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In (my) Memory of Nashom

In the words of The Ones, “Just like perfection. Like no other, flawless. Absolutely flawless.”

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I was very much an indie rock kid in college, definitely a child of Myspace who loved white belts and any band that started with “The” and ended with a random noun. Dance music never has a season though and one of my favorite songs before I moved to New York was “Flawless” by The Ones. It was already about five years old before I stumbled across it, but I put it on so many mix CDs — Music to Drive to, Light Chair Twerk, Sunday Cleaning — because the bassline was unmatched.

Fast forward some years, and I was at the Cock (the old location they turned into a pet store or some apartments) and I was butt naked talking to the DJ about random stuff. See, back in the DAY day, if I was out with the Twinklets (this group of skinny fashion gays who went to FIT) and we got too drunk on $2.50 well drinks at Boiler Room and a couple of demonic Long Island iced teas at Urge, we would roll into The Cock feeling our oats and I would strip down to nothing, hide my gear behind a speaker, and give my keys-wallet-phone-underwear to Justin so he could hold on to them in case someone stole my clothes (no one ever did!).

On one particular evening, I was lit but not super lit, and I was carrying on a conversation about music with the DJ, trading “obscure” songs back and forth. I brought up “Flawless” and I don’t remember the conversation word for word, but I — a country bumpkin from nowhere SC — thought no one would remember this minor dance hit from ten years ago.

DJ: Oh, I know that song.
Me: Really? No one ever knows that song. How do you know it?
DJ: It’s my song.
Me: What?
DJ: It’s my song.

And that’s how I met Nashom Wooden, trying to expose him to a song he already knew because he was 1/3rd of the group who made it, while I was taking a break from exposing myself to everyone in this dark bar on 2nd Avenue.

Fast forward a couple more years to a random Wednesday night at The Cock (still the old location) and it was Diva Night. I don’t remember what the exact name of the night was, but there were t-shirts for sale that had different divas on them and all of the drag queens would perform songs by the same artist. That night I had my hair down and slightly teased a la Janet from the Control era and the bartender liked it so much he gave me one of the Janet t-shirts that matched my hair. Jay Roth was gogo dancing in what basically amounted to string and Justin was being hit on by a guy who was twice our age but probably twenty times our net worth, so we let him buy us a few drinks.

The night was Cher and it was Mona Foot’s turn. I didn’t really know Cher like that so I’d never actually heard “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves” before…and I wasn’t sure Mona had either! She only mimed one part: gyppsiiiiesss tramps and thieeeves. That’s it. She covered her face with her hands, she took sips of people’s drinks, and she hid behind columns and stuck a leg out to do choreography, but she did NOT lip sync that song. And we LIVED! OMG we talked about that performance for years. It became one of the top ten references Justin and I would toss out when we randomly wanted to ((dramatic voice)) relive the youth of our early days in the big city ((/end dramatic voice)).

Yesterday Justin sent me this text:

I looked it up just to confirm and the top search result was from Billboard. It’s the first COVID-19 passing of someone I’ve ever been acquainted with. Not that I really knew Mona Foot or Nashom. That Cher lip sync was the only time I’d ever seen her perform, and I’d only had maybe 20 conversations with Nashom over the past decade (almost all of them about music — debating Kelly Rowland remixes is my favorite memory with any DJ), but three of my favorite musical memories and three of my favorite memories living in NYC were thanks to Nashom: the artist, the drag queen, and the DJ.

In the words of The Ones, “Just like perfection. Like no other, flawless. Absolutely flawless.”

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LGBT

Niecy Nash ties the knot with singer Jessica Betts.

This is Beyonce levels of keeping your mouth shut and we commend everyone in the Nash/Betts camp.

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2020 just never stops surprising us!

Did y’all know Niecy Nash was divorced? and bisexual? and in a relationship? with a woman? This is a lot to process!

Rewind a little with me.

