Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Swagged Out Person’s Guide to ‘Swag’

XXL responds to’s “The Old Person’s Guide to ‘Swag’ with its own comprehensive version. All Swag Everything…

On May 23, published an article titled “The Old Person Guide to ‘Swag.’” Posted days after Sean “Diddy” Combs changed his name to Swag for a week, the inquisitive piece sought to better understand the slang term that has recently managed to gain more popularity after being ubiquitous in hip-hop’s lexicon in the past few years. Writer Adrian Chen starts off with his own pedestrian (no shots*) explanation of Swag, and then cites an example given by The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh before taking the case to a jury of “live young people” on Twitter for a verdict.
While a few of Gawker’s panelists offered decent answers, they failed to scratch the surface or add substantial layers to Chen’s account. Swag has historically been a much more fluid and complex concept. With that in mind, XXL tapped one of its resident Swaggologists to provide Gawker with the comprehensive breakdown they’ve been asking for. All Swag Everything. XXL Presents… A Swagged Out Person’s Guide to ‘Swag.’ Swag! —XXL Staff
B.S. (Before Swag)
Swag‘s DNA can be traced back to hip-hop’s formative years. In the 1980s, Dana Dane’s Kangol, Slick Rick’s chains and Run-D.M.C.’s Shell Top Adidas sneakers, fedora hats and leather jackets all exuded swag. They simply called it fresh, or fly at the time.
Though it’s never been a fully hip-hop-centric word, Swagger had its run as the term du jour MCs favored whenever boasting on record. “My swagger’s Mick Jacker, stones is rollin’,” Ghostface Killah rhymes on “The Champ” off of 2006’s Fishcale.
As it’s been the case before (family/fam, whore/hoe), hip-hop took ownership of a word, Swagger, abbreviated it and turned it into slang. Swag! Here’s where it gets a bit complicated. Though Swag rose in popularity in the late 2000s, it didn’t symbolize the death of Swagger as the two are still interchangeable to this day. The birth of Swag coincided with the beginning of the terms’ perpetually evolving meaning. B. S. (Before Swag), more times than not, the term was used to reference someone’s aura, flair, style, or fashion sense. Now, as Sanneh wrote, Swag is a noun (swag), adjective (swaggerificswagnificentswagtasticswagged out, swagless) and verb (swag it out) used to describe a person’s personality, walk, flow, fashion sense, etc, etc. The emergence ofSwag also coincided with the growing popularity of Swagger Jacker, a term used to describes a person who steals someone else’s style, flow, etc, etc. XXL Magazine features a monthly column titled Swagger Jacker, in which the publication lists lyrics MCs borrowed from previously released recordings.
Death to Swag
Swag’s omnipresence led to its share of protesters. In 2008, T.I., Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Kanye West released “Swagga Like Us”— a song that fittingly speaks on Swagger in the traditional sense, borrows a line from M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” for its chorus, and features West Swagger J****** Ghostface’s “My Swagger’s Mick Jagger” line during his verse. That same year saw the release of Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On”— a smash hit that eventually peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile, Styles P came forward as one of Swag’s most vocal antagonists. “It’s not even the use of the word that bothers me, it’s the abuse of the word that bothers me,” Styles exclusively told“I mean, ain’t nothing wrong with having style, swag and all of that, but I think all the guys are starting to be so focused on the look and the way they are so much, that it almost make them like girls.” The anti-swag movement failed to spread. In 2009, T.I. and company, including a very pregnant M.I.A. took to the Grammy Awards stage for a historical performance of their award-winning “Swagga Like Us.”

Swag, Swag!
With Soulja Boy and Lil B leading the charge, Swag morphed into an ad-lib, a form of cosign in the same way Chuch and Word are used. As Chen mentioned, Soulja and Lil B sprinkle “Pretty Boy Swag” and “Wonton Soup,” respectively, with Swag ad-libs at the end of practically every line. In conversation, one might say: I’m feelin’ that jacket. Another person might echo the sentiment by saying: Swag. The term’s elusive definition is also slowly, but surely making it meaningless as it can now be used in too many contexts that are increasingly becoming disconnected from one another.
[Editor's Note: See XXL's Swagtionnary below for a list of Swag synonyms used in various contexts.]
Swag Synonyms): Attitude, Aura, Awesome, (Da) Bomb, Charisma, Chuch, Confidence, Cool, Disposition, Dope, Essence, Fashionable, Fire, Flair, Flavor, Fly, Fresh, Funky, G, Game, Gnarly, Groovy, Hip, Hot, In Vogue, Jib, Major,  Mojo, Personality, Pimp, Rad, Sharp, Smooth, Steez, Stupid, Style, Suave, Swell, Trendy, Vibe, Walk, Word, Zen
P.S.: Swag isn’t dead. Swag!
*You might wanna ask “live young people” about no shots.


