A creative is someone who shares their original ideas to the world in an artistic form. Forms of art including photography, film, dancing, acting, singing, make-up, and modeling to name a few. Through these different artistic platforms combined with the advancement of social media – we’re able to instantaneously share our crafts with other like-minded individuals.
QUEER Exposure Uprise
It does my heart well to see people of the LGBTQ community express their craft and creativity to the world. We are some of the most artistically proficient people to walk this planet. It’s borderline depressing to see how highly underrepresented and underrated we are amongst society, we don’t receive the praise we deserve. It shows in the lack of representation we have in the media. I can’t lie though, there has been some progression.
Screenwriting queer legend Ryan Murphy’s Pose FX was a well-needed sigh of relief as the show expanded the visibility of the Queer experience which opened the doors for many queer actors, models, and directors.
There aren’t many occasions that queer people indulge in any kind of modern day success for their work. It’s important for queer creatives to expose their work to a society filled with marginalized communities because we are the only ones who can empower the misrepresented community to force their work into mainstream dominated spaces–and these creatives are doing just that!
Influential LGBT Creatives On Instagram
- Philip Johnson – @Philaye, Scriptwriter, Actor, Director, Producer
Philip is a breath of fresh air within the black queer community. At the youthful age of 23, Philip is already the CEO of Philaye Films, INC. , a black-owned film production company which is the foundation of his art form. Philip’s work is predicated off of a term I like to call “Exposing the culture”, meaning his content sheds much-needed light on black and queer lifestyle. The two season comedic mini-series Black Sex & The City was all the realism I needed. It had the right amount of #gayculture, focusing on relationship dynamics, social media’s impact on dating, HIV&STD awareness, sexual identity, post-nut clarity and more.
What made the series most enjoyable to watch was the relatability factor, BSTC allowed me to flip the camera and envision my own experiences as a gay black man and admit to myself that I’ve done some disapproving behavior in my day. Oh, and being that the main character’s name in season 2 is Julian, makes the experience even more gut-wrenching. Let’s just say that after watching BSTC I had some serious self-assessing on how I presented myself as a gay black man. All In all, I appreciate Philip for his ability to dissect my lived experience without even knowing me personally, his work influences me to own my narrative and express that through my artistic flow.
2. Ady Del Valle – @Adydelvalle_ , Style Influencer, Plus Size Model, Brand Ambassador
Three words– confidence, self-awareness, and self-love. Not only does Ady talks a big game, but he also walks it as well, and he knows how to make it work! Iv’e has been watching his creative journey for some time now and he has made his presence known in many modeling and fashion spaces.
Reforming the meaning of a true model, Ady has transcended as a plus-size model and has drawn tons of attention through the media by destroying society’s broken narrative that tells us large men and women shouldn’t be sexy and stylish.
“For me, being a model means to have a purpose and being a representation for the people who look like you that don’t have a voice”
His form of art has been progressively pushing the body positivity social movement in the right direction, and I am here for it!
“It’s important to go all in, it’s all or nothing. We’ve been put into a box for too long, we need to show the industry that we are capable as models like our smaller counterparts.”
Ady has been featured on platforms like Culour Magazine, Gay Star News, BTFL Magazine, Buzzfeed and has also been invited to strut the runway for Volare Big & Tall fashion brand for New York Fashion Week. It’s only a matter of time before we see the plus size sensation fully break away into the mainstream world, and when that happens, watch out overly obsessed fitness gurus and body shamers, cause this hunk is taking over.
3. Jonathan Jarvis – @Boylondxn, Make-Up artist, Actor
Jonathan is fierce. PERIOD! I’ve been exposed to this cosmetic specialist’s art for years, and his skills get even greater with time. I’m not hyping him up because he’s one of my friends, his work speaks for itself. However, I won’t lie, you might catch me typing an abundance of heart-eyed emoji’s or a drastically long “yas” in his art work’s comment section. He serves a wide variety of themed looks that will have you analyzing his art as if he were a walking ancient artifact.
