The Gatekeeper's Collective (TGC)


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Building Business III: "Okoa Nyumba" Economic Development Model
Risky Business: The Pros and Cons of Sex Parties, Hookups, Parks and Anonymous Sex (Facilitated by F. Romall Smalls)

At the Most recent Gatekeeper’s Collective caucus, TGC board member, F. Romall Smalls led Brothers through considerations of a for-profit economic development model called, Okoa Nyumba, (a Swahili term meaning, Saving Together) which members had conceived in previous forums, viewed a short film, titled Slow, and  took up a dialogue about The Joys and Woes of Sex Parties, Hookups, Parks and Anonymous Sex.

In reviewing the real estate investment model described by TGC board member, Omar Salam, among participants’ responses included:

“You shouldn’t necessarily tie membership to meetings…People may want to be members who don’t necessarily [attend] meetings regularly…”

Safe space is a failure among a lot of organizations…Talking about entrepreneurial [interests] requires risk…[you  may need to] let go of safe space…Especially where you’re talking about economic development…”

Facilitator proposes the idea of expanding the work of TGC out into the community including conducting forums at Teacher’s College, a neighborhood institution.

A consensus is formed around this idea among participants.

Facilitator says, {“We are the safe space…each and every one of us, as we come together, we create the safe space for each other…Safe space is vitally important to [what we do and who we are]…It’s vitally important to me…I’m forty-five years old and I credit Adodi and BMXNY and [now,] TGC with shaping the man I am [by creating safe space within which I could find and affirm the man I am]…”}

Participants are told, the investment model entails a pool of member investors acquiring real estate on behalf of organization members.

“I heard that a lot of organizations folded because of fraudulent activity on the part of people who handled the money…What are the checks and balances in terms of it being audited [regularly]…including external audits?...I am capable of making sure that it’s audited, and I’m thinking of transparency…Monthly expense reporting…How much money was raised by membership, and how are those monies being used?...It’s not a question of a lack of trust…[It’s about sound business practices]…”

After answering participants’ questions about the model, a majority of participants cited interest in further exploration.

Following a screening of the short film Slow, participants cited:

“I think the blind man gave the other man a different perspective on dating…”

“It speaks to the lack of intimacy among Brothers…I don’t know where it starts or where it will end…”

“I’m just as confused as the guy who came over [for the hookup/date]…What kind of [web]site did the blind guy go on?...”

“It’s a metaphor for miscommunication…”

“On A4A, you need not even speak…when you go to a pick-up or hook-up site…You’re saying, ‘I want a quickie’…”

“Don’t the gay sites have menus?...”

 “Don’t Brothers who go to Prospect Park say [‘I only do this on occasion’],…You consider yourself to be the exception to the rule?...”

“The man that is on A4A doesn’t have time for…”

Facilitator says, (“The point of screening the film was to provoke thought and give us an opportunity to look at ourselves…our behaviors…desires…our choices…and how those have a larger effect on our lives…If we say we want to be in relationships, how do those behaviors impact our ability to connect in ways of intimacy…love that is long-lasting?...”}

“When I first saw it, it brought up all those feelings for me…When we invite people into our homes, [what are we inviting?]…”

Co-facilitator says, {“Considerations about hook-ups and anonymous sex are about balance…The question regarding the extent to which anonymous sex might be destructive or unhealthy has more to do with who is having it and how they’re having it {safely or otherwise] and why they’re having it, as distinct from it precluding the possibility of intimacy…I remember instances of all but exquisite intimacy with strangers…the question is, if I say I want an intimate relationship, but I expend most of my energy seeking out hookups then, I might be out of balance…”}

“Unless we know who we really are and what we really want…Unless I change the message I’m putting out, maybe what [I’m] putting out is the opposite of what [I want]…”

“A person who’s been out of a relationship for five months may need to bust a nut before he wants another relationship…Or, maybe they’re tired of using their hand…”

“Sex has become this kind of improper commodity…Nobody’s meeting in church anymore…it’s all about sex…And now, what you’re finding is all these men in their thirties and forties who don’t know how to communicate…And, if I don’t like that physical characteristic, I just [dismiss him] and just go to the next, and the next…and so on…”

Co-facilitator says, {We should consider some points R makes for us…For one thing…When you speak of propriety…what is proper of improper, for our purposes, value judgments are not particularly helpful…But, where you talk about communication…Tweens, Millenials, X-ers and now, older people too, can be sitting right next to each other texting in code, such that, interpersonal skills are being eroded…So, in terms of how we’re using technology… Particularly, if we profess to seek intimate relationships, let alone a monogamous intimate relationship…if we find ourselves spending more and more time on sex and hookup sites, and comparison shopping partners’ physicalities like inanimate objects, once again the notion of balance becomes a player…”}

“The internet holds possibilities for finding intimacy too…It can be used to find a life-partner…”

“You get to the point where you want somebody to touch you…Especially when you’ve been with somebody that you were in love with…It’s very hard to fill that gap…Loved ones can support you, encourage you, but…[It’s not the same as having some there to touch you]…When the internet came out, I was afraid…I would rather go to a bathhouse than meet somebody on line…It’s like a drug, to have that intimacy…Once you’ve had it, you can’t get enough [or, feel like you can’t live without it]…”

“The internet allows you to take your time to get to know someone well enough to say, ‘I want to meet you’…”

“I’m old school…I’m usually in the park or on the streets…I’ve had some bad experiences…Now I go to the hot sheets motels…That would be a good business for TGC…”

“These sites offer different options…Does that speak to the sites or to who we are?...It’s not the venue, it’s the community itself…People have this view point of relationships that you meet somebody {and, magically, everything is wonderful]…He meets him…You have to keep an open door to the opportunity…[Don’t be so quick to count each other out]…”


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