Gay Black Men of Power & Inspiration
by Andy J. Salgado
We are fed numerously throughout our lives a vision of what men of power should look like. Often, the images of powerful men that we see are of straight, white men or a certain socio-economic background. However, we have seen a rise in the representation of other ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations adding to that list of influential people. Even though the perception has somewhat changed, it still has a long way to go; and this is just the beginning of that journey. Here are four very influential black, gay men who speak for truth, power, change and growth, not only for their communities, but the world.
President, Ford Foundation – Previously, a lawyer and investment banker, Darren Walker ranks among the top of Ebanman’s list of influential men. He not only speaks for LGBT rights, but his new action plan within the Ford Foundation focuses on bringing awareness to several areas of social justice, including gender equality, racial justice, free expression and youth opportunities.
• Lee Daniels:
Filmmaker/Producer – Oscar nominated producer and filmmaker, Lee Daniels is known for his unique artistry and ability to capture the voices of timeless characters on film, a characters which millions relate to. His credits include Lee Daniels’ The Butler, where he showcases the human rights and social struggles of the black community through the eyes of a White House butler, named Cecil Gaines, loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen. His other credits include his Oscar nominated film, Precious and his hit show on Fox, Empire. If you desire inspiration through the eyes of unique characters that capture your attention, any of Lee Daniels’ films will do the job.
• Jussie Smollett:
Actor/Singer – This prominent Hollywood actor has been known to break down stereotypes and perceptions of the ideal black male figure. He is known for his role in Empire where he shatters perceptions and barriers stereotypical of black masculinity. He is not only for effective social change within the gay community, he also stands firm in his belief in the Black Lives Matter movement. His goal is to use his celebrity to be a voice, standing firm in the belief that everyone deserves equal opportunity and acceptance.
• Patrik-Ian Polk
– Another film director and screen writer makes it to our men of power list for this month. Patrik-Ian Polk is an openly gay, multi-award winning director, screenwriter, and visionary who shares his concepts, ideas, and perception of the LGBTQ African American community through his many films. He has an undergraduate degree in film from the University of Southern Mississippi and then transferred to study film in Southern California. Patrik made his first film debut in 2006 with a hilarious and notorious gay male version of Sex and the City, Noahs Arc. He achieved his first taste of film success when the show was picked up for the LGBTQ network, Logo, and Noah’s Arc became the highest rated show.