Who Knew? “Queen Sugar” (@QueenSugarOWN) Actor, Brian Michael Smith Comes Out As Transgender!

brian michael smith

People say trans is the new gay, just like gay was once considered the new Black. However you categorize the marginalized or disenfranchised, you have to also be sure to celebrate the strides the individuals in these communities make. Over the last few years we have seen transgender actresses and celebrities like Laverne Cox, Amiya Scott, B. Scott, and Janet Mock have been instrumental in opening up opportunities for other trans people.

Well now we can add actor, Brian Michael Smith, to that roster as he recently came out as a transgender man, shortly after his most recent role as a secretly trans man cop in the latest episode of OWN’s Queen Sugar!

Check out his interview with NBC News’ writer, Tiq Milan below!

via NBC News

brian michael smith

On Wednesday, viewers of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) show got to watch the debut of Toine Wilkins, a transgender police officer and high school friend of the show’s principle character, Ralph Angel. Actor Brian Michael Smith, who used this character as his vehicle to come out as transgender, has been acting professionally for the last five years and hadn’t disclosed his gender identity until this moment.

Actor Brian Michael Smith, who appeared on a recent episode of “Queen Sugar,” has come out as transgender. Ben Esner

Smith has appeared on “Girls,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order” and in a Toyota commercial as cisgender (non-transgender) male characters. Many transgender actors in Hollywood have been pushing for trans folks to also be cast in non-trans roles, and Smith sets the example that they can do just that — and do it well.

NBC Out contributor and transgender advocate Tiq Milan had a chance to chat with Smith about his budding acting career, his coming out and being a model of possibility.

Do you consider this your big debut?

Brian Michael Smith: In a lot of ways I do. I’ve had really good experiences with my career so far. I started training professionally about six years ago, really learning the craft and being really dedicated to making a profession out of my desire to act, and I feel like this is one of the first roles that is really hitting my interests as an artist and as a person.

Tell us a bit about your acting career thus far.

I’ve been acting since I was a child doing church plays and stuff like that. When I got to high school and college, I was more involved in athletics then I was in acting. At that time, I was trying to figure out what my identity was and roles became more gendered, it was a little bit more challenging for me to stay with the acting. I started to learn more behind the scenes stuff and was working with young people for two or three years. Then I decided that I had to move to New York or LA and really make a go out of this in any way, shape or form. Then in 2011, I was teaching filmmaking and telling these young kids to pursue their dreams but I wasn’t doing the same thing. I couldn’t do that. I had to practice what I preached.

I started out by trying to get a series of background roles when I moved to New York in 2008. It blew my mind how they would just be filming in the streets. I was walking home from work one day, and I had to walk through a film set to get my house, and I thought, “This is amazing. This is what I came here to do.” I asked the people on set a bunch of questions: How to do background work? How to do this or that. I thought it would be really good to learn how to be on set by doing background work. So while I was taking classes, I had the opportunity to be on sets watch the interactions between the directors and the actors and pick up what I could there. As I got more training, I worked my way up the food chain over the last few years. I learned more and more about the industry and was able to attract better roles. So I’ve been doing TV since 2012.

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[VIDEO] Jada Pinkett-Smith Gets Emotional, States “All Eyez On Me” Exploited Her Relationship w/ Tupac

jada pinkett smith

Tupac Shakur’s biopic All Eyez On Me may have made millions at the box office and won the favor of millions of his fans everywhere, it did not however win over one fan–his close friend and confidante–Jada Pinkett-Smith!

Jada Pinkett-Smith went on The Ryan Cameron Morning Show with sexy wanda smith and explained in depth what compelled her to tweet her disapproval of the film.

via Love B. Scott

jada pinkett smith at ryan cameron morning show with wanda smith

During an appearance Wednesday on The Ryan Cameron Morning Show With Wanda Smith on Atlanta radio’s V-103, while promoting her latest film, Girls Trip, Jad had a strong response to Cameron’s questions about the movie.

“What you’re seeing in regards to my relationship with 2Pac is not true. My relationship with Pac would have shown people a true—what he truly was. ‘Cause it’s one thing to see Pac’s persona, publicly, and who he was personally,” she said.

“I thought it was just handled in a very disrespectful way, and I felt like it was exploitive of me and Pac, how they used our relationship to sell a movie, and I just felt like it was tomb-raiding in regards to Pac,” she continued.

