Entertainment

Karamo Brown Brings His Jamaican-Cuban Energy To Every Episode Of “Queer Eye”

If you don’t know who Karamo Brown is, prepare yourself for your next celebrity heartthrob. He first graced our televisions when he was just 23 years old on “The Real World: Philadelphia.” After a decade out of the spotlight, he’s back in our homes as one fifth of the Fab Five, in Netflix’s rebooted “Queer Eye.”

He’s hands down one of the most interesting, studliest, and sweetest of the Fab Five.

1. He’s Jamaican & Cuban.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Karamo was born in Houston, Texas, but has lived all over.

In a recent podcast with Johnathan Van Ness (AKA JVN), Brown opened up about his family history. His mother is Jamaican and his father is half Cuban, half Jamaican.

2. He’s the first openly gay black man to star on a reality TV show.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

This was back in 2004, so it was a lot tougher to be openly gay. But Karamo slayed in “The Real World: Philadelphia,” and says that it was one of the hardest things he ever did.

The real gold: watching himself on TV and how he reacted to conflict. He says it changed him as a person.

3. After his MTV stint, he worked as a social worker for 10 years.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

It wasn’t until one of his kids he was working with asked him if he’s following his dreams, that he realized he wasn’t. He decided to spend half his time in social work, and the other getting back into the public sphere.

His first job back out there? With Oprah. Casual.

4. He went from TV Host to Fab 5 of “Queer Eye.”

CREDIT: @queereye / Instagram

Each of the Fab Five carries expertise in either fashion, grooming, cooking, interior design, or culture. Karamo is known for working on the “inside job” of their clients, helping them find their confidence through aerial art, or getting through to a cop on why Black Lives Matter. Basically, you’re always crying happy tears when you’re watching this show.

Karamo’s dedication to his own inside job is inspo for all of us. His backstory is pretty incredible…

5. He watched his father destroy his family.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Brown grew up middle class, but when his father decided to quit accounting and become a DJ, they lost everything. In his own words, “Life went from nice, middle class, immigrant family, to like extremely poor, moving out in the middle of the night.”

6. “My drive comes from watching the decline and seeing my mother build us back up.”

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

He says that watching his father abuse his mother gave him this drive to be better, and be the best man he can be. He’s conscience of what he’s inherited from his father, like shutting down during conflict, and tries to change it.

7. Brown went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

When his parents got divorced, his dad made him move from Texas. He said the one thing he did right was find the cheapest apartment in the school zone that would land him at Stoneman.

Caption: “The raised/ clenched fist is a salute to express unity, strength & resistance among oppressed people against any person or entity that would try to destroy the very fabric of human equality, respect & love. I raise & clench my fist to #Trump #Racism#SexualPredators #Misogynist and many more! You shall not win!”

8. “That school made me an activist.”

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

In his own words, “When the shooting happened, I wasn’t surprised that these students were like, “Enough is enough”, because activism is engrained in you from the first period of the first day of 9th grade.”

9. Karamo came out when he was 15 or 16 years old.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Caribbean culture, especially Jamaican culture is extremely homophobic, so his father had a hard time reconciling his religious beliefs with his son’s sexuality.

10. In 2007, he found out he’s a father!

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Brown met Stephanie when he was 15 and they quickly became best friends…who also lost their virginity to each other. Over ten years later, he was served documents asking for child support. I mean, of course, Karamo stepped up and is a loving father. He later adopted his biological son’s half brother.

11. On May 10th, Karamo got engaged!

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Caption: “Last night, in front of family & friends, I asked my best friend and the love of my life, “will you marry me?” He said YESSS!!!! I’m engaged!”

12. Karamo has been writing for The Advocate since 2014.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Can you tell he’s a huge advocate for the gays? Check him out with Stephanie Beatriz and Laith Ashley de la Cruz at Pride this year. You cute, boo.

13. This year, he won the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award!

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. On Top. 27 June 2018.

“As an out and proud gay man, Karamo Brown is using his incredible talent and public visibility to raise awareness and find solutions to the unique challenges LGBTQ people face,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a news release.

14. He even cofounded the nonprofit 6in10.

CREDIT: “Fist” Digital Image. Advocate. 28 June 2018.

As in 6 in every 10 gay or bisexual black men will test positive for HIV. 6in10 aims to reduce the stigma associated with HIV, and offer mental health resources for the LGBT community.

