By now, the new Clikque—as you know, one of the premium sponsors of Rod 2.0—should be in your mailbox or at a friendly newsstand. If you thought last month was hot, this month's issue is even more of a stunna. Obviously we're feelin' the red and brown theme, the models and the Karamo interview. But there's much more to love. First, a few production improvements that you may not notice: The spine is no longer stapled and there is perfect binding. Also, the paper stock is heavier. The magazine looks and feels like many other fashion or lifestyle titles—like a slimmer Genre or Complex.
Inside many more things that you will enjoy.
The first thing that catches our eye—no, not strippers—is always the advertising. Dwight Powell and his sales staff were able to land some major new accounts, such as the the Dwyane Wade/Sean John campaign, Orbitz and Stoli vodka. It's difficult to get that level of advertising support for a gay black venture. Sean John has the coveted page three spot, so this is a major feather in their cap.
There should be more than enough editorial features to keep you busy reading for the next week or so. Keith Boykin kicks things off with a guest editorial on complacency within the lgbt-poc community. Earn the Right to Complain has some strong words of wisdom and empowerment.
The December issue features a banner list of features and contributors:
Alexander Robinson, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, also lends his writing talents—defending same-sex marriage as an option for people of color; Darryl Moch investigates the cost of HIV medications; Alexander Ryan journeys to a sex club and debates the health and ethical controversy that surround them; Herndon L. Davis essays the importance of faith when coping with HIV; Lorenzo Robinson interviews Jason Wu, the creator of the RuPaul doll. Did you know that he's 22 and a genius? Whoa. And yours truly interviews Karamo Brown, who shot to fame on MTV's Real World.
This is Karamo's first detailed interview since leaving the show. We talked for several hours and since have become friends. He opened up to reveal many aspects of his personality and story—among them, discussing his notorious rift with Shavonda and his regrets:
He thought since both of them were black, they would be natural allies. “You always gravitate first toward what is more comfortable,” he explains, carefully choosing his words. “I thought, okay, at the end of the day I would have one roommate who will understand my problems. But that was not the case. Shavonda later explained that growing up, she didn’t have any strong black role models. She gravitated toward white men. I can understand that—not necessarily agree, but understand where she is coming from.” Shavonda’s on-air behavior and eventual hook-ups with Landon were his “biggest disappointments” on the show.
Karamo's a good guy. At only 23 years old, he was thrust onto the national spotlight and perhaps many of us wanted him to be more than he is. It's a revealing, interesting interview; your feelings about him will probably change.
The fashion layout, health and lifestyle reports are most impressive. The 8-page fashion editorial was lensed by Howard Huang and styled by Curtis C. Davis. The beautiful models (especially Bobby, cover and above, sigh) are almost floating across a super-black background. The gear is to die for—Marc Jacobs, J. Lindeberg, Salvatore Ferragamo (great ties, no?), Gucci (great everything), Triple 5 Soul, and Energie, the latter undeniably a favorite of circuit boys on two or three continents.
Naturally, there's enough shirtless hotties and iCandy in the magazine to make most folks happy. But this month, we were feeling the fashion models, television and movie listings, and book reviews. Not that there's anything wrong with Juan, above.
Lastly, you're probably asking, wassup with the apples? There's nothing wrong with themes and this month's common thread is living and eating healthy. There are a few stories on nutrition and exercise and after watching Bobby take a bite, you're feeling a lot better, no?