Written by: Mark Pollard
Black Gifted & Whole is a call-to-action for black gay men to love and support each other; to celebrate each other in spite of, and to recognize their true potential to create change in today’s society. Founded by Guy Anthony, President, and well-respected HIV/AIDS activist/author and George Johnson, Vice President as well as a writer and media maven with articles posted in some of the today’s most popular publications like Complex and Vibe. These two men are the driving force behind the foundation, mentoring and building young gay black men to become community leaders in a society that doesn’t always accept differences amongst fellow genders and races.
Anthony founded the organization back in 2015 as a way to combat the racial and social inequities that exist for Black, gay/queer men.
“I had this idea after attending a conference for HIV & Aids, and there was this hierarchy there that I just felt I did not belong to”, founding President Guy Anthony said. “Later that evening when I was watching Black Girls Rock on BET, I was just inspired by the way black women were so supportive of each other and the many mentoring programs that were showcased as well. I wish that was around for young gay black men because I recognize the hurt. I love and play in the community and I see the hurt daily as well as feel the pain that we’re never good enough. Also, the way that we’re portrayed in media and my circle of friends didn’t necessarily reflect that narrative.”
Black, Gifted & Whole directly combats skewed images of black gay men by celebrating, acknowledging and affirming a Black Gay man’s WHOLE self.
“Unfortunately, our portrayal in media is that we’re always backstabbing, that we don’t help each other or support each other like other communities do”, George Johnson, Vice President explained. “I believe that it’s important to remind everybody that a community can grow when you uplift each other in a way that people may have never been uplifted before.”
As well as with the initiative to mentor and provide events/workshops for future ambassadors and all in the public who wants to be involved, The nonprofit also seeks to create strategies to assist with the elimination of educational and systematic barriers for Black gay/queer men as they pursue valuable life skills as well.
“What I hope to see is the creation of more spaces”, Johnson explained. “That we’re funding our own especially since Pell Grant has been cut by 3.8 million thanks to Trump’s administration, that we can pick up the slack and send our kids to school.”
The organization’s current initiative seeks to inspire social change. The Black, Gifted & Whole HBCU Scholarship Ambassador Program will provide selected students financial support and mentor throughout their college career.
“We are looking for black gay and queer young men, mainly high school seniors but we’re also taking people that are already in college as well. We’re looking for people, who are ready to create change”, says Johnson.
The foundation will award up to five students across the country that has been accepted to an HBCU. The scholarship will offset the cost of tuition, money for books and a yearly food stipend.
In 2015 Black Gifted and Whole awarded more than $4,000 in scholarships to Washington D.C. native Jauan T. Durbin. Durbin is the first-ever HBCU scholarship recipient of the program and is studying Political Science at Morehouse College.
“We already have a success story in terms of our first scholarship recipient Jauan Durbin who’s attending Morehouse College studying Political Science”, says Anthony. “He recently told myself and George that because of our mentorship, he is out and proud on the school campus. He’s also a part of the safe space and has already introduced inclusive narrative to their policy handbook. So we’re already seeing the fruits of our labor and that’s just one student at one HBCU. So imagine the impact we could have with 100 students on all HBCU campuses.”
Black Gifted and Whole is a progressive attempt to change the narrative of Black gay men across the world. From education to media, this foundation is well on its way to making a huge difference within the black gay community as a whole. Through scholarships, mentoring, workshops and events Black Gifted and Whole is currently on the search for its next success story. Are you ready to create change?
For more information on the Scholarship Ambassador Program, visit www.blackgiftedwhole.org.