I just found out who Jessica Betts was in 2014, thanks to Youtube. I was in a R&B deep dive watching new music and I fell in love with “Holdin’ On” because her voice was so rich and I loved the idea of a lesbian R&B diva (this was before Monifah came out and got married).

Jessica wasn’t new to the scene though — just new to me. Back in 2005, Missy Elliot had a hip-hop/R&B take on American Idol that aired on UPN called Road to Stardom.

road to

Judged by Mona Scott (yes, that Mona Scott), Dallas Austin, and Teena Marie (that’s two Teena mentions today on this blog, must be some Square Biz in the air), the competition was won by a 23-year-old writer from Chicago named Jessica Betts.

jessicabetts

Over in the Timeline of Niecy Nash, Carol Denise married Reverend Don Nash back in 1994 and they divorced in 2007. The wedding preparations during her next relationship aired on TLC and she married Jay Tucker in 2011. They split last year, the divorce was finalized in March, and now she and Jessica have tied the knot and none of us knew!

This is Beyonce levels of keeping your mouth shut and we commend everyone in the Nash/Betts camp. Also, let this be a lesson to put whatever energy out there into the world you want to receive, because Niecy and Jessica are married in 2020, but all the way back in 2016 Niecy was stanning her future wife on Twitter.

If Twitter gets you a life partner, y’all minuswell go ahead and get your wedding gifts ready for my future nuptials to Dan Levy.

 

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Valentina Sampaio, Sports Illustrated, and trans women under the male gaze.

Trans model Valentina Sampaio is the definition of “threatening” to fragile masculinity. 

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Brazilian-born Valentina Sampaio is one of eight rookies in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit class of 2020 and she’s the first openly transgender model to grace the pages of the magazine. Since taking over the Swimsuit issue in 2015, editor MJ Day has pushed for inclusiveness in the magazine. She joined the staff as an intern in the 90s who had to sort through thousands of bikinis in a closet to send back to designers, and now she heads a team of only four SI staff-members who work for the Swimsuit edition full time. What she says goes, and she’s been going for diversity.

The inclusive spirit of Sports Illustrated’s current model lineup can be credited to the publication’s longtime editor in chief, MJ Day. Day included Graham as the first plus-size model in 2016; Halima Aden as its first hijabi face in 2019; and had Banks return at the age of 46 to dazzle on the cover in 2019, all of which has heightened the relevance of the annual issue.

(cont. Vogue)

Of course, none of those picks will draw the same pushback as Sampaio, but I think she can handle the criticism. Trans models are the bravest women in the industry because everyone has an opinion on what is or isn’t in their pants, and for the segment of the population being courted by SI, Valentina is the definition of “threatening” to their fragile masculinity.

And those last two are the crux of the issue: straight men who think being attracted to trans women is a statement on their heterosexuality.

Men who are quick to express their disgust over trans women are weak. If you were attracted to her before you knew she was trans, you still are. You don’t turn it off with a switch. You’re just pretending not to be because you think it says something about your sexuality, which is still linked with your masculinity in the minds of most people.

And you can save the the “but I don’t like dicks” argument. I promise you she has no intention of sleeping with you, so what she does or doesn’t have between her legs is absolutely none of your business. If the only thing that stops you, a heterosexual male, from being attracted to  someone or makes you, a heterosexual male, attracted to someone is the space between their legs, then what you’re saying is, this man (Trip Richards, who does porn, so we know what his genitals look like) who has a vagina is someone you can be attracted to:

TRIPLE

And this woman, who may or may not have a penis, is someone who disgusts you:

valentina1

Let’s also be very clear: no straight man is disgusted by a penis. If he was, he wouldn’t watch porn. And porn wouldn’t be dominated by men with large dicks getting hard for other men to watch go in and out of women, sometimes alongside other men with large dicks (seriously, gangbangs and DP should make you question your heterosexuality way more than a woman who was born with a penis).

