The only man to play in the NBA and come out as gay talks about coming out as a "massive" black gay and "terrifying homophobes" but, more importantly, he goes on to talk about the high price of being closeted - in any occupation. That part is about 4mins in, but if you like Amaechi its all good.
"You only have a finite amount of psychic energy in your head...and certain portions of it were always reserved to protect my ego when I'd heard my teammates talk about 'fags', certain portions were to remain mindful to use gender neutral pronouns ... that two to three percent was never available for basketball. That's the shame about being closeted. It's about performance. If you're in the closet, there is energy that will never be available for the daily task."
Bra-fuckin'-vo, Mr. Amaechi!
The correlation reminds us of DADT and the energy our American service men and women have to expend keeping secrets that needn't be kept or juggling pronouns to hide their truth while lives are on the line. Utterly. Despicable.
Amaechi came out in 2007, after he was done playing, when he released his bestselling memoir “Man in the Middle.”
Queen Latifah truly set if off when she hosted this year's BET Awards, not just because on all fronts she did a phenomenal job. But the real news is her tenative, half-joking behind the guise of Cleo (the lesbian character she played in the classic Set It Off) confessing her love for the ladies. When talking about P Diddy, Queen (Cleo), joked that like Diddy, she's "only seen in the company of fine women."
Regular readers know I've long lambasted The Queen for flying beneath the radar while the rest of us get peppered with shrapnel in this war for equality. So this is a great move on her part and I applaud it. Though some won't see this as a "coming out" coming-out, I see it as an appropriate one considering the venue - it was humorous and just vague enough so that the ones who wanna keep their heads in the sand, can. Plus, she's always been pretty coy about the matter. Hopefully soon she'll go on Oprah to make it official.
But the highlight was Chris Brown's Michael Jackson tribute.
[MTV.com] ~ ...He sang and danced his way through 'Remember The Time', 'Smooth Criminal' and 'Billie Jean,' but when he began to sing 'Man In The Mirror' during the close of the tribute, his emotions got the better of him. He could hardly utter his words and chocked back tears throughout the whole song, prompting the audience to sing even louder, showing their support. It was a very powerful moment, as Brown counts MJ as his ultimate idol and the reason he got into music in the first place. Just last year he was dropped from the BET MJ tribute line-up and asked not to attend the show, so being asked to do MJ’s one year anniversary tribute alone, was a huge moment for the young star.
I had a talk last night with a new friend -- P. It began with a discussion of E. Lynn Harris' latest, Basketball Jones. P & I ultimately disagreed on celebrities who chose to be silent and remain tucked away in the closet -- shielded, by the bubble of celebrity and resources from the daily barbs and arrows slung at the average Joe & Josephine LGBT.
P thought maybe they were silent philantropists behind the scenes, doing what they can to help. I reject that. Yes, philanthropy is sweet, but visibility is da bomb which will finally put all this nonsense to rest.
I brought up Queen Latifah as an example. I could understand when one is struggling to make that paper, to gather up those coins for a rainy day like a pudgy squirrel preparing for winter, one may not want the sexuality issue to get in the way. But how much paper is enough to decide to use your clout and fame to help your oppressed brethren? How many Oscars does it take to finally care? Or in the case of another famous black face, how many islands will you give yourself for your birthday, TP?
Because as Portia makes clear in this beautiful satire (thanx G.A.Y.), once they KNOW us, they can't vote against us. It's that simple. People who like the Queen -- and they are legion (myself included) -- can not possibly vote to discriminate against her. We have to make it personal.
Now multiply her by ten more famous black faces. Then again. And again. 'Cause they are out there -- walking the red carpet and toting their coverboy or girl on their arm and smiling for the cameras. They are out there -- making that game winning shot from half-court, and rivaling the all-time batting average while dodging allegations of steriod use.
Yes, visibility is truly the da bomb we need to end the madness.