Posts tagged with "lesbian"

Kia Damon illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Chef Kia Damon: Culinary Compassion In The Kitchen

By: Emily Bunn

This Women’s History Month, 360 Magazine sat down with Chef Kia Damon. Kia is the founder of Kia Feeds The People (KFTTP) and is a cofounder of Auxilio, both of which are non-profits aimed at combating food apartheid. We dished with Kia on how she discovered her passion for cooking, pathways towards increased Black and QTPOC representation in the culinary industry, and her upcoming video release with EFFEN Vodka and Queer Foods, which can be viewed here.

When did you first begin cooking? When did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?

“I started cooking in my early preteens. I have younger brothers as well, so once we were too old for day care, I had to step up as the older sibling to make sure we ate, especially more so during the summertime because I have working parents. But, it wasn’t until some years later when I started cooking independently for my own health reasons that I truly saw my strengths in cooking and realized that cooking professionally wasn’t a world that was so far away for me, that it was actually extremely attainable and extremely real. So I took the plunge, and to this day some of my family’s still very surprised, because I was definitely burning pots of rice, and they were like ‘this girl has no talents for the kitchen.’ Now I’m cooking and they still can’t believe it.”

We all know foods brings communities together. Are there any experiences you’ve had with community members through Kia Feeds The People that have stuck with you?

Yes! Honestly, the most connective part was before I even started cooking with KFTTP people when I was looking for guidance from a lot of my friends in the cooking community. Because KFTTP was birthed in a really tumultuous time, I felt like I couldn’t quite gather my thoughts and my feelings. I just felt so emotionally charged and stunted that I felt like I couldn’t even work or think or move because I felt so emotional about everything. But being able to lean into my friends and my chosen family who see me for who I am, who know me intimately and know my heart, they were able to guide me to where I am now and toward my mission for KFTTP. I’m super grateful. These are people that I’ve been able to cook with before, these are people that I’ve literally eaten with before–we’ve shared food out of deli containers at 3am–I’m very grateful for them. And I definitely could not have got to this place without them.”

Are you looking to expand KFTPP outside of Brooklyn, or just focus on this specific community?

“Because I am a Sagittarius, I definitely am looking to expand and looking to grow. I definitely have to make sure I build and flesh KFTTP out as much as possible in Brooklyn before I start thinking about moving other places. But I do have visions, not necessarily to just expand Kia Feeds The People, but to collaborate with other mutual aid organizations and non-profits that already exist in other cities, so that I can support them and [they] have more coverage where they are. I’m not the only one who’s doing this kind of work and it is definitely a collaborative, lifelong mission, so I want to lend hands to the people who are already in this game.”

What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing overcoming food apartheid?

Personally I think the biggest obstacle is still convincing people that it exists, because we live in such a individualistic world. If something doesn’t affect the next person, then they’re more likely to ignore it, you know. That’s why I think COVID really shook things up, because a lot of us were collectively put on our butts. you know. We’re like “whoa, wait a minute, is this one thing that is really proactively affecting us.” But regarding food apartheid, a lot of people are still familiar with it in terms of a “food desert.” Food desert is a word that’s been used for many years to describe this situation, and a “desert” implies that it is natural, because the world naturally created deserts. When you apply “food desert” to that idea, it implies that this place without food, this place without access to meals, is natural and that’s just the way that it’s supposed to be. But it’s completely unnatural, it’s completely systematic, and [after recognizing that] then we can start looking at it as something that is created by is created by systems. Then, we can put some realness to it and find how all of us are truly affected by them. So I think right now, it’s making sure people know what food apartheid is, and that it actually exists.”

Do you have a favorite meal or cocktail to prepare when you’re bringing family or friends together?

“My favorite meal is red beans and rice. I love a good pot of Louisiana-style red beans and rice, because honestly that–with some corn bread on top and so hot sauce– that really is the whole meal. You think you would need something else on the side but that’s really it. It’s so fulfilling, it’s so delicious, and I definitely try to bring it out when I get to be with my friends and family.”

The culinary world is a male-dominated industry. How can the culinary industry work to become more diverse, and have more Black, QTPOC chefs?

