As a kid my memories of my father were striking, I remember him clean cut in tailored suits always about business. Daddy had a gift that appeared as magic because as a kid I could only identify it as a feeling that was experienced when you were in his presence. He exuded an energy that excited you and his words brought you closer. As I grew up into the role of the son who bared my father's name I was met with my father’s reputation for it had proceeded him in our community. When people found out that I was Dave Jr. their faces would light up, kind of in the same way Daddy caused people to glow when he was in their presence. Read More
'There are journeys, and there are journeys that become legends.'
I was just 15 years old when I met Les Brown. The world-renowned professional motivational speaker, best selling author, and television personality saw me in a room full of people. Not by chance, but because I, a minute black boy with big ears and curly brown hair was courageous enough to pursue is attention gracefully. When I was able to hold Mr. Brown attention long enough, I conveyed to him that I wanted to be able to speak with greatness like him and was hungry to live my dreams although I wasn’t entirely sure what they were. At the time I was a youth minister at a modest church in the quaint city of Indianapolis, who was outspoken in my public high school and in my conservative community.
Les Brown became a chosen father to me all of my teenage years, he mentored me out of the limiting negative mindset that I had been conditioned to believe and live my life based on. He shifted my perspective about my gifts, talents, and abilities and enlarged my vision of myself. He saw a special something within me that I wasn't able to see in myself. All of this because of one question he posed to me at 15, "What if you live your whole life and at the end of it you realized that it was all wrong?" This query shook me free because I was living my life based on what other folks believed to be right and I was prepared to dedicate my existence to their convictions, whether or not they resonated with me.
I was 21 when I organized a meeting with Maya Angelou.Read More
On being naked.
It’s liberating. I’ve waited a long time to get naked in front of the camera, spent the better part of my life afraid of being naked. Sheltered behind closed church doors, inundated with conservative ideology —ashamed of my bare brown skin to be exposed, I never featured my body growing up, I hid it. I’ve experienced enough judgement and shade from the holy to ever let someone catch me with my pants down.
What began as my saved and sanctified mother putting her hands over my eyes lids every time nudity appeared on the movie or television screen or her confiscating my Playboy magazines hidden carefully under my mattress, ended up creating a negative, shameful, and unaffirming connotation about nudity, sexuality, and sex. The religious dogma stirred into my psyche most of my life caused me to hate myself, my body, and sexual urges and fantasies.Read More
As I arrive upon the last Summer of my 20s there are a few things that must be noted about what it takes to let your life speak.
When I was a child I didn’t think much of my future. The life I’ve been able to lead all of my 20s would be considered fiction for me as a kid. I was raised in the belief that Jesus was coming back in a rapture and we the remnant would be gone in a blink of an eye. Therefore I didn't indulge my mind in the pleasures of the world. My brother and I were raised under rumors of war —Momma reminded us daily that it was the last days and that the devil was out to sift us like wheat. So we read the book of Revelations daily during homeschool and that was our reality.
Let the narrative you entertain for your life, serve your greatness.
I now believe that there is nothing but love for me in the universe. I tell myself stories of wonderment within my own life. And for Jesus to come back, would mean he left me and that he can not do. I am clear that no one, no devil, principalities, or powers are out to get me; I don’t run from, I leap into. For if there is no enemy within an enemy outside can do me no harm.
Be full of yourself; how empty of you to be full of anyone else.
Most of my 20s in publishing this magazine has been about the business of show.Read More
BITTER BITCH - IT'S YOUR SECRETS THAT MAKE YOU SICK
Before he walked out of my life, he said his only hope for me was that I become so great and powerful, such a success, that all the things he had done to break my heart, all the betrayals, lies, humiliations, all the pain he had caused would then mean nothing to me.
I write because I know I am not alone. If my heart is stuck, there are tens of thousands stuck also. It then becomes my mission to navigate through these experiences, the community at my heels, with bated breath along for the ride.
No one wants to be bitter, which is why most of us run from the idea and any slight accusation. We claim betterment in hopes to hide the down spiraling effect that takes place when someone you trusted enough to place your all on the line snatches the air from your lungs in an instant. When the knife that we never thought we would feel punctures our skin, into our flesh, tearing away at the wholeness we once knew, we many times are reduced to futures influenced by pain.Read More
Let me tell you of what it means to be Loud. For one is only Loud out of necessity. One may need to be Loud because ones volume does not suffice. One also may need to be Loud to battle suppression from another. Therefore one becomes Loud.
In a world where we are oppressed because of the melanin-colored brush strokes layered on the canvas of our skin or the lack of respect for our sexual or gender expressions or diversities; we are only Loud out of courage for life has humbled most of us.Read More
Something within me was mesmerized by something within him, and despite all my caution I understood him immensely. Whatever I found in him was special to me, Nirvana at best, and at best was often enough for nothing else to matter after him. We were on the run together on an adventure, and as long as we had each other there existed a fire, a love that would make us invincible against the world. For boys like us, there is not much we long for more than love and acceptance.Read More
It has taken me four days and nights to locate the words to share what my soul is feeling. My spirit is disturbed at the insanity of the ways of our world. My heart is broken because I wear my gayness like I wear my blackness, boldly without apology; just as my straight white brother wears his. I know the pulse of the LGBT experience of color like I know the spelling of my full name. Forty-nine of our brothers and sisters were gunned down, another 53 are wounded, some gravely, and still some of us on this wayward planet are not phased by this atrocity. Way too many of us don’t care because no one died that we knew or loved, no one close enough to us for us to taste the bitter blood in our mouths, or feel the void in our lives. There are many of us who are disturbed but are lost as to what to do and send our condolences in sadness. Most of us are looking for someone to blame. We have our pitch forks pointed in fear at the Muslim community; we have fashioned our own mental bombs armed for retaliation at ISIS.Read More
BY DAVE BRIDGEFORTH
Let me be clear. I am doing all of this for myself. This has nothing to do with anyone else. My own soul speaks to me at night, keeping me up, telling me what it is called to do. Telling me how to set a legion of hearts on fire, whispering to me the ingredients of love and honor. All of this is for me, so that I can live, because if I don’t reverence my soul's utterance, I will surely die in the land of the sleep walkers.
