Even while facing a pandemic that disproportionately affecting people of color, gay Black men are prospering and bettering themselves. Part of that is thanks to Native Son.
What is Native Son? It’s an organization and movement focused on the betterment of gay Black men. The name comes from James Baldwin’s non-fiction 1955 novel Notes of a Native Son. In the spirit of that text, the organization attempts to equip gay black men with resources, tools, and insight for self-improvement. In addition, Native Son hopes to help these men connect both online and offline (when we can go out again) while promoting cultural, communal, and personal growth. Or as the organization’s about page explains:
“We are a movement of Black Gay Men. We inspire and empower each other. We celebrate our story and our Black Man Magic. We live authentic lives.”
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Brother Check-In. Y’all alright? Practicing #SocialDistancing? Washing your hands? Disinfecting your mail, groceries, keys, cellphones? Stocked up on essentials? Talk to us! #COVID_19 #Community #MyBrothersKeeper #TaskTuesday #OurVoice #OurStory #OurPower #NativeSon 📷: @darealclickclak
But here’s the thing, the pandemic has shifted things up. When veteran magazine editor and LGBTQ activist Emil Wilbekin first created Native Son, he did not envision a COVID-19 world. Who would? But, he and his organization have been quick to adjust to the current situation. In order to do that, Native Son has gone completely digital. But even then, the organization stays to its mission of uplifting gay Black men by releasing daily livestreams on Instagram with varying experts.
As Paper Magazine writes, Native Son has stayed active through its “Quarantine Moments” series. Native Son has hosted several experts offering life and skill advice to gay Black Men. This included lifestyle expert Raub Welch talking about Black art, chef Kenny Minor giving a cooking lesson, poet Josh Rivers reading his works, movement guru Gabriel Christian walking viewers through meditation practice, gay matchmaker Prince Amari (whom we’ve written about before) giving advice on Black gay love and relationships, and more.
As Wilbekin told Paper Mag, all of this is for a group of people often ignored online.
“Curating the Native Son Quarantine Moments seemed purposeful during this time of isolation,” Wilbekin tells PAPER. “I didn’t see any platforms speaking directly to Black gay men at all of our intersections. It really spoke to my own desires and what I needed during this quarantine moment. What to cook for lunch, how to find balance with work and self-care, and how to find love. These are real questions and the IG Live streams are a great distraction to the anxiety of COVID-19, plus I get to engage with other Black gay men in my community.”
Source: Paper Magazine