Yumon Eaton

Andre Mull

Vincent Gibson

New Canadian exhibition looks at gay maritime life of the post-war years

By Christopher Brocklebank  -

A new exhibition has opened at The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Canada, looking into the gay and lesbian subcultures that flourished at sea on passenger cruise ships, naval vessels and freighters from the 1950s onwards.
The exhibition is being guest curated by Jo Stanley, who helped adapt Hello Sailor! Gay Life on the Ocean Wave from the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool. She is also co-author of the book Hello Sailor! The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea, and said she believes acceptance of different sexualities on board ships developed because of the necessary pragmatism of life at sea.
She said: “There was a saying, ‘Nothing’s queer once you’ve left the pier’ . . . ships are unique places when you’ve all got to work together.” Dan Conlin, the museum’s curator of marine history, added: “Homophobia from shipmates was relatively rare.”
Many of the British passenger ships sailing from Liverpool and Southampton would dock at Halifax. On board, unofficial gay marriages were performed, crews hosted drag shows and a designated lovers’ cabins were often known as Balmoral, named for one of the Queen’s residences.
The show also includes the recollections of Canadian mariners, some of whose stories are not so happy. They include a gay naval officer who resigned in 1970 after being confronted with a three-inch-thick file on his personal life compiled by investigators, and a lesbian woman who stayed largely closeted while working aboard a freighter.
The exhibition runs until November.


President Obama issues Pride proclamation for 2011

THE WHITE HOUSE - Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2011




The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.
My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.
At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth. My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March. Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording “It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.
This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.
Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fift

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gay Ugandan living in D.C. wins asylum in the U.S.

Gay Ugandan living in D.C. wins asylum in the U.S.

Kushaba Moses Mworeko (Photo by Todd Franson)
Kushaba Moses Mworeko
By Will O’Bryan -

While the ongoing uncertainty of Uganda’s ’’kill the gays’’ bill - a for-now tabled proposal to radically reinforce Ugandan law, which already criminalizes homosexuality - has Ugandan gays and lesbians fearing for their futures, one gay Ugandan is finally breathing easy. Earlier this month, Kushaba Moses Mworeko, received his official notice that the United States has granted his request for asylum.

’’The letter says I have asylum status indefinitely,’’ says Mworeko, who arrived in the U.S. from Uganda in October 2009. ’’After one year, I have to apply for permanent residency.’’

Coming to the U.S. for an HIV/AIDS conference in Texas, Mworeko knew he would try to stay in America. That determination, aside from prompting his asylum request, brought him to D.C. where he helped Truth Wins Out and the Human Rights Campaign protest the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast organizers, The Fellowship, aka The Family, have reportedly fueled Uganda’s homophobic fires. Initially, the Ugandan parliamentarian who authored the ’’kill the gays’’ bill, David Bahati, had even been invited to the breakfast.

From D.C., Mworeko moved to the San Francisco Bay area to work with another attorney. But with strong indications that his case would reach a successful conclusion, Mworeko returned to D.C. in March.

’’I love Washington,’’ Mworeko says, adding that he hopes to one day visit Uganda without danger. ’’This is my home. I will go to school. I will get a job and start working. I want to do a master’s of social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse. I feel that’s where I can make a difference.’’

He’s already making a difference by working with Get Equal to challenge The Family. To that end, he’s contributing to the ’’Venus Plus X’’ organization’s blog with the component ’’Global Sexual Freedom Rights.’’

In the meantime, Mworeko is excited to celebrate his second Capital Pride, and notes the contrast between his old home and new in the Capital Pride Parade.

’’The encouragement from these leaders - the congresswoman, the police, all these people - being in the front and leading is awesome.’’
Copyright MetroWeekly. For more articles from MetroWeekly visit




    00" class="align-center" />

NFL middle linebacker Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers