Posts tagged love

I Changed My Mind, I’m On PrEP

I identify as a harm reductionist. I believe in the idea of being fully aware of the consequences of risky behaviors, and utilizing strategies to reduce the risk out of them. I look both ways before I cross the street. I keep my shoes tied. I wear condoms when I have sex. I do my part in trying to not put myself in harms way of anything that could be harmful — and ironically why I was against PrEP.

I couldn’t wrap my head around not using condoms, being tested regularly, and having to take a pill for the rest of my life. In the current state of Blackness and the way PrEP is marketed, I always felt like it was some racist target to medicate the Black gay community…or something. I mean, that’s not a far fetched idea right? The Tuskeegee Experiment comes to mind.

I guess I should explain what PrEP is, no? PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it’s the use of anti-HIV medication that keeps HIV negative people from becoming infected. Essentially, a pill someone can take daily to greatly the reduce the risk of contracting HIV while in addition to practicing safe sex. We tend to always look for something quick to remedy us as opposed to focusing on the root of the problem. We see it with obesity, mainly. Hydroxycut, Phen-Phen, or those bad bitch teas they sell on instagram which is a one-stop-fix-this-problem magic potion without changing any of the behaviors contributing to the heart of the matter.

“Why can’t we just work out our issues with promiscuity, dating/sex apps, and dating by proxy? A pill is just contributing to the problem.”

That’s something I said numerous times, and it’s not completely off kilter. There’s this notion in the health community that we may be pacifying risky sexual behavior because HIV/AIDS campaigns aren’t aggressive enough in tackling reducing the community viral load — in other words, the ads suck and are too soft. “Oh, if I get infected I can take a pill, become undetectable and I’m cool? Bet.” That’s one argument. There’s a few others around. I was vehemently opposed to this entire concept until last week. I went to the doctor for the first time in years.

Full disclosure: the doctor is scary for me. Nothing ever has good with me visiting a doctor or a hospital so I stay away. I have had a change of heart recently due to a health concern (it was just acid reflux, I’m fine) and I went. I had a physical and had the doctor test me for everything. I got the results in two days, so naturally I was sweating bullets. I came back negative for everything…and I asked for a prescription for PrEP.

In March, Damon Young of VerySmartBrothas and The Root wrote about the reasons why Black men don’t go to the doctor. If straight Black men aren’t going to the doctor, imagine those who have sex with men. The stigma and fear, and lack of understanding from medical professionals is just enough for us Black gay men to rub some tussin on it and keep it pushin’.

What changed my mind?

Two things: statistics and quality of life.

We are becoming infected at an astronomical rate. I have no intentions on dating outside of my race to reduce the viral load due to it being concentrated with risk. In February of 2016, the Center for Disease Control announced that half of gay and bisexual black men and a quarter of gay and bisexual Hispanic men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes. The numbers show that it’s almost common place for Black MsM (men who have sex with men) to become infected. There’s a lot of us who are in committed monogamous relationships, and someone may be unfaithful and infect another person with the virus — a not uncommon story in the LGBTQ+ community. Also, people lie about their HIV status out of fear, denial, or them not knowing since, by large we don’t necessarily go to the doctor. There’s also a lack of sexual education in our community. Essentially, we’re socialized and learn how to protect ourselves in a heterosexual way, but not when it comes to having sex with other men. With that being said, it really lessens the dating pool.

Growing up gay, the golden ideal was to date and love someone who was not HIV positive as there was a fear you could contract HIV or some other social issue. There’s a lot of us who ideally would like someone who is not HIV negative, and whatever their reasons are it’s okay. But if the numbers are showing that half of us will become infected with HIV, and by large a lot of men (positive or not) aren’t compatible with you and trash, what’s left? This is all to assume that someone is being completely honest of course.

So, I decided to take PrEP in addition to condoms (because it does not protect against all STDs) as the air bags to my seatbelt. I did it for me.

And I feel good about it.

