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My Aim In Life Essay For Bscott

Brandon Scott Sessoms, best known as B. Scott (born March 21, 1981 in Franklin, Virginia) is an American television personality, radio show host and internet celebrity who is known for his YouTube videoblogs and website LoveBScott.com.[1] He is also a contributing editor to The Glam Network, and an Ebony Magazine advice columnist.[2]

Scott, who is a gender non-conforming androsexual,[3][4][5] has become a popular internet personality through his video blogging and his website, LoveBScott.com.[6] Scott's internet presence has contributed to his ability to interview celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo, Chaka Khan, Aubrey O'Day and Ashanti. Following his Internet-based success, has appeared in mainstream media, making appearances on The Tyra Banks Show,[7] and shows on Oxygen and BET.[2][8]

Early life[edit]

Scott was born in Franklin, Virginia, and was raised in Hertford County, North Carolina, by parents of African-American, Irish, Jewish and Meherrin ancestry. As a teenager Scott was selected to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), a two-year public residential high school for students with a strong aptitude and interest in mathematics and science, located in Durham, North Carolina. After graduating from NCSSM in 1999, he attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, came out as gay in his sophomore year.[3] He said in a video blog that he had feelings and was questioning previously but when he was a sophomore pre-med, he got his first romantic kiss from a man and realized he was attracted to men, and that he was using the intense pre-med education to distract himself from his sexuality.[3] He stopped efforts to become a physician from the realization that it was a self-invented distraction.[3] Scott graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in Psychology.[9] Scott moved to Washington, DC where he briefly practiced as a licensed realtor in the Capitol Hill area.

In June 2005, Scott moved to Los Angeles, California where he continued his work in real estate and as an interior designer. It was during this time that he began his interest in the entertainment industry, while briefly working in print ads as a fashion model.

Video blogging and LoveBScott.com[edit]

On January 1, 2007, Scott launched LoveBScott.com which primarily focuses on five pillars in pop culture: celebrity news, fashion, music, nightlife, and miscellaneous entertainment. The intent is to approach entertainment and celebrity news with a positive spin. The name lovebscott.com was selected in an effort to give his website a readily-identifiable personality with the mission of conveying a positive outlook.[10] In May 2007, B. Scott started incorporating YouTube videos into his website to personally connect with readers. The videos include personal observations, celebrity news, musical performances, political commentary, interviews and messages of encouragement to the audience. The videos are produced out of his Los Angeles residence. His YouTube channel has over 90,000 subscribers, and has won numerous awards for viewership and subscriptions.[11] Scott has won the Best Video Blog by The Black Weblog Awards[12] in 2007 and 2008. In January 2008 Scott became a YouTube company partner.

In 2009, he created The B. Scott Show, a talk/variety-style internet show that ran concurrent to the original videoblog. Interview subjects included celebrities and important figures in the LGBT community. Interviews are conducted in Scott's home and broadcast on both the YouTube channel and the website.[10] Celebrities interviewed have included Ne-Yo, Ashanti, Eva Marcille, LeToya Luckett of Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Jordin Sparks, and Chilli (of TLC). Scott’s YouTube channel has led to recognition from numerous celebrities. Popular blogger Perez Hilton in 2007 named Scott his “Favorite New YouTuber”.[13] In addition, on June 19, 2009, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx declared on his Sirius Satellite Radio channel “The Foxxhole”, “I love B. Scott. He’s very attractive. He looks like a cross between Prince, Rosario Dawson and Lenny Kravitz.” This unsolicited acclaim helped open B. Scott to a new level of recognition.[14]

Radio[edit]

In April 2010, he premiered The B. Scott Show on Jamie Foxx's channel, The Foxxhole, on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. The premiere guest was former Destiny's Child member, Michelle Williams.[15] The show was broadcast on Monday nights at 9PM ET on Sirius 106 and XM 149.[16] It was announced via Twitter that Scott would be discontinuing his radio show for personal reasons.

