When noticing that more than 37,000 people read BLACK GAYS ROCK!!! 50 Most Impressionable, Influential & Inspirational Black LGBT Personalities Of 2012 (Pt. 1) that debuted on Friday, The G-List Society could not be any happier than to unveil the top 20 people of 2012. Again, there will be a couple of surprises that are on this list as well as not making the entire top 50. The top two slots would not have been your guess on this list or picks until you read and understand why. With that aside, let’s set egos aside and celebrate the people who really made huge impressions in 2012.
Drum roll please…
20. Wassup N ATL and founder/CEO Mario Harris (party promoter)
For the past decade, the Black gay/lesbian party scenes have seen so many great promoting groups’ come and go over disbanding associates, greed, retirement or lack of community interest to the point that people cannot keep up with what or who is new and current in the scene. Since 2002, Wassup N ATL has become a fixture in Atlanta’s social scene with weekly parties and pride events that revelers gather until capacity. Harris now travels the Wassup N ATL brand with “Invasion” events that extend to additional major cities including Washington DC, New York and Charlotte.
19. De’Borah (singer/TV star)
This beautifully gifted singer from Chicago stole the hearts of America this fall as the somewhat shy yet very personable talent who graced the hit TV singing competition “The Voice.” De’Borah instantly inspired many viewers on the first episode of the season as she revealed her lesbian identity. Her fans were also enamored with her religious family’s support. The media could not get enough of De’Borah, her talent, her fashion and her charisma up until the very episode where coach Christina Aguilera [wrongfully] eliminated her [in favor one of least impressionable contestants]. The future seems bright for this Chicago songbird who avows her love of karaoke and cites Ellen DeGeneres as her fashion inspiration.
18. Walter Hampton (social media commentator)
Before you judge Hampton’s relevance on this list, understand that your judgement and condemnation is the very reason why he ranks so high. You do not know who Walter is? Depending on how you feel about freedom of speech, you may be glad that you are not aware of his openly harsh criticisms about the majority of the LGBT community. The tall, muscular, masculine brute is a force to reckon with on Facebook as he states his honest disdain toward men who are effeminate, overweight, average-build, fashionably eccentric, HIV+, religious, etc. as well as transgender people, butch lesbians and non-Black gays. In other words, Hampton has had plenty to say about people who do not look or act similar to his characteristics. His typewritten, yet candid, viewpoints have struck many nerves among gay men of color, even with most of his critics trying to understand why he still boasts more than 4000 Facebook fans and admirers, especially with most of them fitting in the categories that disgust him. The public (and private) backlash and attention as some call him the “Black gay Rush Limbaugh” is enough justification to put him on this list. His willingness to share his honest and harsh opinions, that some of you are scared to co-sign publicly; thus allowing him to be your fall guy, is the very reason why he deserves to be here. Agree or disagree, The G-List Society applauds Hampton for speaking his truth — though it is known that Hampton has publicly denounced this image, that made him so popular, very recently.
17. ADTV and its founder/host Derrick L. Briggs (LGBT media personality/actor/producer)
If you are not one of the thousands of followers who catch the latest episodes of ADTV on YouTube, you need to know that your favorite LGBT personality on YouTube must give credit to its founder Briggs for paving the way of YouTube being a popular forum for today’s LGBT personalities new and seasoned. Furthermore, Briggs has selflessly made stars out of many unknowns among LGBT people of color through his ADTV Raw, ADTV Workout, ADTV Quickfire and other ADTV series thousands have watched over the past several years. Briggs, himself, has found time to step out of his ADTV production and hosting duties to find time to act in a few independent movies over the last year.
16. The cast/crew of “Finding Me” – Roger Omeus, Ray Martell Moore, Jared Paul Shuler, Eugene Turner, Austin M. Young, Tommy Coleman, Major Nesby, Eric Joppy, Bry’Nt, Marcell Gumbs, Kenyon L. O’Brien, Auden Robertson, Chino Ramos, etc. (TV series/film)
The “Finding Me” film and TV franchise became an instant pop culture hit in the Black LGBT community once it premiered years ago making stars out of fresh faces coming out of NYC with every sequel and online TV episode it aired. It’s blueprint of success is its tried-and-true promotion where its actors, producers and ket supported canvassed across America connecting new fans this well produced drama series. This year, “Finding Me” aired its first season of online TV shows which met instant fan support by the thousands. It is still creating new stars and putting a broader spotlight on New York City’s local stars. As season one wraps very soon, fans will start salivating for a hopeful second season.
