“The lives of black LGBTQ people rarely, if ever, get documented or accounted for, and when they do, rarely is the fullness of their lives covered. In Love, Blood, and Rhinestones D. Lynn Baldwin and Bryant McLemore Smith have shined a light on the low valleys as well as the high mountain tops of black gay experience, providing an in-depth and fuller account of black LGBTQ life. These stories of love and loss, triumph over tragedy are a beautiful reminder of the breadth of the human experience.”
In the newly released Love, Blood and Rhinestones, Chicago LGBTQ activist Bryant McLemore Smith takes the collective voices of African American men and women in the LGBTQ community who’ve suffered same-sex abuse but ultimately triumphed in their quest to live authentic, shame-free lives.
“The release of the book seems well-timed given recent events,” said McLemore Smith. “My hope is that the stories will inspire the scores and scores of gay men and women who’ve been unable to overcome the hatred and ridicule directed at them by friends, families, colleagues, and strangers as well as the self-defeating behaviors that prevent them from being—and living—as they truly are.”
In 26 chapters, Love, Blood and Rhinestones tells the intimate and painful, but honest stories of McLemore Smith and others who were caught in a storm for the fight of their lives. The book brings to the surface messages that are traditionally unheard, ignored and otherwise sidelined.
Raw scenes in an emergency room, dialogue that is both disturbing and illuminating, and feelings excavated from
the deepest—and darkest—places all contribute to the book’s accessibility and the power to teach.
Asked about the name on the book’s cover, McLemore Smith offers a sobering explanation. “ ‘D. Lynn Baldwin’ is really a composite of people, including me, who want to share our experiences in story form,” he said. “The format as well as the collective voices is for many readers a more palatable and informative way to convey what has been a very taboo subject for way too long.”
For his contributions to Love, Blood and Rhinestones, McLemore, who’s also a well-known Chicago wardrobe stylist, writes deftly about human longing and human failing. “I never wanted to become anembittered and beaten man,” he said. “But at the same time I don’t believe it’s right or constructive to bury and otherwise ignore an issue that still plagues people everywhere.
Yes, we unveil several ugly truths about same-sex abuse, but unless we do that we can’t, as a society, move toward understanding and tolerance.”
With the pandemic dragging on, more and more people are turning to books for refuge. As you browse book titles to keep you informed and entertained, we hope you’ll choose the newly released Love, Blood and Rhinestones.
It’s a cuddle-up-on-your-couch read that elicits a gamut of emotions. We promise that Love, Blood and Rhinestones not only will captivate and inform but also inspire you to reimagine a world where the LGBTQ community is free to exist without fear and oppression.
Bryant McLemore Smith is a Chicago-based writer, costume designer for both theatre and film, actor and entrepreneur. His work for the stage has appeared in productions such as Bronzeville the Musical, Stompin at the Savoy, and A Chance in the World. Movies include The House of the Witchdoctor, Bahama Hustle, Love Relations and others. He has been a casting assistant for Barbershop II, Spiderman, Proof, and Roll Bounce. One of Bryant’s greatest career achievements was the Love & Life World Tour USA and Japan with Mary J. Blige. Bryant also is the owner of McLemore’s Closet, a 1930s and 1970s vintage clothing store in Chicago.
A top authority on social & cultural LGBTQ issues, Bryant McLemore-Smith is available to speak at your event. This LGBTQ keynote speaker will stimulate your soul and enlighten your way of thinking about current issues facing the gay community. With messages of acceptance, tolerance and understanding, Bryant will motivate and inspire your audience. Easy booking, and fast reply on request.
Love Blood and Rhinestones is featured in Jan/Feb isseue of Swerve magazine read online today.
Ⓒ2020 Love Blood & Rhinestones