A Love Letter to That 60’s Boy Dancer

This is a love letter to Bobby.  No, not Bobby Kennedy, Bobby Brown or even Robby Williams…Bobby Banas.  You probably don’t know his name.  But you probably know his work, particularly if you are a fan of old musicals.  I had a beautiful reminder yesterday morning about a huge part of my past that I rarely take the time to really hold on to and appreciate.  Dance.

My friend Mimi Quillin posted a clip from the 1963 Judy Garland Show of a dance called the “Nitty Gritty.”  In it you see your typical 1960’s dancers for the most part (women with beehive hairdo’s lacquered into place, flirty chiffon skirts and heels…gentlemen in skinny tuxedos.)  They are performing a dance that has shades of the Frug and the Mashed Potato and they are dancing with great reserve…except for one.  This one male dancer is letting his head fly about, his back slip and his hips literally wiggle (gasp!)  The camera moves in for a closeup and the expression on his face says,”I could care less that I’m on national TV, I’m just dancing for me, baby”…wheeeee!

That is Bobby Banas.

Why am I writing a love letter to a 1960’s dancer?  Because, quite simply, when I was a little boy, I wanted to be him.  Other little boys wanted to be astronauts and policemen (it was the 60’s and 70’s) but I wanted to point my toes and stretch my legs and make beautiful shapes with my body.  What’s wrong with that?  According to the world at that time: everything.  Officially, I was a little boy in the 70’s and despite the whole free love, peace, hippies, Black Power and any host of other liberation movements that gave rise to the age of disco…boys still didn’t have hips, and definitely wouldn’t or shouldn’t wiggle them if they did.  The message was very clear that ideally, I should probably stop wiggling my hips by the time I was 10, despite the best efforts of John Travolta to change a generation.  Alas, by the time I was 11, I was still wiggling.

My parents tried to embrace my wiggling by pointing me toward great black male dancers (Arthur Mitchell, Alvin Ailey, Geoffrey Holder) but I knew that they were hoping I would outgrow this fantasy and settle into wanting to change the world as a lawyer…or at least something with a good stable income.  I accepted their desire and outwardly focused my dance ambitions on the most regal and noble art of the ballet.  But what they didn’t know is that my ballet fixation was a clever rouse; in my heart, I really wanted to be one of those dancer boys on TV or in the movies…like Bobby Banas.  I had seen the movie Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine and the Rich Man’s Frug became my life ambition.  But how does one tell one’s parents that not only do you want to be a dancer, but you really want to be that third dancer from the left who has just a little bit more spice and body English than the others.

Bobby Banas’ career is amazing.  He danced with Marilyn Monroe (she kisses him at the end of the opening number of Let’s Make Love), Ann Margret and Debbie Reynolds, in movies like The Unsinkable Molly Brown and the Holy Grail of Hollywood Musicals, West Side Story.  He was a Jet.  He was sexy.  He was strong.  He was impish and Puck-like; an unpredictable beatnick in a world of dance that was careening toward the great cliff of the 1970’s when the great movie musical would go out of vogue.  He wasn’t in front like Russ Tamblyn, Elliot Feld or George Chakiris, but he had just that right kind of quirky freedom that made you look, more than once.  He is part of a generation of dancers who did the hard work of the movie musicals.  They made the impossible choreography of Jerome Robbins, Gower Champion, Gene Kelly, Onna White look not only easy, but fun.  I can only imagine choreographers seeing him come on to the set, looking at his elfin face and feeling his raw energy and saying, yes, yes, please make my dance look much better than I could ever have imagined.

I was very, very lucky.  I had enough talent to be able to pursue the whole ballet thing and get a good foundation.  It was good enough foundation for me to eventually drop ballet altogether and focus on musical theater, but not before taking class with people like Bobby Blankshine and Michael Vernon where I danced (poorly) alongside the likes of people like a retired but still magical Allegra Kent.  Although I happily left 180 degree turnout and stretching my feet for a better pointe, I will always be grateful for the discipline that ballet gave me.

