katz (emcee/producer)
Before the Black LGBT community took notice of its own emcee Zebra Katz in early 2012, hip-hop journalists and bloggers celebrated the openly gay rapper’s clever wordplay on his monster hit “I’ma Read.” Though it can be labeled as a tune for the ballroom scene based on its lyrics and beat, music critics adored Katz’s verbal skills about dethroning his competition and naysayers. As “I’ma Read” became one of the massive underground hits in early 2012, Katz and his collaborator Njena Reddd Foxxx have been performing their hit single all over the world and promoting new material from their separate projects.
39. Shaun T (fitness guru)
Shaun T’s “Insanity” and “Hip Hop Abs” workout series continue to sell by thousands in 2012. The choreographer and fitness trainer to the stars popularized the Insanity and P90X fitness craze where users achieve optimal results in record time through strict, yet strenuous, fitness regimen. Recently, the chiseled heartthrob announced his marriage to long-time lover Scott Blokker Though he is off the market to heterosexual women and gay men, his fitness empire continue to blossom.
38. Kaoz (rapper)
The Minneapolis may be an out and proud gay rapper, but he defies the poorly-labeled stereotype of a gay rapper. His lyrics are not reliant sex, nightlife, fashion and pride. He subject matter is versatile from activism and consciousness to party and braggadocios thoughts. He does not rely on a shtick beyond his verbal skills. Thus, he is on just about everyone’s list when people talk about talented gay rappers who can rival the mainstream rappers we hear on the radio and BET. 2012 single “Still Standing” is a testament to Kaoz’s genius.
37. Nhojj (musician)
Multiple Out Music Award nominee Nhojj makes music that is timely for the LGBT community and allies to adore instantaneously. The New York-bred singer/songwriter released the powerful tunes “He & Him” and “Live Your Life” at a time the community is facing wars on same-sex marriage equality and bullying. Nhojj is one of the very few LGBT musicians who has received praised from mainstream music organizations, superstars and press as a pioneer in modern soul music.
36. Azealia Banks (rapper/entertainer)
Banks bursted onto the mainstream music scene with her catchy dance-rap single “212.” The simplistic, yet artistic, music video garnered millions of Youtube views in a few months. Thus, media outlets around the world wanted to welcome the feisty New Yorker emcee to mainstream music. Soon after, Banks signed a recording contact with a major label to prepare her official debut album in 2013 after a achieving a few successful mixtapes and music video releases throughout this year. Banks toured around the world scoring coveted gigs at the world’s prominent music festivals that do not give access to up-and-coming artists. Count on Banks to make a major splash in 2013 with her debut album.
35. Billie’s Black and its founder Adriane Ferguson (restaurateur/entrepreneur)
For years, the Black LGBT community has often griped about not having a Black gay-owned venue to patronized and be entertained. Where almost all of the hangout spots across America serve as temporary, weekly venues for the LGBT people of color, standout locales such as Billie’s Black in New York’s Harlem neighborhood serve as a mainstay where patrons crowd to gather for great food and entertainment. The trendy hotspot houses music showcases and spoken words weekly as diners partake in the finest urban American cuisines the restaurant offers.
34. Sampson McCormick (comedian/LGBT personality)
Washington DC comic Sampson McCormick is a refreshing face in the community of LGBT comedians. Quick-witted and direct, Sampson spotlights and provides comic relief to the topics we all discuss among each other but blush about them in public including sexual behaviors, pornography, religion and pride. His hard-work and admirably unique material afforded McCormick to be hired to perform on some of the biggest stages and events across America throughout 2012. Do not suggest just yet that McCormick peaked this year when 2013 will bring even more success should he continues perfecting his craft.
33. Los Angeles Black Pride and its Board members Paul Scott, Michael Flowers, Thea Williams, Zina Love, Marcus Smith, Kelvin Okundaye, Valerie Spenser, Arnold Cannady, Hollis C. Beard Jr., Marco Aurelio Green and Dwayne Phillip Reese (community leaders)
Like many of the big city-hosted Prides that were the must-travel destinations of yesteryear, Los Angeles Black Pride seen its sharp decline in popularity by the late 00’s. In the past two years, community hopefuls banded together to resurrect the July 4th weekend celebration that was once plagued by promoter and financial controversies. By 2011, the teamwork made the dream work. In 2012, the Black Pride made the official comeback of all Black Prides with an aggressive marketing campaign, year-round engagement and support from Los Angeles political officials. The organization has already begun caucusing support for its 2013 festivities. Other major cities need follow their blueprint.
32. Kye Allums (transgender activist/athlete)
Allums shocked the sports world in 2010 when she announced that he identified himself as a transgender male while playing basketball at George Washington University. Since his proud announcement, the Minnesota native has been tapped to speak all over the country about transgender pride and coming out awareness.
31. Big Boy Pride and its co-founders Jay Torrence & Tony Brown (event producers/community leaders)
2012 marked the debut of Big Boy Pride, and the organization make bigger splash into community than its title suggestion. In a community where the standard of beauty among Black gay men of color worships the muscular and the thin, Big Boy Pride kicked down those classist barriers where beautiful average-sized to thick Black men are the new Black. With a successful inaugural pride weekend that took place in 2012, the opportunities for this venture to become the next Sizzle Miami or Inferno Dominican Republic seems very possible in the next few years. Thick Black men are here to slay.
30. Kin4Life (musicians/activists)
Hip-hop duo Kin4Life continued to get national recognition beyond the LGBT community for their clever rhymes and charming personalities throughout 2012. If you follow their online video journal on Youtube, the rap divas take viewers on their journey as they perform in festivals, pride celebrations and club venues all throughout the year. Fans are anticipating some hot new music from these lesbian pioneers in 2013.