I don’t remember much about last summer. It is like a foreign film I saw at the theatre once and didn’t like it enough to write a review, but the tickets were a gift. What I do know is that I needed to take time to sink into myself, to indulge into me, and to understand the origin of my emptiness. I looked up and it had been a year. All four of the seasons had past. I had performed wondrously in the spot light of my ever rising career, but in the private shadows of my personal life I was stuck. Face down, ass up in mush; that’s what Maya Angelou called it, ‘Sentimentality, Mush.’ My mind was welded around the same boy that was becoming the man I’ve always wanted —at my hearts expense, and the nostalgia of our two year love affair.
I’ve been daydreaming about living a more fearless life. I realized for a year I hadn't touched the ground because I was scared shitless of it —the solidarity —the absolute of it paralyzed me. So I floated through the business of my world on large white fluffy clouds and met addiction with a firm hand shake. I didn’t know much about pain —what to do with it —how to handle it —where to put it all. Nor did I know how to collect the million tiny pieces of the heart I once had. I wasn't aware that there existed a pain that could change my whole pretty little life.
Something happens when you survive what you thought would surely take you out. When you make it over, elements inside you are different. There is a new truth you must live by; an understanding that you cannot ignore. You become familiar with a knowing; a strength alien to you. Fear wears a brand new dress; a colorful one with flowers.
My generation of young, funky, ultra-intelligent, progressive LGBT forces of color are searching for who they are. They have their hand stretched erect, lusting to be introduced to the fullness of who they are. Because there is no lightened path for them to know how much they matter, the CDC says, “One in two men of color who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.”
Those who understand that they matter stand flat foot with courage on the ground of their world. Anais Nin wrote that 'life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage'. Courage looks like knowing your status and daring to know the status of those who you select to give your only body to. Courage is not gambling with your life but instead letting this little light of yours shine bar none. Courage ventures to believe in the greatness that exist in us all. It reaches for the possibilities. My brothers and sisters, gay and lesbian and transgender are strong. We dodge bottles thrown at us on the street and hateful words shot at us like bullets because we just want to make it to the other side. The courage to know we matter is a birthright that most of my generation has yet to receive.
It is all a means to alignment. We want to be aligned. Like a dislocated hip. All the sex and the drugs and the partying, the high, the thrill of fulfillment doesn’t really fill us up. We are searching for the meaning of our lives, for the great introduction, and for the proof that we belong on the vacillating orb of soot. When you align yourself with the divinity that is all things, you will be able to say, “Let me be clear. I am doing all of this for myself. This has nothing to do with anyone else. My own soul speaks to me at night, keeping me up, telling me what it is called to do. Telling me how to set a legion of hearts on fire, whispering to me the ingredients of love and honor. All of this is for me, so that I can live, because if I don’t reverence my soul's utterance I will surely die in the land of the sleep walkers.”
What I have fervently come to know is that the only way to never touch the ground is to have enough courage to leap off the edge of life and grow your wings on the way down. If we don't, we deprive the world from experiencing the deity that is us, at a canvas of possibilities.
BY DAVE BRIDGEFORTH
It is difficult for me to identify what I've come to know in this moment in my life because the things that I thought I knew with good authority in many ways failed me this year. To the point where I felt I had lost my way and forgot who I was. So I'm not sure what I know as I navigate through all the experiences of 2015 the only thing I know to do as I examine the lessons, take in the memories and lean forward into the bright uneasy light of the new year is to trust. And I’ve come to know that trusting is a practice that will lead me higher.
Let me be clear, when I say trust, I don’t mean trust outwardly, I mean to trust inwardly, to hold the energy of trust in my day to day life. That looks like daring to believe in the divinity of who I am. I am learning to trust the process of my life, the same process that wakes me up in the morning, the same divine force that causes my hearts to beat without any conscious effort on my part.
The time for faking it until we make it is over. If we really believe that it is true that we are children of God, then why don’t we actually stand up in all of what that means? Why don’t we trust that fact, if it is in deed a fact? Why don’t we take the value of our existence seriously, more than we have in the past? The idea that there is nothing but love for us in the universe… Why don’t we trust that idea? If God is within us why don’t we exercise that power in our lives all the time.
So when I say I am learning to trust. I am learning that there is a power within me that can transform everything I see in front of me and all the people around me. I must only believe and trust in the truth that it is within me, instead of ignoring or sleeping walking through the gift that is this very life.
Last year there are many things I wish I would have done differently. All hell broke lose in my life last summer and my focus was on everyone and everything else. I talked about all the stuff going wrong, what I failed to do was trust. I forgot to trust that all things are working out for my good. That everything coming into my experience is love, no matter what situation it may be wrapped in. And so I’ve come to know that trusting is the same as remembering who you are. Not your name, status, or position, but who you are in your soul. It is remembering that your spirit is made up of the same stuff that the stars in the sky are made of. Trust the majestic sovereignty that is you, this is the New Year resolution, I’ve come to know.