15. The Skorpion Show and hosts Kevin Simmons & Makael McClendon (LGBT personalities/celebrity interviewers)
Get your life and have several seats as you get into the latest episodes of The Skorpion Show. Pop culture video bloggers Simmons and McClendon keep their fans glued to their YouTube channel each weekday for an hour as they dish about their favorite and controversial celebrities, music reviews and their own fun-filled social lives. The chemistry when these two men banter, agree and joke over their topics of choice meshes perfectly as they have popularized their popularity in the community and their huge female fans base for the past five years. They treat their fans like friends, which also includes some of your favorite female singers such as Tamar Braxton, Kelly Rowland, Brandy and current pop music queen Lady Gaga. Their consistent hard work at churning a slew of hour-long videos per week allowed the twosome to grab interviews that TV and radio personalities covet.
14. Damien Crawford (singer/entertainer)
2012 became the best year ever for greatly talented R&B singers who are openly gay. Before Frank Ocean revealed his sexuality to the world this summer, out-and-proud R&B crooner Crawford earned heartthrob and superstar status within the LGBT community after the release of his perfectly-crafted album The Reign. Featuring the hit tunes “Rockstar” “The Get Down” and “Down 4U,” the New Jersey singer won reviews from many of your favorite LGBT personalities and beyond. Crawford has been hired by promoters around the country to perform at nightclubs and Pride festivals. Even the fan-favorite, pro same-sex marriage anthem “Love Over Life” has to be one of the top songs of 2012 on anyone’s list who has good taste in music.
13. Sizzle Miami and founder Dwight Powell (special event producer)
With the exception of Memorial Day weekend’s Sizzle Miami, Pride and travel destinations for the Black LGBT community do not get to boast longevity of more than a decade of annual events with increasing attendance. Sizzle’s CEO Powell exercises his sharp business and relevance to what entertainment the modern Black gay men allows his May weekend party circuit to be the most well-attended destination of the year. Adding further relevance to the Sizzle Miami brand, club promoters in Washington DC who attract hundreds of revelers to their events during the same Memorial weekend started an embarrassing online that could not mar the attraction to Sizzle. As Powell amps up promotions for Sizzle 2013, he unveiled his first annual ski trip to popular resort of Aspen, CO. If you are a baller – or looking to snuggle up with a baller – this will be an excursion you will not want to miss.
12. Janet Mock (transgender activist)
Former journalist Mock’s popularity skyrocketed in 2010 when she shocked the world with her identity as a trans-woman. Mock has served tirelessly as an advocate for transgender concerns and anti-bullying campaigns throughout 2012. Her celebrity has become an inspiration for the LGBT community and beyond. As the social media leader of #GirlsLikeUs, a trans-women support group via Twitter, Mock’s leadership has afforded her to serve in key positions with GLAAD Media and the “It Gets Better” campaign, to which she submitted her stories about transitioning.
11. Dee Rees (screenwriter/film director)
2012 started off with a major win in the Black LGBT community as lesbian filmmaker Rees scored critical-acclaim and box office success with the highly buzzed-about film Pariah. The film scored multiple wins, nominations and critic’s choices throughout film festivals in America and beyond. Since Pariah’s success, Rees has been tapped to direct an upcoming TV series starring Viola Davis and two feature films that will premiere in 2013.
10. Wanda Sykes (comedian/LGBT activist)
Though Sykes’ name appear on every non-Black LGBT list of notable Black LGBT people all the time, her relevance is one of the few notables that is worth it. Millions of fans adore this comedy queen for her in-your-face, bullshit-calling rhetoric, while the LGBT community celebrate this celebrity using her platform of influence to stand up for LGBT equality. Her time spent travelling to every speaking opportunity promoting LGBT marriage rights and LGBT empower played a huge in voter support in the 2012 U.S. President election and gay marriage bill passing across the country. Sykes is one celebrity who is more than about her talent and sexuality as she will go down in history as a leading pioneer in the LGBT community at-large.
