Emil Wilbekin’s Native Son Will Change the Way Black Gay Men Are Represented in the Media

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by OckyDub, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. OckyDub

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    Emil Wilbekin is a superstar journalist who intends to change the way black gay men are perceived and received in mainstream media. He intends to shift culture through his initiative, Native Son, which is inspired by James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son.

    “Mr. Baldwin talks a lot about social justice, the black church, family, identity of African Americans in pop culture, and he’s self-critical as a black gay man who is struggling with his sexual identity,” Wilbekin tells The Root. Those themes are what stuck out to Wilbekin, not only when he was looking for a name for his movement, but when he was shaping what he wanted it to be.

    Wilbekin has been in the media for years, and his résumé boasts many major publications, like Vibe, Complex, AOL Black Voices, Out magazine, Giant magazine and Essence. At each publication, he’s been able to make major moves that have helped the brands develop.

    Three years ago, Wilbekin stepped out on faith and became an independent consultant and editorial content executive, and now, Native Son is flourishing. What a wonderful blessing it is to watch one’s idea develop into a movement!

    I talked to Wilbekin about what Native Son is and how he plans to shift the culture through his movement.

    The Root: What does it mean to you now to take Native Son for yourself and transform it?

    Emil Wilbekin: Wow, that’s a great question. For me, Native Son is really about fellowship among black gay men. So, it’s really creating inspiration and empowerment around black gay men. How do we celebrate each other and how do we see each other?

    To me, James Baldwin is the perfect icon to represent this movement because he is probably the most brilliant activist, journalist, artist and man of color who owned being “other.” As black gay men now, we look back, and a lot of the words and writings of Mr. Baldwin are completely relevant for the times we’re living, especially in this age of Donald Trump.

    TR: How do you feel about the way black men are portrayed in the media?

    EW: There’s two kind of tentpoles that I really am focused on with Native Son: 1) How do we control our narrative? 2) Having more visibility.


    When I look at the current state of media, I’m happy because there’s more images of black gay men in the media. There’s more black gay men in Hollywood who are creating work or in writing rooms.

    There’s Lee Daniels, there’s Ben Cory Jones, who is in the Insecure writing room. There’s Jussie Smollett. There’s gay storylines on Greenleaf and Being Mary Jane; we’re seeing ourselves more. Obviously, this is the year Moonlight won the Oscar for Best Picture. I Am Not Your Negro, the James Baldwin documentary, was nominated for an Oscar, so we’re being seen a lot more.

    This is obviously new and a counter to the stereotypical, almost misogynistic, homophobic images that we’ve seen in media—in kinda girling gay black men, regulating them to being the gay best friend or hairdresser-stylist. I’m excited to see a more well-rounded vision of what black gay men are and what we can be.


    TR: Do you feel like that’s a lot to take on as Native Son, or is it something that can help shift the stereotypical images of black gay men in the media?

    EW: It’s a lot to take on, but I believe that we as black gay men have to control our destiny. We can’t rely on mainstream media, white gay media or anyone else to tell our story properly. We have to tell our story.

    It’s a lot to take on, but ever since I began this movement last year, there are so many black gay men who are business executives, Hollywood executives, government officials, health care experts, people in tech, who all want to come together, and we want to tell our story. We want to help.


    I’m not doing this alone. That’s why I call it a movement. It’s illuminating and encouraging black gay men in their truths to walk in their truth and tell their stories.

    TR: What are you working on with Native Son, and what can we look forward to?

    EW: I’m so excited because Native Son has exceeded my expectations. We’ve hosted a panel with Google around black gay men in tech, so that’s a very important, forward-leaning initiative. I think it’s important to know where black gay men fit in tech. What are our stories within that?


    I was honored by the Boy Scouts of America. I received the Harlem Good Scout Award, and I am so humbled by this. To be a black gay man honored by Boys Scouts of America, it shows how the world is moving forward and how as a black gay man, I can continue to break barriers and go through glass ceilings.

    Next year, aside from the awards and these talks we’re doing, we’re launching empowerment seminars that are going to be two-day workshops where we focus on issues around identity and who we are. I think there’s a lot of brokenness, woundedness and shame in the black gay community, and we need to heal ourselves so we can be stronger and move forward.

    https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/emil-wilbekin-s-native-son-will-change-the-way-black-ga-1821134537
     
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  2. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    "I believe that we as black gay men have to control our destiny. We can’t rely on mainstream media, white gay media or anyone else to tell our story properly. We have to tell our story."