29. Lester “Newnue” Matthews (LGBT personality/video blogger)
Video blogger Newnue instantly became an online heartthrob with his unabashed LGBT-themed video blogging series as he travels around America hitting up Pride events, ballroom contests and community forums providing entertaining content while spreading awareness. Mathews continued to give the fans the videos they want to see as he introduced his new online reality-TV series “The Circle,” exclusive celebrity interviews, travel diaries and an op-ed with different co-hosts. His fame is not done in vein as his friends have become some of 2012’s newest LGBT personalities. Newnue’s charmingly Southern personality and humility make him one of the most likable LGBT personalities of today.
28. National Black Justice Coalition and its Board members and leadership team Darryl Moore, Michelle E. Brown, Donna Payne, Alan-Michael S. Graves, Kylar W. Broadus, Rev. Byron Williams, Rev. Irene Monroe, Maurice O. Franklin, Mandy Carter, Keith Boykin, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Je-Shawna Wholley, Rodney K. Nickens Jr., Michael J. Brewer and Kimberley McLeod
The National Black Justice Coalition is one of the few Black LGBT community-driven organization that pushes its agenda of awareness to the masses. In case you are out-of-touch with the goings-on in politics, LGBT equality, health initiatives and other important matters to the Black LGBT community, count on NBJC to keep you informed. All you have to do is sign up on their mailing list to be in the know.
27. RuPaul (LGBT personality/TV star)
Outside of TV personality Anderson Cooper, RuPaul deserves the title of the hardest working LGBT personality in show business. With a fifth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” set to debut in January 2013, Ru enjoyed two hit seasons in 2012, which included a entertaining all-star season. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the only hit TV talent-competition series where all of its contestants enjoy a major career boost after their appearances.
26. “Goons Vs. Gays” stars and crew Donnie DuRight, Terry Torro and Sean “Kosmic Ken” Anthony
YouTube is full of viral videos and online personalities, but the majority of these stars cannot claim their hard work brought them fame as these young and talented New Yorkers. Though DuRight, Torro and Anthony manage their own episodes as individuals to thousands of fans, it’s their super viral, and well-produced, series “Goons Vs. Gays” that grabbed the attention of the LGBT community and Black entertainment media throughout 2012. Hundreds of thousands of viewers got a kick out of these men spoofing the similar, yet different, reactions to everyday situations involving thugs and gay men in New York City. DuRight and Anthony announced a new scripted series titled “No Shade” that is looking to be a big hit in 2013.
25. Kid Fury (LGBT personality/video blogger)
Fury’s celebrity stock skyrocketed at the beginning of 2012 when the Jamaican-American online personality joined the “Sh*t People Say” video craze with his own “Sh*t Black Gays Say.” His spot-on presentation about the subject matters and dialogues that most Black gay men engage in attracted more than a half-million views in less than a month in the two-part series. Since his viral video, Fury built a following in the thousands who tuned into his comedic rants and timely shade about celebrities and his unabashedly passionate thoughts behind the hot topics of the time.
24. Keith Boykin (TV political pundit/writer/LGBT activist)
As one of the most prominent voices of the Black LGBT community of all time, Boykin continues to add to his accomplishments in media, social activism and the literary arts. Boykin holds his own in political debates regarding the economy, health care and human rights on TV with the toughest analysts and critics on CNN, FOX News and other media outlets. Boykin shares his on-air appearances with his fans through his YouTube channel; thus, he gives fans the opportunity to learn more about the political decisions impacting Americans. He also corralled an all-star line-up of Black gay male activists, leaders and personalities into contributing toward a book of coming-out memoirs titled For Colored Boys that met with raving reviews during the summer of 2012.
23. Patrik-Ian Polk (multimedia producer/screenwriter)
Polk extended his hit-making streak as a filmmaker with his much buzzed-about 2012 film release The Skinny. With an all-star cast and high hopes for success, fans lined up in droves to sold-out and extended screenings for more than a month after its release. The good news allowed Polk’s hit film become a TV series on the LOGO cable network. The naysayers who claimed Polk hit his peak a few years ago with the “Noah’s Arc” franchise can eat humble pie as fans expect to see more coming from this award-winning film writer/producer.
22. Orlando Black Pride and its promoter sponsor WET Promotions
Until the last couple years, Orlando Black Pride has been overlooked as the Black Pride destination du jour when cities including Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and others are mentioned. As the aforementioned and every other long-standing Black Pride organization have seen their demises due to poor leadership, self-sabotaging and hidden agendas, Orlando Black Pride stood a united front in recent years and witnessed an increase in travel to its sunny destination due to diligent marketing campaigns and a real, yet visual, cohesive working relationship between Black gays and lesbians.
Zedde became one of the most celebrated authors among the lesbian community for her colorfully, dark fictional stories about worldly women who run from their own truths and into trouble until these heroines find self-acceptance. She has written the critically-acclaimed novella Nightshade and has traveled the country engaging in public speaking and literary awareness.
Stay tuned for who makes the cut on the 50 Most Impressionable, Influential & Inspirational Black LGBT Personalities Of 2012 on Wednesday, December 18, 2012. Some of the notables will shock you as some of the personalities you might expect to be on the list were not voted enough to make the list.
The 50 Most Impressionable, Influential & Inspirational Black LGBT Personalities Of 2012 was chosen by Waddie G. along with 12 selected LGBT people of color in the United States who paid close attention to the noisemakers, ringleaders, personalities and headliners that caught the attention of the Black LGBT community in 2012. Three hours of fierce debating took place to come up with this definitive list.
This list was created to celebrate the greatness and exemplary efforts that took place inside and outside the Black LGBT communities of America and beyond. There are very few detailed, comprehensive and diverse lists as such for us Black LGBT people to reference when we need to review our history and accomplishments.