Black Gay Mail

Thursday, February 4, 2021
2:00pm

Register for the Zoom link at www.tinyurl.com/BlackGayMail 

Please join for Black Gay Mail, a panel with four seminal activist-cultural producers discussing the print media they created and circulated in the late 20th century. 
Alan Bell (BLK/Gaysweek), Ajamu X (Wickers and Bullers/Blac), Gregory D. Victorianne (Buti Voxx), and Ric Irick (Malebox) will discuss:

  • The origins of their publications 
  • Their uses of analog, digital, and/or printing technologies to produce the magazines and zines
  • The aesthetic choices of the publications 
  • The postal system as a site of activism, erotic exchanges, and/or interpersonal care 


Print media and the postal system served as critical venues for the creators, contributors, and readers at this time to circulate information and images regarding live events unfolding like the first wave of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as personal fantasies, manifestos, and updates. 

This panel seeks to augment public and scholarly discourses about the role of print media, aesthetics, and technology in 20th century Black Queer social networks. Moreover, the panel is an opportunity to foreground the national and transnational nature of Black Queer information networks. 

Black Gay Mail is part of ASE Commons, A Series on Race, Power, and Critical Thought

Sponsors
This event is presented by the American Studies and Ethnicity (ASE) Department as well as the Department's Africana Research Cluster. 
The event is cosponsored by: ONE Archives at USC Libraries, Roski School of Art and Design, Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Levan Institute for the Humanities, ASE's Race, Gender, Sexuality Research Cluster, and the Publicly Active Graduate Education Fellowship through Imagining America. 
 
Accessibility Information
Closed captioning is available for the event. Individuals who require accommodations for this event may contact the Africana Research Cluster at asearc@usc.edu or fill out the question regarding accessibility below. Please send requests at least 7 days prior to the event. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide reasonable accommodations in an effective and timely manner.

For Additional Inquiries email asearc@usc.edu


Biographies 
Alan Bell (panelist) is president of BLK Publishing Company, Inc., founded in 1988 to publish magazines targeted to the black lesbian and gay community. At present, the firm concentrates on graphic design and custom publishing with a special focus on developing materials for non-profit organizations that target underserved communities. In 1977 he founded Gaysweek, New York City’s first mainstream weekly lesbian and gay newspaper and the first owned by an African American. For 11 years, Bell was the film critic at the Los Angeles Sentinel. He has edited three books and appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Among his many honors, he is recipient of a Premier Print Award -- known colloquially as a Benny -- the most prestigious award in the printing trade, equivalent to the Oscar and Grammy. In March 2015, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution commending him for Exceptional Achievement and Dedication. Bell holds BA and MA degrees in sociology, and a BS degree in business.

Ajamu (panelist) is a fine art photographic artist–scholar, archive curator, and radical sex activist with a 25+ year track record of exhibiting in museums, galleries and alternative art spaces worldwide. His philosophical - political-aesthetic include portraiture/studio-based constructed imagery, early analogue printing processes and large format photography, which unapologetically celebrates both black queer bodies, the erotic sense[s], desire, pleasure as activism  and difference. He is the co-founder of the award-winning rukus Black LGBTQ Archive and a leading specialist of Black LGBTQ history, heritage, and queer cultural memory in the UK. He now has the honour of showing the first erect penis on British terrestrial TV in the Documentary Me and My Penis ( Channel 4, August 2020). He studied at the Jan van Eyck Academy and currently is a PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art, London.

Recognizing a need for some “nasty sex, deep reads, and in your face artwork” that was lacking in most LGBTQ publications, Gregory D. Victorianne (panelist)  was the  creator  and publisher  of BUTI VOXX, the hard-to-acquire but widely acclaimed and beloved  guerilla ‘zine  representing the African Diaspora.  For a decade [1995 ~ 2005], the notorious & controversial BUTI VOXX also featured sizzling entertainment reviews, and community commentaries that “pissed off some, lectured others, and affirmed many who saw themselves”.  BUTI VOXX was distributed at Black LGBTQ conferences, retreats, and pride celebrations globally, includin’ South Africa’s 2003 fête. BUTI VOXX received several accolades and set the stage for some of the more sophisticated erotica published today. Currently, Gd works at UCLA in the David Geffen School of Medicine where he has more than twenty-five years of expertise in health disparities, civic engagement, recruitment and retention, and HIV biomedical/behavioral research.

Ric Irick (panelist) Ric Irick published Malebox, with business partner, Raymond Carter (deceased) from 1993-1999. Malebox was a monthly magazine that showcased the intimate opinions, experiences & emotions of Black gay men. With an MBA in marketing and as an advertising sales professional, in the era prior to the internet Ric saw an opportunity to reach the Black gay community of Washington, DC and nationwide with printed media that was mailed to subscribers numbering over 1,500. Malebox proved to be invaluable as a vehicle for AIDS and HIV organizations to reach this population with prevention and treatment messages. Today, Ric continues to live in Washington, DC and is about to retire from a 25 year career in government as a staff member in the United States Congress.  In retirement, he has plans to "commute" in & out of the United States to attend Spanish language schools in a host of locations abroad.

Adrienne Adams (panel moderator) is a first year Ph.D. student in the American Studies and Ethnicity program at USC. Prior to entering USC, they worked for the HIV education nonprofit REACH LA as well as served as the 2018-20 LACMA Emerging Arts Professional Fellow. They have spoken at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Broad Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and the London Metropolitan Archives.

 

Image Description: Four covers of magazines/zines side by side. From Left to Right: BLK Cover is a portrait of Sweet Baby J'ai, a Black woman with a white headwrap and decadent earrings gazing at the camera. Buti Voxx cover is an illustration of a voluptuous Black ass covered with white lace. Malebox Cover is a black/white photograph of a shirtless Black man with a mustache who is crouching down. The Wickers and Bullers cover features a Black man seductively gazing at the camera and Union Jack in the Background.