By- DeoVonte “Deo” Means
Early this week, news began to slowly circulate within small pockets of the LGBT community that Empire star, the icon of morality and darling of the community; Jussie Smollett, was the victim of a vicious hate crime in Chicago. As the news began to widely spread, social media became rageful as first reports highlighted Jussies’ sexuality played a key role in being targeted. The brewing pot quickly escalated to “full-boil” when the already infuriated public was informed the assailants climaxed the assault with a pledge to Donald Trump and his detested MAGA campaign. Within hours, social media became imbued with sympathy and others were galvanized and issued calls for militant protestation! By 6pm CST, the LGBT community reiteratively substantiated their predominance as the most powerful propellant in the pop-culture machine, when the alleged attack gained additional traction by being featured on the evening news of all major networks. Admittingly, initially I was also stunned and flabbergasted; but as an experienced resident of Chicago – that’s also knowledgeable in the culture and protocols of the gay community – the story increasingly became intractable to digest. I practice being thorough and well informed before forming conclusions, so I quietly continued to observe. I suppose those of the same mindset is indeed driven by the same truths. Well before 10 pm CST, a casual conversation – with an equally judicious confidant – revealed a more conceivable likelihood that was both plausible and irrefutable when carefully analyzing the facts. Of course we went to bed with an unequivocal and indisputable theory formed; but finesse has disciplined the urge to be hypersonic in delivery, in an effort to quench the insatiable thirst for attention and numbers. We continued to bridle our opinion. By noon of the following day, I was shocked to discover that other experienced and astute, influencers and voices of the community began to articulate their doubtfulness and formulated an almost identical conclusion! The debates were entertaining, but my inquisitiveness led me to a propitious question. Regardless of JS (as Mr. Smollett will respectfully be referred to moving forward) facts, if it is alleged and overwhelmingly surmised that this more than likely was a hook-up gone awry; could we use the situation as a teachable moment for others instead of continuing to hide and deny the obvious?…(continue)
To be honest and transparent, I must first admit, with the exception of a few moments of being entertained, I have absolutely no vested interest in the JS situation. I am merely a devotee of veracity and driven by corporeality. The facts made public leaves a huge preponderance (more likely than not) of doubt, and this is a fundamental element of proving negligence in civil litigation. Yes, it’s possible that he was the victim of an isolated and unfortunate situation. But insight and discernment vigorously support the theory it was a common hook-up gone awry. This newly proposed possibility has divided the same community that was wholly unified just days ago! The “liberals” are delighted at the opportunity to be objective and free-thinking; they bask in the usage of analytics and reasoning in formulating their opinion. The “conservatives” are offended. They argue, if you’re not willing to prostrate your sensibilities and inclinations to those whom you sexually identify with; then your allegiance to the community is questionable, if existent at all. As I’ve spectated the debates of both sides I’ve surmised, to some, questioning the creditability of JS story causes fear and rage because it subsequently highlights that JS also partook in common high-risk activities that most hide, deny and denounce. Feigning moral superiority has become an erroneous priority in our culture, and most often it’s personified by the vocal condemnation of hook-up site usage, and vehement ostracism of those identified with sexual bartering. Yet, many that profess disdain are the faceless profiles that aggressively lurk in search of the discreet, fetish-laden, hook-up! I don’t encourage publicly disclosing the details of your personal life, but I also detest mendacious behavior. Considering that it’s even comprehensible that someone of JS status could likely be involved in random hook-ups means it’s no longer limited to the freaks, perverts and disenfranchised that traditionally we brazenly frowned upon. In 2019, EVERYBODY doing it!!! Instead of sweeping it under a rug, it’s time we owned it! Ownership allows you to initiate the dialogue needed to produce different outcomes to the plaguing issues…(continue)
From my viewpoint – unless you’re imbecilic – 2018 surely taught us that those pietistic proclamations are misleading facades. Hook-up sites and sex bartering is now a very common, and almost customary part of our culture. Those of ill-intent are aware of this fact, and our failure to recognize and incorporate this actuality has given them a heightened advantage at our expense. Cases of assault, robbery, and even murders – perpetrated towards our peers in compromising situations – has skyrocketed and hit closer to home. Perhaps it’s time we evolve beyond condemning and exiling those whom partake in hookups or the commodification of sex, and instead, create a space where experience and finesse can openly be shared. This transference of knowledge could likely alter the outcome of a near future experience, in the life of someone else. To test my hypothesis, I reached out to three peers and asked a basic question. “What advice would you give someone that’s new to the city and in pursuit of a quick hook-up, but happens to be inexperienced and rather sheltered?” An example of the valuable pieces of advice that dropped included:
- “Hooking- up is cool, but ALWAYS host, never visit strangers! – Visiting changes the control factor, which leaves you vulnerable and in a position of sabotage. In your own space; at all times you know who in your house, what’s in your house and how to get out. As a visitor, you don’t know who may be hiding in a back room, with what object/weapon and only one sure way out.
- “While in pre-discussion, casually inform the date, although you won’t be recording the actual interaction, your domicile is under standard surveillance. – Camera’s and evidence collection apparatuses elevate the risk of inevitable capture. This is an impendence to criminals. This single statement can weed out those of ill intent.”
- “Most who bring bartering into the conversation are in some form of NEED! – What you may perceive as pocket change, could – in fact be, two blunts, four squares and a meal for them. Desperation makes them ferociously advantageous. If they infer even an inclination that more is available than previously thought, subconsciously they will begin to strategically plot to take it! This makes it important to be in a safe and controlled setting. If at any time things shift and you begin to feel approached, you should always be able to “hit the bat signal” and regain control of the situation if necessary.
In 2019, it’s normal to be horny and enjoy sex. Technology has made hook-up sites the most convenient and accessible method of satisfying this craving. The prevalence of commodifying sex is as a byproduct of human survival skills responding to widespread poverty. To many, this quid-pro-quo interaction is not a reflection of their morals, appeal, desirability or lack of options. It’s simply another expenditure that affords them the luxury of gratification and convenience. If our JS theory is correct, then judgment is not in the act of pursuing a hook-up in exchange for pocket change. The shock is in how sloppy, uninformed, irresponsible and careless he went about it! I was reminded that everyone who has mastered the game, has also experienced one or two of those awry situations. It leaves you bruised, but you also become conversant on how to play the game moving forward. The paradox is that in 2019, it’s no longer just an excusable “experience.” The kids are now being discovered murdered and tossed in alleys as disposable trash! It’s time to stand boldly in who we are/what we do, and give guidance on ways to navigate around those pit-holes that consume others. That’s how you turn a potential scandal into a teachable moment….. Now that’s dope!! Deo