Television[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(January 2014)

In 2010, Scott appeared on The Tyra Banks Show[7] as part of the "Ambush Stranger Makeovers segment" and Oxygen (TV channel)'s Hair Battle Spectacular[8] as a guest judge. Prior to these appearances, Scott was a featured contributor to Extra. Scott was also featured in "Too Hot to Handle," a 2013 season 2 episode of Chef Roblé & Co. on Bravo.

2013 BET Awards: 106 & Park Pre-Show controversy[edit]

In 2013 Scott served as a red carpet correspondent for Style Stage at the 2013 BET Awards: 106 & Park Pre-Show.[17] They were aired live at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on June 30.[2] Prior to the awards show itself Black Entertainment Television (BET) aired the a pre-show with Scott as the sole style correspondent.[2][18] He was to have at least 12 one-on-one interview segments scheduled but only completed the first one, and was pulled from the stage in the middle of the second.[19] Scott, who regularly shares personal and public experiences with his fans, went public with allegations that after the first segment of the show he was pulled backstage and forced "to pull my hair back, asked me to take off my makeup, made me changed my clothes and prevented me from wearing a heel."[2][20][21] The outfit had been pre-approved, but he was told it was unacceptable, Scott acquiesced changing into men's clothes but was never put back on air, instead being replaced by singer Adrienne Bailon.[2][20] BET issued a statement that it was a matter of miscommunication and they regret any offense.[21][22] Scott dubbed the BET statement as a non-apology.[20][23]

In August 2013 Scott sued BET and parent company Viacom for discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.[17][20] He is seeking $2.5 million in damages.[20] In January 2014 TMZ acquired and release internal emails showing BET executives had corresponded with each other before the show that they did not want him looking like a woman.[24][25] Network Vice President Rhonda Cowen wrote back that she would "speak to him about being less 'womanly.'"[24][25] After the show another BET executive, Monica Ware, wrote, "Unless we can make public the reason we didn't want him dressed the way he normally does, I would stay away from suits, suit selections, etc."[24][25]Huffington Post also received copies of the emails and confirms TMZ's reporting.[25]

In April 2014 BET won the lawsuit when Los Angeles Superior Court judge Yvette Palazuelos determined that BET's rights to control its creative expression through managing the attire of on-screen talent was protected by the First Amendment, and ultimately trumped the discomfort and discrimination Scott alleged he suffered as a result of being forced to change into more traditionally masculine attire.[26]

Scott appealed and reached a settlement with BET in February 2015.[27] The terms were not disclosed so it is not known if he was paid the $2.5 million he sought.

Other appearances[edit]

Since March 2007, Scott has been hired as a celebrity talent; contributing to several publications[28] and hosting events.

On June 7, 2007, he hosted the "White Party" at the Hollywood Black Film Festival[29][30] in Los Angeles. He also hosted this event in Summer 2008.

On April 4, 2008, Scott kicked off gay Pride month at Yale University. [31] During the festivities he was at the forefront of three events. Scott hosted a Master's Tea at Yale University's Silliman College, a "Pride Meet and Greet" at Bespoke Restaurant and "After-party" at the Center Street Lounge in New Haven, CT.

On October 19, 2008, Scott lead a team for the AIDS WalkLos Angeles and hosted the official AIDS Walk Los Angeles afterparty[32] at Eleven Restaurant & Nightclub in West Hollywood. CA.

On February 28, 2009, Scott attended the 14th Annual Black Solidarity Conference at Yale University as a featured panelists on the “Disrobed: An Exposé of Black Sexuality” panel.[33]

In early 2010, following his interview with Mariah Carey, Scott appeared in her video for "Up Out My Face" featuring Nicki Minaj.[34]

In March 2010, Scott was the featured panelist for the first "Out in the Spotlight" panel discussion at Morehouse College. This appearance, hosted by Morehouse's Safe Space LGBT Organization, was the college's first step at creating a bridge to the LGBT community.[35][36]

Awards[edit]

