The Gatekeeper's Collective (TGC)


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Topic For Friday, February 6th, 2015:
James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin: Standing At The Intersection of
Black and SGL/LGBTQ Rights - A Celebration

James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin were among our most intrepid freedom fighters who pressed for our rights as Black men, and as Black men who love men. Both were artists and activists.

In the spirit of liberation and in celebration of the tradition of struggle left us by these geniuses, join The Gatekeeper’s Collective on Friday, February 6th @ 8:00 PM  for James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin: Standing at The intersection of Black and SGL/LGBTQ Rights - A Celebration

Including a screening of the short film, "Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin: Freedom Fighters and Friends", and community sharing of spoken word, song and other creative expression as we celebrate these men’s legacies and take up a discussion considering:

- Where the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement has evolved into Marriage Equality, the latest iteration of the Movement for Black Liberation would seem to be Black Lives Matter.  

- Are we stakeholders in either of these struggles?  In both?  If so, how?  If not, why not?


Joining us will be Tenth Zine, the dazzling new SGL magazine founders…

JMG's Safe Space
730 Riverside Drive (@ 150th Street)
Suite 9E
Harlem, New York City
8:00 PM

OR THE M4, M5, M100 OR M101 BUS TO


An SGL Black Sheroes & Heroes Monthly Series
February's Focus:
Willi Smith (1948-1987)

We look back at the illustrious career of Willi Smith. This native Philadelphian was a part of a wave of African American designers who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 70s. He eventually moved to New York City's SoHo neighborhood, kept his eye on the arts scene, and was often inspired by street culture which is why his work was often referred to as "Street Couture." Known for his inexpensive sportswear under the label Williwear, it was a huge success. Smith’s brand at its peak grossed 25 million annually and appeared in over 500 retail stores and specialty boutiques.
Smith’s gigs included designing Mary Jane's wedding gown in a Spider-Man comic, as well as outfitting the cast of Spike Lee's classic film School Daze. 

His collections usually included plenty of colors and prints (some consider him to be the first to mix and match plaids, stripes, and colors, especially in menswear). In 1983 Willi Smith won the prestigious Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for Women’s Fashion, and in 1986 dressed Edwin Schlossberg in a non-traditional navy blue linen suit and silver tie for his wedding to Caroline Kennedy. "I don’t design clothes for the Queen," Mr. Smith once said, "but for the people who wave at her as she goes by."
Throughout his career Willi Smith collaborated with many designers including John Bartlett, James Mischka, Antthony Mark Hankins, and many others.

Willi Smith died of complications from AIDS on April 17, 1987.

SOURCES:,, and

SUMMARY: New Year, New You? If We Don’t Change, How Do We Change Anything? And, How Do We Change? 

In consideration of self-reclamation, self-actualization, and community restoration, The Gatekeeper’s Collective brought in 2015 reflecting on the proposition: New Year New You? If We Don’t Change, How Do We Change Anything?  And, How Do We Change?

Among commitments participants have made to themselves include:

“I’m in school again…”

“Making better choices…Taking care of myself so I can better take care of others…”

“I brought in the New Year reflective…Spiritual…I have money [but] I want enough to get my family out of the [rut] of working for someone else…I want us to have residual income…I don’t want to be a [worker all my life]…”

“I told my son I’m into men…and that I don’t want him to be sensitive about the issue…and if he has any questions about it, to not hesitate to ask me…”

Facilitator, asks, {“Are there behaviors or patterns you observe which, if you could change them, you believe you could be happier and/or more successful?”} The group answer, “Yes…”  Facilitator tells the group, {“There’s a behavior change model called Motivational Interviewing that was conceived by psychologists back in the early eighties to facilitate people navigating alcohol and drug dependencies beyond those addictions…Since then, it has been used successfully in supporting people through ambivalence in changing a wide variety of unwanted behaviors…A modified form of this intervention is called CDMN: C is for Concerns; D is for Developing Discrepancy; M is for Menu of Options; and N is for Next Steps…Should we try it?”}  The group answer, “Yes…”  Facilitator says, {“Okay, what are your concerns?...”}

“I tend to pick up needy people, as opposed to ones who could help me build…I want to change so that I don’t gravitate to ones who [are] like clients…[I want to] pull the right type of energy towards me…[to attract men] who are not such a drain on me…”

“The shift comes in being honest and aware of the fact that you need to be needed…and ask yourself, why do I need to be needed so much?...”