But why a love letter to Bobby Banas?  I guess its a bit like those boys who watched Joe Namath or Doug Flutie or Willy Mays.  Not only did I want to be part of that club, I learned an important lesson about my masculinity by watching dancers like him.  I learned that it was good to be able to express myself physically with joy and not violence;  I learned that my wiggle had nothing to do with my sexuality.  I learned that I had value and uniqueness that no one could take away from me.  In my pursuit of dance, I gained an appreciation for my body as an instrument that required constant and loving care, from the food I put into it to the way I trained it, to the things I asked it to do.  I also gained appreciation for those who came before me and achieved much, much more than I did working with the greats.  My chance encounters taking class with or meeting people like George Chakiris, Suzanne Charney, Donna McKechnie and others were moments of touching greatness that I will never forget.  There is a wonderful You Tube channel out there, Dancers Over 40 (http://www.youtube.com/user/dancersover40)  where you can see some of the great dancers from “back in the day” remembering their early careers and the spectacular times in which they lived and created great work.  The were and still are incredible

But I write a love letter, primarily because my dancing didn’t just stay my dancing.  It became life experiences on Broadway and abroad; it became a career in the fitness industry including my appearance in P90X; most importantly, as I’ve grown out of the body that could do 10 Russian splits, it became perspective on the changes that we go through in life, both physically and emotionally and has given me a foundation for my path as a minister that lets me respect the beauty that once was and the beauty that one becomes.

I can think of no greater gift than to give a little boy the freedom and encouragement to dance.  Even today, boys aren’t encouraged to move their bodies in ways that aren’t goal driven.  Why must a little boy run toward something, or faster than someone?  Why do we ask young men to be able to push someone over, hit harder than and be strongest?  Let boys move just for the sheer joy of moving.  Somewhere in that boy who can bench 250 and can knock down a line of defensive linemen on the football field, there might just be a man who would rather be doing something else altogether…he might actually want to wiggle instead.  And because of that wiggle, he might just turn out to be as remarkable, inspired and inspiring as someone like Bobby Banas was to me.

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Body

adam_2In the Fall of 2003 I was asked to be a model for P90X.  It is now the world’s best selling workout DVD.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, there’s a link at the bottom of this page.  At that time, I was in the midst of a grand personal experiment.  I had come to Los Angeles at the end of a national tour determined to be “LA Adam.”  When I started the experiment, I wasn’t actually sure what that meant.  But I knew one thing for sure, it involved having what I called the “LA Body.”  This was a body that would always be camera ready, shaved, sculpted and looking 10 – 15 years younger than it actually was.  Prior to the LA body, I had lived with people commenting on my body as a dancer, for its shape and definition and flexibility; sometimes, welcome, sometimes not.  The most disturbing and regular comment on my body was “you black guys, never have to work out” or “you all look like that” or “dark skin always makes someone look better” or some variation on that theme.  I will happily admit that my parents gave me some good clay to work with, but it was up to me as to what I did with that clay. The idea that my body simply appeared the way it did is naive to say the least.  I started exercising when I was about ten or eleven.  I secretly did hours of ballet exercises in my basement throughout high school.  My freshman year of college, I spent more time in a dance studio than I did in class and then throughout the rest of college, the gym was my refuge from feeling like an outsider.  This past year is the longest I’ve gone in 30 years without a gym membership or regular access to an exercise facility of some kind…only because I spend so much time blogging…but I still, run, do pushups and situps and ride my bike to work.  Yeah, my body just happens because I’m black!

Black men and women have been objectified since day one in America.  Being paraded, proded and peddled as livestock meant we had to have strong bones and teeth, good backs and healthy genitals for breeding.  Stories of auction block antics surrounding the treatment of slaves would disgust most of you so I will let you explore that on your own (see links below.)  But it is that same history that expects us to be good athletes and day laborers and not necessarily bookish and un-athletic.  It is the same history that is behind racial profiling and is history that sits behind the assumptions about Trayvon Martin’s physical ability to inflict harm on George Zimmerman. Black women who are called “Brown Sugar”, black men who are called “Mandingo”…these and the dumb jock mentality are gross assumptions and the worst kind of stereotypes because the black community has frequently adopted them as well.  Blacks have played into a self objectification that makes us out to be nothing more than collection of wildly exaggerated body parts.

It has been a very dicey business for me personally to separate just what is the perverse racially motivated fascination with black bodies in America and what is the perverse fascination with sexuality in America in general.  Living at those crossroads is at times unbearable.  How do you know if someone is going out with you because they like you or because they want to sleep with the ‘P90X Ab Guy’ or because they are expecting nothing short of a sexual freak when they get in your pants?  Or how do you know if that same fascination isn’t just part of the whole “body=sex” equation here in the US?

Simply, you don’t.

