A celebration of the illustrious, prestigious, and well achieved 100 gay men of color will be taking place this Sunday, February 25 at Carnegie Hall in a spectacular extravaganza, orchestrated by DBQ Magazine. One of the producers of the event, top journalist Nathan James was kind enough to highlight the event and explain the significance regarding the outstanding list of those LOUD enough to be included

Among the performers will be Elijah Lewis and our own night-life celebrity and former lead singer of the boy band Worlds Apart, solo pop recording artist Aaron Paul.

What is the Loud 100, and how are you celebrating it?

The annual LOUD 100 issue of DBQ Magazine highlights those outstanding LGBTQ people of color whose achievements during the past year make them “Loud”, that is, they make our community more visible, and get people talking. This “Who’s Who” list is the brainchild of my friend, and DBQ Magazine publisher, David Bridgeforth. A concurrent LOUD 100 celebration, which recognizes these individuals (and sometimes, couples!) in an official and symbolic way, takes place every February. In the past, this combination ceremony, panel discussion, and concert has been held at the National Black Theater, and the Schomburg Center. This year, however, is special, because we are at Carnegie Hall this Sunday! We’ll make some noise, with exciting performances by vocalists Elijah Lewis, Aaron Paul, and a bevy of celebrities from stage, screen, literature, and television. It’s gonna be all that!

What does it mean to you personally?

I’ve been part of the DBQ Magazine family for five years, (I’m currently its Political Editor) and in that time, I’ve seen the Loud 100 grow, and evolve, into a barometer of excellence within our community. This year, for example, we started working on the Loud 100, with far more than 100 names from which to choose, so extensive was the repository of greatness among us. That, to me, is a wonderful thing. We have so many amazing people, from celebrities to ordinary folks, who bring us the best in fashion, media, community mobilization, entertainment, advocacy, and LGBTQ culture, that choosing just 100 people each year, is a real challenge. The fact that this challenge exists, warms my heart.

What are you most excited about for your Carnegie Hall presentation?

This is the first time we’ve done the Loud 100 at such an iconic institution. I am really looking forward to being there with friends, colleagues, and all the honorees. I worked closely with David Bridgeforth to co-produce this event, and placing it at Carnegie Hall is our statement to the world, about the richness and diversity that LGBTQ people of color bring to the American table. In today’s political climate, where LGBTQ rights are being rolled back,and violence against us is increasing at a truly alarming rate, people need a reminder that we are their neighbors, and we have a genuine role in their daily lives. This is the second time I’ve co-produced a LGBT event at Carnegie Hall, (the first was a Pride celebration in June, 2014), and there is nothing like being in this magnificent place. I am always touched by the presence of all the great creative spirits that have performed on its stages, and I am thrilled to walk in their footsteps!

How did you become involved in the celebration?

David and I were sitting in Central Park last fall, and we were talking about what to do for the Loud 100 this year. David had attended my earlier Carnegie Hall event, and we both agreed that this would be an excellent way to take the Loud 100 to the next level. I’d worked with David on previous Loud 100 ceremonies, but this one is unique. We reached out to the Carnegie Hall staff, and off we went! I am very greatful to David for allowing me to join him in bringing the Celebrations to life.

I understand there will be an after party as well ….?

Yes, honey! The after party is at the fabulous Alibi Lounge, located at 2376 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., in Harlem, right after the show. It runs from 3-7 PM, it’s free and open to all. Come on up and hobnob with 100 of today’s most awesome LGBTQ movers and shakers! You can RSVP by visiting dbqmag.com, and clicking on the flyer on the right.

Follow Nathan James on Twitter @RealNathanJames

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