Jada also felt like those behind the film their relationship to sell the movie to the public.

“And if you’re really saying that you’re honoring a man’s legacy, then honor his legacy. And if you don’t have the story, fall back until you do,” she chastised. “I feel like we, as black people, we have got to protect those individuals that we say are important to us, to our history and to our culture. We cannot expect other people to do that if we’re not willing to do that ourselves. Pac is precious to us.”

Check out Jada’s full response below in the video of her appearance on the show. She begins discussing All Eyez On Me at the 16:45 mark.

Jada is speaking some serious truth here. We hate the film is not accurate from her perspective. It really makes us wonder what else was embellished in the film…(sips tea)…

Cory Hardrict (@coryhardrict)– Destined for Greatness!

Cory Hardrict Kontrol Homme Cover

Cory Hardrict silently dominated the 2016 independent film festival circuit with his film, “Destined”.

In addition to playing dual roles in the film, Hardrict also served as executive producer. Initially, Hardrict was producing the film and not starring in it, but the director felt like he was the perfect fit for the leading man. Destined follows two separate paths a young man takes after he comes to the fork in the road of life. The film is about choices and how consequences to actions can result in a lifetime of differences. “One character is an architect—sometimes in that world you have other people that make decisions for you. He is dealing with gentrification which results in  him making a decision for an entire
community. The parallel character is a drug Lord desperately trying to save his son. It’s a real life thing two paths and parallels,” Hardrict explains. “Destined” quickly became the project to beat, garnering eight awards at twelve festivals throughout 2016. “I knew from what we shot the work was great. After you shoot it and put it together, the rest is in God’s hands. The success has been a blessing, but the mission is to get it to the world,” Hardrict shares.

cory hardrict in kontrol homme

Hardrict enjoyed a number of films released last year, including most recently “Spectral” an action thriller purchased by Netflix, but much like the message in his film “Destined”, Hardrict is both strategic and selective with his career. His brooding yet unforgettable presence along with his selective-ness when choosing roles are just a few of the reasons Hardrict has been compared to the legendary Denzel Washington. When asked about the constant comparison, Hardrict is humbled. “Denzel is a living legend, so I just shake my head. He is like a God, he is the best actor on the planet. I got a lot of work to do before I could come anywhere close to that. He has a lot of strength and power. He’s been consistent. Antoine Fuqua was the first person to say I reminded him of a young Denzel. It made me want to step my game up, those are heavy words.” Besides his on camera likeness to Denzel, Hardrict is also an outspoken family man, attributing his success to the title of fatherhood he enjoys with wife Tia Mowry. “Becoming a husband and father made my heart open up more because I love my wife and son to death. It’s been fun, nothing but joy. It’s made me a better man and better actor.”

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Kontrol Exclusive (@kontrolmag): Discover The Life Behind The Music of Normani Kordei (@NormaniKordei)!

normani kordei in kontrol magazine's women in music issue

Written By: Tanisha D. Davis

Normani Kordei is a singer originally from Atlanta, Georgia who is a member of the girl group, Fifth Harmony.

Her sweet and humble personality adds to why she has remained such a successful performer in recent years. Kordei has been singing and dancing since the age of four and although she has had an early start in the field of music, she doesn’t allow that to steal away from her ability to remain humble in the midst of all the excitement and success. Kontrol truly enjoyed discovering more about the life of the young singer and was excited to find out that she will be appearing on the hit TV series, ‘Dancing With the Stars.’

normani kordei in kontrol magazine's women in music issueDancing with the Stars has been an incredible experience. Honestly I feel like I have grown in the last three weeks. I really have the best partner and he has been really encouraging me, and allowing me to see the beauty in me and what I have to offer. Growing up, I didn’t really believe in myself the most, especially since I started out at such a young age. Having people judge you in every little thing you do, even as a teenager and experiencing life for itself can be tough. He’s helping me to realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable, like don’t keep it all to yourself, so I really thank him for that, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of the season with him. The cast has really become a family and learning all of the dances and genres has really been cool.”

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Kontrol Exclusive (@kontrolmag): From The Street to The Throne—It’s Dreezy’s (@dreezydreezy) World!

dreezy in kontrol magazine's women in music issue

The rise and reign of rap is perhaps the biggest and most inspiring aspect of modern music. From simple “Get Downs” in basements and dance offs on street corners, rap has become the most popular genre on the face of the planet! The sheer number of rap stars the genre has generated is immense, forever evolving, and revolving. The rap game is fierce and “competitive” just does not sum up the nature of the business when it comes to being a star or wannabe. When you add being a woman on top of that the stakes become astronomical.

