Recently, I had the honor of representing Instinct Magazine at the 1st annual Purple Diamond Awards hosted by House 581Inc and Simone Gordon aka “Blackfairygodmother,” in New York City. The ceremony held at Landmark Mansion was an event to acknowledge domestic abuse awareness and honor women and men who strive to make a difference in the lives of those affected. A whos-who of movers and shakers in media, music, and fashion gathered for the cause.
One of the event’s highlights was a fashion show with designs by celebrity designer Robert Greco, featuring models who had overcome an abusive past. Styling was provided by beauty expert Kim Baker and Angela Kristina – both domestic abuse survivors. Powerful vocalist Chris Weaver from Season 13 of The Voice was the entertainment guest, and he took the audience to church with his signature gospel song stylings full of hope and togetherness.
When I was first asked by event producer and Labelleladiva publicity guru, Yvonne Forbes if Instinct Magazine would be interested in a brand sponsorship for the event, I narrow-mindedly formed a stereotypical notion of a “battered wife” in my head -not thinking that abuse is a large umbrella of circumstances and takes many forms for various people. I wondered if the topic of domestic abuse was something that would resonate with our readers in the LGBTQ community,” so I set out to do a little research before sharing Forbes’ request with Instinct’s editorial board.
I was aware that the Human Rights Campaign (H.R.C.) compiles abundant data and statistics about the various plights of LGBTQ+ people, so I visited their website and entered “Domestic Abuse” in the search box. The results were unexpected and staggering.
I discovered that domestic violence in many cases was as pervasive in the LGBT community, if not more so than that experienced by our heterosexual counterparts. With this revelation, and in consideration of all of us being proactive in looking out for each other in every community gay or straight, I proudly endorsed lending support to the Diamond Award’s efforts of raising awareness for all domestic violence victims – be they women, men, LGBTQ or heterosexual.
Among the honorees at the Purple Diamond Awards were domestic abuse survivors Andria Mayberry – an advocate and mother of actor Bryshere Gray from Empire, PR powerhouse – Billie Joane Mitchell, Actress, and activist Luisa Diaz Brown and Special Guest Honoree Carole Maraj – of The Carol Maraj Foundation. Maraj also happens to be the mother of mega Hip-Hop star Nicki Minaj.
All these women shared harrowing personal stories of overcoming domestic abuse, finding a way out, and how they’re dedicating their lives today to assisting others in similar situations.
Perhaps one of the most powerful yet reserved women I met that evening was the event’s Executive Director, Simone Gordon. This may seem hyperbolic but in my opinion, Gordon is similar to a modern-day Harriett Tubman; only her network is neither secret nor relegated to matters of race. No, Simone Gordon is known on Instagram as “The Black Fairy Godmother,” and through the power of the internet, she’s created a support system where strangers unite to provide emergency assistance to those in need.
Recently featured in Parade Magazine, Gordon explained how despite a schedule that includes being a full-time nursing student, a part-time waitress, and mother to a non-verbal autistic son, she maintains the @blackfairygodmother account on Instagram. Through @blackfairygodmother, over 5K followers and a team of four volunteers remain ready at all times to mobilize and help people get out of dire life moments, in real-time.
It’s genius in its simplicity and also beautiful to see technology being used to unite rather than separate us. For example, a person or a family in need will reach out to @blackfairygodmother via D.M. and Gordon will look into the matter, assess and then post a digital “S.O.S.” of sorts out into the world:
As reported by Parade magazine:
“Every day, Gordon receives roughly 31 messages on her personal Facebook account and on Instagram. The messages are dire, and sometimes life or death. Many are from minority women in domestic abuse situations who need a place to stay, single moms who can’t afford diapers, wipes, or formula, people in the LGBT community who got kicked out of their homes or apartments, men who are escaping domestic abuse relationships, elderly people who can’t afford their medications and various other personal emergencies.”
I was honored to attend the First Annual Purple Diamond Awards and even more so to receive an award from Gordon for recognition as an LGBTQ partner in raising more awareness for the cause.
It goes without saying that donations and public support are what helps Gordon be able to help others. She draws no income from donations that come in, and in fact, on occasion, she uses her own personal monetary resources to buy supplies for those in emergency need. She really is a Fairy God Mother to the world giving selflessly to people she’s never met and likely never will.
Read Simone Gordon’s Remarkable Full Story at Parade
If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation and need help, visit the national domestic abuse hotline