Facilitator proposes, {“We have among us profound insight and wisdom…In fact, we have the answers to all the questions, and the healing for all that ails us…On the way to our deriving that stuff though, what I want to urge everyone to do at this juncture, rather than attempt to fix each others’ issues and challenges, is to simply listen to each other and see where we are…”}

“Self-destruction…[and the feeling that] I’m not worthy…[Making] poor decisions which prevent me from succeeding…[For instance] People say I’m a good actor, but I won’t go to an audition [because] I don’t think I’m good enough…”

“[I want] to get laid…It’s been seven years…”

“Taking up with people who are unavailable for relationships…”

“Letting people take advantage of me…Being a doormat…Not standing up for myself…”

“[I have to] stop being so confrontational…Stop letting myself loose control when I get angry…”

“I’m shy….I’m insecure…I’m afraid…I’m afraid to leave my bag unattended…[I have to] get over the trauma of fear of speaking publically…I freeze…I don’t act like myself…I am not myself in public…”

“I have self-esteem issues so that I keep my distance from people…I keep alone…stay in my thoughts…I’d like to change that, but am afraid to change it…”

“I am not proactive or aggressive enough on my own behalf…I shut down when I need to be proactive…I let the moment pass me by because of fear, and fear of conflict…”

“It takes a lot to get to me, but [once you do get to me] I am not the most forgiving…[And] I am impatient…”

“I tend to eat toxic snacks late at night…”

Facilitator mentions, {“For our purposes, a discrepancy is where there is a difference between what we say we want, and what we are doing…So, where might there be discrepancies around the concerns we’re citing?...”}

“Well…I say I don’t want to attract a certain kind of man, but yet, I keep winding up with the same type…”

“I say I want to get laid, but I don’t make moves on anyone…And, when people make moves on me, I find ways to get away from them…”

“I say I want a real relationship, but I keep hanging out with married men…”

“I want to be more proactive on my own behalf, but I’m not working to build any skills to be able to do that…”

What might constitute a menu of options for changing the unwanted behavior?

“[I might] have this preliminary conversation [about] changing my truth narrative…working toward believing in myself…”

“[I might] do breathing exercises…I could breathe, and work myself up into not getting into the slump [when I feel myself about to shut down]…”

“To surround myself with others who I look up to…hopefully, not waste [energy]…begin to think differently…[Gather] information, knowledge, feeding myself…Enlightenment…Taking a spiritual journey [to] understand and see the value in myself…[Do some] yoga…”

“Stop keeping myself at a distance [from other people]…[And begin risking] revealing real stuff about myself [to others]…”

“Confront the fears I have, and turn the fears into action…”

“Be more open, more verbal…Let people know what I’m thinking, so there’s no room for misunderstanding [or] misinterpretation…”

“Pushing myself towards my worthiness…To [begin to] honor myself as equal…”

“Asserting myself…speaking up when things happen in the moment…Or, at least leave a bookmark, letting them know, ‘Listen, we gotta’ talk [about this]…’”

“Going out on a real date…Stay[ing] away from people who I know are not available…I haven’t been on a real date in a long time…”

“To listen more…Surrounding myself with people who get it…”

“Being more engaging…More with people [than by myself]…”

“I can drink a lot of cold water [in the evening]…I like cold water…And, I can stock things I like that are not toxic…like a pear or an apple and cheese…so that, if I don’t want to resist the temptation to eat late at night, I can do so without it being [so] harmful…”

Facilitator asks, {“So, what are our next steps?...”}

The assembled agree to begin taking up behaviors from the menus of options they’ve cited and keep each other posted on our progress.  All agree that the exercise was a useful one.

Topic For Friday, January 9th, 2015:

New Year, New You? If We Don’t Change, How Do We Change Anything? And, How Do We Change? 


TGC's Second annual Kwanzaa was a rousing success wherein an intergenerational cross-section of the community came together to reaffirm our values and celebrate first fruits.

In the spirit of resilience and self-reclamation, The Gatekeeper’s Collective (TGC): Igniting the Power of Black Same Gender Love ask,

- Are there behaviors or patterns you observe which, if you could change them, you believe you could be happier and/or more successful?

- Have you succeeded in keeping New Year’s Resolutions?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

What do we want to change for ourselves individually?

What do we want to change for ourselves as a community?

Is it possible, or are we just kidding ourselves?

Join The Gatekeeper’s Collective on Friday, January 9th, 2015 @ 8 PM at JMG’s Safe Space as we consider the first of a series of evidence-based Behavior Change strategies.

JMG's Safe Space
730 Riverside Drive (@ 150th Street)
Suite 9E
Harlem, New York City
8:00 PM

OR THE M4, M5, M100 OR M101 BUS TO


~ The Gatekeeper's Collective ~
On Friday, November 7th, 2014, The Brotherhood Pause For A Group Shot
Celebrating Our 1st Year of Success

The Gatekeeper's Collective 2nd Annual Kwanzaa Celebration
On Saturday, December 27th, 2014...