Cosplay, natural, androgyny, fantasy, horror – it doesn’t matter. If Jonathan can envision a look, trust and believe it will be brought into existence. That’s how we should embrace our creative spirit right? It’s important that our ideas represent our physical, mental, and emotional identity – our work should represent who we are and how we feel. The amount of transparency that leaks from his make-up allow viewers to see more than just the beauty in his craftsmanship. His make-up illustrates emotion, drawing feelings of happiness, curiosity, excitement, or sometimes even fright.
Every year in October, Jonathan shares his traditional project called Spooktacular Faces Of Boylondxn – a personal favorite might I add. The artist presents his followers with 31 super distinct Halloween related make-up looks for each day of October. Day after day he delivers the most enjoyable and gag-worthy faces that will have you drenched in fear and bliss at the same time.
When I see Jonathan’s work, the gears in my head automatically start spinning. “How can I be different?”, “How can I make the next article better than the last?”. His creativity sparks my own by allowing me to think outside box and not be afraid of executing idea’s that may be a bit off-brand. For peep sake! This man created a look that was based on a toothbrush rupturing the side of his face, while blood runs from his mouth ( See slide show above). If he can make something so dazzling out of nothing, then there’s no excuse for me as to why I can’t be unique with my work. Check out more of Jonathan’s work on his Instagram @Boylondxn
4. Louie Ortiz-Fonseca –@thegranvarones, Storyteller, LGBTQ+ Advocate
If I had to define Louie’s art using three words it would be Inclusivity, awareness, and community. Louie is the creator of an online platform named the “thegranvarones” where he shares the stories of trans & queer people of color around the globe. Louie never fails to make sure that every queer’s voice is heard loud and clear, which is super important for a community that isn’t often heard. Louie is also a stern HIV/AIDS activist, shutting down stigma and ignorance at the door– emphasizing the importance of consent and disclosure.
Currently, Louie released an interview talk show series Kiki’s with Louie. A series that focuses in on normalizing the uncomfortable conversations that are cultivated around HIV stigma, dual identity, and community building, featuring other activists and creatives like “Pose” star MJ Rodriguez.
What attracts me most to Louie’s work is his ability to vividly tell the stories of the queer experience he comes in contact with. Storytelling remains to this day the single most important tradition humans participate in–dating back to the caveman era. It’s not an easy task to accomplish but with Louie its effortless and believable. No matter if its written or visual, the way he speaks and writes is enough to draw me in as a fan. In most storytelling situations, there are lessons to be learned that instruct, or add value to our audience. As an aspiring storyteller myself, I always try to make sure that when I share my experiences and stories with the world, my audiences must have something to take away from the experience as well. Of course, with every story told, Louie makes sure of that.
5. Lester Matthews – @yoboinewnue, Film Director, Writer, Producer, Editor
In this era of gay black film, Lester is absolutely killing the game. Producing hit after hit film, he has created so many stories that have inspired and touched the lives of many gay black men. Ten years down the road I imagine aspiring artists everywhere referencing his work because I believe Lester will be a known pioneer that further progresses the black queer narrative.
Lester is admired for his succeeding romantic short film, Keeping Love A Secret, a thirteen-minute flick full of relationship dynamic, self-identity, and of course, shocking secrets. If you’re black and of queer experience– you need to watch it!
Other projects that Lester has been known for include his hit web series The Circle NYC, a reality tv based experience that exploits the mixture between queer lifestyle with the grit and grind that comes with living in New York City. The show features some of NYC’s most well-known socialites, queer artist, and performers that are able to have the platform to share their lives with the world.
I reached out to Lester about 2 years ago asking him for film-related advice, and he invited me to a studio where he allowed me to actively apart of his production team for his unscripted comedic valentine special The Gay Bachelor. He allowed me to fuse my own ideas into his project which later became a loved series by his fans. That experience with Lester justified my purpose as an aspiring filmmaker. Watching his work ethic on and offset, staying up on late nights to finish a script, handle large production projects without a team, there’s no doubt that Lester’s work is influential and purposeful.
“If I don’t do it, It won’t get done“, this is what the inspiring filmmaker told me during one of our encounters together. Whenever I feel lazy or unmotivated I always think of that phrase as a method to kick me in the butt.