“I think it’s a starts with actually investing in the lives and careers of these black/brown/trans/ LGBTQ chefs because they exist. I know they exist because they’re my friends. And what happens is that maybe they’re put in positions of leadership or maybe not, but they’re they’re not given the same care, support or investment in their skills and education and their needs. You could put someone in a line chef position or position of leadership or whatever, but if there’s no follow through to make sure that they have what they need to be supported in those positions, they’re usually set up for failure, or set up to be harmed in some way. Or maybe a small business that’s LGBTQ or Black has a good profile, [but they may not be] getting access to grants or money. You have to have the follow through. It’s not that we don’t exist, it’s that we’re not properly supported when we are put at the forefront. That’s when it gets tricky and that’s when we’re left open to harm and failure.”

What are you most excited about regarding this video release with Queer Foods and EFFEN Vodka?

“I’m very excited for mom to see it first of all, I love my mommy and she is my number one fan. And she’s a Gemini, so I’m always looking for her approval. But I’m also excited to get to Kia Feeds The People and Queer Stories in front of the world. I feel like we can’t tell enough queer stories, there’s always someone’s story out there. Even though there’s this myth out there that there’s already enough representation, or that maybe it’s too much to keep talking about queer people, that’s actually far from the truth. I’m proud and honored that EFFEN Vodka wants to support what I’m doing and wants to get my story out there. My story is the story of a lot of other Black and brown and trans people’s stories, and it also feels good to partner with someone who sees me and wants to invest in my story and invest in supporting other diverse artists, both in their representation and practice. It just feels good to be seen, and I’m excited for everyone else to see me and to be seen. Just look! Everyone just look! I want everyone to look and feel pride in who we are.”

How can readers donate to Kia Feeds The People?

“You can head to my GoFundMe if you’re not in the city, or if you’re in Brooklyn you can come to a pop up. Please donate to my GoFundMe, I have it on my Instagram page. Share it with your friends, let them know what’s up. Or if you are in Bed-Stuy, you can find me at a pop-up– I have a few coming up in April, so I’m going to be all over the place. Come get some food or throw some money, either way I’ll be very grateful.”

To learn more about Kia, visit her website.

Kia’s EFFEN Rosé Vodka Grapefruit Cocktail

Ingredients: 

  • 2 parts EFFEN Rosé vodka
  • 1 oz of lime juice
  • ½ oz of cane syrup
  • 2 or 3 parts grapefruit juice

Mix the grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, EFFEN Rosé vodka and a spoonful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and taste. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with grapefruit, and thyme. Drink responsibly + enjoy!

Kia’s Gumbo Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz andouille sausage
  • 1lb Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups sliced okra, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp Ground sage
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh parsley

Directions

  • Season the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Season well on both sides. Heat a skillet or cast iron to medium heat with enough oil to cover the bottom. When the pan is hot, sear the chicken in batches. Brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. The chicken does not have to be cooked through just yet.
  • In a large pot add the oil and heat to a medium high heat. Add the flour and whisk until it begins to cook. Lower the heat to medium low. Keep whisking the roux over a controlled and steady heat until the flour begins to darken into a deep brown. This takes about 30 minutes, so pace yourself.
  • Turn the heat down on the roux and add in your onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir into the roux, season with a few pinches of salt and sauté until fragrant and translucent. Add in your minced garlic and fresh thyme. Stir for another 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken stock while whisking the roux. Do this part slowly because the roux will begin to thicken. Take your time and continue pouring in the stock until it’s completely incorporated.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, meanwhile slice the sausage in ¼ inch rounds on a slight bias. When the pot begins to boil, reduce to a simmer and add the chicken and sausage. Let the gumbo cook on low for an hour. You want time for the flour taste to cook out.
  • After an hour, add the remaining two tablespoons of creole seasoning, smoked paprika, ground sage and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Stir and add your sliced okra. Cook for another 10 minutes, add salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste then serve with rice and chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!
Kia's EFFEN Rosé Vodka Grapefruit Cocktail Photo credit: Solène Michel  Recipe credit: Kia Damon, Kia Feeds The People for use by 360 Magazine

Photo credit: Solène Michel Recipe credit: Kia Damon, Kia Feeds The People

Kia Damon image shot by Elina Street for EFFEN Vodka and Queer Foods for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Solène Michel 

LGBTQ Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Opposing Anti-LGBTQ Legislations

Major Health, Education, and Child Welfare Organizations Oppose Anti-LGBTQ State-Based Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. In too many states, lawmakers are focusing on passing bills that attack our nation’s most vulnerable, instead of focusing on how to help the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The signers note: “As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth. These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-­being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect. All of our nation’s children deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school. These anti-­transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.”

