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Who Is Jimi Izrael, Anyway?

Ally, enemy or linkbaiter

by j. brotherlove

When I wrote about increasing building traffic, I forgot to mention another method; put popular blogger’s names in your blog titles and then write inflammatory commentary. That’s Jimi Izrael’s approach. It’s very Blog 101 but it works.

First, an overview of my relationship (seriously, no homo) with Jimi Izrael. Jimi reached out to me a couple of years ago after gossipist Jawn Murray jacked Jimi’s shit (homo? no homo?). At the end of our brief phone convo, Jimi brought up building some Kumbaya-type dialogue with gay black men (he, not being one of the gays) to promote understanding amongst the two camps. I thought the idea was choice (still do) and told him I was down for it. Unfortunately, Jimi never got back to me on that.

Which brings us to the present. Had Jimi followed through, the blogosphere probably wouldn’t be littered by his latest posts blasting Keith Boykin, Jasmyne Cannick and (black) gays in general (Jimi’s good at generalizations). It’s clear from reading his mangled trail of logic that he doesn’t get it. And while that’s perfectly understandable, my annoyance stems from him thinking he does. See, Jimi has gay friends, has deejayed for a gay club and has lost friends to AIDS. In his mind, this gives him “more compassion that the average straight black cat has for the gay community.”

Yet, he regularly dumbs down his writing with needless remarks disparaging the more feminine ways of gay men. Here’s a newsflash for some of you; there’s nothing wrong with men exhibiting “feminine” affectations or vice versa; it’s all bullshit. Not so long ago, women didn’t wear pants and men didn’t wear earrings. This gender-centric bullshit just holds us back as a society. Secondly, these remarks come from a guy named Jimi who wears a skirt during the summer (actually, it’s a sarong but the average American kat doesn’t know the difference). That alone should yield some compassion.

Yet, with all this exposure to gays, Jimi is still missing the mark. Chiefly, he has a simplified idea of who “we” are and what “we” want. He appears to think we are “girly men”, unreasonable sexaholics who want to convert everyone to our “lifestyle” or force a level of acceptance that would allow us to hold bareback orgies on-stage at Good Morning America (I’m going to regret using “bareback orgies” in this post. Good Morning America, too).

How ridiculous is that? But it makes bigots feel better by classifying homosexuals as outrageous. All we want I want to be able to live in the same manner as everyone else. It’s not that complex. You marry; I marry. You adopt; I adopt. You pay outrageous gas prices… Well, you get the point.

It’s ludicrous to have restrictions placed on my liberty because of what some people think I do with men sexually (cause really, you don’t have no idea how well I put it down). Sex between consenting adult is a private issue. But society strains gay folk to be public about how we love and how we have sex (an expanded topic for another time).

Gay black bloggers blew Jimi’s dreads back by using their influence to shut down the Lifebeat concert. And he can’t wrap his head around that. Since then he has ranted about it in several more posts, even going as far as stupidly and erroneously accusing Keith of “promot(ing) a raw sex party”. That was foul and Jimi should know better than that. Not content on keeping his own shit at home he’s left rambling comments on Keith’s site and Donald’s blog. Donald pretty much laid it out proper, causing Jimi to revert to using fag insults (a good sign he ran out of shit to say).

Now here’s the kicker; sometimes (even on this issue) Jimi makes good points. But you have to wade through his hipper-than-thou mumbo jumbo to uncover it; and lets’ face it, who has the time? I have no problem with opposing Keith, Jasmyne or anyone else. I don’t agree with them half the time, either. But don’t act like you on some inside-track-of-gay-intelligence when your simplified logic reads otherwise, homie.

So I’m thinking, maybe there’s more to Jimi’s motives than the obvious. After all, he writes for money and is accustomed to peppering his words with sensational grammar. Its all smoke and mirrors (poetic license, if you will). He knew criticizing a blogger as popular as Keith would generate traffic. And maybe that’s the point.

So, I wouldn’t get in a tizzy about anything else Jimi writes on the subject. Despite writing things like “Well, I was pretty much done with that gay shit…”, he’s loving the attention (perhaps, even reliving his gay dj days). Besides, it’s all about links and page views, right? I’ll just be relieved when he cuts out the showboating and gets to the real dialogue he professed in the past. But that was a long time ago.

More on LIFEbeat
LIFEbeat Concert Offensive
LIFEbeat Concert After-Thoughts

pub: 07/28/2006 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 5 | subscribe

You know, I’m glad you wrote this for a number of reasons.

One: When Jimi did his whole “Keith Boykin can find homophobia in a ham sandwich” post, I saw some of his points. I think he failed to see certain things, but overall, I tried to place myself in his shoes to see where he was coming from, and you’re right. Those nuggets of logic certainly are there. The pigheadedness on certain things, I chose to ignore, because I know that he will never understand and that’s not his fault. So I peacefully decided not to deconstruct some of the things I didn’t agree with.

However, when I saw that most recent shit, I promptly unsubscribed from his joint.

Sayeth Miss Jimi:

“But this is why you may never win an arguement with anyone in the gay community. Because women are always right. And if you enter into a arguement with a gay man (= a man with the nature of a woman) or a gay woman (=a woman with the nature of man) [this is an oversimplification to be sure. I aint Kinsey] then, you are talking to someone who always thinks they are right. Because every woman I know thinks she is right. All the time. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary. It made doing business in the gay community, for me, particularly challenging. When you enter into a contract with a man and he gives you his word is one thing. When a gay man gives you his word, could mean anything.”

Aiight, whatever. She’s not even worth the bullet.

Two: There’s an article in the August issue of Wired magazine with 5 tips on driving traffic to your blog, and what was number one? Reacting to popular writers and journalists and (promptly) disagreeing with them.

Funny that.

Good catch, nOva. Jimi falls into a common trap. Instead of admitting he doesn’t understand homosexuality he tries to resolve his confusion by relating to gay men like women and lesbian women like men.

Um, no.

No matter how effeminate a gay man is, he’s still a man (naturally, the opposite is true for “butch” lesbians). Placing expectations and assumptions on gay people based on stereotypes of the opposite gender is bound to catch you up because it’s the lazy way out and isn’t reliable.

What it exposes is our reliance on gender roles (as well as other prejudices) to make assumptions about each other. Sure certain things ring true. But you never learn the things that make us individuals by using assumptions and stereotypes as a crutch.

I have chosen not to even deal with that whole mess. I will simply say this:

As the women’s liberation movement has served to empower them and expand their access to opportunities independent of any life with men;

As the gay right’s movement has brought lesbians and gays out of the closet and allowed them to fight for gains on the road to equality with the straight community;

Fear and confusion has grown in the minds of heterosexual males over their purpose and role in the world. They don’t understand the changes going on all around them, nor how to redefine themselves in the face of these changes. Instead they thrash about acting ignorant and scared.

Well, since I have it wrong….by all means, straighten me out.

And J: this may not be the kumbayya moment you were looking for, but it sure seems to have stirred up some dialog…has it not?I don’t want a cookie, but at least I’m not afraid to jump into the fray and table some ideas, as unpopular as they may be. This is probably as close to dialog as you will see about it, in virtual world anyways. The gay community intentionally doesn’t engage the straight community, unless they are playing the Gay Card, or flipping out the Gay Ink Blot Test. So dalog gets harder as the years go by. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION, and that’s the bottom line. I think the onus is on the gay community, who have been so antagonistic and catty at times, to put away the claws and step to the table. You don’t like my method of opening up a dialog? YOU do it. Show me how it’s done. No Homo.

and FYI: uh….most people have never heard of Jasmyne or Keith…Keith, MAYBE….but the only reason I know either of them is because I am a journalist. So.. trying to drive traffic to my site by writing about them? >EHHNTT!shrug

I don’t think I know anything about gays. I think I am more honest than most straight black men will be about my ignorance. I don’t know anything, but I am curious to know why some think I SHOULD know something. I have an OBLIGATION to know something. To register an opinion. Why? What concerns me is that conversation about homosexuality seems to go horizontal real quick. I’m looking for someone to raise the level of discourse about it, so that we can understand why there needs to be a political platform of any kind re homosexulaty. I still haven’t found anyone who could articulate why anyone needs to know what you do in bed. I mean…who cares? I dont. Live and let love, I say. Certainly, there must be more to being a homo than just being a homo.

And who is jimi izrael? I’m a professional opinion writer with at least one opinion about everthing. You won’t always like it.But I’m grateful if you consider my point, and always glad that you read. Not you, J. Everyone else.

And I am truly sorry if anyone took my comments about “girly-men” somewhere they weren’t intended to go. I can only speak from my experience, which was mostly good to great. But business was always an iffy thing…not with the bar, but when I do other stuff outside the bar and with the gay comedian I managed…very iffy. But always fun. Dealing with some gay men IS like dealing with women. Sorry.

There seems to be compassion lacking on both sides. I think gays have to see that straight black men atre struggling too… to have our voices heard unfiltered, to establish our own identities free of media propaganda. And to re-establish our place in the community.

Thanks for the shout-out J.


I choose to deal with people, straight, gay or otherwise inclined, who are truly dedicated to a more inclusive conversation about race and sexuality, not just playing with the language while trying to disguise fucked up intentions that are neither cute nor new.

Jimi’s exchange reminds me of guys I see on 125th Street who give me the eye only to lure and bait me into peddling some sucky-ass homemade hip-hop CD. Fuck THAT.

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