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Editor’s Note: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month LGBTQIA #MeToo #TimesUp

About will be supporting Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with a focus on how it pertains to the LGBTQIA community

(HOUSTON) — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a topic that is neither new nor relevant, and one to which that many in the LGBTQIA community are not strangers. In fact, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), a person is sexually assaulted every 8 seconds in America. Those statistics are startlingly high. More shocking is that according the Center for Disease Control (CDC), queer people often are sexually assailed at similar or higher rates than heterosexual and cis-gender people.

What’s frightening about these numbers is that they are based solely on the information available. They’re nothing more than estimations. Much of RAINN’s information comes from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which selects 150,000 Americans each year and gathers information based on that group. Unfortunately, there is a large and unaccounted for number of sexual assault victims who do not come forward—a fact that should not be used to place blame upon the victims. While there are several potential reasons for each individual’s decision not to come forward (fear of retaliation, fear of not being believed, fear of being fired, and many more), the one thing that is certain is that the longer that this sort of behavior continues to be perpetuated by sexual assailants and rapists, the longer more people will be victimized and that fear will perpetuate, as well.

Recently, America has seen in influx in the publicity of survivors who have stepped forward. With well-covered movements such as #MeToo (founded over ten years ago by activist Tarana Burke) and #TimesUp, to celebrities such as Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, Ashley Judd, Gabrielle Union, Anthony Rapp, Oprah Winfrey and many more that have stepped forward to share their stories and to talk about their experiences in the hopes to encourage and empower other people (namely women, people of color, and LGBTQIA folks) to step forward.

While this could have come at a better time (or maybe I should say that people could have been this tuned into the fact that sexual assault is prevalent sooner), it is nonetheless a remark to the bravery of women, the LGTBQIA community (with an emphasis on the trans community), people of color, and all others who are now stepping out and firing back. Men in power, from Harvey Weinstein to Louis C.K. and countless in between are being brought to their knees, which should be scaring men of lesser recognition all over the world. Because, famous or not, their time is coming, too. Unfortunately, RAINN also reports that most sexual assailants and rapists in the nation will not be imprisoned or be held accountable for their crimes. This is no surprise, considering that we currently live in a country run by a sexual predator (yes, Donald Trump is just as guilty).

But through these movements, through the media, and through solidarity for one another, we can begin to hold as many of these men accountable as possible. In fact, it wasn’t until just recently that I myself was comfortable discussing the story of the man who raped me when I was 19-years-old in my Less Than Butterflies column. It’s a terrifying feeling thinking that no one will believe you. It’s a terrifying feeling to wonder if the person will retaliate or what they’ll tell your loved ones about you. And no one can blame the victims who choose not to share their stories with the world. With that said, however, we—especially in the LGBTQIA community—must continue to be resilient, supportive, and engaged with our brothers, sisters, and nonbinary siblings. Because until we get there, until there comes a time when there is no tolerance for sexual assault and when victims do not feel they have to hide in the shadows, no one is safe.

And of many other things, the LGBTQIA community should be able to rely on each and every member for safety.

This month, About Magazine will be running a series of stories from victims of sexual assault, as well as informative articles about the prevalence of sexual assault, why the LGBTQIA community is so desensitized to it, why among gay men the lines seem to be more blurred (hint: they’re not and shouldn’t be), and much more. And this won’t be a one-off sort of thing. As long as there is sexual assault happening around the world, we will continue to talk about it, because time really is up for the disgusting men of the world who have led so many of us to a place where we can say (or where we’re too afraid to say), “Yeah. Me, too.”

Anthony Ramirez, Editor-in-Chief


You can donate to RAINN and learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month here.

Former Real World Star Davis Mallory Dance with Me Video

Davis Mallory Music video Dance with Me

Davis Mallory Releases Retro-Inspired Music Video for Electropop Banger “Dance With Me”

Nashville Singer-Songwriter and MTV’s Real World and Challenge alumnus Davis Mallory released a music video for his latest single, “Dance With Me,” on April 4, 2018.

