Craig's Pop Life: 11.4.22
Hey, everybody! Welcome to another edition of Craig’s Pop Life, a Black gay excursion into pop culture. It’s giving content, hunny!
Hope you had a great week. This is a time of deep reflection for me. As you know from the last letter, I recently lost my beloved grandmother. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude because of all the love people have shown her. Here’s a segment from The Today Show.
I’m also looking back this week because, on November 4, 1995, my friend/mentor, Black gay poet/activist Essex Hemphill died of AIDS.
Essex & I met in, like, ‘89 or ‘90 at D.C.’s Takoma Park Library. We quickly became friends. He encouraged my writing and introduced me to Joseph Beam’s In The Life: A Black Gay Anthology and such works as Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith, so that I understood the intellectual foundations of what it meant to be a Black gay man.
Around this time, Essex was completing Brother To Brother: New Writings By Black Gay Men, the followup to In The Life that Joseph Beam started but wasn’t able to finish because he died of AIDS just as 1988 came to a close. Essex bonded with Joseph’s mother, Dorothy, and even lived in her Philadelphia home while working on the book.
What you are about to hear is a 1991 radio interview with Essex, Mrs. Beam, and Dr. Ron Simmons, another cherished friend/mentor who was always quick to get me together whenever I articulated some half-baked thought. (I had many at the time.) The interview is conducted by D.C. icon/Black media giant Cathy Hughes.
How did I get the tape? Back in the day, you could order episodes of radio talk shows on cassette. At one point, the tape stops abruptly. Put that on somebody at WOL-AM, not me.
Anyway, I think you’ll enjoy this wide-ranging conversation about being a Black gay man and parenting one. Let me know what you think about it in the comments.
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GAME-CHANGING ALBUM ALERT
DJ DELISH - PROPER F———-Y
FILE UNDER: SANGIN’
Tasha Cobbs-Leonard & Jennifer Hudson - “Amazing Grace”
Jazmine Sullivan - The Star-Spangled Banner
Always wanted a cool-a** mix of this song.
Janet Jackson - “Make Me (Casamena Club Mix)”
PROFILES IN COURAGE
“I’m proud of my contributions to the Gay Liberation movement.” - Johnny Mathis, 1976
Johnny Mathis - “Stay With Me” *produced by CHIC*
“I’ve never stopped working; I’ve been stopped.” - Kevin Aviance to Mikelle Street in The Advocate
FILE UNDER: REGGAE BOOGIE
Jennifer Lara - “I’m In Love” *Evelyn King cover*
Risco Connection - “It’s My House (Special Disco Version)” *Diana Ross cover*
Brandy - “Sittin’ Up In My Room (Markus Schulz Remix)”
Monica - “Before You Walk Out Of My Life (Markus Schulz Remix)”
Lenny Kravitz - “Black Velveteen (Basement Boys Proper Dub)”
Frankie Knuckles w/ Shelton Becton - “Soon I Will Be Done”
Thanks for hanging out again. I hope you enjoyed the letter. Until next week, be cool, be kind, be creative, be yourself. Love, Craig
COOL SH*T CURATED x CRAIG (w/ affiliate links)