I’d love to see us change the dialogue about how we not only talk about black bodies, but how we talk about ALL bodies.  Objectification, racialization, gendering…these are all aggressions we throw at each other, sometimes all too casually.  This fall I will be teaching a course at the Starr King School for the Ministry, In Your Hands: The Language, Ethics and Spirituality of Touch.  My hope is that in this class I can lay the groundwork for changing the game.  When I think of racially motivated violence, both physical and verbal, it is very clear to me that people are only capable of doing these things if they have never been intimate (in the platonic sense) with someone who looks different than they do.  I also believe that faith community leaders have a unique power to introduce a new language of touch.  The crimes of the Catholic church in abusing this power, show just how much power really exists in the ability to influence how someone sees their body.  Repulsively, this power was used by certain members of the Catholic church to horrific ends.  If we only punish them, no matter how severely, they have still won.  We must make a concerted effort to not only make sure those crimes don’t happen again, but to establish a new way to communicate through touch.  The answer is not to eliminate touch…that is inhuman.  The answer is in exploring the deeper meaning of touch as it relates to our physical identity, sense of physical well being and creating a language of liberated body justice where we can not only touch one another, but we can enjoy what that means, without fear or threat.  Imagine a room full of gang members (of any race), or people who hate one another, or total strangers, who are put in a room and simply asked to hold hands…no words.  The potential is tremendous, if we do the tough work…exploring our fears about touch, bodies and physical intimacies.  Faith communities have been vilified in terms of how they view the body and how they use the body.  If faith communities and spiritual people can lead the way to reclaim touch and body awareness, we literally can change the world.

P90X

Starr King School for the Ministry Course Descriptions (mine is at the bottom)

Slave Auction History 1

Slave Auction History 2

Slave Auction History 3

Slave Auction History 4

Hero

We are in a precarious and unpredictable world.  We are asking ourselves if we can trust each other, trust ourselves and asking if we can trust that the world to which we are all contributing will ultimately be safe enough (politically, strategically and environmentally) for us to actually survive.  What do laws mean if no one follows them?  What does faith mean if no one has it?  If you think about it, a lot of these kinds of questions have been answered in the past by the basic human nature of having heroes.  Those people our societies have held aloft as the representatives of the ideals and concepts that we collectively hold to be most admirable: the ability to overcome adversity; strength of convictions; pure talent; the embodiment of beauty, etc.

What a week for heroes.  Lance Armstrong, like him or not, was one of our heroes.  He knowingly took those ideals of ours and consciously manipulated his world so that he appeared to be in that model of human nobility and perfection.  We can’t ask why.  We want to judge someone who takes our idea of hero and turns it into a self serving opportunity.  We want to have some kind of compensation for being duped.  But we must be better than that.  He has to answer to himself and that will be the challenge and shame he carries for the rest of his life.  No book deal, no future achievement of any kind can diminish the torture that he will carry to his grave and the torture carried by those directly affected by him.  It is its own punishment.  But it is a situation that leaves us wondering what was it that let us believe that he was a hero if he really wasn’t one?  With the multitude of people who surrounded him who knew what was going on (I had actually heard about his methods in sports circles and have heard for years through people who have known him that he is a dirty competitor), why did we let ourselves believe that he was more than the “emperor with new clothes?”

And then you have Barack Obama; sworn in for a 2nd term as the 44th President of the United States; galvanizing the country toward stricter gun laws, immigration reform and even the possibility of marriage equality.  Standing tall and proud as a man of color and the winner in a game that has been dominated by an elite white male establishment for more than 200 years.  Now, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I am a big Obama supporter, but I would claim that as a hero and on a certain level, Barack Obama in triumph is really no greater or less than Lance Armstrong in disgrace.  Obama is a politician.  He has played a system (American politics), and worked the process and used the resources available to him no less than any competitive cyclist from the Armstrong era, except the stadium in which Obama is playing expects you to use political transfusions and creative medicine marketing to get your outcome.  By all means, I do not want to call the legitimacy of Obama’s re-election into question and if that is your rebuttal to this blog, I ask you to refrain from comment…that is not the point of this discussion.  My point here is that we WANT heroes regardless of what form they present themselves.   We WANT to believe that there are just some people on this planet who “play the game” who are gifted; not just lucky, but gifted, whether that be in ability or opportunity or vision or divine inspiration.