In 2014 Scott was included as part of the Advocate's annual "40 under 40" list.[37]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^Woods, Meghan E. (March 5, 2007) Daily Tar HeelUNC alum becomes Internet celebrity
  2. ^ abcdefB. Scott, Host Of BET Awards Pre-Show, Allegedly Told To Remove Makeup, Heels By Network (UPDATE)
  3. ^ abcdMy Coming Out Story by B. Scott
  4. ^http://genderqueerid.com/post/8570810808/answering-gender-questions-genderqueer-or-bi-gq-and
  5. ^A Conversation with B. Scott on the power of Defining Yourself August 9, 2013.
  6. ^Broadway, Donna (August 10, 2009) The Baltimore Times The Man Behind the Media Empire
  7. ^ ab"Queerty: Wherein B. Scott Goes On Tyra To Tell New Yorkers They Dress Like Crap"
  8. ^ ab[1] "B. Scott Joins Hair Battle Spectacular as a Guest Judge"
  9. ^"UNC Dean's List Fall 2000"
  10. ^ abOchalla, Bryan (October 20, 2009) The Advocate Don't Call Him The Next RuPaul
  11. ^A New Internet Celebrity has Risen
  12. ^"Best Video Blog"
  13. ^"Perez Hilton's Favorite New YouTuber"
  14. ^Arceneaux, Michael (August 27, 2009) The Root Loving Gender Bending Internet Personality B. Scott
  15. ^All Radio News[2]
  16. ^B. Scott[3]
  17. ^ abB. Scott Files Multi-Million Dollar Gender Identity Discrimination Lawsuit against BET and Viacom (Court Documents + Personal Statement)
  18. ^Leaked Emails Support B. Scott's Claims of BET Discrimination
  19. ^Breaking Binaries With B. Scott: The TV, radio, and Web personality opens up about the BET Awards he was pulled from for dressing too femme, and explains how he came to terms with his recently claimed transgender identity.
  20. ^ abcdeB. Scott, Gender-Nonconforming Host, Sues BET After Being 'Forced' To Wear Men's Clothes
  21. ^ abBET ‘Regrets’ B. Scott ‘Miscommunication’: ‘We Embrace All Gender Expressions’
  22. ^GLAAD speaks with B. Scott and BET regarding BET Awards incident, network issues statement
  23. ^"BET's non-apology statement has added more insult to injury. It was not a 'miscommunication' and what they did to me was intentional."
  24. ^ abcBET: We Don't Want Male Host B. Scott Looking Like a Girl 1/9/2014
  25. ^ abcdBET Emails About Host B. Scott Suggest Network Didn't Want Him 'Looking Like A Woman'
  26. ^http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2014/04/18/b-scott-appeal-ruling-finding-bet-didnt-discriminate
  27. ^http://www.advocate.com/politics/2015/02/20/b-scott-settles-discrimination-lawsuit-bet-viacom
  28. ^Honey Ask B. Scott
  29. ^"The Hollywood Black Film Festival - White Party"
  30. ^"Black Talent News scouts B. Scott"
  31. ^Chen, Sophia (April 7, 2008) Yale Daily NewsB. Scott: Ostracized, Pressured, Inspired
  32. ^"Wireimage Coverage at the 24th Annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles After Party hosted by B. Scott"
  33. ^Domingue, Michelle T. (March 13, 2009) Dartmouth Free Press Black Sexuality: Overcoming Homophobia
  34. ^Carey, Mariah-Up Out My Face [4]
  35. ^HBCUdigest.com [5]
  36. ^Bossip.com [6]
  37. ^http://www.advocate.com/40-under-40-emerging-voices/2014/08/21/40-under-40-b-scott-cares-about-making-best-version-yourself

Throughout my life, I’ve felt the pressure of having to define my multiple identities for myself and for others. I love words, yet I know that words often fail us. At times, words are unable to fully encompass who we know ourselves to be. Knowing this, I felt immense empathy for B. Scott when I heard him [B. welcomes the following preferred gender pronouns (PGPs): he/him, she/her, they/their] announce after several years in the media spotlight that he is transgender.

