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GLAAD is adding some Neon to its rainbow.
The LGBTQ media advocacy organization today has announced the creation of Neon, an ongoing digital content series that “aims to increase the visibility of black LGBTQ people,” through multi-dimensional, authentic portraits and stories. With the launch, the first photo and video series focuses on artist and poet Roya Marsh, whose legacy channels Audre Lorde, the late writer, feminist, librarian and civil rights activist. In conjunction with Black History Month, Neon’s black history legacy series continues with a feature of a black LGBTQ legacy figure every Tuesday and Thursday this month.
“We hope to help shift the narratives of underrepresented communities in media, especially for the black LGBTQ community and their allies. With an increase in violence and murders of black trans women, LGBTQ youth suicides, and a decrease in LGBTQ acceptance, Neon comes at a time when it’s absolutely critical to showcase diverse, fair and accurate representations of black LGBTQ people within the media” said DaShawn Usher, who serves as programs officer, communities of color and producer of Neon.
Neon’s content will cover four categories: In the Media, featuring stories about representation; Community Conversations, highlighting local stories and change makers; Celebrity Voices, for pop culture-themed content that looks at bold-faced names who are helping shape the narrative; and On the Scene, to give rise to LGBTQ presence at major events including upcoming stops at NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, Essence Festival, Black Women in Hollywood Brunch, American Black Film Festival, Black Girls Rock, MOBIfest, Afropunk and others.
Per the organization, Neon is “powered by GLAAD” with content curation overseen by a group of staffers and GLAAD contributors. Usher, mentioned above, has more than 12 years of experience in LGBTQ research, program development and design, campaigns, and health communications. He also serves as founder and executive director of Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI), a series of curated social connectivity events for gay and queer people of color.
Abdool Corlette, serves as an art director at GLAAD and lead creative for Neon. For the past three years, he’s served as a lead producer of most of GLAAD’s creative campaigns. His other credits include the documentary series Other Boys NYC that featured 50 queer and transgender men of color across the city. Major Nesby serves as a co-creator and contributing producer. Nesby started his career as a dance artist performing in New York and abroad with Ailey II and Ballet Hispanico. A graduate of Point Park University, he has also had the opportunity of acting and appearing in several web series, commercials and movies and working as a host and correspondent with outlets including Ain’t I Latina?, Google and HBO.
Janel Martinez serves as a contributing producer. She is a writer and founder of Ain’t I Latina?, an online destination celebrating Afro-Latinx womanhood. She’s appeared as a featured guest on BuzzFeed’s AM to DM, NPR and Sirius XM, and her work has appeared in Adweek and The New York Times. Jazmin Samora serves as a strategist and contributing content creator. Samora is a conceptual visual artist born, raised and based in New York. LaQuann Dawson is a contributing producer and content creator who has worked as a photographer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn.
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