9. Rod McCullom (journalist/LGBT media personality)
Journalist and LGBT blogger McCullom is the reason why gays can maintain an influence and connection to the LGBT community beyond the restrictions of the social media platforms of today and yesterday through his media mainstay Rod 2.0. The celebrated and awarded journalist started his blog as daily LGBT media long before YouTube personalities, Facebook groups and celebrated gay gossipers emerged with real media coverage over LGBT issues and people who we should know. With more than seven years of Rod 2.0 serving as the leading source for current LGBT news, McCullom has been called upon to travel globally for leading media and organization to cover and address HIV/AIDS, LGBT equality and LGBT empowerment.
8. Frank Ocean (singer/songwriter)
In one of the most shocking moments of popular music, the world celebrated the coming out of the openly-bisexual singer/songwriter Ocean this summer. Though Ocean’s coming out may have attributed to the surprisingly strong commercial success of his official debut album Channel Orange, his prolific songwriting craft won the reviews of almost every critic of modern music long before this summer. Ocean’s musical talents within his debut album and writing credits for the likes of Beyonce, Brandy, Jay-Z and Kanye West earned the singer accolades abundantly including six Grammy nominations. His same-sex love admission, as evident on his commercially successful album, has celebrity media wondering whether more notable Black celebrities will follow suit.
7. Shangela a.k.a. D.J. Pierce (female impersonator/comedian/actor)
This fierce and well-love drag diva sets herself apart from other “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni with his/her intensive work ethic at demonstrating his/her interchangeable talents as a drag illusionist, actor and stand up comedian. Shagnela’s presence as a contestant, and then guest appearance, on “Drag Race” won admiration from fans globally; thus allowing him to tour all over the world performing the fiercest routines rivaling all queens. Shangela has also added actor and director to his entertaining resume as he launched the online viral video series “Jenifer Lewis & Shangela” with legendary actress and LGBT ally Jenifer Lewis. The surprise hit series was lauded by many major news outlets including Huffington Post and That Grape Juice TV.
6. Discreet City (Black gay men’s lifestyle blog)
Discreet City, an online magazine dedicated to the masculine Black gay male, made a huge splash online in late 2011 with its unapologetic quest to provide adequate attention to the masculine population of the Black gay community. Instantly, Discreet City was met with loud criticism as an attack on effeminate Black gay men instead of embracing the contributors as creators a diverse forum to represent a population often overlooked in gay and mainstream media as a representation of the Black LGBT community. Beyond the criticism, this lifestyle blog has received thunderous praise from men who identify with the empowering articles that the authors produce, including profoundly intriguing reads including “The Top 10 Reasons That You #Fail as a Gay/Bisexual Man…And How You Can Fix Them” and “The Most Annoying Men in the Gym” that resonate beyond the masculine male population. From discussing teens living with HIV to the dissection of bisexuality, the Discreet City writers aim to expand your mind beyond the Rihanna vs. Beyonce debates and NeNe Leakes and Wendy Williams fandemonium.
5. Inferno Dominican Republic & Inferno Puerto Rico and founder Will Williams (special event producer)
Within four years of its tropical traveling bliss existence, Inferno Dominican Republic has become the most rapidly increasing annual excursion where men and women enjoy paradise and new friendships during Labor Day weekend in Punta Cana. Inferno’s founder/CEO Williams found more than just a destination that breaks up the monotony of Pride festivals and debauchery-filled circuit weekends for desired travelers. Williams introduces uniquely fun-filled excursions and memorable celebrations annually that revelers do not take advantage in their homelands. 2012 saw Williams extending his Inferno brand to Puerto Rico successfully through an outstanding marketing and media campaign that Black Pride organization should acknowledge. Beyond the Inferno franchise, Williams is one of the most followed Black LGBT personalities on Facebook where the multi-genre entrepreneur and scholar openly shares his spiritual journey, successes and challenges to an overwhelmingly instant response of fans and supporters. In 2013, Williams’ Inferno expands to additional international destinations and its first U.S. destination in New Orleans’ during Mardi Gras.