B.’s personal announcement arose in the midst of his “gender identity discrimination” lawsuit against BET. According to B.’s open letter to fans, the network hired him as a red carpet style correspondent at the 2013 BET Awards in June, forced him to change into more masculine attire and ultimately replaced him with Adrienne Bailon, a cis Latina woman (cis is a term used to describe those whose assigned sex at birth aligns with their gender identity). He wrote that the day’s events “made me feel less than and that something was wrong with who I am as a person.”

Though BET released a statement citing “miscommunications from both parties” and stating they “regret any unintentional offense to B. Scott and anyone within the LGBT community and we seek to continue embracing all gender expressions,” B. pushed the network for a “true public apology” and “fair remuneration.” The lawsuit has spawned many headlines, but what struck me is the discourse B.’s transgender revelation has sparked.

“As a society we’ve been conditioned to believe that a person has to be ‘exactly’ this or ‘exactly’ that,” B. wrote, before adding, “My spirit truly lies somewhere in between [male and female]. It is that same spirit that has allowed me to become so comfortable in my skin, choose how I express myself, and contributes to how I live my day-to-day life.” B. cited GLAAD’s definition of transgender, an umbrella term that clusters diverse groups of people (transsexuals, like myself, cross-dressers, gender-variant and genderqueer people and many more) whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth due to the appearance of their genitals, as a catalyst for his announcement.

“It is by that definition that I accept and welcome the ‘transgender’ label with open arms,” B. wrote, igniting discourse, debate and discussion among B.’s adoring fans (whom he calls “Love Muffins”), his detractors and general bystanders within and outside of the trans, queer, wider LGBT community and of course within the overlapping people of color, specifically black community, we both belong to.

I found much of the conversation on both sides to be misguided: Many people seemed reluctant and skeptical about B.’s transgender identity; many trans people questioned whether B. was trans enough or whether his embracing of the transgender label was a ploy for a stronger gender identity case (NOTE: I answer some of this skepticism via my Tumblr blog); many fans seemed to be confused by the idea that a previously gay-identified feminine person was now identifying as transgender yet wasn’t seeking to become a woman; and many trans women knew B.’s announcement would further muddy the waters for transsexual women who often combat widely popular images of drag queens, cross-dressers and other male-bodied folks who express femininity.

As a multiracial trans woman of color (I self-identify as a trans woman, though specifically I am a transsexual woman, which is part of the transgender umbrella label), I immediately embraced B. because I understand the journey of self-revelation. His announcement resonated with me on many levels: the idea of gender and trans-ness, the idea of race and blackness, the need to announce who you are to the world, and when that definition collides with others’ perceptions of you then you must defend yourself, your identity and your existence.

It is this very personal journey that framed my conversation with B. about his road towards self-revelation, about what brought him to announce that he is a transgender person, about the conflation of gender and sexuality, about embracing labels, pronouncing self and seeking definitions. Ultimately, I wanted to share space, stories and experiences with B. to show the ways in which our experiences as trans people of color intersect, diverge yet neither of our experiences or identities negate the other.

I hope the transcript of our phone conversation provides clarity on the lived experiences of two openly trans people of color, one a transsexual woman, the other a transgender person whose “spirit truly lies somewhere in between.”

RELATED: Janet Mock addresses skepticism of the timing of B. Scott’s announcement

Janet:  I assume it must’ve taken you a long time to come to this place of definition, where you’re announcing that you’ve “welcomed the ‘transgender’ label.” What led you to embrace transgender as part of your identity?

B. Scott: I feel my spirit is somewhere in between, so I thought that that in between-ness didn’t fit the term transgender. I thought that because I didn’t want to become a woman that I wasn’t transgender but just a feminine gay man. It was hard to pin down, label and classify myself. I had a lot to learn but when I finally read that transgender also meant “neither or both,” I was like, “Wow, that’s me!” For the first time, I found something I was included in.