The music video was shot with a vintage look in mind and references a retro-70s era pop style in wardrobe. The goal was to create something that feels old yet new.

“I worked with Micah Atkinson, film student graduate of the Watkins Film School and director of the music video for my song ‘Not That Far Away,’” said Mallory. “Micah dreamt up the different scenes for the video.”

A rose motif was used throughout the video and manifests itself throughout many scenes. A wall with projections of falling rose petals and blooming roses, Mallory holding a rose as his silhouette displays on a screen, and roses dispersed around his body as he’s talking to someone through a rotary dial telephone are just a few instances.

Several aesthetic features inadvertently made their way into the video the day of the shoot.

Davis1 Former Real World Star Davis Mallory Dance with Me Video“I did not intend to have a mustache; however, shaved one on the day of the shoot and liked the way it looked so kept it for the video,” Mallory said. “My friend and publicist (David Garcia) wore a cool jacket with fringe. He was modeling behind the curtain, and we saw how cool it looked, and I wound up wearing his jacket.”

“Dance With Me” was officially released on March 7. It is an electropop track co-written by Mallory and produced by French DJ Loic Penillo. It was released under French record label Sidekick Music. The song is about the potential for love that exists when you first ask someone to dance with you.

Mallory wrote “Dance With Me” as a topline over an instrumental sent by Penillo. Both artists met before attending Amsterdam Dance Event.

“I wrote ‘Dance With Me’ in September 2017 at a time in my life when I’d been single for a while and, admittedly, felt lonely as evidenced in the lyrics,” Mallory said. “’I’m lost in the lonely, but it’s too hard to show it’ – ‘My head gets caught in the moment, but my heart doesn’t know it’ references my tendency to fall in love quickly with a cute guy but realizing I need to slow things down and be ready for the right person.”

“In the bridge, I referenced one of my favorite songs off Britney Spears’ album Glory, “Hard to Forget Ya”  – ‘You’re on my mind, I just can’t forget ya’ ([Spears’ lyrics] are: ‘there’s something about you, I just can’t forget ya’)”

Davis2 Former Real World Star Davis Mallory Dance with Me Video“Dance With Me” is Mallory’s first release in 2018 and follows his many successes the year prior. Mallory signed singles to record labels for the first time in 2017. Landis’ “Loud (feat Davis Mallory)” dropped on Grammy-nominated French producer Cedric Gervais’ Delecta label and earned him a Spotlight Artist feature on the label’s website. This was followed by a collaboration with Swedish producer John Dahlback (Lady Gaga, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii) on a release titled “Anyone Would Know,” a cornerstone of Dahlback’s Color In My Heart EP on Armada Records. His debut EP, LOUD, was released on July 7, 2017, and spawned music videos for the title track, “Be Without You”, and “Because of Love”, which nabbed a feature on EDM powerhouse blog YourEDM. He toured the US after the EP’s release – kicking off at Milwaukee Pride (alongside Betty Who & Todrick Hall) and performing in Nashville, LA & NYC. Mallory’s hard work and touring in conjunction with the publicity his album garnered set off a snowball effect – his social media channels began seeing a spike in traffic, leading to “Loud” and “Somebody’s Watching”, a release separate of his EP, surpassing 100,000 listens on Spotify and still rising.


About Davis: 

Davis Mallory is a singer-songwriter, DJ and former reality TV-star appearing on MTV’s The Real World: Denver and three seasons of the MTV game show The Challenge. He is represented by Vocal Kitchen: a Dutch agency that pairs singers with the world’s top producers and DJs. Mallory is actively focused on touring for his debut EP, LOUD, which he independently released in 2017. His international tour to promote LOUD kicked off at Milwaukee Pride – where he performed with the likes of Todrick Hall and Betty Who – and continued into LA, NYC, Nashville and Europe. Mallory’s high-energy live shows include choreographed dancers, a video wall with custom visuals, and a live band playing alongside original EDM tracks.

