Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profile. Each week, we highlight an individual who embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to journalist, author, editor, syndicated talk show host, filmmaker, and fellow Chicagoan Ernest Owens. Ernest has accomplished quite a lot in his short twenty-five years. Yet he still remains humble and deeply grounded despite his rapid success:
“It’s 2016, and I was born in 1991. Yes, this year I will be turning 25 and will also be celebrating my sixth year living in the “City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection.” My experience has been quite the journey, to say the very least. I’m a Penn grad whose been blessed to have my work published in The Huffington Post, USA Today, Metro US, The Advocate, and countless others. I even have my own television talk show at Philly CAM.
However, being an openly black gay man, neither my Ivy League degree nor respectability excludes me from sometimes feeling rejected from what is this expansive LGBTQ community in Philly. I have faced discrimination at bars in the Gayborhood”
Mr. Owens has a passion for truth and social justice. He uses his many platforms to be an advocate for social change and progress. He words cut deeply and get to the complexity of some of the greatest social issues facing our nation. Here Ernest discusses the myth of extreme homophobia in the black community:
“So perhaps we can now. Stop pushing this myth and start exploring the reasons why you initially thought it. Let’s start having more mature conversations about cross-cultural exchanges when it comes to LGBTQ visibility and acceptance.
No one racial community has perfected LGBTQ acceptance. For every imagined Will & Grace white social scene you think exists, there is also a bigoted network of staunch white conservatives hoping to abolish our constitutional rights to love and be employed. For every black church using its pulpit to condemn the gay men in their choir, there are black politicians like Cory Booker and President Barack Obama who push for equality for all LGBTQ citizens.”
Ernest Owens was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He was the youngest weekly columnist (the Ernest Opinion) for Metro US. Mr. Owens collaborated with UPenn Netter Center for Community Partnership to develop an academic media enrichment curriculum for West Philadelphia Schools. He is currently a journalist and editor for Philadelphia Magazine’s G Philly. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, Al Jazeera English, The Root, The Advocate, and The Oprah Winfrey Network. Some of his honors and awards include the Gold Circle Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Finalist Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Ernest’s works display his commitment to the complexities of intersectionality and social justice.
“Lesbian lives matter. Gay lives matter. Bisexual lives matter. Transgender lives matter. Queer lives matter. And all of these lives matter, whether white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American, or interracial in whichever gender identity and sexual expression they personally choose.”
Ernest Owens has made quite an impact in short his 25 years. His voice is powerful and needed, especially in today’s politically charged world. He is the true definition of #BlackBoyJoy. Today, we honor Ernest Owens as this week’s Evolved Man of the Week.