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Iladelph Fantasy

Over the years, I’ve been trying to figure out what or who my ideal man is. At one point, I thought it was going to be Ryan Phillippe. Not to say that’s not #BaeGoals, but I prefer my chicken to be cooked if you smell what I’m stepping in. I often think about what my ideal guy looks like, smells like, what kind of soap he uses, what he calls his mother…all that. With much thought and deliberation, I have figured out who he is. Now, this isn’t to deter you future baes. This is just an IDEAL n*gga. A fantasy n*gga, if you will.

I’d like to introduce you all to my Illadelph Fantasy.

Note: This reads like an Eric Jerome Dickey novel. Enjoy.

We’d meet in Philadelphia. Our eyes lock across the room at a Roots concert hosted by I’m wearing my “Hip Hop Raised Me” sweater. He’s wearing black jeans–fitted, but not skinny. He’s wearing an Assata Taught Me hoodie. His locs look long, but he has them up in a style fit for a king. His locs match his complexion – a pretty shade of roasted peanut butter. His full lips take a sip from his drink that seems to be something dark and on the rocks. I turn around briefly, and I feel a tap on my shoulder. I’m greeted with a smile and a question.

“You smoke?”

He has the biggest smile, perfect teeth, and a set of eyes that heaven and earth dwelled within.

“Let’s get out of here.”

I follow and we end up sitting atop the roof of his car smoking high grade and watching the stars, with Cody ChesnuTT playing. He tells me his name is Rashaan, but he’s known around the way as Shah. He grew up in North Philly, and went away to college on a basketball scholarship. He hurt himself in an accident, and was unable to play. He finished his degree and earned a Masters in Public Administration. He came back to the hood to open up a non-profit for di yute dem (He’s not Jamaican. I just thought that sounded cool).  He hops down from the car and just stands with his hands atop of his head and stares at me. He smells like egyptian musk and the most exquisite dank. He’s 6’4″ and 215lbs.


I’m taking you home.Shah


He drives me to his house instead of my hotel. “Your home is where ever I am.”

….and then we fuck until we’re both rendered unalive.


The end.


So, I turned 30. I was totally told by Apple Care that there would be a bevy of hoes and good fortune. In the past week, I’ve gotten neither. But since a winner don’t quit on themselves, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I logged on to a site where D&A was abundant, and intelligence and shame was void. I didn’t take my own advice by practicing self-love before getting on because that’s how you stop yourself from making bad decisions, but I figured I’m grown and I can make sage choices.

Woo shit. I was totally wrong.

I get a message from this young fellow. He was bearded and kind of fullfilled my Illadelph Fantasy (we’ll talk about that later). We had a short exchange of words, and I was off to his apartment in my neighborhood. I made up in my mind that if shit went left, that he lived by a Rite Aid and I needed to pick up deodorant so the trip wouldn’t have been in vain.

He was very secretive. He didn’t want to give me his apartment number and gave me all sorts of Alice In Wonderland ass directions to finally get there. I was slightly turned on by it.


I get to his apartment door and he opens the door where I can’t see him. He had MachoFucker porn playing on his Toshiba laptop that was in clear view. I stepped into the apartment and I get a look at him.


This n*gga is wide as God’s grace.

“Oh, so were those your pics,” I asked as I took a seat on the couch with a confused look on my face.

“Nah, that’s me but those are old,” he responded. He was wearing a wife beater that was so tight it could’ve only been made by NASA. “So, what’s up?”

N*gga! “What’s up?” The f*ck you mean?!

Here’s the thing:
I have no problem with fluffy men. Sometimes I’m in the market for a good thick piece of ham, but that’s not what was advertised and what I was in the mood for.
You thought that shit would fly? Like, how many people do you do this to? And how many people go along with it because they’re that f*cking horny.
You got me f*cked up.

I got up and said I had something to do. His face screwed and confused like this was a sure-fire plan to get his rocks out and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working. Or, maybe he was hungry. I don’t know.

“Oh, aight. I have to go to work anyway,” he said.

I walked out and went to McDonald’s.