Upon completing his stints on MTV’s Real World and Challenges, Mallory’s passion for music drove him into some of the nation’s leading entertainment cities. He found his calling creating music and moved to New York City to actively pursue this dream. While in the Big Apple, Mallory studied music at Dubspot School of Electronic Music and performed as a DJ throughout the club-scene before migrating to the songwriting capital of the world: Nashville, TN.

Moving to Nashville proved most fruitful to Mallory’s singer-songwriter career. To date, he has written over 300 songs. “Beautiful Girls (Diem’s Song)”, a tribute to MTV co-star Diem Brown who lost her battle to cancer, was released in 2014 and was Mallory’s first original song released on iTunes and Spotify. The song garnered attention by media giants such as People MagazineUS Weekly, E! News and MTV. 2017 was a year of groundbreaking achievements and collaborations. Mallory signed singles to record labels for the first time. Landis’ “Loud (feat Davis Mallory)” released on Grammy-nominated, DJ/producer Cedric Gervais’ label Delecta. This was followed by a collaboration with Swedish producer John Dahlback (Lady Gaga, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii) on a release titled “Anyone Would Know” – a cornerstone of Dahlback’s Color In My Heart EP released under Armada Records. “Not That Far Away” received in-store play in Walgreens around the USA, “Help” & “Loud (BPT Remix)” received retail radio play throughout France, and “Loud (BPT Remix)” was selected by Universal Music Group’s FameHouse division, placing it in Spotify’s Dance/Workout Playlists.  Mallory’s single with 17-year-old producer LUURK, “Somebody’s Watching”, accumulated over 250,000 Spotify plays organically.

Most recently, Mallory teamed up with French producer Loic Penillo on the electropop track “Dance With Me”, which is signed to French record label Sidekick Music. It is the first of many singles Mallory has lined up for release in 2018.


Website | Facebook | SoundCloud | YouTube | Spotify

Instagram: @DavisMallory | Twitter: @DavisMallory

Trans About Town: Fabian Washington

Fabian Washington Graffiti Notez SP trans man musician

fabian3 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonFabian Washington, also known as Graffitti Notez SP, is an entrepreneur that has great attributes to present to the LGBTQIA community, as well as the world. Fabian is a business owner and activist of many sorts to the community and its youth. He is the proud founder of the multimedia company IMAN MARC LIVE and an active affiliate of Freedom Overground & Transcending Barriers. He not only believes that equality is vital, but that to achieve this state, we have to knock down the barriers of categorizing ourselves aside from our allies. A part of the reason that IML was created was to bring an entertainment label to the forefront that is all-inclusive to the world, and in one step at a time breaking down the walls of segregation.

What made you decide to transition medically?

As a child, at the age of 6, is when I found out that I was not [anatomically] a boy. I had been a tomboy my whole childhood, and in my freshman year of college I had come out identifying as lesbian. It never really sat well with me, I knew that I was attracted to women, but it still was a very confusing and depressing time in my life. I knew that there was something missing and that I had to find myself. I had been asked quite often, respectfully, if I were male or female as I matured more into myself, even before I started transitioning medically. One day in 2008, my girlfriend at the time and I were in the store and an older woman stopped us and said, “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude. Can I ask you a question?” I responded and told her that that was fine and she then asked,”Are you a man or a woman?” I responded,”I am a woman.” After my response she said,”Well, you are very handsome, I just wanted to let you know that.” My heart was so touched, and that was when I realized who I was actually was—who I was to become. I didn’t medically transition until 2014. I had my first T-shot in June of that year. A couple of years later, I had top surgery with Dr. Pranay M. Parikh, MD at Baystate Hospital in Springfield, Ma. I just had been working to become the man I was inside, and now I see what everyone else saw in me. Through everything good and bad, I am the happiest that I have ever been in my life.

… When it comes to my craft, I don’t want to be recognized as a hip hop artist or music producer because I am transgender. I want to be recognized as an artist that is a transgender person.

