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Facebook’s name policy ends up in wrong name for awardee

“Facebook is a billion dollar corporation- if they won’t change the name they must have guidelines & should explain those guidelines clearly.”

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Blackberri, a singer-songwriter, was upset when a recent award he received had his name wrong due to Facebook's real names policy. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

By David-Elijah Nahmod | SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook’s decision several years ago that people must use their first and last names on the popular social media site had negative consequences for a queer African American Bay Area man who recently received an award with his incorrect name.

Blackberri, a well known singer-songwriter who uses one name, was initially thrilled when he learned that he had won Man of the Year Award from The Barony, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in the East Bay that raises funds for charities within Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties. But Blackberri’s excitement turned to disappointment when he saw that the award was made out to “Blackberri Singer,” the name he has been forced to use on Facebook.

“Blackberri Singer is not my name,” Blackberri told the Bay Area Reporter. “I had to choose it because Facebook didn’t let me use one name.”

Blackberri, 76, added that he had attended a meeting at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center in 2014 when Facebook addressed its real names policy. At the time Facebook was forcing drag performers to use the names on their government-issued IDs, and not the names they perform under and are known by. There had been some concern that this policy was discriminatory toward the trans community, as the policy could force trans people to use their birth names on Facebook, even though such names might be at odds with their gender identity.

There had also been reports that battered women and sexual assault survivors were being forced to use their legal names on the social networking site, which might open them up to additional attacks.

In 2015, Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and others met with Facebook officials to discuss the issue. Facebook promised that they would make it easier for users to provide the company with more information about themselves so that the names they are commonly known by could be used on their profiles.

But some have fallen through the cracks, as Blackberri did. Singer was chosen as his last name on his Facebook profile because it is what he does for a living.

“I took my passport, my credit card, and everything,” Blackberri said. “They have one name on them. So they realized that I had one name, and they said they would drop ‘Singer’ and just let me use the one name, but they never did.”

Blackberri noted that he has been unable to contact anyone at Facebook more recently.

“You can’t contact anybody there,” he said, adding that it upset him to receive an award with the wrong name on it.

“All my other awards have just one name on them,” he said. “Because that’s my name. I changed it about 50 years ago because I just wanted one name. My fan page has one name. I don’t understand why they can’t drop the Singer from the other page that I use more.”

He noted that music of his has been archived at the Smithsonian.

“I have music in Marlon Riggs’ film ‘Tongues Untied,'” he said. “I have music in Peter Adair’s film ‘Word is Out,’ in the film ‘Looking for Langston.’ I’m very well known.”

Blackberri is pleased that The Barony is going to correct the name on his award. Drag performer Viva Commotion, also known as Monolito Wilson, serves as the chairperson of The Barony, and is also queen mother to the Barony court. Commotion told the B.A.R. that Blackberri has been an inspiration to them and explained in greater detail what Blackberri won his award for. Commotion said they took Blackberri’s name from the Facebook page that contained the “singer” name.

“The event was our second annual Black Excellence Awards Gala,” Commotion said. “A creative reminder of the success both historically and recently within the African American community. The event is a catalyst to encourage the community to continue to reach for the stars. We celebrate and honor the advancements and achievements of local POC community leaders.”

Commotion said that they found out about the error when Blackberri posted a notice on his Facebook page that he had won an award, but that the name on the award was wrong. Commotion responded to the notice and told him that his certificate would be redone.

“Facebook is a billion dollar corporation,” Commotion said. “If they won’t change the name they must have guidelines and should explain those guidelines clearly. Many of us are identified by our professional monikers and choose to keep our true identities for those we want to connect with.”

Commotion added that they wanted to apologize for any confusion that the mix-up may have caused.

“I have changed the name and will be contacting Blackberri to pick up his new certificate at his convenience,” Commotion said.

For his part, Blackberri is still hopeful that he will be able to correct the name on his Facebook page.

“It’s so overdue,” he said.

Facebook reps Justin Osofsky and Devon Kearns did not respond to the B.A.R.’s request for a comment.

David-Elijah Nahmod is an American/Israeli of Syrian descent who has lived in New York City and Tel Aviv. Currently in San Francisco, his eclectic writing career has included LGBTQ and Jewish publications, and monster magazines

The preceding article was previously published by The Bay Area Reporter and is republished with permission.

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18-year-old Out YouTuber, TikTok creator & entertainer celebrates first year

“I told myself for a long time, I was like, ‘One day, if I have someone to come out with, then I will come out”

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Los Angeles Blade photo montage

LOS ANGELES –  JoJo Siwa marked her first year of being an Out member of the LGBTQ+ community this past weekend in a series of photos and posts on her Instagram reflecting on the personal milestone achieved.

