With his unique look and style, he is an American female impressionist, club/dance musician and fashion designer and nightclub personality. Aviance has become a popular personality in NYC's Gay community and has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He is a member of the House of Aviance, a local gay performer's group. He is known for his trademark phrase, "Work. Fierce. Over. Aviance!" He won the 1998 and 1999 Glammy, the award for drag queen musicians. In 2006, he was a victim of a vicious hate crime when he was attacked by a group of men who yelled anti-gay slurs at him. The men later plead guilty to the hate crime charges and received sentences from 6 to 15 years in prison.
Began his career as a casting director working on projects such as 'Purple Rain.' He went on to become the first sole black producer of an Academy Award-earning film, 'Monster's Ball.' Daniels went onto direct the Academy Award-winning 'Precious.' He identifies as gay and has two children.
Is a Broadway performer and pop vocalist. He achieved fame performing on Broadway before going off on a solo career as a singer. As a singer-writer, Porter built a strong reputation as a theatrical singer on Broadway; his one-man show 'Ghetto Superstar' was a touching tale of growing up gay in Pittsburgh. He is probably best known for his portrayal of the Teen Angel in the 1994 revival of Grease.
James Arthur Baldwin (1924-1987)
Baldwin, author, essayist, poet, playwright and activist, explored issues of racial and sexual identity in his much heralded literary art. Baldwin touched on issues facing black gays and lesbians at a time when society was not yet ready to grasp the idea.
Best known as simply RuPaul, is an American singer-songwriter, actor, drag queen, model and author, who first gained fame in the 1990s when he appeared in a wide variety of television programs, films and musical albums. He was born Rupaul Andre Charles and does "woman" better than most women. His song 'Supermodel (You Better Work)' was a huge hit in the '90s as was his beauty, eccentric personality and drag queen persona. He currently hosts reality television shows called RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag U.
One of the most successful artists of all time, Johnny Mathis is known best for his romantic ballads including his classic 'Chances Are.' Mathis concentrated on romantic jazz and pop for the adult contemporary audience through the 1980s. Mathis became more popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Mathis has sales of over 27 million sellers, certified units in the United States.
One of the premiere American dancers and choreographers of our time, Ailey was an American choreographer and activist who founded the The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Ailey is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance. His company gained the nickname "Cultural Ambassador to the World" because of its extensive international touring. His 1960 masterpiece Revalations is one of the most popular ballets performed in the 20th century. Revalations is believed to be the best-known and most often seen modern dance performace. When Ailey died from AIDS in 1989, he asked that his doctor announce that he had died of terminal blood dyscrasia to save his mother from the social stigma surrounding AIDS.
Maurice Jamal came out to his classmates at the tender age of 16 but waited five years to tell his family. The writer, director and actor is most noted for his film, 'Dirty Laundry' with Rockmond Dunbar and Loretta Devine. He says he finds it empowering to be an openly black gay man in Hollywood.
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)
Was an American civil rights activist. As a premiere architecht of the Civil Rights Movement, Rustin organized the very first Freedom Rides. He is credited as the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin who counseled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on techniques of nonviolent resistance, traveled to India to learn the Ghandian technique firsthand. He was openly gay and spoke out on gay rights later in his life.
Video of Bayard Rustin - MLK Organizer
Clip taken from "Out of the Past" - 400 Years of Lesbian and Gay History in America a Documentary:
Edited by ELIZA STARR BYARD
Executive Producer ROBERT S. THOMAS
Art Director CHRISTINA TZOURAS
Producers JEFF DUPRE CHRISTINE MCKENNA
Writers ELIZA STARR BYARD JEFF DUPRE CHRISTINE MCKENNA
Paris Barclay is an acclaimed director of television, film and music videos including LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out.' The openly gay Harvard graduate has since gone on to direct successful shows such as The Shield, Cold Case, CSI, ER, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, Lost, House M.D., Law & Order, Monk, Numb3rs, City of Angels, and more recently The Mentalist, Weeds, Sons of Anarchy, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Good Wife, In Treatment, and Glee. He has two Emmy awards, a Director's Guild of America Award and two NAACP awards for his work.