What has been the most difficult and the most rewarding aspects of your transition?

In the process of transitioning, I faced some prejudice in the workplace. It was especially hard when the name and gender marker on my ID did not match my appearance and I dealt with discrimination. Not only in that but being a black man, there is a huge difference in how my interaction with people was pre- and post-transitioning. I remember I had a knee injury and I had to see the orthopedic surgeon. The pain was immense and I was on crutches barely able to stand. After my appointment I made my way to the elevator. There was a white woman getting on the elevator after me. She stopped and looked, grasping her purse and then stepped back to take the stairs. Prior to that, I could sit down as a complete stranger and talk for long periods of time with anyone. From there I knew that I needed to be more cautious. I felt she looked at me as a predator, but I would never harm a soul in my life. I love people, and I enjoy fellowship with folks from all different walks of life. That is the only way that we can understand the world in broader aspects is to be more receptive to one another for our differences; and there we will find our similarities and common ground. The willingness of understanding, communication, and overall knowing one another. So in the midst of the trials the greatest lessons I learn are through the obstacles that I have faced. To find understanding is a reward in itself.

fabian1 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonHow would you describe the intersectionality of being a black trans man in the South?

Coming from the Bay Area, it is very down south as well as north east. Not just being a black man that has to watch his step in the streets of the South, but as a black man in a very segregated community, and as a black trans man that is frowned upon by other black people. Being a public figure and appearing on national television on Jerry Springer, I had made a sacrifice. Under the circumstances on participating in the production I feel I still was able to show a positive example for members of our community as well as those that do not understand the reality of trans identifying individuals such as myself. I have been disrespected in public and have heard another ‘correct that’ person. People always look for something wrong with the next person regardless. There is always going to be someone that will have a problem with you based on the silliest assessments. The prejudice within the POC community and the racism that exists outwardly is a real tragedy considering that racism is taught. Back home, it is so much more diverse and so much more accepting that I miss it quite often, but I know there is something that I am here to do and I do it wholeheartedly! I am a part of an awesome non-profit organization called Freedom Overground, which was founded by Ky Peterson and Pinky Shear and is also affiliated with Transcending Barriers, founded by Zahara Green. These non-profit organizations focus on assisting trans people during and post-incarceration giving them the help they need to get on their feet. Especially with assisting trans men; and that is a big deal simply because there aren’t many organizations that help trans-masculine identifying people. One day at a time we can make a difference. The world is crazy in this time and age and it is the most importantly time for us all to be vocal and to influence and practice unity, awareness, and love.

What challenges have you had as a trans man in the hip hop industry and how has this impacted your career?

As an artist I am known as  Graffitti Notez SP. I have been well-rooted in the industry since I was a young child. I was a prodigy saxophonist. [I] played professionally and even had my own quartet in high school. We performed a lot when I was a kid. As I got older I got into music production and my network grew. When I began my transition I took a seat back from everyone because somehow I just knew that they wouldn’t accept me. So I thought! Since I have gotten back into music, my network has been completely supportive and this has helped me to regain my confidence and continue my work as an entrepreneur. I have been working on building my company I M Live for some time and now all the hard work is paying off. Must say, I have some amazing affiliates and individuals on my team. We are currently organizing a tour for the summer. Details will be released soon and we will begin moving forward. Through all adversity, I cannot wait to rock the stage again, vibe out with my fans, and enlighten the hearts of many. Through The Trees [an EP] has been released and available for stream on SoundCloud!

fabian2 Trans About Town: Fabian WashingtonIs there anything you want people to know about transgender hip hop artists?

I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, but when it comes to my craft, I don’t want to be recognized as a hip hop artist or music producer because I am transgender. I want to be recognized as an artist that is a transgender person. One thing that I have noticed is that people in the community take advantage of their identity for publicity. My transition is not to exploit myself to create opportunity. What I do hope to accomplish through my visibility is to reach our LGBTQ youth and inspire them to go after their dreams and know that they can do whatever they set their minds to. The music and film industry is tough to get into as is, and though there is more acceptance in some aspects there is also still a lot of discrimination. It’s all about how you present yourself to the world. Put your best foot forward, first impressions really are everything.

