Here it is, the first week of the New Year so that means it’s time to celebrate everything that was awesome throughout 2013! Last year was a pretty great year.
Cypher Avenue officially launched and in less than 6 months the site got so popular that we had to move to a new server to handle the bandwidth. Finally a website for gay/bisexual men who prefer hip hop, action movies, comic books, anime and other geek & male pop culture obsessions!
In other news, NBA basketball player Jason Collins came out Gay at the end of his career and black men all over the country became Gaylebrities overnight by posting their heteronormative marriages on YouTube! Yay, progress!
Sarcasm aside, there was a lot to appreciate this year. So here’s CYPHER AVENUE’S BEST OF 2013 AWARDS.
This is the third annual year-end rundown of everything we loved about the previous year, as it relates to everyday gay men of color. While technically no “awards” are actually being given out, we feel that it is still important to recognize and acknowledge people, places and things that may have slipped under the radar over the past 12 months. Enjoy!
Tasting more like Atomic Fireballs than actual whiskey, this 66 proof cinnamon flavored alcohol is great for introducing women, gay men and newbies to the joys of dark liquor. Gay parties featuring red cups filled with Vodka & Cranberry gets very old very fast. Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey spices up the mundane with a candy tasting flavor that’s great for drinking straight up-no-chaser or even better, perfect for a round of party starting shots to the head!
Many gay men are timid, deer-in-the-headlights cowards when it comes to approaching and striking up a conversation with new men. Even in familiar situations like House Parties, gays will creepily stare at men for hours before building up the nerve to speak. The beauty of this 2013 Conversation Starter is even if you’ve never actually seen the other person in your life, it’s easy to move on once the flow of dialogue begins. For example:
Me: “You Look Familiar…Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?”
Him: “I don’t know…I don’t think so…”
Me: “Do you ever go to that comic book store on West Peachtree, downtown?”
Me: “Oh, okay. I think I saw a dude who looks just like you in there. You read comics?”
Him: “Not like I used to.”
Me: “Yeah same here. Did you see Man of Steel? Garbage, right?”
See what I mean? You can go anywhere with that conversation. If he looked to be in good physical shape, I could have used a gym instead of a comic book store and then easily shifted the conversation with him to working out, sports, Anderson Silva’s broken leg or pretty much anything. Past parties, travel destinations, or even your hometown could also be substituted depending on the guy and the situation.
No film featuring gay/bisexual characters of color made by gay men of color was as entertaining, engaging and well-made as the latest short film by Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear. From the opening scene to the closing credits, it was very hard to find any flaws with this little brother in the D.L. Chronicles franchise.
The film (produced, written, directed and edited by the duo) follows the life of a recently paralyzed firefighter who must come to terms not only with his disability but also his newly emerging feelings for his male physical therapist/caregiver. There are a few twists and turns that follow to make this a welcome addition to the limited pool of films featuring gay men of color.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…Breaking Bad was great and has cemented it’s place in history as one of the greatest dramas on television ever, EVER. However, as much as we anticipated and enjoyed those last eight episodes of Breaking Bad in 2013, nothing on that show kicked us in the balls as hard as that Red Wedding scene on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Talk about a moment in history. Everyone was talking about that scene for at least two weeks afterward, even people who’ve never seen the show. In one fell swoop, Game of Thrones reminded us of what made it such a great show in the first season: Any character could die at any time, even your favorites. This simple yet major idea keeps viewers on their toes and eager to see new episodes with anxious trepidation. Here’s to new episodes in 2014!
“No Shade” crept up outta nowhere. This consistently funny and creative gay web series surprised even hard to please gay film critic Nick Delmacy. While the basic premise is pretty tired and cliché for narrative gay media (four gay best friends laughing and crying together as they look for sex, love and relationships), creator Sean Anthony managed to inject wit and satiric absurdity into the predictable genre.
Overall, this was a fun peek into the lives of the flamboyant, the transgender, the effeminate and the masculine (ish) gay man of color living in New York City.
When a performance makes you cry, you know it’s a good one. Chewitel Ejiofor’s (pronounced Chew-e-tell Edge-gi-oh-for) portrayal of free African American Solomon Northrup who was kidnapped and forced to live “12 Years A Slave” riveted movie-goers worldwide, earning him much well deserved acclaim and many award nominations. We look forward to seeing what great work he continues to deliver in the future.
Filled with tons of great advice, the handsome personal trainer on the NBC “The Biggest Loser” Dolvett Quince has written a diet and workout book that can help tons of people. One thing I really enjoyed about this book is for once you have a trainer offering recipes and food suggestions that are practical, things “regular people” would actually want to cook and eat.
The basis of Dolvett’s plan is right in the title: You eat healthy for 3 days, then you get 1 cheat day, eat healthy for 2 more days, then you get 1 last cheat day to round out the week. He breaks down exactly what and how much you can eat on each day in an easy to comprehend manner, even giving examples of exercises you should be doing in supplement with the diet.
Best of all is the introduction where Dolvett lays out his inspirational biography. He tells the story of growing up in foster homes and being a skinny kid knowing nothing about working out to becoming a personal trainer himself and opening up several businesses.
Despite being named an All Star and MVP, Rose’s injury plagued career has never been enough to help propel the Bulls to a coveted 7th NBA Championship. After sitting out the entire 2012-2013 season, fans were eager to see Derrick Rose make his return to the court in a regular season game.
Although his return was not as explosive as many of us would hope, it was good to see him leading the Bulls once again. This was the comeback of an All Star. That feeling was short lived. Rose was injured again in November, tearing cartilage in his right knee, requiring surgery and making him out for the rest of the season.
