I recently attended The 2nd Annual Better Brothers Los Angeles Truth Awards and it was a truly inspiring evening. This was my first time attending the Truth Awards but I was not a stranger to Better Brothers LA. A friend in LA told me about this organization and said it was a great way to meet successful, gay black men. So, of course as I normally do, I opened my computer to do some research on the organization. Better Brothers LA is a non-profit organization with a mission to educate, inspire and connect the BLACK LGBTQ community.
Another friend invited me to attend the Truth Awards. She forwarded me all the information and once again I was intrigued so I said yes! As I entered the event I was greeted with smiles and greetings (you know I’m a sucker for a smile and a greeting), so the evening was off to a great start. I met a black gay couple who introduced themselves. They wanted to know why I was chilling by myself. Before I could answer they began to engage me in a conversation about the East Coast, high school, college and LA. Before I knew it, we had been chatting and laughing for 60 minutes. Time flies when you’re having fun.
It was time for the evening to start and I was excited. The evening was a celebration of accomplishments and contributions made by individuals for their service to society and humanity while living their truth. The honorees included Aaron Walton, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Judge Darrin Gayles, Gerard McCallum, Darryn Harris, Rev. Jenenne Macklin, Gregory Bunn and Demetrius McCoy. I must admit I was not familiar with most of the honorees but I was ready to listen, get educated and be inspired.
As each honoree was presented, the audience got a glimpse into their lives. One by one, the honorees took the stage to graciously accept their award and give a brief thanks which to me was more like a testimony. It was just like I was in church I was hanging on to every word said by every honoree. Some of the most memorable quotes from the night included:
- Judge Darren Gayles telling the audience, “Living your truth and being successful are not mutually exclusive.”
- Gerard McCallum saying, “Once you start living your truth you start excelling at your God given talents.”
- Aaron Walton speaking the truth, stating, “You are often judged by the company you keep.”
The highlight of my night was listening to the encouragement and wisdom of Bishop Yvette Flunder. She reminded me of a family friend who you always look forward to seeing. She was gracious, humble and full of song. She shared, “I am who I am by the grace of God…When I found my integrity and found my truth, I found my way out… [and] we are who we are because the divine has made us so.” By the time Bishop Flunder ended in song, I could feel tears in my eyes. I knew at this moment, all is well!
I was inspired! These honorees made feel empowered and even more proud to be a black gay man. They made me realize that no matter what, I can never be afraid to be who I am! Black, Gay and Proud!!
Thanks Better Brothers LA for an inspiring evening!