The bottom line is, if there is a trans woman in front of you and you are attracted to that woman, be secure in that attraction without commenting on what is or isn’t under her skirt. You don’t ask cis women to confirm that you like the way their vagina looks before you decide whether they can have the honor of appearing in your little fantasies, so don’t ask trans women. The only time anybody’s genitals should be of your concern is if they personally want you to experience them. Otherwise, go back to your basement and keep flipping through Sports Illustrated. I hear the Swimsuit issue is especially good this year.

 

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Fire Island said “what pandemic?”

The gays threw caution — and masks — to the wind this weekend.

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Everybody in Fire Island over the 4th of July weekend is being lumped together into the same pile of garbage because of videos like this:

So let’s break that up a little bit, because this is America and we love Labels & Boxes.

I have money and I’ve been here for weeks.

Some gays have money, some gays have friends with money, and some gays have friends who have friends with money. And they’ve been in their beach houses for weeks or months. One of my friends left the city in April and has been chilling in the sea air away from NYC congestion living his best, relaxed life. These are not the people in those videos.  These people are sitting at home playing Bananagrams.

I had a share and I couldn’t cancel it.

NYC gets tiring, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I’m going on a road trip in a few weeks to go sit in the mountains and hear sounds that aren’t fireworks and ambulances. One of my roommates is in Rhode Island right now.  I can’t speak for everybody else, but I plan to get tested the week before I go, isolate, and wait for my results so I don’t unwittingly carry anything into rural North Carolina. I definitely understand the urge to get out of this city, especially when we’ve been stuck in it for so long.

So, if you already had a share in Fire Island for the weekend that you paid for six months ago, I can understand not canceling it. Go get out of the city, breathe, see the ocean, etc.

Some of these people are sitting at home playing Uno. And some of these people are definitely at the parties showing off the Parke & Ronens they haven’t gotten to wear this year.

I literally die without seeing and being seen by hot strangers.

I’m trying to share my thoughts on this with as little shade as possible because I do not understand this impulse. However! One of my roommates is an actor/comedian and I don’t understand the impulse to be on a stage either, but I can see how not having that outlet these past few months has affected him. Some folks are just wired to be around groups of people, and I — as someone who generally hates strangers and most people — will never be able to fully wrap my head around that need. I don’t need to feel like I’m in the mix of something to be whole, so I don’t get it when some of my friends are dying because they don’t have access to this:

I don’t enjoy that, ever, so I can’t contextualize missing it so much you would risk your health and the health of others to jump back into it for a weekend. I haven’t really been missing anything during the Covid Crisis other than museums and yeast rolls, so my Risk and Reward calculation for that kind of party his High Risk and No Reward. I have friends who went to Fire Island for the weekend and some of them will have definitely been at those little parties. Their calculation is High Risk and Very High Reward.

But honestly…I trust them not to infect other people. One of the guys in my social distancing bubble decided to break the bubble and go to Fire Island this weekend. He’ll probably be partying all weekend around various bugs, Miss Rona included. His plan is to wear a mask when he’s not partying, isolate for two weeks at home when he gets back, and then get tested. The only people he’s endangering are other people at the parties who made the same Risk and Reward calculation, so I don’t really have anything to say about it. I don’t understand it, but as long as you’re responsibly making sure you don’t potentially pass anything to unwitting strangers, what more can I ask?

This guy is trash though.

 

 

coreyrona3

 

For every ten people who want to be as responsible as possible, there’s a pathological narcissist like Corey who is willingly putting people in danger because he made the great sacrifice of sitting in his room for 8 whole days. There are too many variables in a group, and the more people you have, the more likely it is that some of them are assholes, idiots, or both.

I hope everybody in Fire Island is having a great time and getting whatever boost they needed from this weekend around other like-minded individuals. I hope they mask up around everybody who did not sign up to be infected with a potentially deadly illness for the joy of thumpa thumpa and alphabet drugs. I hope they isolate for two weeks when they get back home and then get tested. And I hope they’ve gotten their fix for awhile so they can survive the next few months without putting communities in danger again.

 

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