The long anticipated debut from rapper Lasto “Where’s Vivian” turned out to be well worth the wait. Featuring quality music production and lyrical dexterity far surpassing his counterparts, the album solidified his place in music as not only the best openly gay rapper on the scene, but also a rapper who could easily go toe-to-toe lyrically with any straight MC as well. If you’re not yet a believer, the 16-track album is available on iTunes and Amazon and is well worth the $5.99 price tag.
Also, you have to love the artist’s confidence. When we announced Frank Ocean to be the winner of the Best Gay Artist category in 2012, Lasto responded with this tweet declaring that he was taking the Cypher Avenue crown from the young crooner. Sure enough, he did it.
— ➜LastO (@LastO) January 7, 2013
Sonically speaking, “Modern Vampires of the City” by mellow rock group Vampire Weekend is just perfect. Lead singer Ezra Koenig effortlessly compliments the band’s melodic compositions that feel more like movie scores than songs. The album takes you on a journey where, from the opening track, you know that you’re in good competent hands.
Kanye West’s Yeezus, on the other hand, is a punch to the gut in both sound and expectations. The wonderful thing about this album is that it’s both musically creative and lyrically substantive. West touches on taboo topics that few would dare to tread such as equating corporations and record labels to slave masters.
Thanks to the critically acclaimed album Yeezus, the sold-out tour, the successful yet controversial Yeezus clothing line, the birth of his daughter with his newly engaged fiancé Kim Kardashian and his numerous informative, ever entertaining interviews…Kanye West owned 2013.
His Midwestern sensibility mixed with eccentric wordplay and his love of J-Dilla formed like Voltron to produce one of the most innovative and fun hip hop releases of 2013. Even though he’s been on collaborations with Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, James Blake and Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper is still an unsigned artist. So that means his options are completely wide open, making 2014 his to own.
While we’re often a fan of obscure, abstract videos but Ace Hood’s literal video interpretation to his hit turn-up song “Bugatti” in the Gil Green directed video was fucking great.
Ace Hood raps, “I woke up in a Bugatti” and sure enough the video begins with Ace waking up in the most expensive car in the world. Future sings “I come looking for you with Haitians…” and sure enough, much of the video features Ace Hood being chased by shotgun wielding Haitians. As simple as it is, the video and the song are a perfect match. Turn up!
In just a year, heterosexual male model Shawn Cruz went from being relatively unknown to having over 12k Twitter followers and a name buzzing throughout the industry. His chiseled lean 6’ 4” physique is so near perfection that the model regularly sees fake “catfish” Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter accounts using his images, pretending to be him. Cruz modestly takes it all in stride, often making light of the blatant identity theft on social media.
Being an athlete and aspiring actor as well rounds out wealth of talent this young man possess. Clothes on or off, we look forward to seeing more great things from Mr. Cruz in 2014.
This has actually been somewhat of a trend for the last couple decades: Gangsters, Rappers and Black Male Adult-Film Stars brandishing chains and tattoos of Christian Crosses as we see them do very un-Christian activities.
It’s always amusing to watch a Rick Ross music video where he brags about drug dealing and murders all while a shiny Christian Cross bounces on his huge exposed tattooed gut.
Or how about black gay adult-film actors having bareback sex as hot bodily fluids splurt out onto their “Only God Can Judge Me” crucifix tattoos and holy cross necklaces?
This is proof that Religion is really just a fashion trend for many modern men of color.
The Alhambra palace fortress in Granada
For all those stuck under a rock, former NFL Arizona Cardinal safety Kerry Rhodes was Outed by his effeminate former assistant Russell Simpson who claimed that the duo were lovers in the past. The problem is, Rhodes denied that he was even Gay even after the release of many photos of himself and Simpson together in many questionable intimate positions. The black gossip blogs were lit on fire.
We were even somehow mixed into this fuckery when one of our random tweets on the controversy rubbed the folks at the celeb gossip blogs “Funky Dineva” and “Madame Noire” the wrong way prompting them to write entire essays about it.
This Kerry Rhodes situation is an example of what turns masc dudes off effeminate men. The stereotype tht they are all MESSY is perpetuated.
— Cypher Avenue (@CypherAvenue) April 18, 2013
Whole essays based around our single tweet! An opinion tweet that wasn’t entirely incorrect, by the way! I guess our words really do have power…LMAO!
While the entire Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story rarely touched the pages of Cypher Avenue, we did feel the effects of it. Part of the reason we stayed away from it was the fact that the story swallowed up every other news outlet in America on a consistent basis.
At certain times, there was hardly any way to avoid seeing a photos of people wearing a hoodie, Trayvon’s Mother & Father crying and George Zimmerman’s fat face filling up some TV or Computer screen. Even now that overzealous nut refuses to drift away into obscurity as we have to constantly see him continue to be arrested for new gun charges by his ex-wife and girlfriends.
For better or worse, Trayvon Martin has been immortalized in American history as a symbol for the plight of young men of color in this country. Even when they are not criminals, young men can arbitrarily be treated as such and sometimes even killed for just being born the wrong color.
I can only wonder did the world really take into account how fascinating and rare it was to witness an event like this first hand? This remarkable event of a meteorite striking the Earth at 41,000 mph was captured mostly due to Russian automobiles being wired with video cameras and also footage from traffic cameras.
Just think, the Chelyabinsk meteor had existed for billions of years before being pulled into earth’s gravitational field and entering our atmosphere. Also note that at 13,000 tons and 17 meters in size, nothing this large his entered earth’s atmosphere since the Tunguska Event of 1908.