GLAAD Launches ‘Neon’ To Spotlight The Black LGBTQ Experience

GLAAD's Neon Team
GLAAD's Neon team Courtesy of GLAAD

As we celebrate Black History Month, GLAAD has unveiled a new ongoing digital content series titled “Neon”, which will increase the visibility of Black LGBTQ people and their experiences. The new series will launch today with Neon’s “Black History Month: Legacy Series” featuring artist and poet Roya Marsha (which you can watch below).

Neon’s Black history legacy series will continue throughout the month releasing one photo and video of a Black LGBTQ legacy person from a variety of disciplines every Tuesday and Thursday.

“GLAAD’s continued commitment to communities of color is exemplified with the launch of Neon. We hope to help shift the narratives of underrepresented communities in media, especially for the Black LGBTQ community and their allies. With an increase in violence and murders of Black Trans women, LGBTQ youth suicides, and a decrease in LGBTQ acceptance, Neon comes at a time when it’s absolutely critical to showcase diverse, fair, and accurate representations of Black LGBTQ people within the media” said DaShawn Usher, Programs Officer, Communities of Color and producer of Neon.

Major Nesby, Neon’s co-creator and contributing producer added, “It’s important to me that queer people across the African diaspora can see themselves and hear their stories. There are so many opportunities to be represented in the media and yet in 2020, I still don’t feel represented or seen in traditional media. Neon now has the chance to tell these diverse and collective stories.

While Neon is powered by GLAAD, the content will be curated by a group of Black LGBTQ artists and allies who are both staffers at GLAAD and contributors. The content will cover four categories:

  • IN THE MEDIA: Stories about representation.
  • COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS: Local stories that highlight changemakers and issues that impact communities on a more intimate level. This includes the upcoming “Making A Barbershop Feel Like Home for Black LGBTQ People” which will be a video about making traditional safe spaces like barbershops and beauty salons more inclusive for Black LGBTQ people.
  • CELEBRITY VOICES: Pop culture themed content that looks at LGBTQ celebrities and influencers shaping the narrative. The upcoming #GOALS video series will feature young millennials sitting down with a professional who works in their dream job.
  • ON THE SCENE: Having an LGBTQ presence at major events throughout the year. Upcoming events: GLAAD will have a presence at events such as: NAACP Image Awards, BET, Awards, Essence Festival, Black Women in Hollywood Brunch, American Black Film Festival, Black Girls Rock, MOBIfest, Afropunk, and more.

Below are the bios for the Neon team.

DaShawn Usher
Programs Officer, Communities of Color (GLAAD), Producer (Neon)
Pronouns: He, Him, His

DaShawn Usher is an award-winning advocate, published researcher, and celebrated leader within the LGBTQ community and HIV prevention field. DaShawn serves as the Program Officer, Communities of Color at GLAAD with more than 12 years of extensive experience in LGBTQ research, program development and design, campaigns, and health communications. DaShawn is also the founder and Executive Director of Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI), a series of curated social connectivity events for gay and queer people of color to see their holistic self while promoting community, wellness, and personal development.

Abdool Corlette
Art Director (GLAAD), Lead Creative (NEON)
Pronouns: He, Him, His
Abdool Corlette is an award-winning Creative with over 10 years of experience working in production. He is the Art Director at GLAAD and during the past three years has been the lead producer for most of GLAAD’s largest creative campaigns. He is passionate about showcasing the stories of underrepresented communities in media. His acclaimed documentary series “Other Boys NYC” profiled 50 queer and transgender men of color across New York City. His goal is to marry social advocacy and media to ensure that LGBTQ people and people of color are represented in accurate and multifaceted ways.

Major Nesby
Co-creator, Contributing Producer
Pronouns: He, Him, His
A multidisciplinary creative, Major started his career as a dance artist performing in New York City and on global stages with Ailey II and Ballet Hispanico. A graduate of Point Park University, he has also had the opportunity of acting and appearing in several web series, commercials, and movies. Aside from his creative endeavours, Mr. Nesby works in medical research recruitment, where he liaises between the research community and underserved populations. Major is currently working as a producer, content creator, host and correspondent with outlets such as Ain’t I Latina? Google, and HBO.

Janel Martinez
Contributing Producer
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Janel Martinez is a writer and founder of award-winning blog, Ain’t I Latina?, an online destination celebrating Afro-Latinx womanhood. Martinez is a frequent public speaker discussing media, tech, culture and identity at conferences and events for Bloomberg, NBCU, SXSW and more. She’s appeared as a featured guest on BuzzFeed’s AM to DM, NPR and Sirius XM, and her work has appeared in Adweek, Univision Communications and The New York Times.

Jazmin Samora
Strategist & Contributing Content Creator
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Jazmin Samora is a conceptual visual artist born, raised, and based in New York City. The foundation of her work is rooted in exploring the textures, humanity, depths and nuances of black identities across the diaspora through the natural elements and bright vivid colors as her signature. She is well versed in editorial, documentary, beauty, commercial photography and content creation.

LaQuann Dawson
Contributing Producer & Content Creator
Pronouns: He, Him, His
LaQuann is a photographer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. His interest in photography grew out of a desire to document himself and the world around him. At the age of 13 he began making self-portraits and over the past decade he has created a prolific body of work that has evolved, exploring themes of Blackness, identity, isolation, intimacy, rejection, community, yearning and disappointment.

Watch Roya Marsh’s episode below.


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