Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Monthly Feature: Black in Chicago
Before we were straight or gay, we were Black
by D. Kevin McNeir

This article shared 4699 times since Tue Apr 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

A monthly feature exploring the lives, challenges and success stories of Chicago's African-American community, starting with the premise that before we were straight or gay, we were Black.

SHARP Celebrates Community Service

Back in the not-so-good-old-days, public health advocates in the African-American community had to meet at their homes in obscurity for fear of repercussion from their employers. But meet they did and very quietly they began to build coalitions and develop strategies to address what was then a most mysterious disease. Today we know that 'disease' by the acronym HIV/AIDS and many of those early warriors are now advocates on the front line. And some of those same warriors are now affiliated with The Southside HIV/AIDS Resource Providers [SHARP]. They recently held their first annual fundraiser at the Crystal Light Palace in Burbank where they reminded the standing-room-only crowd that they are engaged in 'a fight to the end [and] it's not over until it's over.'

SHARP is a network of consumers and health and human service providers dedicated to a continuum of quality HIV/AIDS services, by providing local support, advice and advocacy to ensure the equity of service in the southern metropolitan Chicago region. Tim Butler, program chair, and John Davis, president of SHARP, said this first fundraiser would provide much-needed funds for agencies that lack adequate funds to address the needs of their predominately Black and Latino clients.

SHARP is also planning a summer outing for its clients and their families and members of the coalition.

They are a living example of the benefits that come from building coalitions to address community problems. And we certainly applaud their efforts.

At the banquet/fundraiser, special awards were given to Frank Oldham Jr., former executive director for Horizons, who recently began work as the City of New York's AIDS Coordinator, and Phyllis L. Rodgers, director, Volunteer Department, CORE Center.

A special, moving memorial was also held in honor of two of our own most valiant warriors who lost their own personal battles against AIDS last year—Derrick Hicks and Bennett Williams.

We honor their memories and service to the LGBT community. Both brothers are still missed and we hope that someone will soon bring the kind of energy and dedication that guided their lives until their last breath.

Art Exhibit focuses on the Male Body

Chuck Gniech, gallery curator for The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago, recently unveiled his one-man show entitled, 'From Darkness' at the Fine Arts Building Gallery, 410 S. Michigan Avenue. And if you haven't seen his exhibit of figurative work, it's a must-see. Unfortunately, you don't have long because the show ends Saturday, March 29. Many viewers have remarked that the pieces are both large [some measure up to four-feet high and seven-feet wide] and intense. And as one looks at different representations of the male, from headshots to full-body presentations, it's almost like entering someone's bedroom without their knowing you're there.

'The larger canvases make more of a statement—they're more in-your-face,' Gniech said. 'They kind of suck you in and force you to look at them closely. And my models are men because obviously I identify more with men—the muscularity and the healthy form is what I am promoting in my art. And all of the images are relaxed and calm.'

The images, which appear out of the darkness—almost, coming from nowhere—were inspired, according to the artist, by the late 16th and early 17th century Italian artist, Caravaggio.

One interesting aspect of the show is how difficult it is to identify the ethnic origin of many of the figures. Gniech says this is intentional so that it is easier for those viewing his work to be open to the canvas and to perhaps even see themselves in the work.

Don't let this show pass you by.

More on the Body Beautiful and Ways to Challenge the Mind

While Chicago's Men of ONYX prepare for their annual 'walk along Michigan' Avenue with the International Mr. Leather Man festivities this May, they have already scored a 'first' with the recent awarding Mr. Cell Block to Adrian Williams—one of their newest club members.

Congratulations to Williams.

Unfortunately, we couldn't reach him for an interview before going to press. But one thing we can say—the brother 'sure looks good in leather.'

Finally, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, out in the Austin community, continues its four-part speakers' series with some of the sharpest minds with 2 p.m. Sunday programs on April 6 and April 27. The programs are intended to challenge the beliefs of the Christian and LGBT communities and to empower people of color from both.

For more information call the church, which is located at 5700 W. Midway Park, at (773) 378-8111.

We often focus on the appearance of our bodies—here's an opportunity to pay closer attention to our minds and the messages we transmit to others. Keep it up Rev. Reed and members of St. Martin's.

Collectively they are an example of the 'Beloved Community'—Christian believers who refused to leave a dying community and have continued to seek ways to infuse life and hope for those who were left behind in the aftermath of 'white flight.'

