Yesterday, I watched Gabrielle Union’s amazing speech accepting the Essence “Fierce and Fearless” Award, and it kicked my ass a little. A few lines from the speech will be tomorrow’s Happy Quote Saturday, but that is not the part that got to me.
The message that came through for me was that you can’t be successful if you aren’t living your truth, and if promoting yourself requires pretending, then it’s not worth it, and you won’t succeed anyway.
For the past few months, I have been promoting a book that I think has a broad audience. It doesn’t matter what your background, race, income, religion, nationality or life choices are, there is something in this book for everyone.
So I made a conscious decision that in the marketing of the book, I wouldn’t offend or turn off anyone. All are welcome as long as they have the resources to buy the book and the willingness to read it. Nobody needs to know my politics and beliefs if that might stop them from putting money in my pocket. So I hid all of that, including hiding the one thing I am most proud of — that I am a straight ally.
I was afraid that fact might cost me book sales. I was afraid that people who still cling to the belief that they have the right to define the marriage of total strangers might not buy my book if they knew.
You know what?
Those people need my book more than just about anyone else and if they want to let their prejudices stop them from reading it, it’s their loss, not mine.
I believe in Marriage Equality. Beyond believing in it, I have written. produced and directed 44 commercials and PSAs (and one documentary) in support of it. Forty-Four! I have raised tens of thousands of dollars, donated hundreds of volunteer hours, flown around the country and sat on panels to talk about it, and I am so grateful to Gabrielle Union for reminding me that this is a huge part of my Truth!
The Declaration of Independence, one of the two most important documents in the history of this country, acknowledges that we were granted by our creator the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS. Denying marriage equality to consenting adults who love each other takes away two of those rights, and I cannot continue to pretend I don’t have a side here, especially not simply to sell a book. About Happiness!
If you’re curious, you can see my work by going on YouTube and searching for “The Wedding Matters,” and on FunnyorDie under “Your Gay Neighbors” and on the website AAH8.org.
And here is the spot I wrote, produced and directed that is closest to my heart. I hope you enjoy it. And if watching it makes you not want to buy my book, well…I am happy to live with that.