Grace and Mercy

My mother used to own a Pontiac. I can’t remember if it was a Thunderbird, but I remember it being a coupe and it was grey. It looked like a DeLorean and albeit small, it was always able to handle a 6ft Douglas Fir Christmas tree attached to the roof via twine. Around the holidays, Sis (my mother, see previous posts) and I would sing carols at the top of our lungs with all the riffs and runs that our Black, beautiful hearts could muster. My favorite was “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” I sang it and my mother always would reach and hug, or hold my hand when it came to the lyric “you can plan on me.”  That memory played out in my head as I handed in my resignation letter about 3 weeks ago.

In a post on my social work blog , I talk about the things leading up to me leaving. And where I have spoken about being too old to not do things that make you happy and the like, I think one of the lessons I’ve been needing to hear through this “journey to 30” is that having people in your corner that love you unconditionally is God’s grace and mercy smack dab in your face.

I think for a good portion of my life, I felt like I had to do everything alone. That’s commonplace for Black gay men–this idea that no one will understand us sans subjugation, ridicule, or sheer hate. We become hardened and cold because of it, impacting us almost at a cellular level as this idea of thinking impacts every facet of who we are and what we become. And….it doesn’t have to be this way. God, or whomever or whatever  you believe, fashions people to be in our lives to make it through–to survive. Through journey to 30 and the lessons that come with it, I can surely attest to the power of friendship, family, companionship, unwavering and unconditional love from a support system that’s divinely ordered.


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WATCH: Husband Accuses Wife Of Sleeping With The Wu-Tang Clan

Shout out to the good people at Divorce Court to provide us this short morsel of fuckery. Watch as this man (who is a little howyewzewah if you ask me) and his whife (white wife) battle it out over allegations that she was involved in some groupie love with the Wu-Tang Clan.




Where Have I Been?: A Discovery of BJ the Chicago Kid’s Music


Recently, I was on an early Sunday morning ride up 75 North coming from a night of music and excess libation. The ride from Cincinnati to Dayton, Ohio wasn’t long at just 45 minutes. I’d driven it countless times and it provided me the will to completely escape mentally the entire way. As my mind was elsewhere,  I offered a buddy of mine the opportunity to control the AUX cable (an honor in many social circles). With pride, he accepted.

What came out of my speakers was a smooth yet raspy, hard yet appropriately soft, foreign yet eerily familiar sound. I asked, “Who is this?”. He replied “Oh, just this guy BJ The Chicago Kid“.  I was intrigued.

GoodLuv’n  was the song that caught my attention in the car and the one I was most eager to give a better listen. A soulfully sung confession of a man’s admiration of his lover, Good Luv’n showcases the raw emotion of classic R&B. It could be a constant on any a hip-hop and R&B station without losing its Rhythm and Blues identity along the way. And his voice? BJ the Chicago Kid is unapologetically soulful but fresh, and his influence by timeless and eternally cool stylings like Ronald Isley (his amazing cover of the Isley Brother’s Classic Don’t Say Goodnight is here), Marvin Gaye and 12 Play era R. Kelly is obvious. Once I got home I clawed through the internet for information on this amazing new artist I had just discovered. In a place and time where the line between R&B and Hip-Hop is so disappointingly blurred and at many times non-existent, where has this gem been? Apparently, right here all along.

A former background singer for gospel group Mary Mary, Brian “BJ The Chicago Kid” James Sledge released his first mixtape A Taste of Chicago in 2009 followed by his first digital album Pineapple Now-Laters in 2012. Recently he was even quietly nominated for a Grammy Award for his vocals on the hit SchoolBoy Q song Studio. Often we call artist underrated, but I can honestly say that this man is fits this mold. I have yet to hear him sing a solitary note not better than much of what’s played daily on the radio.


A few tracks to check out:

  • Good Luv’n – An personal and relatable confession of one’s affection. Complete with lyrical samples from Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On and Let’s Do It Again by The Staple Singers.
  • Lady LadyA slick song with a retro feel and modest shout-out to physical gratification. Full of creative word play and just straight up lovemaking without being excess or overbearing. Side Note: The video is just as dope.