    Ummm...Black gay dudes are telling stereotypical stories of themselves....the same stories and trope narratives. So, there's that.
     
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  3. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    Side note, @OckyDub do all of the people who want you & I to be more "visible" actually just wanna see us become like all of the other "visible" gay men who were at that Native Son event?

    Could you imagine yourself being photographed in a black suit with no socks on at this event?


    johnson-and-emil-wilbekin-attend-out-magazine-master-of-style-by-picture-id874699236.jpg

    OUT+Magazine+Master+Style+Event+Presented+2QWPcll47kul.jpg Men+Soir+OUT+Magazine+Master+Style+Event+Presented+OotqR77t8ZLl.jpg
    johnson-attends-out-magazine-master-of-style-presented-by-cadillac-picture-id874699030.jpg

    Drew+Shade+OUT+Magazine+Master+Style+Event+_PJhhKD7pf1l.jpg rob-smith-attends-the-2016-native-son-awards-at-cadillac-house-on-30-picture-id626884314.jpg

    editor-in-chief-for-blue-magazine-devon-christopher-johnson-attends-picture-id874695400.jpg edward-wilkinson-attends-out-magazine-master-of-style-presented-by-picture-id874695568.jpg
    journalist-native-son-creator-emil-wilbekin-gives-a-native-son-award-picture-id626859464.jpg

    journalist-native-son-creator-emil-wilbekin-and-honoree-journalist-picture-id626847822.jpg
     
  4. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    So this was a who's-who of Black gay men that push or subscribe to queer fem-centric culture? OK no problem there. Hell I've even defended and supported EJ Johnson against getting dragged by other fem and masc leaning gays.

    Nonetheless....I see ZERO diversity and basically an echo chamber. Gay Culture = Queer Culture = Fem Culture. Masculine leaning voices need not apply.
     
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  5. ColumbusGuy

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    Well would 'masculine leaning voices' be heard or allowed? I see blue bubble vest was there. Is it that they would not be accepted, or that they have simply not applied?

    Interview this guy and see what he says-where is the place, if there is a place, in this movement for masculine leaning gay black men.

    *I despise it when people wear suit clothes and dress shoes...with no socks.

    *Ocky's views on aspects of 'modern' feminism might be problematic. I wonder how atheism would be taken?

    This is kind of at odds with the pics...just saying. lol
     
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  6. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    Another side note: I can't believe that I used to have a lil crush on this skinny bald nikka, smh. Masculine on the outside, Fem on the inside. Welcome to 2018.

    IMG_6142.JPG IMG_6141.JPG IMG_6143.JPG
     
  7. ColumbusGuy

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    ^^ OK I just checked him out a bit on youtube. He does not seem that 'fem' he just seems to be about some stereotypes though( all that reality show stuff on his youtube channel). What about him is so 'fem'? His interests, outlook etc. ?
     
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  8. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    You answered your own question. :martin:
     
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    Oh ok. Sometimes I don't know when 'fem' is used if it is about mannerisms and appearances, or thought processes and interests. So that is what you meant by 'masc on the outside, fem on the inside' as opposed to fem on the outside, fem on the inside.
     
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  10. BlackguyExecutive

    BlackguyExecutive Former Diplomat, Current Opportunity Seeker
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    Maybe instead of having masculine black gay men need not apply. Why not apply and get a set at the table or in this case whatever color carpet of this who's who event. Why complain from the outside?
     
  11. OckyDub

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    That's like Trump being invited to the Civil Rights museum.

    Mainstream gay / queer culture is not for masculine leaning POVs in my opinion. Gay / queer culture and female culture are basically mirror images of one another.
     
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  12. OckyDub

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    @BlackguyExecutive and before you say, "why then complain about it?" well that's because I don't like double standards and hypocrisy. Gay / Queer Culture has touted itself as diverse and accepting; racist white supremacist gays and masculinity being marginalized to sexual objectification says otherwise.
     