Oddly enough, we have these heroes around us all the time.  And among those heroes are some Barack Obamas and some Lance Armstrongs.  There are some who are definitely playing a game, but it is a game in which we are willing to accept (for now) the twisted rhetoric and conflict between noble aspirations and back room deals.  And on the other hand, there are some who are creating their own playing field and using the good faith of those around them for their own opportunistic desires.  Yet, for that moment while we accept all of our heroes as the beacon in the distance, we find guidance and inspiration in who they show themselves to be with us.  We WANT heroes.

So what is this about?  We see heroes around us every day.  We are inspired and we inspire others.  I am always blown away by the e-mails I receive from total strangers who see the P90X videos and thank me…I am honored to have played the hero (even if it meant someone was cursing me under their breath)…but I certainly didn’t set out to be a hero.  I just did a job that was asked of me, to the best of my ability according to my upbringing, training and education.  We all have these opportunities to inspire.  I have received some of the most truly heroic encouragement in my journey toward ministry, toward physical self acceptance, toward love…and these heroes may not realize the strength of that lifeline they cast my way. I believe that the first place to look for our heroes must be within ourselves.  We can only be absolutely sure of the integrity that we bring ourselves.  We cannot hold anyone else to our standard, but rather we must set an example.  If we bring our best selves to every endeavor, we will fill the role of hero for someone.  Even if it is fleeting, and even if we are actually more Armstrong than Obama, we must first answer to ourselves and if we are spiritual, to our faith center.  From there, integrity, hope and aspiration to a higher ideal can spread to others.  THIS makes a better world.  Remember the real hero is within.

To all of my heroes, thank you.  You are with me every day and I love you all.

Dedicated to my mother, Edwina Weston-Dyer (1932-2012) 

Mendacity

In case you haven’t got it yet, I love old movies.  As an aside, if you are also an old movie fan and you haven’t checked out John DiLeo’s blog (http://screensaversmovies.com/), you must.  One of my favorite old movies is “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”  First of all, Elizabeth Taylor is stunning.  Second of all, so is Paul Newman.  And best of all, is a script by Tennessee Williams that despite its being rather liberally butchered for the Hollywood censors, still manages to convey a lot of the original plays awkwardness and distaste for one thing…mendacity.

mendacity (plural mendacities)

– The fact or condition of being untruthful; dishonesty.

– A lie, deceit or falsehood.

No one, absolutely no one in the film is telling the truth.  It is gorgeous and tragic.  But it only works because it is fiction and not real life.  It is Edith Head and Richard Brooks and Louella Parsons and 1958 Hollywood, nothing more.

Unfortunately, we seem to be in an age that is quickly embracing mendacity as the rule instead of the exception.  I could launch into a lengthy expose on the recent Republican National Convention and how my P90X workout buddy, Paul Ryan, seems to have major issues with the fact check button on his computer (maybe he’s a little high from all of that Shakeology ™?)  I could also dive into “the Mittster” himself’ by pointing out how he left out one important phrase at the beginning of his speech, “Once upon a time…”, but I will resist.  I know that next week the Democrats will also engage in their fair share of mendacious salaciousness feigning perspicaciousness while resulting only in audaciousness…in short, we’ll hear them lying too.  I have no plea or bargain to strike with either party.  I would however like to speak directly to a group that I not only identify with, but a group for whom I have always had great hopes: black folks.

Word on the street is that black folks (aka, African Americans) are in a quandary.  As first fired, last hired,  we have seen little if no change at all in our economic status during the Obama administration.  There are no more of us starting businesses, or owning homes or affording college or sailing our yachts or showing our dressage horses than before Obama was elected.  So if we (black people) then listen to the rhetoric being spouted by the Republicans, it would make sense that we would agree with them that Obama has been a “do nothing” president.  But then, the Democrats point most specifically to the benefits that come with “Obamacare” and the administrations effort to rebuild the American international reputation after the Bush bulldozer, and they say, the world is a safer, healthier place for us.  Not to mention that Obama is black (well half…but that’s a totally different blog concerning how we truly embrace people who are mixed race) and he therefore represents a kind of “hope” that a Romney or a Ryan could never represent for us.