  • One In A MillionIn a genre full of Aaliyah samples (Can we agree to let her rest?) this is the only one I have ever liked let alone loved. A perfect tribute mash-up of Aaliyah’s One In A Million, R. Kelly’s R&B Thug and Jodeci’s Feenin. BJ The Chicago Kid makes them flow effortlessly and seamlessly together to the point that if one didn’t know better they would think it was one song.

The man is talented.

BJ the Chicago Kid is what a perfect blend of hip-hop and soul used to and should be–together yet separate. BJ is truly a gem in this field of hardcore, loveless, mediocre R&B music. Where the hell has he been? Better yet where the hell have I been? Because BJ the Chicago Kid has been here. We just need to make sure he’s here to stay.

How Acceptable is Breaking Up Via Text?

Advancements in technology have effected nearly every way that we connect with one another. We can send a quick written message in the form of a text, a visual/non-verbal message with a picture, and we can even leave notes for one another through dozens of social media channels.

We have more ways to communicate with one another than ever before. As a result, however, we’re talking even less, particularly when it comes to the important conversations—like breakups.

Apparently breaking up via text is becoming a more common way for people to cut ties in a relationship. According to The Frisky, delivering the news via text is a tempting option for a lot of people because it relieves you from having to see the reaction in the other person’s face, or hearing the hurt in their voice that you could experience with a phone call. While they don’t recommend it, they do say that there are some circumstances when a text may not be so awful.

I think most people would agree that the only relationship where a text breakup would be acceptable is one that wouldn’t be defined as a relationship at all. Maybe you had a date or two, or just hung out with big groups of people—those would be the times where cutting ties via text would be acceptable. A simple, “I’m sorry…you’re really nice…. I just don’t see this going anywhere…”—or whatever works best for your situation—would suffice. Just be polite and friendly, yet firm, so you don’t give the person false hope.

Anything more than a date or two, though, and breaking up via text is pushing you dangerously close to asshole territory. After a certain amount of time, the person at least deserves a phone call.

But still, if you do decide to go this route, you should first take into consideration how the other person thinks of you. Remember, you may not think that the relationship warrants an in-person conversation, but the other person could. How would you feel if you were in their position? A text could either crush them, or they could shrug it off and move on. You never know how a person is going to react. Even if they don’t feel strongly about you, they could get upset just from the hit their ego takes for getting “dumped.”

Also you should have an idea about when the person you’re sending the text to will be receiving it. Avoid times where they might be at work or even early on in the day—no one wants to start their day like that. If they’re a typical 9-5er, sometime in the evening or after they get home would be best. Then they’ll have the opportunity to meet up with friends or spend some time alone and process everything before they have to put on a happy face again.

Since breaking up with someone over text is probably the most informal way you could go about it, you should be even more careful with your choice of words. Treat the situation delicately. In fact, the rules of breaking up with someone through a text message are pretty much the same as another textual portion of a relationship—sexting. Adam and Eve explained in a blog post that sending anything personal via text is risky, so before you type, consider treating the breakup the same way they suggest approaching sexting.

1. For a clear frame of mind, make sure that you’re sober. You want to make sure that your message is relayed in the right way. Don’t muddle things up with alcohol.

2. Remember that everything you send can be documented. If you get frustrated and start getting petty, every little comment you make can be posted on social media in a flash. Keep it clean and avoid mentioning anything sexual.

3. Make sure your battery is charged. Again, you don’t know how this person is going to react. They may want to talk, and you should be prepared and open to doing so. Some people just need to hear an actual voice before things start to sink in.

Personally, I would say that in most cases you should just put on your grown-up pants and do the thing in person. However, if you’re still looking for an excuse to do so, The Huffington Post released a pretty good list of 10 instances where breaking up via text would be acceptable. If you can’t find your current situation on there, than there’s probably some paperwork you need to be filling out as a new resident of Assholeville.


Why Are Bad Guys So Good In Bed?