4. B. Slade (a.k.a. Brian Slade; formerly Tonex)
The multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer/entertainer Slade is The G-List Society’s biggest music success of 2012. The former gospel singer’s hard work and craft perfection with multiple album and mixtape releases allows the appetites of fans to feast in large quantities of ear candy as he tours the country to promote his work in show-stopping intimate concerts and meet-and-greets. Slade’s talent has paid off in 2012 where he has been working on new music projects with Keyshia Cole and Fantasia. Wouldn’t it be great if he could lend his talents to the upcoming projects from Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown and others too??? Check out his album Deep Purple to understand the musical brilliance that is raved on this website.
3. 3LWTV and its founder/host Lonnell Williams
Without question, the influence that Williams and his popular online video series 3WLTV has on Black gays, lesbians and transgender men and women is as inspiring as it gets among LGBT people of color. His sincere approach on highlighting the best aspects of Black LGBT people from all walks of life is why gay people of color attract to him worldwide. Even the most sexual, controversial and ratchet subjects will have viewers seeing them in a positive light once Williams’ interviewing magic touches those figures. Admit it. 3LWTV expands your mind and then some. At the top of 2012, a great discussion about how self-hatred issues based on race in gay dating affects people of color. You seen Tiger Tyson as a human rather than a glorified porn star. You were to look past the media-hyped coonery that made YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson a household name. You understood the “upside” to the down low phenomena from a victimized wife. You admired Freddie the Body beyond his physical assets. The gift of Williams’ positivity and empowerment for LGBT people has well-known LGBT personalities lauding him as a great role model and leader; thus, he receives the nickname “the Black gay Oprah” ubiquitously long before he met the legendary media queen in August. The Oprah-effect on Williams worked wonders on him and the support of the community, but that story will be saved as The G-List Society predicts much more to highlight on that journey throughout 2013.
2. Gee Smalls & Juan Session, Robert Brown & Nate Gay and all same-sex wedded couples in 2012 and author Darian Aaron of “When Love Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color”
The celebration of love took over 2012 as the year was met with victories and fights for LGBT marriage equality all over America. The states that boasted equality triumphs saw couples rushing to courthouses to make their unions legally-binding; whereas couples living in states banning same-sex couple rights soldiered on to symbolizing their unions without the need for government acceptance. Thanks to social media and bloggers, the marriage vows of Black gay and lesbian couples spread rapidly as memoirs from couples Smalls and Sessions, Brown and Gay and several other couples became viral sensations that met clamorous praise by the thousands and easily-ignored hate from online thugs. In the Black LGBT community, these couples remind us that finding long-term love is an existing reality that surpasses religious and political strongholds. The G-List Society recommends reading Aaron’s When Love Takes Over book on same-sex relationships between men of color as a blueprint on how love and marriage works with same-sex couples.
1. “Between Women” TV series
Before 2012, the representation of the Black lesbian in online media remained relatively low-key within the Black lesbian demographic with the exception of the same names that get to crossover (Wanda Sykes, Sheryl Swoopes, Meshell Ndegeocello, etc.) On television, that representation was nearly extinct. Enter “Between Women,” the viral online TV drama series featuring a cast of Atlanta personalities showing the world the everyday life modern day Black lesbian – butch, femme and in between. Perhaps until “Between Women” hit online, research marketers would have never predicted that there is a wide audience for an all-Black lesbian cast despite hit shows that featured all-white gay, all-white lesbian and all-Black gay casts. Not only “Between Women” shattered those stereotypes with record-breaking views per episode among Black LGBT shows during its first season, but the series has been immediately picked up by a major production to shoot its second season for its official TV debut. This show is a true testament where hard work and community support create winning results for the Black LGBT community.
Did you see who rounded out the “50 Most Impressionable, Influential & Inspirational Black LGBT Personalities Of 2012” list? Click here to see who made #21 thru #50.
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.