|Social Architect Cleo Manago
Breaks Down “Fear of a Gay Planet”
In Video Clip from Recent Panel Discussion
Black Opinion Leaders Address
Black Manhood, Homosexuality & Civil Rights at Recent
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Networks 2009 Conference
Atlanta – The Black community has often been held accountable for its lack of acknowledgement and resistance to its own same gender loving community. In what could be described as a ‘fear of a gay planet,’ issues addressing homosexuality are still considered taboo in large sectors of the black community, including the church.
An insightful video clip from a presentation given by social architect Cleo Manago has been circulating the Internet and stimulating increased dialogue within the Black as well as gay identified communities. Manago recently participated in a candid debate on homosexuality in Black communities, civil rights and attitudes behind Black resistance to homosexuals at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Networks 2009 Summer Conference held in Atlanta, GA.
Manago was joined by author/activist Kevin Alexander Gray and National Action Networks Director of Health & Wellness, Tony Wafford. The recent legislation on gay marriage and domestic partnerships sparked the presentation which addressed the question.” Are same gender relationships a civil rights issue?”
Manago, known for his outspoken and no holds barred opinions, eloquently expresses in the video presentation, “Often when I have these discussions in the Black community, someone gets up talking about reproduction. To reproduce or to not reproduce being the measure of who deserves the most rights or respect. This is not logical because most sex that people have, including heterosexual sex, is not to reproduce.”
Manago further goes on to discuss that “While HIV is killing us, the Black community, its difficult getting heterosexual men involved in part based on myths, judgments and under-discussed issues around manhood in the Black community.”
Recognized as one of the “Leading Men in 2008” and titled “The Uniter” by Instinct Magazine, Manago has been at the forefront of the movement to liberate the masses from stereotypes and ingrained cultural perceptions since 1989. His message and vision of love and acceptance is ensconced in the context of cultural affirmation and transformation.
Cleo Manago is the founder the AmASSI Health & Cultural Centers based in the Inglewood area of South Los Angeles, with additional projects in Harlem, Atlanta and the Baltimore/DC area. The acronym ‘AmASSI’ stands for the African American Advocacy, Support-Services & Survival Institute. Uniquely, AmASSI combines counseling, skills building and educational programs regarding the prevention of HIV disease, substance abuse and various health threats; with cultural affirmation, critical thinking and self-concept enrichment.
The approach confronts many of the psycho-social, mental health, contemporary and historical factors that impact Black well-being and constructive behavior, with technical assistance also provided to other organizations on how to improve their capacity to attract, affirm and serve diverse Black people.
This videotaped discussion between the panel and audience is a rare documented example of the topic of homosexuality publicly addressed among a diverse group of African Americans. The footage can be accessed at:
For more information on Cleo Manago and AmASSI Group go tohttp://www.amassigroup.com.