“🏳️‍🌈In the last 365 days I’ve felt more love than ever. A year ago today I posted this picture and shared with the world that I was gay🌈 I get asked a lot “was coming out scary for you”… and the answer is yes of course, anything that’s different about you is scary, however… it’s what makes me… me. so I had no fear with sharing it with the world❤️ I also get asked a lot “your demographic is so young are you worried about telling kids your gay”…. Truthfully I feel like I was put on this earth to be a role model for kids, and letting all the kids of the world know that loving everyone for who they are no matter what is something that I will always believe in and always share❤️ please never forget that no matter who you are, what you look like, who you LOVE that you are absolutely perfect. thank you for showing me the most love throughout this year and throughout my entire life. I love you all❤️🙏🏼🏳️‍🌈” Siwa posted.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly she said that she was inspired to reveal the truth about her sexuality earlier this year after falling in love with girlfriend Kylie Prew.

“I knew since I was little that I was never straight, I knew that. But I also was never like, ‘Oh, I’m gay,'” said Siwa.

She added, “I told myself for a long time, I was like, ‘One day, if I have someone to come out with, then I will come out.”

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Tom Daley: Bad Dad Jokes!

Terrible jokes, but I love them! Not sure if Lance does…

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Los Angeles Blade Screenshot via YouTube

LONDON – British Olympian and gold medalist diver Tom Daley along with his husband D. Lance Black pass along some really terrible ‘Dad’ jokes.

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SPLC listed hate group launches homophobic attack on Hilton Hotels Ad

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community

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Graphic courtesy of Hilton Worldwide

TUPELO, Ms. – In a petition and donation solicitation mass emailing this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremist group, One Million Moms railed against the McLean, Virginia- based Hilton Worldwide for an LGBTQ+ affirming advert.

Monica Cole, the group’s executive director which GLAAD has labeled ‘One Meddling Mom,’ called out the global hospitality giant for an advert originally run in the beginning of December that showed a couple of gay parents, checking into their hotel room with their sleeping kid using the Hilton mobile app.

Cole decried the advert saying; “Hilton’s current commercial “Make an Entrance with the Hilton App” attempts to normalize sin by featuring two men together with a young boy. The two dads are shown walking through the hotel lobby and to their room while one dad carries the sleeping toddler.”

She then continued her objection writing; “Promoting same sex relationships has nothing to do with marketing their company. Yet Hilton wants to make it clear where they stand on this controversial topic, instead of remaining neutral in the culture war. One Million Moms continues to stand up for biblical truth, which is very clear in Romans 1:26-27 about this particular type of sexual perversion.

One Million Moms must remain diligent. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community and has earned excellent scores on the Human Rights campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for several years as an affirming and safe working environment for LGBTQ+ employees.

Jeremy Hooper, the founder of Good As You a popular LGBTQ+ rights website known for both its strong opposition research and its irreverent tone and a veteran commentator as well as strategist focused on LGBTQ rights wrote:

In the decade that I have been aware of One Million Moms, she [ Cole ] is quite literally the only staff member I have ever heard anyone name. She is the one and only person who appears on their petitions, as well as the one and only person who speaks for them to the media. She is the mom. Her. Solo. One person, supposedly representing one million.”

OMM is pretty capable when it comes to getting ink. It’s typically dismissive, if not outright derisive, press. Most often the anti-LGBTQ campaign to which it is attached goes absolutely nowhere and the company under attack continues right along serving its entire customer base rather than cutting out the share that AFA/OMM believes to be anti-godly mistakes. Still, Monica Cole and her minuscule operation that masquerades as “millions” does get people talking.” Hooper added.

Cole finishes off her attack on Hilton writing:

“Hilton attempting to redefine the family crosses a line Hilton should have never crossed. There is concern about the way this advertisement is pushing the LGBTQ agenda, but an even greater concern is that the commercial is airing when children are likely to be watching television. To make matters worse, this advertisement has aired during family viewing time such as football games and primetime.

TAKE ACTION! If you agree that this ad is inappropriate, sign our petition urging Hilton to pull its “Two Gay Dads” commercial immediately. And please share this with your friends and family,” she urges the emailing’s recipients.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the 45-year-old American Family Association, (AFA), as a hate and extremist group, which Cole’s One Million Moms group is a part of for its lies and harmful propaganda about LGBTQ+ people.

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Hilton – Make an Entrance with the Hilton App (2021)

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