Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bloggers have done it again.
A controversial concert scheduled in Los Angeles for October 3 that featured homophobic reggae artist Buju Banton was officially cancelled by the venue’s management after an email campaign was initiated. (See L.A. Times Story)
In less than 24 hours after the campaign was started, the assistant general manager of the Highlands Nightclub in Hollywood Adam Manacker sent out an email stating that he was not aware of Buju Banton’s lyrics or his anti-gay sentiment until he started getting e-mails. His email goes on to say, “I have since done some research and have decided to cancel the show. I apologize on behalf of myself and the Highlands.”
This latest Black LGBT blogger campaign comes on the heals of a similar campaign against two anti-gay artists, Beenie Man and TOK, who had been scheduled to perform at an AIDS benefit concert put on by LIFEbeat, the music industry’s AIDS charity.
But even with all of these successes for Black LGBT bloggers, there’s a sentiment that Black bloggers are still not considered a part of the “mainstream” blogging community.
President Clinton recently convened a meeting of bloggers in Harlem, New York without the presence of any Black or Latino participants.
Organizers of the meeting claimed to have invited two Black bloggers who couldn’t make the meeting, but the response was met with much skepticism from Black bloggers who contend that there’s no way they couldn’t find someone Black to participate given that they were meeting in the heart of Harlem.
Maybe President Clinton and his staff didn’t realize that Black bloggers had “outed” Black pastors in one of the most controversial and still talked about online campaigns. Perhaps the news didn’t cross their desks that Black bloggers had single handedly worked to get several concerts cancelled that featured homophobic artists. Perhaps they just weren’t aware that it was because of Black bloggers that author E. Lynn Harris’ new book and the Black gay series Noah’s Arc became household names over night. It was Black bloggers who exposed the raw sex parties in New York that prohibited the use of condoms.
From all of these examples hundreds of millions of media impressions were generated. Opinions were formed. People we were engaged. From blurbs in ESSENCE Magazine to local television coverage and radio interviews on both Black and LGBT shows, Black bloggers have been wielding their power and influence both online and in their communities.
And note that I use the phrase “Black bloggers.” While it would be easier to lump us into the LGBT category, Black LGBT bloggers are Black bloggers. We write about issues from a Black perspective and from the perspective of being same-gender loving. Our audiences are not only other Black LGBT people but include Blacks of all sexual orientations.
Black bloggers have power. We yield it every day. With every post, email, and comment, we message to a dedicated audience that comes back day after day.
It’s a shame that in every aspect of my life, from being Black, to being female and lesbian, and also a blogger, that there’s this never ending struggle for equality.
There’s no reason why Black bloggers should have been excluded from the Clinton meeting and even more disturbing than that is the fact that apparently, it wasn’t even an issue for those around table, who were probably too excited to think about anything other than the fact that they were in the room.
I’m tired of having to ask why we were excluded from the conversation, or why there aren’t any Blacks in management at your company, or why don’t you have a Black political consultant on retainer, and my favorite, why are calling me to attend a meeting 24 hours before it takes place.
Fortunately for me, I’ve got more important issues to contend with. There’s another reggae concert scheduled on October 22 here in Los Angeles featuring Beenie Man and my energy would be better spent on making sure that Black LGBT people mobilize and again make their presence felt.
This is definitely the era of the blogger, and Black LGBT bloggers have played their part in making blog history.
Let’s do it again and get Beenie Man cancelled in Los Angeles.
Who’s with me?