The term ‘unity’ has been used a lot, particularly when describing solidarity between two marginalized groups. However, something we don’t discuss enough is unity within the Black, LGBT+ community—a sense of togetherness, friendship and communal sharing. With every passing day, we are beginning to explore the complexities of the different kinds of Blackness. Pop culture is doing a fascinating job with exploring the nuances of Black Queerness—see Moonlight—but unity in the Black Queer community is rarely tackled.

To get some answers about why this is the case, I interviewed Queer Black Millennial co-creator Da’Shaun Harrison. Harrison is very active on social media, where he discusses Black queer culture in very fascinating and enlightening ways. Queer Black Millennial is an advent similar to SOULE—a space where Black Queer folks can gather to discuss not only our issues, but the positives about our community. Harrison was happy to answer some of my questions about what unity means to him, and what he thinks the term will signify going forward.


What does Black Queer unity mean to you?

Harrison: I don’t so much like the word ‘unity’, because it reminds me too much of white liberal goals of impeaching Trump through “not being divided”, but not actually interrogating their own deep-rooted bigotry. Rather, I appreciate the word ‘community’ more. The [Black Queer] community is the community in/of which I built my hope, help and strength on. I’ve never experienced a love like the love I receive from other Black Queer folks. To me, Black Queer community means love, revolution, innovation, and resilience.

Why did you create/help create Queer Black Millennial? What were you hoping to gain?

Harrison: So, I’m actually not the mastermind behind Queer Black Millennial. My good friend Jaylen Thomas is. He came to me with this vision. I agreed to help build a team with him, however, because I believe in him. I believe in Black Queer folk, and I believe that we deserve a platform to share our brilliance. As of now, there is no other site doing quite what we hope to do with QBM. Through this, we hope to really become a major space to give room to Black Queer folks to be as creative as they want to and can be. As we say on the site (which launched Monday, October 23) this space, these voices are devoted to creating and celebrating everything that is salient and sexy to/for us. It’s our duty to focus, not on Queerness within Blackness or Blackness performing Queerness, but the magic happening at the collision of the two.

Do you think the stereotype about Black Queer men/women not getting along holds any truth? Why/why not?

Harrison: I don’t think that stereotype is any more true [than] Black people as a whole can’t get along. I do think that there are historical and structural issues that impact how we interact, of course. Things like colorism, ageism, anti-fatness, femme-antagonism, anti-poz beliefs, and other things that marginalize specific people within our community. But I think that reducing those things to “not getting along” is lazy and largely ignores the effects of these things on an individual basis and as a whole. Further, many of my closest friends are Black Queer men, so I think the stereotype is simply untrue. Reducing us to petty and shade-throwing, angry beings who can’t be in a room together is dehumanizing and dishonest. We have intra-communal issues to work through, but we are not inhuman.

What accomplishments would you like to see the community undertake in the future?

Harrison: I’m hoping to see more openly queer people in the public eye. Beyond the one-dimensional representation that Mona Scott commodifies on Love and Hip Hop, or the outdated, stereotypical tropes portrayed of us on TV, but an authentic portrayal of us, as us. I’m hoping that, both in the public eye and in our everyday lives, we will move towards being more inclusive, loving and accepting of our trans, femmes, fat and poz folks. Romantically, platonically, familial, etc.


You can find Da’Shaun and Jaylen on social media at @_iAmRoyal and @LeKingJay.




Interview with: Michael Mason | for: SOULE_LGBT