The “Black LGBT Power 100″ 2013: The World’s Most Influential Black LGBT Personalities Pt. 1

The “Black LGBT Power 100″ 2013: The World’s Most Influential Black LGBT Personalities Pt. 1

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2013 exceeded 2012′s feat as the year Black gays, lesbians and trans-people flexed their political, creative, financial and celebrity power within the Black LGBT community and beyond.  Hundreds of Black same-gender-loving men and women from all over the world grabbed headlines locally, regionally, nationally and internationally for their significant achievements, record-breaking accomplishments and controversial notoriety that rival demographics with seemingly larger influences. Throughout 2013, many brave people in the Black LGBT community stepped out on their courageous leadership in positive and controversial ways to show that power is also in the Black same-gender-loving voice regardless of reach.

After the release of 2012′s Black LGBT Power 50 list, then titled “Black Gays Rock,” the overwhelming response showed how seriously our fellow Black gays, lesbians and trans-people took the intent of this list. From the congratulatory to the ego-trippin’, each comment was welcomed as the list’s credibility and suggestion to Black LGBT community that we need to celebrate ourselves more, with and without rankings, and recognize who our power players are beyond our social circles and regions.  The 2013 “Black Gay Power 100″ list boasts its rankings on the influence, notoriety and achievements within the last 12 months.  Unlike other lists, this is not a legacy list acknowledging people for accomplishments of years ago, a list that spites a previously published one because of ego issues, a ratchet list objectifying ourselves shamelessly or a list driven by gender, region or industry.

This labor of love took more than two months of data gathering and debate to see how the power ranking will be measured.  The feedback from people who looked forward to making the 2013 list raised the bar on how the rankings are graded.  The end result of the rankings is measured by how each personality and group fit in the five qualities the “IN-crowd”: the INfamous, the INfluential, the INnovative, the INspiring and the INtriguing.  My esteemed nameless colleagues and I graded 232 suggested names for the 2013 “Black LGBT Power 100″ and the personalities and groups who earned the highest totals upon the sums of each categories ranked in their applicable positions.

Set your egos aside and celebrate the honorees of the 2013 “Black LGBT Power 100.”

#100 – #91

100. BLOOM/BLOOM Jamaica (Olubode Shawn Brown) party promoter + travel group
THE INTRIGUING: While may a gay promoter wouldn’t dare host a trip in a seemingly homophobic nation such as Jamaica, NY-based BLOOM hosted another successful annual excursion with an increasing attendance.  The travel and party group is also well known for its seasonal theatrical-themed dance parties and pride bashes.
99. Al Sura AIDS research organization
THE INNOVATIVE: This DC-based organization takes HIV/AIDS research to a level beyond the norm.  Al Sura hosts annual white attire and black attire affairs attracting a large attendance of east coast and midwest revelers to raise funds for AIDS research and year-round education.  The organization also hosts theatrical events and sponsor club events and east coast talent to extend their brand recognition.
98. Will Sheridan rapper + athlete
THE INTRIGUING: The NY-based emcee shot one of the most buzzed about album covers of 2013 with his mixtape “S.O.A.P. (Sex On A Platter)” and has toured throughout major and indie music festivals including South By Southwest to promote it.  He is one of the very few queer hip-hop artists whom LOGO TV has co-sponsored an event where he performed as a headlining act. His celebrity as a gay athlete remains relevant as a star player in the American gay basketball league circuit.
97. Aneesa Ferreira, Marlon Williams & Preston Roberson-Charles (MTV’s “Challenge”) TV personalities
THE INTRIGUING: For the first time in MTV’s 20-plus years of the “Real World/Road Rules” franchise, four gays and lesbians of color starred in a season at once.  Three of them – Aneesa Ferreira, Marlon Williams and Preston Roberson-Charles – were the Black queer cast mates of the “RW/RR Challenge” that premiered earlier this year.  All of them performed very well in the intensely competitive show, especially Roberson-Charles as the underdog that entire cast counted out because of his seemingly least masculine physique compared to his opponents.
96. Dorien Bryant former NFL free agent
THE INTRIGUING: The former college football star caused quite a stir in recent weeks with his coming out story.  As an athlete who was once considered a pro-football prospect, the fiery – and sexy – athlete shot from the hip about homophobia in professional sports and was brave enough to call out former NBA star – now  Black gay poster boy – Jason Collins out for his seemingly half-hearted reasons for being #TeamGay since his NBA career was noticeably hanging on a thread.
95. Hotter Than July (Detroit Black Pride) Black pride organization
THE INNOVATIVE: Over the past few years, Detroit Black Pride became one of the few Black LGBT pride weekends that recovered from the epidemic slump of Black pride celebrations across America losing relevancy because of controversy.  With its highly buzzworthy award show that honored Black LGBT people of color for current work rather than legacy and its promoters pulling all the stops for the grandest nightly parties in years, Detroit Black Pride became the go-to Black pride destination in the midwest of the past few years.
94. Billie’s Black Black LGBT-owned establishment
THE INNOVATIVE: Black LGBT establishments come and go, but very few will have the legacy of the still-flourishing New York City restaurant Billie’s Black.  No longer just a restaurant that serves up good southern comfort food, Billie’s Black offers live music entertainment support LGBT musicians of color and local New York to compete with the larger dining and entertainment establishments.
93. ADTV (Derrick L. Briggs) YouTube personality
THE INFLUENTIAL: Going on strong in its umpteenth year in online media, Derrick L. Briggs’ ADTV is one of the very few Black LGBT YouTube channels that gives fellow LGBT personalities a platform to build their own brands.  One by one, YouTube personalities lose their luster and audience while keeping the spotlight to themselves, but Briggs’ genius of creating stars on his network bring more attention to himself as a walking brand.
92. Dallas Black Pride Black pride organization
THE INFLUENTIAL: Outside of Washington DC’s Black pride weekend, social media’s buzz about attending Dallas Black Pride weekend went into overdrive as the must-attend destination among Black prides.  Dallas Black Pride’s biggest applause over the weekend is the paradigm it created years ago – and still carries – about hiring our Black LGBT personalities/musicians of color to serve as entertainment at the headlining and club events.  The idea is cost-effective and shows the true spirit of Black LGBT pride. Even the party promoters and event organizers during DC’s Memorial and ATL Labor Day weekends should take notes from Dallas Black Pride’s set up and stop wasting dollars on washed-up singers and rappers the community is not checking for.
91. Leo Washington gay athlete advocate
THE INSPIRING: Around the time former NBA player Jason Collins grabbed headlines as the poster boy of athletes coming out of the closet, here comes a courageous teen by the name of Leo Washington who comes out of the closet while being a star football player in his high school.  After becoming a media darling over his heroism, the Florida teen stepped in advocacy of providing safe platforms for young gay and lesbian athletes.
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