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Blade to escort Leakes, Harris-Perry to White House dinner

Larry Wilmore to emcee annual celeb-fest in D.C.

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NeNe Leakes, gay news, Washington Blade

NeNe Leakes will join the Washington Blade’s table at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner. (Photo by iDominick; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Washington Blade announced this week plans to escort two prominent LGBT allies to Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner: actress and reality TV star NeNe Leakes and professor and former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.

Leakes has starred in “Glee” and “The New Normal” and appeared on Broadway in “Cinderella” and “Chicago” in addition to her role on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Harris-Perry is a professor at Wake Forest University. She hosted the “Melissa Harris-Perry” show on MSNBC from 2012-2016 and recently was named editor at large for Elle.com.

“Both of these women have been allies to the LGBT community in different ways and the Blade is happy to thank them for their visibility by inviting them to join our table at the White House Correspondents Dinner,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff, who will attend along with the Blade’s White House reporter, Chris Johnson.

This year’s dinner marks the final appearance by President Obama, who is scheduled to deliver the traditional monologue. Larry Wilmore of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show” is the emcee. Red carpet arrivals are televised starting at 6 p.m. on various cable networks; the program begins at 7:30 p.m.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. tamaratattles

    April 27, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Was it all of the times Nene Leakes has screamed homophobic comments on the #RHOA reunions that you found to be somehow beneficial to the LGBT community? Or perhaps the time she screamed at a gay man who was assisting her to STOP BEING SO DAMN GAY? Or maybe the time she said to her gay boss, “What do you want a big ole gay parade?”
    Because you can’t POSSIBLY be serious.

    • Valour Cobbins

      April 27, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Or maybe it was when she tried to “gay shame” her coworker’s husband saying how “sassy” he is, alluding that he is an undercover homosexual.

      • tamaratattles

        April 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        Wait, maybe it was the time she thought it was cute that a gay male guest at her pajama party was beaten up by a convicted felon and used gay slurs in the retelling of events to the other women on the show.

        • Linda Blansky

          April 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm

          Brenda instigated the fight. In fact he was the aggressor. Nene Leakes had nothing to do with it. Maybe Toxic keny the one who called Kim Fields husband Gay is the one you should spea with.

    • Tashee

      May 4, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Nene is a fan of the gay community. Gay people love her. Making negative statements about a few gay people does not mean she hates gay people! She has done several charity events in support of the gay community. She did one several years ago with Naomi Campbell and others as well.

      Are you a racist for your disdain for Nene Leakes? Maybe it really pains you to see a black woman succeed, who doesn’t fit neatly into your mold of what an “ideal black” should be.

  2. Shelbye Lee

    April 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

    This is a joke, right? How can a completely illiterate person who loves to insult gays be invited by a gay publication to represent them at a journalists’ fete?

    • divamyself

      April 28, 2016 at 2:47 am

      I wondered the same.

    • Tashee

      May 4, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Oh stop reading the racist blogger…And I know you read her blog. Nene loves gay people. She has said nothing bad about them! Speaking negatively about ONE gay person does not make you hate gay PEOPLE. Just as speaking negatively about ONE black person does not make you a racist. Get it? Think for yourself and stop relying on fat racist bloggers who happen to hate Nene Leakes.

  3. Brian's Ions

    April 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I do look forward to reading some Blade table-talk from Harris-Perry as to how– a month into it– various segments of NC’s communities feel about HB2 and its sponsors, the guv, the boycotts and the wider impact on all civil rights in North Carolina.

    Here’s some background news made by Wake Forest’s president this week…
    CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/ Viewpoint Section
    **Wake Forest president on why HB 2 is hurting his school, and the state**

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article74171157.html

  4. Linda Blansky

    April 28, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Nene Leakes what a compliment. Congrats on the invitation.

  5. rhonu

    April 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Nene gets to see President Obama’s last correspondence dinner. This is a big deal. I saw her walking the red carpet and taking pictures. She looks nice in her black gown.

  6. slowe11

    May 1, 2016 at 11:07 am

    What gay couples were present last night. They the gays and lesbians bring their partners? Don Lemon? Johnathan Caphardt? Who else?

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action

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Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January

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SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9

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David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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