This is a topic I have tried to avoid because I don’t want it to be true. I do not want to date anymore assholes. My heart has reached its douchebag limit. So, for my sanity, I am hoping that this has only been true in my life… so far. Here’s the thing about bad guys; we know they’re bad. We know they will hurt us. We know the relationship will go nowhere. I personally don’t shun bad guys because I know what to expect. When good guys do bad things it catches you off guard and hurts so much more. But that’s another post. The story I’m sharing with you guys today is by far the craziest thing I have ever dealt with after sleeping with a bad guy.

But first, a brief back story:

About five years ago, when I started sharing my dating stories on the interwebs, my friend X.D. shared a theory with me that changed the way I looked at men forever. I may have shared this quote in my blog posts on the occasions when there is actually magic occurring on my mattress, and then it all goes to shit shortly after. I was talking about the jerky things that guys seem to do, and how some of them don’t really make an effort to not be jerky. In those situations, the relationship would be in shambles and the only thing we had left was an awesome sex life. Somehow, they think that I should have no complaints because they make me climb the walls every once in a while. He nodded at me knowingly and said, “Guys with big dicks don’t apologize.”

Since my last relationship, I have been on a few dates. There was only one guy who was able to keep my attention. He was so right and so wrong. He was like chocolate and peanut butter. We went out for a good amount of time, and I was clear every time a kiss would turn into a full out make-out session that I wasn’t ready to go further. All the while I’m starting to see some cracks in who he said was and how he actually acted. When we would disagree on things he would tell me I was uptight and this was mainly because I was “backed up,” according to him.  Every time he got on my nerves, he would tell me that I wouldn’t think he was annoying if we were sleeping together. He would get up and dance around mimicking his trademarked sex moves and tell me that it would change my life and my attitude.

Finally, after he barely passed the probation period, I gave in. And dagnabbit he was right! I will go as far as to say that it was probably the best sex I have ever had. EVER! While I’m still catching my breath and asking The Universe how all this can be possible, his phone rings at 3am. His phone never rings when we’re together. He has an old Blackberry. He’s not on any social networks. He only uses his phone for work. So when he got up from on top of me to answer the phone, and he announced that it was work, I didn’t flinch. He DJs on the side and he was supposed to be at a party so I thought nothing of it. But then he runs out of the room to answer the call and I hear him speak way too smoothly for it to be one of his DJ friends.

I get up out of bed, and hear him not even trying to whisper while in my bathroom saying things like “I miss you too,” and “I wish I was there also.” Then he says goodbye by telling this person that his friends are calling him back to work. When he walks out of the bathroom and sees me standing there with my mouth open, he immediately gets a case of the “let me explains.” I didn’t want to hear it because it didn’t matter. He was talking to her with the same mouth he had all over me literally two minutes before he took the call.

He tried to make up a story that seemed so outlandish, that I had to point out all of the books in my apartment while scolding him for insulting my intelligence. Then he voluntarily shows me the texts messages between them to show that he just met her and that he only engaged her because he wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with him after one of our disagreements. I was supposed to feel better somehow because at least I wasn’t a side chick. Seriously?!

When I highlighted that he hadn’t even washed off the sex we had yet before he took a call. In.My. House. His response was like “Are you going to make that ruin what we just had?”  He was so assured about how pleased I was that he thought it could completely erase how displeased I was with his immediate actions.

So at this point, I start to tune him out. I don’t hear a word of the stupid explanation he keeps trying to sell me. All I can think about is that we indeed just engaged in a sexual experience that will change my life forever as he boasted during our courtship. He was trying to explain himself naked for heaven’s sake. I was between a rock and his hard place. At what point do we face the choice between our dignity and great sex? It’s not fair, and it happens more than we would like to admit. When you find out you’ve been cheated on after investing years with someone or after you are already deeply in love, we end up making this choice when we stick around. If it was presented to you as sex vs. dignity, we’d all choose dignity but when we think in terms of sex vs. forgiveness it doesn’t seem so bad. In this case, we have all experienced a  guy turning into an asshole after you  finally have sex…but immediately after? That’s a first for me.