“While states should be focusing on finding ways to ensure that every young person has a chance to succeed, we are instead seeing a majority of states introducing harmful legislation that excludes, discriminates against, and outright harms transgender youth who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David“Anti-transgender sports bills are in search of a problem that does not exist and just the latest iteration of a years-long losing fight against equality.  In fact, anti-equality legislators when challenged are unable to name any instances of alleged cheating in their states to gain a competitive edge. That is because there are none. The notion is preposterous, nonsensical, and impractical. Other legislation is attempting to deny medically necessary gender-affirming care that helps to mitigate the life-threatening anxiety, depression, and dysphoria that are disproportionately experienced by transgender youth. Amidst an epidemic of fatal violence against transgender people, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to foster a more inclusive, less discriminatory society that guarantees acceptance of and equality to all. I thank every child health and welfare organization for stepping up and speaking out against the anti-transgender legislation that would have a profound effect on our young people.”

As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures and in Congress this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth.  These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.

All of our nation’s young people deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school and participating in extracurricular activities, including sports. These anti-transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.

Since state legislatures began meeting this year, we have already seen more than 65 bills introduced seeking to deny transgender youths’ access to gender-affirming medical treatment, preventing them from participating in sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and denying access to sex-segregated spaces that include restrooms and locker rooms. Similar legislation is even being pushed in the U.S. Congress.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, is alarmed by the spate of anti-transgender legislation proposed across the country. We have found that less than a quarter of transgender and gender-expansive youth can definitely be themselves at school and only sixteen percent of transgender and gender-expansive youth feel safe at school. Every child deserves equal access to education, academic success, and a future in which they are empowered to fulfill their true potential, and these laws contravene that fundamental principle, which has long guided our nation’s education policy.

Transgender youth are already at a heightened risk for violence, bullying, and harassment. In addition, students who would be affected by these bills are among our most vulnerable to experiencing depression and engaging in self-harm, including suicide. These bills exacerbate those risks by creating an unwelcoming and hostile environment in places where students should feel the safest and most supported. Research has shown that when transgender youth have access to gender-affirming services, competent care, and affirmation, their risk of depression, anxiety, and other negative mental health outcomes is greatly reduced.

We stand in opposition to proposals that harm transgender youth, including limiting access to medically necessary, best-practice care, forbidding students from using the restroom at school consistent with their gender identity, and preventing transgender youth from playing sports alongside their peers. On behalf of our members and communities, we call on legislators across the country to reject these harmful measures.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Counseling Association

American School Counselor Association 

Association of Title IX Administrators 

Child Welfare League of America 

Mental Health America

National Association for College Admission Counseling 

National Association of School Psychologists 

National Association of Secondary School Principals  

National Association of Social Workers  

National Education Association 

National PTA

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

HRC Press Call

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David and State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley hosted a press call to preview the state legislative landscape for 2021. With a number of anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced, heard, and voted on now and in the coming months, Alphonso David and Cathryn Oakley discussed the recurring themes the Human Rights Campaign is seeing in anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country, and shared additional political and electoral context around these fights.

Upon viewing the state legislative landscape, it can be observed that national organizations are pushing anti-LGBTQ bills across the U.S. The discriminatory bills are mongered by fear, not facts, and the opposition to such bills has been becoming desperately vocal. Despite the broad popularity of supporting LGBTQ equality from the general American public and preference for pro-quality candidates – even by Republican voters – these bills still are being introduced. States who pass these anti-LGBTQ laws risk major harm to their queer residents’ lives. Bills like these have posed economic, reputational, and legal harm to states who consider passing them, as evidenced by the result of anti-LGBQT legislation in states such as North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, and Idaho, among others.