15. Oh, and he’s a low-key animal activist, too.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Caption: “Spending my morning cleaning, feeding & playing w/ rescued & humanely cared for elephants. #PleaseStopRidingThem🚳#ElephantsAreNotBuses #Thailand🇹🇭#WorldTraveler”

16. Karamo is the youngest of four sisters.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

And with “Queer Eye,” he’s found himself another set of fabulous men that are like sisters to him.

 17. Karamo & JVN would have been prom King & Queen in high school…

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

According to themselves in JVN’s podcast episode, “Who gave you permission to be so cute? featuring Karamo Brown.” Karamo was a football player and JVN was a cheerleader and you *know* they would be cutest couple. For now, they’re the cutest best friends and I’m here for it.

18. As serious as he is about making changes in the world, he’s also a joker.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

After Antoni posted a legit serious picture of himself in a bathrobe wearing non-prescription glasses with a cup of tea, every single one of the Fab Five posted their version mocking him.

Caption: “Well since you all asked what I was doing… ironically the same thing as @antoni @jvn & @bobbyberk Just relaxing at home with glasses that aren’t prescription, a tea mug that is empty, junk food and a plant in my bed.”

19. Ya boy’s a Scorpio–born on November 2nd.

CREDIT: @KaramoBrown / Twitter

Caption: “Thought I’d do a #ThrowbackThursday of my senior yearbook pic. I was 18 years old here. If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be “Stop letting people’s limited perspectives cause you to doubt yourself… you have a bright future ahead of you kid, just believe.””

20. He’s also an American Express Ambassador.

CREDIT: @karamobrown / Instagram

Ok, so it’s the least interesting thing about him, but now I want an AmEx to be even a little bit more like him.

Follow him @karamobrown on Twitter and Instagram for all the emotional support you’ll need in your life. ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

Fierce

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

@2shotsofmely / Twitter

We all know how annoying family can be, nitpicking and offering opinions about how we choose to live our lives. Sometimes, though, our relatives’ perspectives are more than frustrating—they can be hurtful, causing us to question and doubt our place in the world. For many of us, it may be really difficult to address these issues with our loved ones, and we might often need to process these complex situations on our own before we can make any progress within our relationships. For Twitter user Hot Girl Scholar (@2shotsofmely), art was part of this process. She addressed some deep family conflict through poetry, and y’all, Twitter was shook.

According to her pinned tweet, @2shotsofmely and her family emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was seven years old. In May of this year, she graduated cum laude from Clark University with a BA in English and a minor in Education, ecstatic to dedicate her degree to immigrant and first-generation students. By embracing her role as a “hood girl, educator, and undercover poet,” @2shotsofmely is “living [her] mama’s wildest dreams”—although the poems that have electrified Twitter focus on some hard-to-swallow cultural viewpoints, reiterated by su madre y su abuela.

In poetry, the author of the poem is not always the speaker of the poem, but because of the caption in @2shotsofmely’s post (“Heard it so much I wrote poems about it”), it is clear that these poems—displayed on the walls of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence-based art and social justice organization—are written from her perspective. 

In one poem, “Negra Yo, Pero El No!,” @2shotsofmely acknowledges the hypocrisy (and the shadowy nature of racism and colorism) that defines how her mother reacts to a hypothetical boyfriend: based on the title, we know that @2shotsofmely’s mother is black, yet she proclaims that if @2shotsofmely ever dated a moreno, he must have a thin nose—la nariz fina—green eyes like @2shotsofmely’s grandfather, and “good hair.” In other words, he must not have black features. Why? “Because hay que refinar la raza.”

In the other poem, “LGBTQue?,” @2shotsofmely explores the cultural stigma attached to LGBTQ identities, affirming that her grandmother would “prefer [we] open [our] legs for all the men in the barrio before we walk around with a sister in our arms.”

The original tweet has garnered over 2.3k likes and 900 retweets—people can’t stop gassing @2shotsofmely’s badass display of honesty, the simultaneous pride in and critique of her roots. Several people expressed solidarity, citing events from their own lives that mirrored @2shotsofmely’s poetry.

This Twitter user really related to @2shotsofmely’s experience on the receiving end of her mother’s words.

This Latina responded in Spanish, explaining that her own grandmother married a white man para “mejorar la raza,” but affirmed that it wasn’t her fault—this point of view, according to @ditasea88, is a remnant of colonization.

