Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Elder Kevin L. Taylor-"Obamination"

I can't exactly call Kevin a friend but he is someone I admire as a man, as a black man, as a black gay man, as a black gay spiritual man, and as a creative, black, gay, spiritual man among other things. I've known him since he was Deacon Kevin years back in the Unity Fellowship Movement and he never ceases to inspire me.

January 08, 2008

Obamination: An Open Letter to Senator Obama

The Senator’s Unacceptable Stance on Marriage Equality

While the title might denote otherwise, this really is
a (brotherly) love letter to Senator Barack Obama.
It’s written in love. It’s intended with love; my love
for the world, for the people in it and my love for
change, which brings growth and fosters understanding.
It’s a love letter for change.

I am an openly Christian, openly gay black man who has
been praying to God my entire life for a love that
would be beyond relationship and the regular. When I
was 13 years old, my mother asked me if I would ever
get married and I told my mother that I would “as soon
as they make it legal.” When the “civil unions”
statute was recently passed in the state of New
Jersey, my now 80 year old mother called me and said
powerfully, “Baby, I think your husband is on the way.
God answers prayers!” I got so happy to realize that
my mother, with her Christian love and maternal
adoration, only wants me to be happy.

Civil unions don’t make me happy. Domestic
partnerships don’t make me happy. They also don’t make
me safe. They don’t make me feel secure. They don’t
give me access to the hospital in the midnight air if
the nurse says no. They don’t give me the hope that I
will be able to get my favorite singer Natalie Cole to
sing Inseparable at a wedding ceremony one day soon.
They surely don’t make me married. They don’t give me
all of the rights and privileges and protections of
any other American.

I really do like you Senator Obama, and I think you
could be a glorious, viable, vicious vessel for
change. I have been struggling between my radical need
for change that you speak and the
“we-can-do-better”ness of Senator Hillary Clinton.
Somehow, maybe because of gender, maybe race, maybe
your words of encouragement and embodiment, I am drawn
to you and your audacious hope.

That is why, from the depths of my soul, your stance
on marriage equality breaks my natural and spiritual

Looking day after day and week after week into the
eyes of a black man, born of a white woman and a black
man, I was deeply and personally devastated when you
took the old guard, status quo, “What else can we do?”
stance on Marriage Equality. The thing that is most
empowering about a strong leader is that even if they
cannot do all things (only God can), it’s nice, it’s
invigorating, it’s real to have someone say “I WILL DO
the lay of the land. I understand the mentality of
America and the people within it, many of whom stand
or speak against marriage equality and what they think
it represents. I get that. I don’t accept that. I
surely don’t expect it from a man who says “I AM

Senator, you said some powerful, masterful,
soul-shifting things when you spoke at the 2004
Democratic Convention. In doing so, you squarely and
quickly placed yourself in the position to be able to
make changes and take chances. You passionately said
to everyone from the world stage that “WE CAN DO
BETTER.” So imagine my disappointment and chagrin when
you kowtowed and walked right into the ookie-doke and
said…“but.” But we can’t make change. But people will
never go for it. But it’s not going to happen anytime
soon. Even if America isn’t ready, I want to believe
that you are ready and willing to stand for change. I
want to believe that you would be willing to fight,
even if the end result isn’t to my liking. At least I
could say “Well, you tried and for that you have my
thanks.” But I cannot.

At the end of the day, you had just come out and said
that you had already made up your mind. You had done
research and analysis and all of those trivial things
that people say when they hunch their shoulders to say
that I don’t know what else to do. For me, there is a
very real reason that this stance is so morally

As the child of a biracial union, you know better of
the many pains, pangs, and perils of being made to
feel less than. You know what it feels like to have
words hurled at you. You know what it feels like to
have people say that you are not good enough and that
your very existence is against good. In many states in
the union, in many households in America, still people
turn their noses up and their heads down to the
joining of black and white, black and Hispanic or
Asian or anything that blends or bleeds the races.
People still say that it’s not about not liking
certain people, but rather just about their beliefs.
White people. Black people. Many people just say that
it’s what they believe and that’s that. But the truth
is that laws and leery lawmakers had it on the books
in this country for decades, nay centuries, that it
was unacceptable. Until as recent as the early 1970s,
there was a state in this country that made the love
between an African-American (or other colored person)
and a white person against the law. But that love is
real and it has real hopes and real dreams and real
passion that gives birth to real people. One of those
people are you, Mr. Senator.