Fortunately, the HRC has a strong record of defeating anti-equality legislation in states. Their team is hard at work monitoring and leading the fight against anti-equality bills across the country this year. For example, senseless anti-transgender sports and medical care bills are being introduced in state legislatures across the country as the latest iteration of the political fight against LGBTQ equality. The HRC is looking lead LGBTQ+ friendly progress and combat National anti-LGBTQ+ groups like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Eagle Forum who are leading the charge, rather than legislators or constituent concerns.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Listen to the full recording of today’s press call here.

360 Magazine, LGTBQ+ Pride

2020 Pride Benefit Concert

In celebration of Pride, RCA Records is excited to announce they will be holding a virtual livestream – 2020 Pride Benefit Concert – to help raise funds for the Human Rights Campaign on June 30th.  The livestream will be mixed with performances from some of RCA’s outstanding roster as well as serve as a platform to educate viewers on the mission of the Human Rights Campaign and ways to get involved.  All proceeds received during the livestream will go to the Human Rights Campaign.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign: “Pride started with protest. And this year, it is clearer than ever that the fight for LGBTQ rights is intricately linked to the fight against racism and the fight for dignity for us all. Pride is also about celebration and the community we have built, together. And since many of us could not celebrate in person this year, we are looking forward to joining forces with RCA Records to host a virtual Pride benefit concert to close out the month. We are grateful to have this space to bring the community together, to celebrate our progress and redouble our commitment to the work we have ahead of us.”

Set to perform in this 1 hour livestream are Cam, TOBi, WALK THE MOON, Jimmy Eat World, Sam Fischer, SAYGRACE, Isaac Dunbar, Citizen Queen, Christian French and more to be announced.  Fans and viewers can tune in on Tuesday, June 30th at XX on RCA Records’ YouTube channel to catch the livestream.

The Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation together serve as America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality. By inspiring and engaging individuals and communities, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Since its inception in 1900, RCA Records, the second oldest label in American history, has been home to some of the most iconic music artists of all-time celebrating music across all genres.  The label has a rich, storied history which is earmarked by artists continually pushing their artistic boundaries and shaping the cultural landscape.

Follow RCA Records: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Follow Human Rights Campaign: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Mina Tocalini, 360 MAGAZINE, BigKlit, illustration

Notorious BigKlit

‘The epitome of an angry bird’360

Provocative rap sensation BigKlit has announced a special new edition of her infamous 2019 LP, KLITORIUS B.I.G. The album – which includes a number of previously deleted tracks – is available today via ROT$ WORLDWIDE/RECORDS/The Orchard. KLITORIUS B.I.G. features the return of such long-unavailable fan favorites as “FaceFuk,” available now at all DSPs; the track is joined by a companion video, premiering exclusively via YouTube. 

LISTEN TO “FACEFUK”

WATCH “FACEFUK”

With its snarling vocal delivery, intense production, and wildly audacious lyrics, KLITORIUS B.I.G. marks one of the first highlights of what has proven a truly incendiary run from BigKlit. The project was recorded soon after her arrival in New York City, informed by grit, heart, and an insatiable hunger to create something altogether original and her own. 

BigKlit will celebrate the return of KLITORIUS B.I.G. with a livestream release party tonight, June 26, at 8 pm ET. Presented by Brooklyn’s BABY TV, tickets for the event are available on a sliding scale HERE; ticket holders will receive a link and password 30 minutes before the start of the show. Fans purchasing tickets in the 30 minutes leading up to the performance will receive their info in their order confirmation email.

BigKlit made an auspicious debut with last year’s BIG KLITOIRUS EP, followed quickly by the full-length projects. The NYC-based artist quickly caused a worldwide sensation with her breakthrough hit, “Liar.” With its brazenly explicit lyrics and brutal, relentless beats, the track proved one of 2019’s most provocative hits, first blowing up on TikTok before ascending to multiple streaming charts around the world, reaching #1 on the US Viral 50 on two separate occasions. “Liar“ is joined by an age-restricted companion video streaming now via YouTube.

2020 kicked off with the premiere of PSYCHOSIS, a remarkable 30-minute short film directed by @pgdm. “PSYCHOSIS is a dark and dreary fever dream with apocalypse-level anxiety steady throughout,” raved PAPER. “Every song featured in the film hits listeners’ ears like a hallucinogen — they can be deeply disturbing, comforting (‘Beautiful’), or both at once…It’s the type of digi-gothic, post-genre art-making that BigKlit has come to be known for, and her fans are going absolutely nuts over it.”