This Twitter user applauded “LGBTQue?” for its resonance and truth.

Her poems even moved some folks to tears.

Although each of these tweets suggests a common experience which is largely negative, the response to @2shotsofmely’s poetry was rich with compassion—not only for those other Twitter users who share that experience, but for the madres y abuelas whose lives were very different than ours, and who had to make different decisions as a result. History is complex and difficult to synthesize without a broad contextual understanding, and @2shotsofmely’s work draws attention to how cultural patterns from the past can leave a dark impact on the present. However, alongside the criticism and pain at the core of these poems, there is something else: a sense of defiance and hope.

Now, in the midst of the political chaos within our country, it is especially important to celebrate the victories of individuals and groups creating supportive platforms for folks—particularly people of color—to express themselves. It is always exciting to see expressions of Latinidad—from art to poetry to a bomb Insta selfie—spark conversation and communion, even if people are relating about moments that have left them hurt or bruised. In a way, this type of conversation creates a sense of camaraderie, amistad—a feeling of familia.  

And although a lot of Latina familias struggle with antiquated viewpoints (like those presented in @2shotsofmely’s poems), times are changing, and cultural expectations are becoming more inclusive to Latinx people with a range of diverse identities. Often, the more difficult aspects of our upbringing lead us to create meaningful work and connect with others who can relate to us—@2shotsofmely’s poetry is a great example of how intergenerational trauma can produce beauty, connection, and personal growth when you honor yourself and your dreams. @2shotsofmely, you go, girl!

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Things That Matter

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Buzzfeed Twitter

Students at a Catholic high school in Los Angles staged last week in unity with a gay classmate who says shows harassed by the school for her sexuality. 

According to a recent report published by Buzzfeed, officials at the school threatened to out high school senior Magali Rodriguez. Following Buzzfeed’s report, which was published last Thursday, students at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, staged a walkout on Friday.

Bishop Amat students organized a walkout protesting the alleged actions of officials at their school on Friday.

According to Buzzfeed, Rodriguez attended Bishop Amat, for three years. The high school senior said that the incidents began to occur during her freshman year when she first began dating her girlfriend when the school’s dean confronted the couple and claimed that students had “complained about their relationship.”

 During her time at the school, Rodriguez claimed that she had been subjected to various disciplinary meetings and counseling sessions. She was also kept from sitting beside her girlfriend during lunch hours. In the report by Buzzfeed, Rodriguez claimed that school officials had threatened to out her to her parents if she refused to comply with their rules, which were not forced onto the straight students in relationships at the school. Rodriguez claims that though she was never publicly affectionate with her girlfriend at school, she felt constantly monitored by officials at the school. In one incident, Rodriguez said that a staff member approached the two teenagers during summer school and told them that they would both go to hell and that “she was trying to get them expelled.”

At the time, Rodriguez had come out to her peers but had not yet come out to her parents. 

Ultimately, Rodriguez’s grades and mental health took a toll until she decided to write her parents a letter and come out.

“Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point,” reported Buzzfeed. “She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.”

Ultimately Rodriguez’s parents withdrew her from the Catholic school. Speaking to Buzzfeed Rodriguez’s mother  Martha Tapia-Rodriguez condemned the school for how they treated her daughter saying, “They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her.”

When news of the way the school had treated Rodriguez went public, her former peers decided to stage a walkout.

The walkout took place during the student’s seventh period on Friday and lasted for an hour and a half until the school day ended. 

Several students BuzzFeed News spoke to Saturday said they hadn’t heard about Rodriguez’s experience prior to the article, and were shocked to learn how she was treated. One anonymous student who took part in the walkout spoke to Buzzfeed about the incident saying, “I never would’ve imagined Amat to be an environment like this… Once I started to read about the article I was in full shock. I decided to walk out to stand up for her.” This same student claimed that while teachers had commented on the situation saying that there were “two sides to every story” none attempted to put a stop to the protest.

According to the unnamed student, the school’s principal made an announcement before the school lunch bell that they were aware of the Buzzfeed report and had offered counseling services to students who had concerns. 

Two hundred students took part in the walkout, and according to the student interviewed by Buzzfeed, students chanted prayers for Rodriguez. Some called her via FaceTime to show what was being done. 

“I decided to walk out because I wanted to take a stand,” another student told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t agree with what the administration did with the situation and I feel like it was a good idea for the student body to stand as one to show our support for Magali.”

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.