In the Black gay community, so much emphasis is placed on sex, six-pack-abs and the club scene there is a perception that the biggest gay celebrities are all porn stars and tumblr models. It wasn’t until Jason Collins made his big announcement that I really started to think about who our celebrities really were.
Its really difficult to gauge popularity nowadays when actors in reality shows are considered “stars.”
Regardless, I turned to the biggest high school environment on the planet, Twitter, to determine which openly gay male personalities of color were in fact the most popular. As it turns out, just like a high school, we have a wide range of gay men of color who fall into standard archetypes. We have big ol’ nerds, masculine jocks, feminine boys, quiet types, class clowns, singers, actors, models and yes, six-pack-abs.
So check out who made the cut as our most famous Out gay celebs. Some names will surprise you, some you will want to immediately start following. Who are your favorites? Who did you expect to see make the list but didn’t?
#20 Marcellas Reynolds 11,900+ Twitter Followers
Marcellas Reynolds is a former model turned fashion stylist who now can be seen reporting fashion/entertainment news for CNN, Fox News, E! and Style. He first got real exposure as a house guest on Big Brother 3. To be honest, I’ve never heard of him before today but he currently has over 11,900 Twitter followers so he must be doing something right.
#19 Emil Wilbekin 12,200+ Twitter Followers
Born in 1968, Emil Wilbekin is best known for being the Editor-in-Chief for VIBE Magazine for 10 years. It was during this time at the company that he spearheaded stories covering the infamous East Coast/West Coast rap beef of the 90s that would eventually lead to the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. Currently the Managing Editor of Essence.com, Wilbekin boasts over 12,000 Twitter followers making him a Out gay celebrity of color to be proud of.
#18 John Amaechi, OBE 12,800+ Twitter Followers
Holding down over 12,800 Twitter followers, 6′ 10″ tall former NBA player John Amaechi was the first ball player to come out publicly. His New York Times best selling memoirs, Man in the Middle, chronicled his life not only as a Gay man but also his 8 years playing in the NBA. At 42 years old he not only mentors young gay men, he also spends a great deal of time on charity work.
#17 Bry’Nt 12,900+ Twitter Followers
Admittedly, this young Out gay Hip Hop artist named Bry’Nt was my introduction to the Black Gay lifestyle. I’ve never met him personally but during a random Google search 4 years ago, I saw the words “gay rapper” and “BryNt” and immediately started snooping for more information which led me to discover Lasto, DJ Baker and many others. Four years later, I’m writing about the man on my own Gay website. Look at what he started.
He’s a triple threat of sorts, model/actor/rapper…even when he’s on extended hiatus, somehow his star continues to shine amongst many Black Gay men, garnering him nearly 13,000 followers on Twitter.
#16 LZ Granderson 15,000+ Twitter Followers
There aren’t too many American sports fans who don’t know 41-year-old LZ Granderson. His columns can be read all over ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com and we’ve all seen him on many ESPN television shows adding to sports analysis and commentary. In June of 2012, Granderson penned a powerful column for CNN.com called, “No Contradiction: I’m black and I’m Gay.” Gaining over 15,000 Twitter followers is no small accomplishment either.
#15 Darryl Stephens 16,100+ Twitter Followers
Its hard to imagine 39-year-old actor Darryl Stephens portraying anything other than the title character on Noah’s Arc but he’s had a long and diverse career spanning 14 years. His latest series DTLA can be seen on the Logo Network. With over 16,000 Twitter followers, he’s definitely one of our more famous celebrities.
#14 Wilson Cruz 16,700+ Twitter Followers
39-year-old actor Wilson Cruz got his start on the cult television series My So Called Life and Party of Five. However many in the Black and Latino gay community know him as the HIV positive Junito on Noah’s Arc. Since his start he has been cast in many television and film roles and had a great run on Broadway in RENT. Cruz currently spends a lot of valuable time advocating for gay youth of color.
#13 Keith Boykin 23,000+ Twitter Followers
Named Cypher Avenue’s Best Gay Personality of 2012, 47-year-old Keith Boykin is one of the hardest working men in news media making appearances on several different cable programs. Last summer, Boykin released a new much-needed book, “For Colored Boys (who have considered suicide when the rainbow is still not enough).” The compilation contains essays and articles from 45 different writers throughout the gay community covering issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, HIV/AIDS, racism and homophobia.
#12 B.D. Wong 33,200+ Twitter Followers
Seriously, who doesn’t know Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? Or how about Father Ray Mukada on HBO’s Oz? The 52-year-old openly gay Chinese-American actor is a living icon for many of us television junkies. His whopping Twitter following count (over 33,000) is a testament to his acting as well as his volunteer work with charities.
If you’re a Liberal and a viewer of MSNBC then its likely you’ve seen openly gay journalist Jonathan Capehart on any number of the cable news networks prime shows. Known for his sharp fashion sense and keen insight into current events, Capehart also gets checks from The Washington Post as a staff writer for the last 6 years. At nearly 60,000 followers, he’s definitely one of our most popular gay personalities.