KJ Marshall On #Riseup And More!

On June 18, #RiseUp will bring together creative, urban, intellectual, socially forward black LGBTQ youth, young adults and those who care for and work with them, for a unique gathering to kick off the 2015 Allied Media Conference. We sat down with one of the attendees going to the AMC for the first time.

How did you hear about National Youth Pride Services?

1. Weirdly, (lol) I stumbled upon National Youth Pride Services on

INSTAGRAM. I’m sure there are plenty of faces behind the IG account so it’s hard to tell exactly who I’ve been commenting with and gaining interest from about the program. To add-on, I began following the account because I knew that there was a positive force behind the name “National Youth Pride Services”, which simply means the act of assistance.


How do you feel about coming together in Detroit with other young adults like yourself for #RiseUp?

2. I believe that the coming together with others like myself is an amazing way of finding out what creative ideas there are in helping shape the black gay youth in America. The idea of that is just beyond epic.
#RiseUp in not about blaming, but all about building up our community – by ourselves. What do you think about this approach?

3. The approach as I said in question two is just epic. From watching the previous AMC footage from last year the event will be phenomenal for all. I think this approach is more than just coming together to help gay youth. More than just being an advocate for a young trans, gay, bi brother or sister. It’s about the act, the act of encouraging, the act of dealing with, the act of being patient, the act of being that shoulder to lean on.
Frank (NYPS director) considers you to be a very influential person and has a great deal of respect for you. What qualities do you think make you awesome and not average?

4 As I read this question I smile but at the same time very nervous on the inside. I know Frank expects so much out of me and just by that I can only imagine what his colleagues expect as well. I am such a shy person that it’s even hard to understand me unless you really get to know me. However, once you do you will understand that I am very optimistic, ambitious, broad-minded, logical, and devoted. I’m sure there is more to me than that, but that’s what comes off the top of my head.
You have a good support system. Can you tell us about your family and their acceptance of your sexuality?

5. My coming out story really isn’t a story. Throughout my high school career I dated female after female until my first year in college. My peers in college picked up on it so there wasn’t really a need to express my sexuality toward them. My mom, oh Lord! The one person who I just knew was going to be shocked – but not very shocked. I use to tell her stories about my “roommate” and his girlfriend and their problems, until one day I got fed up with covering up my issues because it was just too confusing to myself. My last semester before moving back to Chicago I was on the phone with my mom and said, “You know what, the people I’m always talking about having problems are Matt and I..”, and unknowingly she goes “oh I know, boy I’m your mother, I may not be God but I am your mother.” She kept my secret for months until summer of 2011 when my sister asked about my friend Coty. She asked “your friend Coty, that’s who you took a picture with on Facebook right?” I said yes and then she asked if he was gay. I said ye,s and then she asked are you, and I said YES. She freaked out, started crying, punched me a few times, and kept my nephew away from me for a few days. She realized she was in the wrong and apologized to me. Until this day she still cries because she is still coming to terms with it in a way, but she says she likes me better gay anyway (whatever that means). To make a long story even shorter, every one is accepting of me and my lifestyle and I am blessed because of it. 90% of my friends go through issues with their families because of who they are, and 10% of them are on the “down low”. I am just astounded to be apart of a family who accepts me and I wish it was that way for all.
When we travel all over the country, we surprisingly hear people say that if you actually graduate from college as a black man, you are “lucky” and that it has nothing to do with personal responsibility. As a black college graduate, what do you think about that?

6. This question here. Whenever I am asked a question in reference to that I always get upset. Because I just wish that thought would disappear. My answer to that is simply, I’ve already done it! I have two degrees, working on my third, and can’t wait to get my fourth.
Have you ever visited Detroit?

7. I’ve never been to Detroit, so I’m not sure what amenities the city holds, aside from a mall or two maybe (haha). I had never been to Michigan at all until two weeks ago when I was in East Lansing at Michigan State University for a track and field conference. I can say I am looking forward to the conference and the remaining events for that weekend.
When you hear the term #RiseUp, what comes to mind for you?
8. When I hear the words #RiseUp , I think of allegiance. Committing to a group of young individuals who are and even aren’t seeking guidance with their lifestyle.
Any final comments to those younger than you who may read this?

9. To my LGBT young brothers and sisters out there, make sure your goals, behavior, and actions are in sync. Everything takes time – the only way to get things done is to do it. It can be overwhelming, but the key is to set goals and take it one day at a time. You will struggle, you will hurt, you will fight, you will win, and most importantly YOU WILL SURVIVE. Much love!! (feel free to add me on social media; instagram: _punchdrunklove_ , Facebook: KJ Marshall)

National Youth Pride Services,

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone. 773-YPS-8051