Right now there is a concerted effort to make the issue of marriage equality (aka gay marriage) a divisive issue in the black church and black communities in general.  We don’t talk about it.  We don’t make a point of standing up and making a show by marching with posters that say “I love my gay son” or any of that.  In most black communities, centered around the church, blacks don’t talk about anything LGBT even if they know its there.  I’ve often gotten the feeling that many of a certain type in the black community regard LGBT rights as a frivolous pursuit by entitled white people and therefore it is not something that involves “us.”  Blacks who deny the LGBTQI communities in their midst are sadly deluded.  They are missing out on true relationships with their sons and daughters, brothers, aunts, sisters, uncles and even sometimes parents, because of a desire to remain ignorant to the truth.

Ladies and gentlemen, black people have sex.  And yes sometimes its not always with someone of the opposite gender. And get this, whether it is M/F, M/M, F/F or whatever, its not always “Mandingo/Foxy Luv” sex.  Sometimes, its as boring and mundane as the sex you might imagine Mitt and Ann having.  The important thing is to own the fact that we have it and it ain’t no big deal.

Black church leaders are calling for a boycott on the election because of Obama’s stance on same sex marriage.  They claim that embracing this practice is anti-Christian and goes against God and nature.  They believe it is important to make a statement to Obama that he has “betrayed” the black people by embracing something they see as a white evil.

Mendacity.

I have a growing number of black LGBTQI friends who have all left the church because of the hostile environment they have encountered.  From my view, the only people who have perpetrated betrayal are the church leaders who go against the teachings of the very Christ they espouse by turning away people who are already marginalized.  We are met with the claim that we “weaken” the cause for validity in a white dominated culture; that we are over sexualized and that we are a shameful representation of sexuality.  I know they are wrong, but I will put aside how sickened I am by their stance to make a plea for a temporary truce.  Right now, we have an opportunity to elect the first black (mixed) president in the history of the United States to a second term.  He has been battled and un-cooperated with and challenged from day one, because he genuinely does think differently than all of the old white dudes who came before him.  Yes, he is just as much a slimy politician as the rest of them, but he does speak our language and he is a symbol of something much more important than making sure Warren Buffett gets another tax break.  He’s a symbol that the face…the literal face of America has changed permanently.

Black church leaders of America, I ask you to put aside your differences with me and the rest of my LGBTQI cronies and we will do the same.  Our battle for reconciliation will go on much longer than either this election season or the next administration regardless of who wins because human sexuality is as old as the human race.  And I say to the black community, do not disgrace the work of all of the Civil Rights warriors by withholding your vote…there are enough people trying to cheat you out of it as it is.  I say, if you really don’t want all that Obama stands for as a leader for this country, then vote against him, but don’t be a coward; don’t let the men who want to play a false God with my sexuality, women’s bodies or your rights to have assistance from a biased system that continues to oppress you…don’t let them have their day.   And if you are willing to continue to meet the LGBTQI community face to face through our common faiths and shared spirituality, then put that vote in the blue column and we’ll meet you at church where we can really discuss the validity of my existence before the eyes of God and find a way to embrace each other with the true love He designed and hopefully without any mendacity at all.

Muscle Irony

In 2003

I love Paul Ryan.  Here’s someone who has hitched his wagon to the Romney horse (lame though it may be) and is all gung ho and ready to “energize” the base, and make the Romney campaign relevant to young people and to…well…BRING IT!

Yes those immortal words from the fitness guru du jour Tony Horton, repeated, time and time again in his P90X video series.  Yes, P90X…muscle confusion…push through the pain…BRING IT! It brings back memories.  You see, I have the delicious fortune (although none of the money) to be featured throughout the P90X series.  It was a great little fitness modeling gig while I was working for Equinox in LA back in 2003 (yes nearly 10 years ago) and it was great fun.  The people I twisted into “crow” with and “crunchy frogged” with and “Dreya rolled” with were an absolute delight.  When I worked on this project, I knew it would be popular but had no idea HOW popular.  It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was working for Disney Cruise Line in a totally non fitness capacity when one of the dancers on board approached me and said, “The guy in our workout video looks a lot like you…” I was taken off guard until they told me that the entire cast had been doing the AbRipper X workout and they thought the guy with the dreadlocks looked a  lot like me.  I informed them simply “…because, it IS me.”  That began what is now a regular occurrence where I have to “manage” my incredibly minor celebrity.  Someone recognizes me or corners me conversationally about being in P90X or asks me questions about it.  It seems quite endless and I am deeply flattered.  And now with the presumptive Republican Vice Presidential Candidate talking about it, I must brace myself for another onslaught of P90X Mania.

