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. ❤️ ???? ???? ???? ???? ????

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What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

Culture

What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

fidmart85 / cantstayput / Instagram

Politics is a tricky topic for families and friends, especially when you are on opposite sides of the aisle. It’s hard not to take things personally when it comes to how those closest to you vote. Those feelings have been heightened since 2016 when President Donald Trump won on a campaign based on fear and hate. His rhetoric has never changed and his words and policies are having a real impact on the lives of millions, including me and my husband.

My family is a Cuban family living in Florida. They fit the description in more ways than one. They are a close-knit unit always visiting each other and having mini family reunions for every occasion. Covid changed that for a while but over time they have safely created a bubble with themselves. I am one of three in my immediately-extended family to leave Florida so they don’t see my life on a daily basis. I can only imagine that living in Florida would change that.

With the 2020 elections in just days, I have had some hard conversations with my family about things they’ve never understood or asked about. As a gay Latino man living in the U.S., my life hasn’t always been easy and safe. I grew up in a rural town in the Florida panhandle where it was not okay to be visibly and audibly Latino nor gay.

I was 16 when I had my first run-in with violent homophobia. I was at a keg party and I was pouring a beverage. A college student came up to me and asked if I was gay. Knowing the importance of self-preservation, I immediately said no. Without missing a beat, the man sucker-punched me in the face, called me a faggot, and ran to a waiting car that sped off.

My parents never heard that story. I lied to them when they noticed the welt on my face and told them I got elbowed at cheerleading practice. I know. I was a cheerleader and my parents couldn’t see I was gay. It was safer for me to lie and not let my parents know I was targeted for being gay, something they were in no place to accept are Cuban immigrants living in a rural, conservative southern town.

That moment instilled in me a fear that I live with to this day. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I always function at the level that I can be attacked at any time for being gay. President Trump’s rhetoric and administration has made that worse.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, I felt safe for the first time in a long time. I know that comes with some privilege, but it was the first time in in my gay life that I felt safe to be who I was. I came out to my parents. I became involved in politics to get people elected. I traveled as an openly gay man. I was no longer living in the shadows.

The 2016 elections shattered the feeling of safety and peace for me and my friends. Suddenly, all of us were on the chopping block as our rights and dignity were under attack again. The Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016 reminded me of how much hate there still was for people like me and the Trump campaign was fanning those flames. I was scared. My family didn’t understand why.

Most of my family voted for President Trump that year. It was a knife through the heart to know that most of my family was not concerned about my own safety and dignity. For them, President Trump’s election was more important than the very real threat he posed to millions of people.

I remember confiding in my family my fear that President Trump would try to eliminate marriage equality, won just one year before. I was made to feel like I was being dramatic. My husband and I got married the Friday after Thanksgiving because we just did not trust what the administration would do.

Four years later, Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito signaled that they want to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made my marriage legal. How? With the help of Amy Coney Barrett, who was rushed in with just days left till election day. Marriage equality became law of the land in a 5-4 ruling.

This blow to the LGBTQ+ community comes after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired for being LGBTQ+. The ruling in June stated that LGBTQ+ were included in the Civil Rights Act under protection from discrimination based on sex.

The lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court to make discrimination against me legal was drafted by the Trump administration. The man my family voted for wanted to make me less than everyone else.

One of the first cases before the majority conservative court that could erode LGBTQ+ rights is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case, which will be heard the day after the election, will decide if private agencies that receive government dollars can refuse people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and even religion. How is this happening in the U.S. in 2020?

I am also a recently diagnosed diabetic. The Trump administration has been a hostile enemy of the Affordable Care Act since day one. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has become increasingly popular with Americans, especially now during the pandemic.

Another case being heard on behalf of the Trump administration is a case to dismantle the ACA once and for all. This would throw millions of people off of their healthcare and would leave millions more with pre-existing conditions without healthcare.