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  13. BlackguyExecutive

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    Real talk question, do you think that you can have a masculine POV without being misogynistic or anti-feminine? I am playing this thought experiment through my head right now if you were engaged in a debate with someone who you would consider gay/queer/female culture how would you engage them without engaging in misogyny?
     
  14. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    I'm looking for the masculine on the outside??
    :dame::lupe1:
     
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  15. OckyDub

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    No...because anything said against fem culture or calling out the hypocrisy is perceived as misogynistic and anti-feminine even when it isn't.

    Critical analysis and logic is replaced with being triggered and offended.
     
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  16. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    Like this whole thread can easily be perceived as "toxic masculinity".
     
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  17. BlackguyExecutive

    BlackguyExecutive Former Diplomat, Current Opportunity Seeker
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    I will agree with you that diversity is used l

    I can see that. It is hard to engage in this kind of debate when there is not a baseline of what is acceptable. Lord knows there is a sensitive sally on every corner.
     
  18. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    LOL but I don't think sensitivity is a bad thing. Hell I'm hella sensitive and stay triggered hence my observations here

    "Sensitive Sally"
    I think this is how she looks
    :ashley:
     
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  19. Omega Level

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    Seems like the bottom line here is that those that are visible for black gay men are these men right here. They are willing to put themselves out there and represent on a larger level and be up front about who they are and what they stand for.

    Now whether they are fem leaning, queer culture, female culture, etc thats neither here nor there. I commend them for establishing something on a larger scale in hopes of it growing into something even more substantial for other black gay men.

    Heres the thing. We have to be the change we want to see! If we waited on masculine gay men to form something bigger than a chat room or board (which is actually nothing more than a modern day form of a DL gay chat line) we would be waiting FOREVER.

    I mean think about it guys, you have two men that formed a masculine gay website (Cypher Ave) that supports topics and an audience they deem as not being heard and under served. An actually revolutionary idea and great concept. Yet they are not willing to really put themselves out there on a larger scale. They don't even want to have a simple kick back to physically meet the men who have supported them for years. An event where like minded men could actually get together and fellowship. Even if it was once a year.

    Now thats Cypher Ave and the founders choice to remain anonymous. As they have said repeatedly. To each is own. No choice but to respect anothers space and take what you can get.

    But when you have a critique about black gay men who are trying to establish something bigger for the black gay community as you sit in a dark room, on your laptop, with an anonymous name and television character avatar? Bruh, come on now.
     
  20. BlackguyExecutive

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    Is this guys Dustin from the friendzone podcast? He always looks hella sleepy
     
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  21. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy is a Verified MemberNick Delmacy Da Architect
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    *Read Replies*

    *Re-Checks name on Cypher Avenue domain registration*
    *Re-Checks name on bylines on site articles totaling tens of thousands of words*
    *Re-Checks voice on over a hundred podcasts and interviews*
    *Re-Checks name of webmaster that has put in hundreds of hours building website for no pay*

    *Re-Reads @BlackguyExecutive's comment*

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. BlackguyExecutive

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    @Nick Delmacy Hey now, Debbie Dramatic. I conceded my errror.
     
  23. OckyDub

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    Let me break this down for you homeboy.

    Gays who fit the narratives while existing within an echo-chamber of politically correct ideologies (queerness, feminism, wokeness, liberalism) are the ones who are acceptable in gay / queer culture and media.

    Not simply because they're visible but because they're not a threat to the base. This is especially true for fem leaning Black non-heterosexual men.

    In our early days Cypher Ave was deemed homophobic, femophobic, self hating, anti-gay, problematic, toxic and dangerous. We were trying to build and create a platform that was the counter culture to mainstream gay culture on the internet.

    We were (are) giving non-heterosexual men and unapologetically masculine leaning men, a platform while preaching "you can be more than a snap queen who has mastered the art of shade, doing make up and being a sassy comedic side kick", that the media has pigeon holed (black) non-heterosexual men into.

    Posts were written about us on mainstream websites like the Huffington Post and when I attempted numerous times to rebuff or supply a retort, in addition to submitting original articles to Huffington Post, Buzzfeed (they contacted us by the way) Queerty, etc., for balance and have a discussion on my pro-masculine stance, I was rejected for the above reasons.