I don’t believe that wellness should be politicized.  Wellness and health are for everyone.  But the only problem is that Paul Ryan doesn’t think so.  Again, I’m not trying to be funny or political (much) but he’s touting a national financial plan that would complicate and probably limit the options available to people who are medically vulnerable and are currently having their health and sustenance needs served served by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  That strikes me as a pretty bizarre irony when he’s marching around being hailed as an example of health, showing off his “guns” and talking about 6% body fat (which for those of you who are trainers know is unhealthy) based on a product that really only certain people can afford to purchase.  I don’t live in that world.  If I weren’t in P90X, I couldn’t afford a copy.  A little over 5 years ago, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Besides the intense emotional roller coaster that this continues to be, it meant making some extremely challenging family choices.  Lifestyles were forfeited to care for her, houses were lost, savings evaporated; but financial ruin was averted when we were able to secure her into a care facility that would be paid for by a combination of Medicaid and her Social Security.  If it were not for these two “entitlement” programs, my family would be absolutely destitute and probably still trying to manage her care on our own and maybe even on welfare.  We are not stupid people, we have multiple advanced degrees, we’ve had exciting careers, we did intelligent (though limited) planning…and it all went to hell.  Thank God for Medicaid and Social Security as they currently exist.

The core of P90X is “muscle confusion.”  This is basically where you systematically fatigue the muscles in an unexpected or non-regular pattern.  Variety becomes the key to improving fitness.  With a muscle confusion workout, one constantly changes the “target.”  Paul Ryan says it very well in a recent YouTube Post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wb374ZdZ2w

Unfortunately, he seems to be “bringing it” to his political agenda as well. Although he was a trainer in an earlier life, he’s forgotten an important element of the whole muscle confusion paradigm and I think on the political front as well…functionality.  You see, muscle confusion burst on the scene when trainers began to focus more on “functional fitness.” Functional fitness is training people to be able to actually do things as opposed to just looking like they can.  So instead of just giving someone a giant weight and having them do barbell chest presses, you have them do chest press, but you also have them do push ups, and you have them add a balance element, then you combine it with other movements, etc.  For me this was always my favorite kind of training to do with clients and it got amazing results.  What is missing for me with Paul Ryan and his political platforms and with Romney and the GOP in general, is the basic functionality of what they are about.  Neither of these men has had to make a choice between keeping their job and shepherding the process of putting their parent into nursing care (though Ryan faced hardship in his youth.)*  Not a pretty choice to have to make or one anyone could have anticipated.  When you have to make choices like that, you get very focused on functions like “must eat,” “must have shelter,” etc. Not necessarily, how big are my “guns” and how high can my horse prance.

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to politicize this but it is hard not to.  You see beyond “bringing it” and muscle confusion and 6% body fat, by watching P90X, I know that Paul Ryan would have had to personally watch my naked sweaty body repeatedly… legs in the air, bending over, spread eagled, and he’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish while watching me.  Good for you Paul Ryan!  But he doesn’t realize that my body didn’t come from P90X.  I got that body by doing countless hours of ballet and figure skating, sport specific training and, for fun, wiggling around on the dance floor in night clubs on Santa Monica Blvd with half naked men.  Bravo Paul Ryan, if you can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I look just as good as Adam the Ab guy!”  My question is this, would you look at the mirror any differently if you knew that I was a gay Liberal Christian studying to be a minister to marginalized queer communities of color?  I find it ironic that pretty much everything Paul Ryan and the Romney campaign represent from a narrow minded limited lifestyle perspective seeks to actually deny me an existence in the United States…yet he is willing to stand there trying to look like me.  Just think, Paul Ryan, if I was living in your United States, I would probably have killed myself when I was 16 because I knew there was never any hope of being accepted by society or my family.  Where would you have been with no one to compare your weenie confused body to and say “Yeah, I want to be like that.”

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to go political, so I’ll keep it simple.  Thank you to all of the fans of P90X, I love that you love this product and I wish you all the best in health and happiness…as Tony would say… BRING IT!  Thank you Tony Horton and Beachbody.com for letting me be a part of this phenomenon.  And thank you Paul Ryan for the free press.  Keep up the good work and maybe if you continue to “bring it” someday you won’t just look like a gay, black, progressive Christian minister, who is 5 years older than you and can still rock a speedo…but you’ll magically find yourself lucky enough to be one.

In 2010 (Photo: Ryan Adkins)

*Note: Paul Ryan collected Social Security benefits after the untimely death of his father and lived and cared for his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s as a teenager.