A vote for Trump is a vote to strip people of necessary and life-saving healthcare. We have all read the horror stories of people dying of diabetes because they couldn’t afford their insulin. The Trump administration wants us to go back to those days. The court case could force numerous people to die from treatable and manageable diseases for the sake of profit over lives.

Republicans have no plan to replace the ACA. However, they have continued to lie to the American people and claim that they do.

There are several communities under attack right now. Black lives are at stake. Abortion rights are at stake. Healthcare is at stake. Immigrant rights are at stake. Trans lives are at stake. LGBTQ+ rights are at stake. Our standing in the world is at stake. The soul of our nation is at stake.

Under this current administration, I have seen my friends live in fear that they will lose rights. I have watched friends grapple with the understanding that they have lost rights.

My family claims to care for me, and I am sure that on some level they really believe that. However, as a gay Latino man living in the Trump administration, I have grown resentful. I resent that their votes are costing me and my friends their human dignity. I resent that their vote exacerbated the ongoing pandemic that has cost more lives than it should have. I resent that they ask why I don’t visit despite voting to limit my rights and freedom.

To my family members who have voted against this administration, thank you. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for understanding what is at stake for me and my marriage. Thank you for rebuking an administration that has caused unnecessary harm to millions of innocent people.

It is not too late to have your voice heard. Go vote. Millions of us are relying on you using your voice to determine the future of this nation.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

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Lauren Jauregui Says That the Imaginary Relationship That Fans Invented Between Her and Camila Cabello Was ‘Traumatizing’

Entertainment

Lauren Jauregui Says That the Imaginary Relationship That Fans Invented Between Her and Camila Cabello Was ‘Traumatizing’

Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for iHeart

Former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui is opening up about a traumatic time in her life that affects the way she approaches romantic relationships to this day.

On Becky G‘s En La Sala podcast, Jauregui revealed that the imaginary relationships that fans “shipped” between her and Camila Cabello made her “disgustingly uncomfortable”.

As a background, “shipping” is an internet phenomenon in which fans want two people (either real or imagined) to get together in a romantic relationship. On the internet, “shipping” usually consists of fans producing art or other creative works to support their imagined storyline.

Jauregui and Cabello were the centerpiece of such a fandom. Fans even had an imagined portmanteau for the duo: “Camren”. Fans would interpret everything–a stray glance, a lingering hug, them dancing on stage together–as evidence that they were secretly dating. But the two women were never in a romantic relationship.

Jauregui–who now identifies as bisexual–explained that the rumors upset her so much for a myriad of reasons. First, she didn’t have romantic feelings towards Cabello. “Camila and I were just very good friends at that time,” she explained to Becky G. “And we respected each other. When each other would talk, we would look at each other. We had love for each other. Like, genuine friendship.”

Number two, Jauregui was aware that Cabello was not queer, and that fact further complicated things.

“It made me feel like a predator,” she said. “Because of the type of clips people would put together and the type of stories people would write and the type of stuff–I was always the aggressor and I was always the one turning her. I was always the one who was the ‘masculine’ energy in the scenario and it made me very uncomfortable because that is not how I identify.”

Jauregui also explains that the rumors were hard for her because, at the time, she wasn’t ready to come out publicly. “I wasn’t even comfortable with telling my parents about it,” she said. “I wasn’t even comfortable telling myself that I was queer.”

All of the speculation around her relationship with Cabello had lasting effects on her confidence with women.

“To this day I have an issue flirting with girls because I don’t want to make them think that I’m trying to invade or anything like that,” she revealed.

Jauregui went on to say that she doesn’t usually talk about that time of her life in public because it was “so traumatizing” for her. “I just chose to ignore it at a certain point, because getting angry to [those fans] would mean that it was real and validated it more for them. So I was like, okay, then I can’t get angry or defend myself, apparently, because that just makes it more real [for them]. It just really f—– with my head.”

Lauren Jauregui’s revelation is just another example of how fans can sometimes forget that celebrities are people too. Unfortunately, Jauregui experienced trauma at the hands of people who probably thought the entire thing was just fun and games.

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