Last month saw BigKlit teaming up with Universal Music Group/Caroline Distribution recording artist Trippie Redd on a new version of “Beautiful. The track arrived alongside a haunting music video and companion short film, hailed by PAPER as “a work of art that’s unpredictable at every turn…complete with everything you’d likely see in a twisted thriller: lightning, murder, out-of-body experiences and drugs, all with romantic yet eerie songwriting aimed at a subject unaware of their own beauty.” Audiofemme further praised the video and short film, noting that “Beautiful” “embodies the song’s duality with a macabre love story and BDSM imagery. It’s fitting, because shifting the balance of power has been her trademark as a woman in male-dominated rap. By blurring the edges of asserting control or losing it totally, BigKlit remains a provocative artist worth keeping an eye on.”

LISTEN TO “BEAUTIFUL”

WATCH “BEAUTIFUL (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)”

WATCH “BEAUTIFUL (SHORT FILM)”

This spring also saw the premiere of another propulsive single, “Boy Bye.” The rocket-fueled track is accompanied by a spectacular intergalactic sex domination romp of a video.

LISTEN TO “BOY BYE”

WATCH “BOY BYE”

BigKlit is also featured in the new NOISEY documentary, 6 HOURS WITH BIGKLIT, streaming now exclusively via VICE.

CONNECT WITH BIGKLIT:

TIK TOK
INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE

Luft Balloons, 360 magazine

LUFT BALLOONS

Known for spreading joy across the city of Chicago, Luft Balloons will celebrate the grand opening of its new studio, 345 W. Armitage Ave., from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. Community members will be invited to visit Luft Balloons’ new location to enjoy a massive, colorful, outdoor balloon installation made of 3,500 balloons, and to take part in a contest with the opportunity to win prizes from Luft Balloons. 

Founded by Elaine Frei in 2016, Luft Balloons creates large, bold, balloon installations for events of all sizes and kinds, inside and out, and has worked with high-profile brands such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Nike, Eataly, Nordstrom, BHLDN, and many more.During the grand opening celebration, Luft Balloons will invite guests to visit, while practicing social distancing, and employees will distribute inflated mini balloons with safety pins to pop for a surprise discount on a future order. Discounts will include 20-50% off, a free balloon burst, and the grand prize, a $1,000 installation.“I founded Luft Balloons with the inspiration to “bring the joy” to people around me. Balloons make people happy, they just do, and at Luft Balloons, we are able to take something as simple as a balloon and create magnificent works of art,” said Elaine Frei, founder of Luft Balloons. “I am grateful that Luft Balloons has come so far over the years, and thankful for the support of my amazing team and community. We look forward to celebrating the opening of our new studio with the city of Chicago.”

Since the company’s founding, Luft Balloons has grown from its original location to the 3,000 sq. ft. studio and store in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. The shop sells bespoke helium-filled balloon bouquets from their curated balloon collection as well as assembles artsy air-filled balloon décor – think a smaller-scale piece of Luft Balloons’ installations, arranged and inflated and ready to pick up and hang. Orders are available for pick up or delivery in the Chicago area.

Luft Balloons is open from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. For more information or to place an order, please visit https://www.luftballoonstore.com/

Hannah Hart, edible history, buzzfeed, 360 magazine

Edible History f/ Hannah Hart

Internet superstar Hannah Hart is back for Season 2 of her hit series Edible History, the fan-favorite cooking show from BuzzFeed’s Tasty where she learns the origin story behind her favorite foods and recreates ancient recipes. In the season 2 premiere, Hannah discovers the surprisingly controversial history of the french fry (where is it really from?), and then makes a 250 year-old recipe to create a truly authentic, old school french fry.

You might know entertainer and food enthusiast Hannah Hart from her New York Times best-selling books, Food Network show, films, podcasts, LGBTQ advocacy, or her wildly popular YouTube series “My Drunk Kitchen.” With Edible History, she’s back in the Tasty kitchen to combine her love of food and her love of history, and fans are ecstatic – the season 2 premiere already has nearly a million views.