He was still talking. I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about how to proceed. I started to gather his clothing and told him and that he needed to leave. But… like I said folks this was life changing physically and the chain of events afterwards definitely left an emotional scar. I thought, since I probably won’t see him ever again I might as well get one for the road. Before you judge me… refer back to lines about it being life changing.

Afterwards, I sent him on his way. Months of being the “good girl” didn’t change the outcome. I knew he was bad. Not that bad or even that bold. The truth remains that he was probably the WORST guy I have ever dated and I’ll never forget him because he was the complete opposite in bed.

To be fair, I had great “relations” with the only boyfriend I can put in the good guy file in recent years but I was so used to the “good ones” becoming bad that I didn’t appreciate him breaking out of every box I put him in. So I did the obvious thing; I sabotaged the hell out of the relationship and then gave my blessing when a nice girl came into his life shortly after. I hold on to him as a legend. A unicorn of sorts. We’re friends now, and every time we talk I smack myself on the forehead for letting him go. I wasn’t ready then. I am so ready right now. I have two examples of a really good guy and really good sex and I refuse to believe that this does not exist in one person.  Come on Universe, you cannot be so cruel.

Online Dating IV Featuring @HeyAssante

Watch as Assante and XD trek through the belly of the beast and give their hilarious commentary on online dating profiles. Follow Assante at @HeyAssante on Twitter. Be sure to watch the end of the video to see what’s next!

Caution: Dating A Blogger Is Hard!

We sit in front of a computer daily entertaining the masses with either social commentary on pop culture, or original content. We spend countless hours on building a solid brand to support ourselves and take a stake in new media. We spend our time interacting with fans and supporters who have made us who we are today. This all sounds hectic, yes but it’s the life we lead. However, there is one big issue that we as bloggers face that is seemingly ever present: Dating is hard.

Outside of the myths and misconceptions that bloggers or internet personalities are socially inept and just weird, dating, in my experience, has been a bit of a challenge. I have been single for quiet awhile (read: Cicely Tyson’s real age) and when I meet someone new, the same issues arise. About two years ago, I met a nice guy. He was attractive, educated, and well…he’s just fine. We met through a dating site and we hit it off real well. I never let him know initially who or what “X. D.” was because…it’s just something I don’t talk about too often. It’s not who I am entirely. We never met, the guy, and somehow he started following me on Twitter. It was then he realized who I was and retreated. It wasn’t until a year later when we randomly met up at a local restaurant where he said to me, “I wanted to date you badly, but you’re too much of a celebrity for me. I figured you would put all of our business on the internet and I couldn’t handle that.” I wish you all could see my face as I am reliving this moment. I hate excuses.  Do people really see us this way? Are we that hurt and affected of a people that when something goes wrong in our personal lives, we move to our supporters for e-motional support??

A year or so ago, I was dating someone who knew more or less who “X. D.” was. Again, me being a blogger had no part of our brief romance because I never let it define who I am. I invited him to an event as my date – arm candy for the boys to get jealous over. When we arrived at the event, I received a whole bunch of hugs, hand shakes, greetings and the like. My date had never been around “X. D.” and didn’t understand the industry entirely. He noticed that the people I was talking to were a bit flirtatious and although I kept them at bay, he got a bit jealous and left. Later, he explained he didn’t really care for all the attention and that it was all a bit too much for him.  I saw where he was coming from and apologized for throwing him in the trenches so to speak. Yet, it brought up a very valid concern as to what would happen if I happen to become “bigger?” I’m a bit more private than most when it comes to my personal life, but there will come a point where there will be a little overlap. Will they always retreat?

In any event, there will always be that “ONE” who seems to be everything that you’ve dreamed of but there always seems to be that one problem: they live across the country. Dating as a blogger is difficult because we are never sure that the prospect is falling for us or the personality that we portray to the public. When we seemingly find someone who is genuinely interested in us for who we are above what we do, we tend to hold on and perhaps even become a bit overzealous and irrational. Why? Because we aren’t used to it! There’s a point where sometimes we as bloggers what it feels like to be regular because people rarely see us as such. So when we have the opportunity to be “normal” around someone, emotions and things are amplified…


I can go on and on, but this is hard….