What is Your Scene Name? Sir Cee Jay
City and State of residence? New Jersey
Region of Residence? Northeast
What are your pronouns?
What is your gender Identity? Male
What is your sexual identity? Gay
What is are your racial identities? African American
What is/are your ethnicities? (Culture, nationality, ancestry, language) African American
How did you first get into Leather and/or Kink? Offline
Give a Brief Description of your entrance into Leather and/or Kink I met a guy who later became family to me. He was beginning his journey and I was fortunate to be able to tag along. Through him I met quite a few people who have been mentors to me.
What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison? In the beginning there were very few spaces for people of color. Now we’ve created spaces where we can feel comfortable.
Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why? The most influential black person in my life would have to be Katerean Harber. My grandmother. Coming from poverty her mother raised her and her sister to find a husband. With that being said she married at the age of fifteen to my grandfather who was in the military. She didn’t have an education yet she manage the family farm and grow it to the point where she negotiated with the white farmers in the region all without the ability to read nor right. I found this out when I was in the 3rd grade and I found her books for night school. She also works as director of food service for one of the largest mental health facilities in the south while raising 6 kids and one grandchild. Growing up I would notice white business men coming to her house for dinner. It turned out she was the go to person for politicians seeking the black vote. I remember her coordinating voting transportation for those in need while being the mother of our family church. Growing up she was always hard on me. I honestly felt like she didn’t like but but later I realized she was hard on me because she saw my potential. She’s is my hero.
What book have you read that influenced your life and why? The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I wasn’t much of a reader and this was the first book that truly caught my interest. The idea of someone exploring a new world and finding out they’re royalty. At a young age this book taught me to think out of the box that was the norm for people where I’m from.
Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community. My favorite experience would have to be the night I won Mr. Eagle NYC 2014. At that time we didn’t feel comfortable and welcome at the bar and there hadn’t been a black winner in the history of the bar. That was the night the owners and staff realized that there are people of color that not only are interest in the community, they represent the community that the bar was supposed to serve. I remember standing on the stage after the contest for what seemed like hours greeting all the melanined faces. Afterwards I went to the office to speak to the owner and he’s said, “I don’t think there’s has every been this many black people in the bar at one time.” I told him that every single one was a community member. It took some time and there’s still some work to do but the bar is a much more welcome space.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share. “Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”
Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels) ONYX NY Northeast 2011-2015 (past president, assistant pledge master

NY Boys of Leather Associate 2014

NYC Leather Contingent 2014-present

Brothers United In Leather Together (B.U.I.L.T) 2014-present)

Are you a founding member of any club(s)? Yes
If you answered yes to previous question please list club(s), or write n/a. B.U.I.L.T.
Are you a founding member of any organization? No
If you answered yes to previous question please list organization(s), or write n/a. N/a
Were there any other Black leather folks around in the leather scene when you came into the scene/community? Yes
If so, did you find that you gravitated more towards each other? If not, how did this affect your experience? Did you build your own community? Say more about your experience. I was fortunately to be introduced to people who were leaders in the community but at that time going our alone wasn’t that pleasant. If there were black people there, they usually weren’t there to meet other Black people.
Do you think being Black has hampered your experience in the leather/kink community at all? Maybe
If it has, what kind of things did you do to try and remedy those issues? If it hasn’t, please describe. I was fortunate to start my journey just before ONYX started to grow nationally. With that grown we demanded spaces. I spent a lot of time on social media taking with black men who were interested in leather but had no comfortable and available outlets. During my title year I spent at least three nights a week at the bar meeting black guys who were interested but didn’t feel comfortable nor welcome.
Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather? Maybe
If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain. There were times when I represented “the ONYX” as they would say. It allowed me to get into spaces that I’d probably wouldn’t have been invited. I feel like the possibly enhanced my experience because in my mind I represented us so I had to be the best me I could be. As Mr. Eagle I was the first black so it was kind of the same situation.
What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity? Becoming comfortable with who I am. My journey into leather came as a shock to those close to me but for me it was the first time I felt free to just be who I was. The funny thing is quite a few of those friends who judges me have joined me.
How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community? First and foremost community should be defined. Community to me is a bond with people who think act and feel similar if not the same when it comes to values. Not everyone in Leather is community and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is truly a second, third, fourth… coming out in leather. For me, Leather is about growth. In my experience with the greater LGBT community, there was a lot of judgment and unspoken truths. Although the same happens in Leather, those who I consider community are big on respect. When it comes to me interacting with the broader LGBT community as a Leatherman, I’ve had some experiences in which until they got to know me, assumptions and judgments were made. Whether it’s Leather or LGBT, I’m big on respect and that only comes by taking the time to get to know a person.
Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook? Yes
Please explain your previous response. It has a positive outlook in regards to black people feeling comfortable being who they are and embracing their kinky lives. Organizations like ONYX, ONYX Pearls and Bullyboyz to a great job of education people about how to be safe and proficient in their kinks. Black leather folx have been building and educating the leather community since the beginning. Now we’re able to stand on the shoulders of black community members who came before us while empowering ourselves and those to come. I’ll be the first to say that my blackness is what made me gravitate to the handful of black leather men at my first leather event and I know that if that wasn’t the case my experience in this community would not have been the same.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black? It’s cliche to say but leather is a journey. Take the time to learn about leather and all that it entails and also be accepting of learning about yourself. During my title year I had a conversation at the bar with a first timer and I said to him, “Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of.” He asked me to repeat it and he typed it in his phone. The next day he text it to me. Six years laters I have to repeat this statement to remind me of my purpose.
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