E Lynn Harris (1955-2009)
Harris sold his first book 'Invisible Life' in 1991 out of the trunk of his car before he landed a book deal and later went on to have nine of his books on the New York Times Best Seller's list making him among the most successful African American or gay authors of his era. Openly gay, he was best known for his depictions of African American men who were on the down-low and closeted. He was one of the first authors to explore being black and gay in his works of fiction.
Is most famous as the lead actor in the Showtime series, 'Noah's Arc,' also known as the black gay male 'Sex and the City.' Though initially reluctant to talk about his sexuality, Stephens confirmed that he is gay in 2007 but remains guarded about his private life.
Bill T. Jones began his dance career at the State University at Binghamton as a theater major. Jones choreographed and performed worldwide before founding the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with his late partner Arnie Zane. He is the recipient of a Tony Award and MacArthur "genius grant."
In 1986, his father died of AIDS, a fact the family did not openly discuss with the world. In 1996, he found out that he himself was infected with HIV, a fact he did not then openly discuss with the world. Duane is a living, thriving example of an openly HIV-positive Black gay man, sharing his talents and his truth with the world. Today, Duane Cramer is a successful San Francisco-based freelance photographer deeply involved with community events and organizations. He was a founding member on the board of directors of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, and a board member emeritus for the NAMES Project Foundation AIDS Memorial Quilt. He was also co-chair for the Millennium March on Washington for Equality in 2000. Through his photography and his personal life, Cramer is now a tireless activist in his community and a passionate advocate of HIV/AIDS awareness and education. He had the pleasure of escorting Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore through the AIDS quilt in Washington, D.C., and he donates significant time to the Black AIDS Institute, which is all to say that he’s come a long way from a man who was once silent when it came to the subject of AIDS.
As a Black director who is openly gay, Patrik-Ian Polk challenges stereotypes just by showing up for work. But Polk is not content just being a player in the Hollywood game. Polk is intent on being a player who makes a difference in the Black gay community. Not only does the Mississippi native’s work feature Black gay characters who are thriving, his work also depicts those same Black gay men as dealing openly and honestly with HIV/AIDS. Some of his directorial work includes Punks and Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom. He is also the creater of the TV series Noah's Arc.
Jermaine Stewart (1957-1997)
Stewart was well known in the 1980s with appearances on shows such as American Bandstand and Soul Train. Stewart was an American pop singer best known for his Billboard hits "The Word Is Out" from his 1984 debut album of the same name and "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" from his 1986 album Frantic Romantic. In 1997 Stewart died due to complications from his battle with AIDS.
Phil Reed (1949-2008)
After being involved in the 1969 Stonewall riots—viewed by many as the birth of the gay rights movement—Reed spent time in San Francisco as a political activist for gay issues while working as a salesman for Otis Elevator. A decade later, he returned to his hometown and became involved in local politics through his work with his neighborhood block association. Eventually, he left his sales job to become the project director for the East New York HIV/AIDS Project and the director of public affairs for the Hetrick-Martin Institute. From 1998-2005, he was a member of the New York City Council. His District 8 encompassed parts of 6 Manhattan neighborhoods. Despite the fact that he represented a mostly Hispanic population, Reed was the first openly gay African American New York City Council member, as well as its first openly HIV-positive member. From 2002 to 2005 he was the chair of the Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs. For many years, he served on the HIV Planning Council, which advises New York City on the disbursement of federal funds received under the Ryan White AIDS Care Act. He also did work with the Harvey Milk High School, a public school administered by the Hetrick-Martin Institute and serving LGBT and questioning youth. On November 6, 2008, Philip Reed, who lived with HIV for more than a quarter-century, died at age 59 of complications of pneumonia that resulted from leukemia. He was reportedly very proud of the fact that a biracial African American was running for the presidency, and was overjoyed on Election Night when Barack Obama was declared the president-elect.
Page last updated: 04/01/17