Enter 2017 and the rap world of Dreezy!

Strong, independent, and determined Dreezy is the future of female rap in an industry determined to overlook, undermine, and underestimate her every step of the way.

dreezy in kontrol magazine's women in music issue

It seems like forever ago when we first bobbed our heads to Dreezy’s hit single, Body, and now the stars are within her reach. In a candid conversation with Kontrol Magazine she goes on to discuss her goals for 2017, hopes, dreams, and what it means to be a female rapper. “It [2017] has started off great…I messed up with my resolution, it was to stop smoking, but I did slow down, shout out to that [she laughs]. I have been working out. The year came in and I said I wanted to work out and have been doing that like every day and I’m seeing the results from that. I said I’m just gonna take care of my hair and hygiene and focus more on me and my music…” Interestingly she described 2016, on a scale of one to ten as a four or five! “Last year was so bittersweet for me. I dropped my first album and that was good. I had like four singles on the radio and that was good, but I lost my best friend last year and that was one of the worst times. So yeah it was real bittersweet, a lot of ups and downs—real weird. [In 2017] I feel rejuvenated, I lost my friend at the beginning of last year so we had our plans and resolutions and it was New Years and we were celebrating. It all happened the day after and I feel like I got set back. This year I feel like it’s my second shot to make everything good I just had to recoup. No excuses.”

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Kontrol Exclusive (@kontrolmag): “The Real Housewives of Potomac Star,” Charrisse Jackson Jordan (@CharrisseJordan), Break Out Star of Season 2!

charrisse jackson-jordan

The Real Housewives of Potomac is back for a second season and the cast is bigger and better. All the original ladies return with a newbie in the mix, but so far this season it is all about Charrisse Jackson Jordan.

She has broken out of her shell, and is showing a different more authentic side of herself. Jackson is shaping up to be the breakout star this season.

“Looking at season one it made me be myself from a different perspective. I saw a sad person. I was going through things in my marriage. I was reserve with a lot of my actions last season. I wanted the audience to see the real Charrisse. I needed to do it again to show a different side of me, and I have a different mindset,” said Jackson-Jordan.

This season you see Charrisse show a more light hearted side of herself.  The mother of two is seen dancing around with her daughter, and enjoying life more this season. She even shows the more assertive side, going head-to-head with standout cast mate, Gizelle Bryant.                       

I’m a lot lighter, trying to have a great time and being a good mom.  I will go through a lot of arguments with my cast mates this season. I hope people see a positive side this season. Last season, they saw a bougie side. They saw a character, and I didn’t like anything about that,” said the reality star.

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Kontrol Homme Exclusive (@kontrolmag): Breaking “Underground!” Alano Miller (@AlanoMiller) On Cato, Justice, & Inclusion!

alano miller kontrol homme

What does it take to be a leading man? Is it the look? The swagger? Or maybe it’s the unyielding desire to be the best of the best. If that is the case then this actor and rising star has the lion’s share! We love him as the former overseer turned runaway on WGN’s hit series, Underground. Still, there is so much more to the man that dominates our Wednesday night television screens—there’s wit, charm, poise, and let’s not forget an inferno of talent just waiting to set Hollywood on fire!

He is Alano Miller, and you are going to love him!

alano miller kontrol homme

Underground is a runaway hit about runaways (pun intended) earning high ratings and rave reviews from viewers nationwide. When we left off in the first season Cato had surprisingly and bravely survived a shootout while seemingly sacrificing himself to save Noah (Aldis Hodge) and Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and discovering a chest of money. Alano reveals we can expect a lot more from Cato this season. “This a Cato you’ve never seen before. This is a brand new Cato. I’ve dubbed him as ‘Cato 2.0’ [he laughs] You know he’s well-traveled, well-versed. His chess game is way more strategic now. That money adds weight to him so he is definitely looking for his respect and it’s going to take up his space. It’s going to be more emotional with him—a physical and emotional transition with him this year…” He goes onto reveal his character reaches a crossroads later in the season.  “…there’s going to be a decision made at the end of the season about who he wants to be. Is he good? Is he bad? By the end of this season we will define who Cato is.”

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