First Lady urges youth to vote to ensure LGBT rights, among other things

By : Wire Report
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Jackson, Miss. (AP) – First lady Michelle Obama told graduates of a historically black university in Mississippi that “the power of voting is real and lasting” and they need to cast ballots to protect civil-rights advances made by previous generations.

She said many young African-Americans have disenfranchised themselves because only about 20 percent of them voted in the 2014 midterm elections.

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Acclaimed poet Derrik Austin brings sexuality, race and bluntness to Orlando reading

By : Brendan O'Connor
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It isn’t the stuff that “lauded poetry” brings to mind, necessarily – the dusty bristle of Caucasian blues set to rhyming schemes and meters – but Florida native Derrick Austin is breaking barriers and furrowing brows with his visceral and poetic take on otherness. And the praise has been plentiful. He certainly isn’t shy.

“Slowly eat out my asshole, slowly while bees
lave daffodils on our balcony and remember
each bloom with dance. You growl. I lick
your armpits. Come, come for me, you say,
our moans made fluid on our canvas of a bed.”
– 6., Trouble the Water, BOA Editions 2016

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Guest column: Remembering Civil Rights leader and LGBT advocate Julian Bond

By : Susan Clary
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Susan Clary

If you are involved in fighting for equality and speaking out against injustice, you may cross paths with well-known leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. Many of them travel to cities to inspire younger generations and teach history through their speeches.

Meeting contemporaries of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provides an opportunity to glean wisdom from their struggles. When I heard Julian Bond would be at the NAACP National Convention in Orlando two years ago, I jumped at the chance to cover it for Watermark.

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GLAAD study finds studio movies behind in LGBT roles

By : Wire Report
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New York (AP) — An annual study by GLAAD has found that Hollywood studios continue to lag in producing films representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, despite a slight improvement over the last year.

Examining the 114 films released by the seven largest movie studios in 2014, the study found that 17.5 percent of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. There were no identifiably transgender characters. The findings, released on April 15, are a slight uptick from the 16.7 percent of “inclusive” movies from 2013.

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LGBT group gives grants to HBCUs to aid inclusion

By : Wire Report
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The educational arm of an LGBT rights group is seeking to advance LGBT inclusion on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has teamed up with Promised Land Film to award $4,000 grants to four schools to allow them to use the documentary, “The New Black,” to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion.

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‘Orange is the New Black’ at The Brink

By : Veronica Brezina
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Orange is the New Black‘s Taryn Manning, who plays Pennsatucky, and Dascha Polanco, who plays Daya Diaz, headlined at The Brink July 26.

Manning, who is a DJ, spun jams all night long, including her well-known song “Turn it up.” Polanco joined her on stage and danced for the hundreds of OITNB fans in the crowd.

Follow the jump for more photos from the event.

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Guest column: Diversity requires mutual respect, not jealous ranking of oppressions

By : Richard Rosendall
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Richard Rosendall

Richard Rosendall

Sierra Mannie, a University of Mississippi senior, wrote a commentary picked up by Time eirlier this month titled, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.” Here’s a portion:

“I need some of you to cut it the hell out. … I don’t care … how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood.”
Someone was looking for a throw-down. She talked about Beyoncé, white privilege and the legacies of racism and sexism. She made some valid points. She also said that black women “cannot hide their blackness and womanhood to protect themselves the way that you can hide your homosexuality.”

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Hip Hop Tuesday & Orlando Black Pride Kickoff 2014

By : Patrick O'Connor
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DJ Scott Roberts provided the hip hop beats for the kickoff to Orlando Black Pride June 3. It was held at Parliament House during their regular Hip Hop Tuesday.

P-House looked fabulous and the crowd was high-energy, friendly and ready to party. Watermark spent most of our time with a gang of hot ladies from Tampa who were ready to go crazy. Everyone was already super excited for the Gay Days weekend ahead.

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