The Gatekeeper’s Collective (TGC) celebrated it’s first anniversary in a rousing tribute during which participants acknowledged shifts which have transpired over the year, including Gatekeepers who have transitioned, challenges navigated, new self-efficacies developed, and expressed gratitude.

In checking in and saluting the work of TGC, one Brother who works in a facility with formerly incarcerated men who are intensely anti-homosexually disposed, remarked, “Our job is to help these individuals arrive at themselves…and, we’re doing it…” 

An SGL Black Sheroes & Heroes Monthly Series
January's Focus:
Billy Preston (1946-2006)

Billy Preston, the splashy gospel-rooted keyboardist whose career included No. 1 solo hits and work with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had an extensive career as a sideman, working with musicians from Little Richard to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His own hits included the Grammy-winning instrumental "Outa-Space" in 1972 and the No. 1 pop singles "Will It Go Round in Circles" (1973) and "Nothing From Nothing" (1974). He also wrote (with Bruce Fisher) the ubiquitous "You Are So Beautiful." But his best-known performance was the afternoon he spent on a London rooftop with the Beatles in what was their last concert, which was filmed for "Let It Be." In a 2001 interview, he recalled, "They made me feel like a member of the band."

William Everett Preston was born in Houston on Sept. 2, 1946, and grew up in Los Angeles. He was a child prodigy who accompanied the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson when he was 10. In 1958, he played the young W. C. Handy in the film biography "St. Louis Blues." Little Richard hired Mr. Preston for a European tour in 1962, and during that tour Mr. Preston met the fledgling Beatles — who were Little Richard's opening act — as well as Sam Cooke, who hired Mr. Preston for his band and signed him to his own label, SAR Records. After Mr. Cooke's death, Mr. Preston began recording instrumental albums with titles like "The Wildest Organ in Town" (1965) and "The Most Exciting Organ Ever" (1966).

He worked in the house band of the pop TV show "Shindig," then joined Ray Charles' band for three years. George Harrison of the Beatles saw him with Charles' band, and brought him to work with the Beatles. Mr. Preston was signed to the Beatles' label, Apple, and made two albums produced by Harrison: "That's the Way God Planned It" and "Encouraging Words." He was invited to join the recording sessions that yielded "Let It Be" and "Abbey Road," where he helped hold together the band. "It was a struggle for them," Mr. Preston said in 2001. "They were kind of despondent. They had lost the joy of doing it all."

The Beatles' 1969 single of "Get Back" is credited to "The Beatles With Billy Preston," the only shared label credit in the Beatles' own career. Mr. Preston appeared at the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh that Mr. Harrison organized, and did studio work on solo projects by Mr. Harrison, John Lennon
and Ringo Starr.
Mr. Preston's own career flourished in the early 1970's, when he had his major hits: synthesizer-topped instrumentals ("Outa-Space" and "Space Race") and jaunty soul songs ("Will It Go Round in Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing"). He worked in the studio with the Rolling Stones on their 1970's albums, among them "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street," and toured with them. He was also a studio musician on Sly and the Family Stone's "There's a Riot Goin' On" and on Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks." Mr. Preston was the musical guest on the first "Saturday Night Live," broadcast in 1975. He appeared in the 1978 Beatles-inspired film "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as Sergeant Pepper In 1979 he had a hit duet with the singer Syreeta Wright, "With You I'm Born Again." 

He continued working as a studio sideman and making solo albums through the 1980's, and he toured with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in 1989. But a longtime drug problem caught up with him in 1992, when he pleaded no contest to charges of assault and cocaine possession and spent nine months at a drug rehabilitation center. He made gospel albums during the 1990's, including "Minister of Music" in 1995 and "Words and Music," with Edna Tatum, in 1996. In 1997 he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating probation, and in 1998 he pleaded guilty to insurance fraud.
After Mr. Preston was released from prison, he was welcomed as a musician. He appeared in the movie "Blues Brothers 2000" and performed at the 2002 Concert for George, a tribute organized by Eric Clapton a year after Harrison's death. He appears on Mr. Clapton's album "Me and Mr. Johnson," and toured with Mr. Clapton. He was a studio musician on Neil Diamond's "12 Songs" and on the current Red Hot Chili Peppers album, "Stadium Arcadium," and he was one of the guests on Ray Charles' final album, "Genius Loves Company." He made a tribute album, "Billy Preston's Beatles Salute," in 2004, and he performed on the season finale of "American Idol" in 2005. He played his final recording session in October, [2006] for an] album by Sam Moore of Sam and Dave.

SOURCE: New York Times

The Gatekeeper

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The Gatekeeper's Collective Venue

(@ 150TH STREET)
8:00 PM

M4, M5, M100 OR M101 TO


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