New episodes of Edible History launch every Saturday at 8 AM PST on Tasty’s Facebook page, the world’s largest social food network. Tune in weekly to catch Hannah take us back in time and serve up a unique mixture of history, education, and entertainment.

Check out the season 2 premier HERE

Chef Raffaele Ronca

Introducing Winner of The Food Network’s “Chopped,” Chef Raffaele Ronca, Naples-born chef  who left his beloved hometown at the age of 19 and headed for NYC to be more accepted as a gay man. Raff, who initially wanted to be an actor, quickly found success in his “day gig,” working behind the bar and, ultimately, in the kitchen of NYC’s most popular restaurants. His passion for cooking and entertaining eventually eclipsed his desire to pursue acting and led to a lifelong career. His time on the popular Food Network show allowed him to revisit his love of acting, and brought his career to a whole new level. Shortly after his win, he opened Rafele NYC’s West Village, the epicenter of the gay rights movement. The restaurant, Rafele, offered guests an authentic Italian experience and was an immediate success. Just last year, he opened a second location in Rye, New York.

Chef Ronca wholeheartedly believes in giving back to the community and supporting LGBTQ youth. He often donates his time and gifts by appearing at and cooking for various LGBTQ charities, including the Rainbow Railroad, an organization dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries.

Chef Ronca can speak on:

  • General features and profiles
  • World Pride themed cocktail, the Espresso Yourself Martini
  • Rainbow Railroad and supporting LGBT youth

More on Chef Raffaele Ronca:

Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Raffaele Ronca comes from a family of butchers and fishermen who collectively inspired his lifelong passion for food and flavors. With his family also in the restaurant business, Raffaele embraced cooking and culinary explorations as integral parts of not only his Italian culture, but also his heart and soul.

Working in his uncle’s restaurant in Naples and helping his mother make fresh pasta daily, Raffaele learned to respect the beauty and taste of fresh ingredients, as well as the time it takes to select and prepare them for fine dishes.

Immigrating to America at the age of 21, Raffaele worked steadily at some of New York’s most authentic Italian restaurants, including as the executive chef at Palma, chef du cuisine at Bellavitae and manager of food and wine at Caffé Torino.

Today, Chef Raffele Ronca is a winner of the hit Food Network show “Chopped.” He is also a collaborator with the James Beard Foundation, and his signature Buffalo Ricotta Cheesecake has been featured twice in Food & Wine magazine as one of the top cheesecakes in America, in addition to having received other impressive culinary accolades.

Chef Raffaele’s second restaurant, Rafele Rye, will make its debut in Westchester County, NY, in the spring of 2018.

For more information, please visit Rafele.com and contact janegoeypr@gmail.com.

NO GAY? NO WAY!

LGBT advocates launched the “No GayNo Way!” campaign, spotlighting the eleven anti-LGBT locations in nine different states on Amazon’s recent list of finalists for its new headquarters. The campaign asks Amazon to select a market where all employees and customers will be protected from discrimination, and is planning a series of online and local activities to raise awareness.  The campaign launched with a Plane flying over Seattle (Amazon current HQ) with banner reading “”No GayNo Way!” and a mobile billboard circulating throughout Amazon’s campus.You can view the billboard and other graphics at www.nogaynoway.com.

 

SHAKIRA BARRERA

Shakira Barrera is a New Jersey native, from Englewood, NJ. By beginning to dance at age 3, a love for the arts was obvious at an early age. Shakira graduated from ‘Rutgers University’ at ‘Mason Gross School of the Arts’ with a BFA degree. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has become a bilingual actress, proudly representing her country of Nicaragua. 

She has been on shows such as “Rosewood“, “Faking It,” “East Los High,” “Those Who Can’t” and has done movies produced by James Franco as well as Mario Van Peebles. Her favorite role to portray was for Warner Brother’s new digital media platform, Stage 13, entitled “High and Mighty” where she portrays a caring, hard-working Latina. Shakira was a part of the 14 participants of the 2016 ‘ABC Diversity Showcase’ and was chosen out of 7,000 actors. Shakira is now filming Netflix’s, “Glow,” the 1980s-set female wrestling comedy. She has joined the cast for the 10-episode Season 2 playing Yolanda aka Yo-Yo, a a Mexican American dancer/stripper and out-and-proud lesbian who joins the team.