Let’s talk surgery …

When it comes to surgery, I know that personally it has helped my dysphoria a lot. I have had top and look forward to bottom surgery sometime this year. The thought of surgery can be scary for anyone, and for others its the complete opposite. Medical transition is vital for me, and it is a part of my journey in who I have become and the man that I am being visible as to the world, not just in my head or on a piece of paper. I feel as though I have been set free. I would like to thank Dr. Pranay M. Parikh, MD, for an amazing job on my top surgery. I give him 5 stars and would not change a thing about it!

I have been told you came to Houston to assist with clean-up post-Harvey. What made you want to help all the way from Atlanta and what part of Houston did you assist?

I am a compassionate individual and I love helping people. When I found out about the devastation that Houston had faced, no questions asked, I was there. Though I struggled with some things while I was there I would not change a thing that happened for the simple fact that the things we go through in life mold and shape us into the people that we become. Seeing the wreckage alongside the streets and people’s homes was tough. My empathy goes out to all the people affected and the people who lost their homes. In my time there, I aided Woodbridge Apartments in maintenance for rapid repair of about 340 units. Some units weren’t affected while others were completely destroyed. People were in their homes with huge holes in their ceilings and no shelter from the rain droughts that continued after sporadically.I have to give it up for the Houston community for standing together to get through this hardship and coming together to make amends to there streets.There is still a road ahead, but the progress and the hard work that has been put into making Houston home again has been phenomenal thus far.

Final thoughts?

I would like to thank Dylan Wilde Forbes and the rest of the team at About Magazine for having me. And I would just like to close out with this: for our youth, if we don’t guide them, they will have no direction. Our youth will be our leaders one day, and it is up to us to set the example and show by action in which way they should go. To inspire their hearts to follow their wildest dreams and strive for nothing but EXCELLENCE. I love you, Houston.

 

Alisha Mae Gets “Bold” For Debut Single Release

Alisha Mae debut single

With Over Twenty-Three Million Views Social Media Sensation Alisha Mae To Release Debut Single “Bold” On April 20th

(NASHVILLE)– Social media singing sensation Alisha Mae is set to release her highly anticipated new single “BOLD” on April 20th. The powerful, upbeat rhythm paired with Mae’s wide vocal range highlighting Alisha’s edgy spin and modern country flare. The debut single delivers an anthem of positivity and strength of the ages.

Excitement among Mae fans is building on social media as they eagerly await the release of Mae’s debut single “Bold.” Mae found success after recording the moving ballad “Dancing In The Sky.” A song that Mae found comforting after the sudden loss of a family member. The recording became an instant viral hit on social media, racking up over twenty-three million views on Facebook alone. A journey that was filled with emotions.

As the 2018 calendar is filling up for new country releases, the social media sensation is giving her fans a taste of something ‘wild’ and ‘bold.’

“Bold” will be Mae’s first studio release that has an irresistible beat and risky flare, the lyrics dare you to live life to the fullest. “You know I don’t like to take things slow, let’s be wild, let’s be bold.” Those words have never been truer for Alisha Mae, and her fans will surely agree.

The 26-year old Virginia native won over fans in every territory with her incredible rendition of ‘Dancing In The Sky’, by Danny & Lizzy. The song was originally released on the musical app Smule™ propelling her into the country music spotlight. Mae has been creating a viral world that interacts with her followers and displays her outstanding vocal ability with hard-hitting and empowering words.

“Bold” was produced by Nashville legend Kent Wells. Wells is long-time musical director and producer for Dolly Parton. Wells has worked with artists like Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Linda Davis and Curtis Braly. Written by Corey Lee Barker, Mark Barnowski, and Allie L Shermetaro.

“Bold” will be available for pre-order April 9th and will be released across all streaming platforms April 20th.