According to many laws in the land, especially when
you were born, you should not have ever been allowed
to live, seek liberty or pursue happiness. But your
parents fell in love and that love gave birth to a man
who have given birth to an uprising in this country,
an uprising that has people believing again, an
uprising that has Oprah standing up and saying “He Is
The One!” when she is normally reserved and removed
from political conversations. I really do believe in
the possibility of President Obama. I do. I really do.

But you don’t believe in me.

What do you do when you love someone and believe in
someone and hope for someone and that someone says I
don’t stand with you? That someone says I can’t fight
for you?

I wrote this letter.

If you want to, post this on a website where people
banter and debate. If you want to, call me crazy and a
race-trader because I am a black man who is
questioning a black man and that the airing of
laundry—dirty or otherwise—isn’t something that we
should do. But I have got to because you are poised to
change minds and you can start here, given your
singular and unique relationship to the issue of
marriage equality in America. No one else, but a child
born of a mixed marriage, could understand how the
strain and stigma placed on people through laws and
lack of understanding can shape or shift or shame the
life you live.

I am tired of people trying to tell us that waiting is
the only way. I don’t get a gay discount on my taxes.
I don’t get a gay discount on my utilities or any
other obligation that I have as a human being in
America. I don’t expect any such discounts. I also
don’t expect to be discounted.

Senator Barack Hussein Obama, I urge you today to pour
yourself a cup of coffee or tea, whichever is your
preference, and search your heart after you read this
letter. Imagine what it would have been like if your
mother and your father had been terrorized and
stigmatized and damned and discouraged and belittled
in a country by laws and people and hatred that said
that their love was invalid and that they didn’t have
a right to be together. Oh, wait. This is America and
that is how it was in the 1960s and yet they came
together, in love and in commitment, if only for a
while and it was that union and the power of that love
that gave birth to you.

Here you stand, on the cusp of a new day and a season
of change, with the potential and the power to say
that no one—not man or woman, African-American or
Caucasian or Asian or Latino or biracial, Christian or
Jew or Muslim or non-believer—deserves to be treated
or protected with anything less than the fullness of
the law. Your parents stood in adversary. You say that
you stand in audacity. I dare you to do better and
stand firmer.

I know that change isn’t always easy, Mr. Obama, but I
thought that was the reason that you declared that
“hope is audacious.”

I hope you understand and I hope that you are

Sincerely and Seriously,
Elder Kevin E. Taylor

You can reach Kevin at and at the
website of Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick


Saturday, January 19, 2008

These Boyz Can Sang!!!

This is not an old gospel standard but they make it one...And they are funny as all get out!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here's Where I Stand...

Sometimes as a writer I come across another writer or a song that says all I want and need to say. Here is one of those. It's from the movie, "Camp"

The set up is this young lady has been sent to this theatre camp but only with the provision that she lose weight from pressure by her father. At the last minute the girl who was supposed to sing this song can't do it so in the spirit of "the show must go on" she is forced to go on. After taking off the wires that have been applied to her mouth she sings this amazing song which is an anthem to her father...

The actresses' name is Tiffany Taylor. I am not sure who wrote the song but the lyrics follow,

[Tiffany Taylor]:(Cast)

Here in the Dark
I stand before you
This is my chance to show you my heart
This is the start, this is the start.

I have so much to say and I'm hoping
That your Arms are open
Don't turn away, don't you need me?
But you have to hear me.

Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
Love me, but don't tell me who I have to be
Here's who I am,
I'm what you see.

You said I had to change and I was trying
But my heart was lying
I'm not a child any longer
I am stroooongerrrr

Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
Help me, to move on but please don't tell me how
I'm on my way, I'm moving out

In this life we've come so far
but we're only who we are (who we are)
Courage of love (Courage of Love)
will show us the way (Show us the way)
Unlock the power
To stand up and saaaaa--aaaaayyy (Stand upppp)

(Up and say!)
Herreeeee's where I stand
Here's who I am
(Stand Up) I'll be counting, counting on you
If you're with me, we'll make it through

Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
Love me, Love me, Love me, and we'll make it through

Here's where I stand,
Baby, Baby, Baby, I'm counting on you

Here's where I stand
Love me, Love me, Love me, and we'll make it through

I'm counting, Oooh,
I'm counting,
I'm counting, I'm counting onn....

[Tiffany adlibs throughout this part]

(Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
I'm counting on you)

(Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
We'll make it through)

(Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
I'm counting on you)

(Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
We'll make it through)

(Repeat till fade)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Old Settler

I have gone on record about my love for Phylicia Rashad. I think she is one of the most amazing and underrated actresses of this time.

A few years ago I saw a movie on PBS called "The Old Settler". It is one of the most profound pieces of art I have ever seen. Here is the synopsis:

"The Old Settler is about relationships," says Director Debbie Allen. "It's about people who have loved and lost love and who are desperately trying to hold on to or find love."

"What compelled me to bring The Old Settler to the screen," says Executive Producer Phylicia Rashad, "was that it's a beautiful story about loneliness and about love and about longing."

The Old Settler is the story of two middle-aged sisters, Elizabeth and Quilly, who share an apartment in Harlem in 1943. The sisters quarrel amiably, but they share a wounded history that becomes revealed as the tale unfolds.

An earnest but unworldly young man named Husband travels up from the South to board with the sisters while he searches for his beloved Lou Bessie, who left their small town a few years back to find a new life.

Husband would like to bring Lou Bessie back home, but she's enamored with the excitement of the city, and her plans are more complicated. In time, Elizabeth and Husband begin a courtship that may or may not overcome their considerable age difference, while Quilly reacts disapprovingly.

John Henry Redwood's play, from which PBS Hollywood Presents' first film is adapted, is set in a period of New York history that was energized by a cultural wave called the Harlem Renaissance. So the story takes us to the famed Savoy Ballroom, where hot music played, cool swing dancers ruled the floor, and hearts swooned.

The performances from Phylicia and her sister Debbie Allen is nuanced and graceful. The rest of the cast including Bumper Robinson, Crystal R. Fox, Paul Mooney, Eartha Robinson, and others is Stellar. Everyone plays their character fully. They convey the relationships, the time period, and the mood of the piece.

Recently I saw it on NetFlix and I can't say enough about it. I think you should take time to check this movie out...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gospel Gaydar

I am not sure how it happens but somehow I attract to me closeted preachers, ministers, choir directors, deacons, and other church types...

Let me start here. I have no problem admitting I am a church boy. I was born and brought up in the church even before my mother married a Pastor.

As far as I can remember I have always drawn these guys to me. It shows up in many different ways. The most interesting was when I was working as a phone sex operator. After getting the guys off we'd keep talking and I'd discover they were married, closeted, and somehow deeply involved in a church.

Recently a co-worker approached me with a flyer (the photo for this blog) and asked me about it. She said a friend of hers found it in her husband's backpack and was concerned. I explained to her it was a flyer for a local bar and that he could've picked it up anywhere because they distribute them freely and not have realized what it was for. That it didn't specifically mean that he had gone or had plans to go. I also told her that if her friend suspected other things that she should definitely confront her husband about it.

Eventually my co worker told me it all worked out. They had resolved the issue but I just wonder why this always happens to me...