Very sad news to start the morning and the Pride season. Popular actor/model Maurice Murrell apparently died overnight. There are few details on Maurice's death but tributes are pouring in across Facebook and YouTube.
Maurice was a friend at one point. He was funny, sweet and had an infectious laugh. Mo and his boyfriend dressed up as pharaohs for the Pride parade one year. They were mermaids another year.
Besides the CLIK cover, Maurice Murrell will be emembered by a generation of young gay men for his role in the film Finding Me and its new sequel Finding Me: Truth directed by Roger S. Omeus. Watch clips, a trailer and behind-the-scenes video, and Maurice with friend Jared Shuler AFTER THE JUMP ...
There is very unfortunate news to report. After ten years of publication as the nation's leading magazine for the black gay, lesbian and trans community, CLIK is calling it quits. Saying the magazine has "reached the end of the road", publisher and editor Dwight Powell posted a bittersweet farewell on the magazine's website.
Publishing this magazine has been a dream come true; to honor, recognize, uplift and highlight the Black Gay Experience in America. This magazine came out around a time when black gay men were ashamed, in hiding, and greatly underrepresented. After ten years, all of that has changed. Changed in part to the diligence, tenacity, and drive of our magazine, as we aspired to be the best, command respect, and garner appreciation from the audience we serves and beyond. Today our community is vibrant, out, and proud.
As with everything, all good things must eventually come to an end. Yes, Clik Magazine has reached the end of the road that it’s been traveling since May of 1998. I am elated to say that our job here is done. We’ve inspired, motivated, informed, educated, and entertained, which from day one, have been my objectives. To that end, I’ve succeeded. This is especially evident with the dawn of gay bloggers and e-zines that are taking our experience to another stratosphere, and mush faster. To fast for print magazines to keep-up with, as technology has elevated publishing to everyone simply with the touch of a mouse.
Powell promises the magazine will "return in digital format over the summer." In the meantime, there are no other national black LGBT magazines. Venus, which was targeted toward black lesbians, ended production last year (?) after publisher Charlene Cothran found religion and went "ex-gay."
Clik actually began as "Clikque" in Houston in 1998 as a local, digest-sized nightlife guide. Powell rebranded the publication in the fall 2005 with a larger size and national mission. That issue coincided with the debut of Noah's Arc, and, since then, Clik has been at the forefront of the emerging renaissance in black gay literature, culture, and media visibility. We worked on a number of features for the magazine, including a year in review, features on Karamo, Wilson Cruz, and, a cover profile of Jensen Atwood.
The tenth anniversary and final issue is a tour de force, including eight individual covers and a 16 page photo editorial by famed photographer Duane Cramer. The covers and editorial are part of the new multimedia "Power of Us" public awareness campaign by the National Black Justice Coalition, including Rod 2.0 faves Darryl Stephens and Stanley Bennett Clay, as well as Cramer, Powell, GMHC's Dr. Marjorie Hill, Unity Fellowship's Rev. Dyan McCrary, and, NBJC's H. Alexander Robinson. Several months ago, we were honored to be approached by the NBJC, CLIK and Duane Cramer to take part in this program, but could not make the shoot. That was unfortunate. We could have been part of this brilliant footnote to history.
New Jersey-based Maurice Murrell—the ridiculously hot model who brought the now legendary "Gay or Rapper?" aesthetic to life in the cover shoot for Clik seen here—reveals a side of his personality that you may have never known. Despite having appeared in numerous magazines, calendars, two coffee table books and an independent film production, Maurice says he has always wrestled with the same body image and self-esteem issues that affect so many gay men.
On self-esteem: "I hated the way I looked. I mean truly hated. This year, that stopped through various reasons. Its been a beautiful transition mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know I would get the question, 'But if you hate the way you look, how could you do all those things?' For me it was easy to separate the two, because modeling is based on a projected perception."
On gay "pride": "Being DL and "Straight-acting" makes you more desirable in our community. Gay pride is about so much more. It's about loving all and everyone in any aspect of being masculine, feminine, open, flamboyant, and reserved."
Maurice Murrell's January 2006 cover for Clikwas voted a reader favorite and will appear in another editorial. In addition, Maurice is in the process of becoming a single parent and is adopting a child.
2006 brings a new look for Clikque—as you know, one of the premium sponsors of Rod 2.0—which by now should be in your mailbox or at a friendly neighborhood newsstand or bookstore. This year, the magazine celebrates its seventh year of publication and now boasts an impressive new design and layout. But before diving into the issue, there are a few production notes: At close to 70 pages, it's the largest issue yet. With the heavier paperstock and perfect binding introduced last month, the extra pages add even more weight to the publication. Just a few months ago, the magazine was produced in the smaller, digest format that many of us had grown accustomed to; now, it's a slimmer Genre, Vibe or Out.
Let's go between the pages. There are some engaging editorials, fashion layouts, lifestyle news and the monthly Clikque hottie.