This article shared 4699 times since Tue Apr 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elliot Page, NPH, Madonna, Chita Rivera, Jennifer Lopez 2022-06-26
- Elliot Page talked with talk-show host Seth Meyers about how her Netflix show The Umbrella Academy incorporated the actor's own personal transition into season three of the series, Deadline noted. "With Steve Blackman, the showrunner of ...

Gay News

'Hawks to hire new coach; Cubs blank Cardinals; White Sox lose 2022-06-25
- Luke Richardson is expected to become the new head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, an NHL source confirmed to ESPN. Richardson would replace interim coach Derek King, who went 27-33-10 after taking over for Jeremy Colliton ...

Gay News

Chicago Philharmonic launches 2022-23 season 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - (June 20, 2022) Chicago Philharmonic has announced its 2022-23 symphonic season on the heels of a 2021-22 season that ended with the sold-out Chicago Premiere of Marvel Studios' Black Panther in Concert. The ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame named beneficiary of Chicago Black Pride event 2022-06-16
-- From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame announced that it will be the beneficiary of the Black Pride Event being produced by Chicago Urban Pride, Executive Sweet Old School Production and Chef Tarrina at Rainbow Beach (3111 ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Legendary Chicago transgender activist, icon, mentor Mama Gloria Allen 2022-06-14
- Legendary Chicago Black transgender activist, icon and mentor "Mama" Gloria Allen died June 13 in her residence at Chicago's LGBTQ senior living facility Townhall Apartments in Lake View. The cause of death is unknown at this ...

Gay News

Marchers aim to 'reclaim pride,' shed light on issues facing LGBTQ+ community 2022-06-14
- About a hundred people marched through streets in Lake View on June 12 to call attention to social-justice issues affecting LGBTQ+ people while centering the Black trans community. "Some people don't understand. They're, like, 'Why such ...

Gay News

Chicago Juneteenth Planning Coalition releases 2022 Juneteenth events 2022-06-09
-- From a press release - CHICAGO - The Chicago Juneteenth Planning Coalition (CJPC) is a city-wide coalition of Black community members. This is the second year that the coalition has worked together. The group is coordinating Juneteenth programming on every side ...

Gay News

Affinity to hold 'Family Reunion BBQ Picnic' on June 18 2022-06-02
- Affinity Community Services will hold a "Family Reunion BBQ Picnic" on Saturday, June 18, 1-4 p.m., at the Dan Ryan Woods at 83rd Street and Western Avenue. Hosted by Trina TruLuv, this event (with all Black ...

Gay News

'King Richard' actress Ellis talks about being bisexual 2022-06-02
- King Richard actress Aunjunue Ellis talked with Variety about being part of the LGBTQ+ community. On March 24, the Oscar nominee accepted honors at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards. Emblazoned on the left arm ...

Gay News

Chicago Sports Alliance, McCormick donate $300K to anti-gun violence groups 2022-05-29
- The Chicago Sports Alliance—a collaboration between the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox—along with the support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, announced it will commit $300,000 to the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation ...

Gay News

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center has first Black executive director 2022-05-26
- The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center has broken a barrier by hiring its first Black executive director, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The board of directors named Kevin Turner-Espinoza—who identifies as a Black, Mexican and gay cisgender ...

Gay News

'EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center' exhibit highlights queer community art 2022-05-23
- South Side Community Art Center's (SSCAC) newest exhibition explores the center's role in uplifting and supporting a community of queer Black creators through a collection of their art from the 1940s through the 1980s. "Bringing black ...

Gay News

Nat'l Association of Black and White Men Together to hold July 6-9 conference 2022-05-14
- The National Association of Black and White Men Together—described on its website as "a gay multicultural, anti-racism organization committed to fostering supportive environments wherein racial and cultural barriers can be ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Rainbow flagpole, Washington Blade, Don Lemon, Black leaders 2022-05-08
- Four years after the Trump Administration abruptly nixed plans to bring a rainbow flag to federal land adjacent to NYC's Christopher Park, the Biden Administration is planning to install a permanent flagpole at the park, Gay ...

Gay News

Virginia trans teen killed at party 2022-05-06
- The life of Black transgender girl Ariyanna Mitchell, 17, ended violently at a party in Hampton, Virginia, on April 2—and the accused killer asked her if she was a boy or a girl before shooting her, ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.