To paraphrase New York City mayor, Mike Bloomberg, leaders don’t lead from behind, they make decisions which they believe are for the common good and build momentum around it to create change.
Though he was speaking about politics, the same can be said about media and its bandwagon tendencies; and in that context, Jet Magazine, by making the editorial decision to include the first gay couple within the pages of their Weddings section, has proven to be a leader.
The Advocate reports:
The December 10 issue of Jet, which hit newsstands today, highlights the wedding of Ravi Perry, an assistant professor of political science at Mississippi State University, and Paris Prince, a licensed real estate broker and compliance officer for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. They were married in August at their home in Worcester, Mass.
“The biweekly feature, which traditionally showcases straight couples, includes a short bio of the couple and explains how the couple fell in love,” GLAAD reports in a press release saluting the magazine, which is aimed at an African-American audience, for featuring the wedding of the two men. Jet featured its first lesbian wedding last year, with the union of Nyema Vernon and Tenika Jackson.
“JET Magazine has an extensive legacy of covering the lives of LGBT African-Americans,” said Herndon Graddick, President of GLAAD. “This is yet another opportunity to applaud JET Magazine for continuing to highlight the diversity of the African-American community and to urge other media outlets to recognize that it’s these stories that help grow acceptance of our community and give a voice to LGBT people of color who are too often invisible in the media.”
The already volatile conversation surrounding marriage equality intensified in Black America when — after teetering on the fence throughout his inaugural campaign and the vast majority of his first term — President Barack Obama finally acknowledged that it is archaic and unjust to deny tax-paying citizens the right to marry whomever they love.
Religious leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton came out in full support of the POTUS, while others, like Pastor Jamal Bryant, said that they felt betrayed. Professor Michael Eric Dyson joined in the fray when he served as guest host on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and called out religious “bigots” as “sexual rednecks.” Then, as always, there are those controversy chasers who seem to enjoy pitting the LGBT community against other purposely marginalized groups — as if there is no clear intersection regardless of race or ethnicity.
With accusations of homophobia continuously shadowing the Black community, to make this statement of solidarity by seamlessly framing marriage equality as the new normal is the classiest move that Jet could have made.
Perry and Prince issued the following statement through GLAAD:
“We are excited and honored to have our wedding featured in the historic yet ever-current Jet magazine. Long the hallmark in publishing news, culture, and events pertaining to the black American experience, Jet’s publishing of our union is historic.”
It is, indeed, historic.