How have the Arts impacted your life?
Music has been a part of my journey for as long as I could remember. I can still hear songs today, that I heard as a small child, and experience the same feeling I did the first time hearing it. It is because of many artists and the music they gift to us, I have been able to make it through some of my most challenging times. I’m not sure what my life would be like without music, it truly makes my world go round.
What inspired you to pen a book?
I never planned on writing a book, much less a memoir! My husband and I have a now dormant Life & Relationship coaching business, and had planned to release a ‘self help’ book, based on personal stories of our relationship. To get started, we were both tasked with writing a small back story on our lives before he and I met in 2008. Long story short, that backstory turned into “Black Enough Man Enough”. It took on a life of it’s own, and it quickly felt like my destiny. I know a large part of my purpose here on earth is to share my story.
What do you want people to take from your story?
I want people to feel liberated. I want them to walk away from my story feeling that they, too, can live an authentic life with the awareness that they are enough, just as they are.
How have you been discriminated against based on your sexuality?
I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced discrimination because of my sexuality, but that does not mean it hasn’t happened. That’s the tricky part about discrimination, you don’t always know the motive behind another person’s decision. This, of course, does not mean I have not been judged or disliked because of who I love. That has happened quite a bit.
I have had people say that they won’t eat at my restaurant because me and my husband own it. I’m sure that’s at least discrimination’s cousin.
What is the secret to the long term relationship with your partner?
I'm not sure there’s only one ‘secret’ to a long term relationship. There are many things that go into sustaining a healthy partnership. What has worked for us is allowing each other the freedom to be ourselves. We often go into relationships trying to control one another, and holding back our love when our partner isn’t behaving in the way in which makes us happy. We are multifaceted beings and should be allowed to be who we are, without the threat of being unloved or unaccepted. That’s not love, and keeping this to the forefront of my mind is one of the few things I’d say helps to keep our relationships healthy. I say healthy and not ‘long term’ because ‘long term’ isn’t always good.
What was your experience like having a son and being part of the LGBTQ community?
It was very challenging at first. I did not know how to navigate being a husband with a husband, that’s raising a young Black man, while still having my own challenges as a Black Same Gender Loving Man. However, as time went on, I, and we, found our way to form a great family dynamic.
While you have had a full life, what is next for you?
I’ll be launching a new web based ‘talk show’ in the fall and also hope to open up another restaurant location.