    FYI - you do know if selected I would have had to provide a photo and bio right...you do know that right? I had a head shot ready to go and have included the same head shot on my own individual podcasts numerous times; you did see them right?....my visible-non-hiding face.

    So again, gay / queer culture not only isn't checking for masculine leaning voices, the Gay Gatekeepers have strict unspoken rules (for Black gays) concerning towing the fem-centric party lines. Meaning they're not inclusive or welcoming to any outside thoughts challanging their narratives, which makes them hypocrites.

    At the end of the day, the majority of these Black gay content creators are not doing anything innovative but just recycling the same characters, caricatures, stereotypical story lines over and over again. They're not building or progressing; they're just coming up with new platforms and ways to give each other congratulatory participation trophies.
     
  24. Omega Level

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    Yeah Ocky nice of you to "break it down" for me. The only take away I got from this reply was that I want to watch more Bruce Lee movies. :stopit:

    Thanks for feedback tho bro.
     
  25. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    No problem...

    I learned a while ago that when you're debating or replying to someone who has already made their mind up and will not change their perspective or narrative regardless of new information that's received; you make your points (break it down) for the others who may be viewing or listening so they can understand your point of view.

    Your points weren't new and was recycled from a previous post concerning why we (the founders of the site) remain unseen. I'm sure it won't be last you attempt to "call out" this site or the founders.

    But holla back though when you can find another website with these perspectives or subject matter where the conversations don't collapse into immature name calling and shade....and make sure you supply links.
    :respeck:
     
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  26. BlackguyExecutive

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  27. Nick Delmacy

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    No doubt. I expected better from you...especially since you deleted all of your own face pics from the site for far less reasons than us not being "visible."
     
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  28. BlackguyExecutive

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    You win
     
  29. ColumbusGuy

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    I think if you were or Nick were on some of these panels and and sites etc. and engaged with your beliefs and points of view you would be subject to attack. And not just regular internet attacking but stuff like doxing, harassment, the contacting of friends, family, coworkers, etc. 'Going against the grain' in the gay community will lead to this. For a marginalized group there is a remarkable lack of allowance for diversity and freedom of opinion or speech. It is particularly disturbing to see the calls for banning of speech that is not 'mainline' within the gay community, such as there is a gay community.

    Gay Pride! and 'Freedom' and 'Living your Truth"-unless you differ from the mainstream elite groupthink-then you need to shut up or be harassed or banned. smh.
     
  30. OckyDub

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    Exactly...and there wouldn't be a discussion, just shade and 'reading' mix with a bunch of female pronouns hurled my way.
     
  31. Nick Delmacy

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    These photos were purposely the least flattering I could find to make the point....but he's def is better looking and more masculine-leaning than he appears here. Seeing him on YouTube talking about "queer culture" and reality shows def has been a turn-off to me though.
     
  32. Nick Delmacy

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    9,169
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Orientation:
    Gay
    Dating:
    Not looking
    Yeah its always so ironic when people criticize us for not being visible when they are just as anonymous. Also, they do so on a space that we selflessly built & created for the community, yet they haven't contributed ANYTHING to said community themselves, not even a donation to a web series creator.

    Then when you explain the history or reasons why the decision was made (not even counting the very realistic consequences that @ColumbusGuy stated), they just brush it off because their mind is already made up.

    Not all react this way, but many of them do.

    At least when White Gays do this, they "drag you out of the closet" because they were already Out to begin with. Most times when Black Gays do this, they "push you out of the closet" because they are right in there with you and want you to be the first.

    My criticism of the men in the photos above was more-so how they all seem to conform to the queer/fem norm once they do come out. Even Frank Ocean's recent "Paris is Burning" themed bday party (while I'm sure was all in good fun) was an example of this as well.

    And if you think a website with hundreds of articles, essays, interviews and podcasts is nothing more than a "modern day form of a DL gay chat line," please lemme know what chat lines you been going to, because it sounds like some next level shit.
     
    OckyDub dapped this.
  33. Infinite_loop

    Infinite_loop Is this thing on?
    Bae Material The 1000 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Messages:
    650
    Daps Received:
    1,754
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    SEA
    Orientation:
    SGL
    Dating:
    Single
    wait, isn't this guy from the Friendzone podcast? I like his deep sensual voice
     

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