J: I definitely resonate with this process of discovery. When I was a tween, I spent a year or so identifying as gay because that was the only label that was available to me. I had no idea that trans, transsexual or transgender existed to describe my experience, so I grasped at the only definition or label available, which described my attraction to boys. My misunderstanding was also reflective of society’s conflation of sexual orientation (your attraction to certain bodies and people) and gender identity (your self-conception, embodiment and expression of gender regardless of assigned sex at birth). How were you able to unpack this?

B: Me being transgender is more about my expression of who I am, and that manifests itself in how I act, how I present myself in terms of hair, makeup, clothing, and my overall essence. My sexuality relates more to what makes my heart flutter. Transgender actually defines me more than my sexuality does. It encompasses my whole essence. It’s how my spirit is presenting itself.

J: After I heard your announcement, I embraced you because I understood your journey of self-revelation. At the same time, I was also cognizant of the vast diversity of the transgender umbrella term, and knew that people would make all kinds of assumptions, like “I thought B. was gay, now he wants to become a woman?”

B: So many people have asked me when am I transitioning and have called me slurs over the years. People have been labeling me as transgender for years. So many transgender girls, some of my Love Muffins, have come up to me and said that they love me and that me being me actually helped them. I believe they saw my gradual self-perception through my videos and saw themselves in me and my journey of discovery. They are my sisters, and so are you, long before I even identified as transgender. It’s funny how God works because over time I was gradually embracing a group of people that in fact included me.

J: I think that many people assume that transgender only means those of us who are transsexual, folks who medically transition. It’s necessary for us to state and embrace the fact that trans people have various relationships with gender. Some people are men, some are women and others refuse to be either and self-determination should be embraced.

B: Exactly! I had a reluctance to label myself period. People have yet to truly accept transgender people, and I am so aware of that. There is just so much work that needs to be done. For a while it’s like I wanted to just be gay because I wanted to be part of the acceptance of gays in America. I asked myself so many times, “Do I really want to make my journey harder?” I feel like Sophia in The Color Purple: “All my life I had to fight!” Because of my experience with BET, it led me to the realization that I am transgender because of my gender identity and expression. It was specifically because of my gender – not my sexuality – that made me a target and I realized that I am not alone in this discrimination and treatment as a trangender person.

J: I want to check my own assumptions and perceptions really quick: I embrace you as a trans feminine person, meaning someone who was assigned male at birth yet expresses and  embodies femininity, but don’t let me further label you.

B: I had never heard that term before but I think you’re right. I lean more towards the feminine spectrum, but I do ovulate [oscillate] between masculine and feminine. It just depends on the day, girl!

J: Speaking of femininity, I think it’s necessary for us to have a discussion around the kind of harassment thrown your way. When I walk in the world, I’m often perceived as a mix black cis girl, meaning that my trans-ness is often not leading the way for me but I’m still subject to sexist and racist objectification and harassment. Yet when I was teenager still on my path to womanhood, I was somewhere in the middle, as this femme teen who was called a “sissy,” a “tranny” or a “shim” daily, and that level of violence was equally scary. What has your experience been with others’ perceptions and judgments?

B: People can tell that I am a man and my femininity makes me a target. I’ve heard people say things like, “You’re never gonna be a woman! Look at that jaw line and those hands!” Though the comments hurt me, I also think about my followers who are trans women and how their sense of self is questioned and targeted. For me, I just feel like a man and woman came together and made a hybrid that was me. I know that I am a target because I challenge people’s perceptions. There’s power in that yet there’s also a lot that’s thrown at me too.

J: It’s interesting how much our society devalues people who express femininity. And I can imagine as one who is often read as a gender-nonconforming black man that that must come with its own set of pressures.

B: I never thought I would grow up to be a person that would represent all these identities that would make me part of a very marginalized group of people. But this is part of embracing my truth. This lawsuit will come and go, but my identity will stay and so will the marginalization and ostracizing.

J: I hear people say this often that communities of color, specifically black folks, are more anti-gay, more anti-trans than other communities. I always say that it is not a safe world period to be a trans woman or a gender non-conforming person. I have not witnessed one community that has embraced trans folks, specifically trans feminine folks, as people, so I don’t know where these comparisons come from. Please point out the community where we can all be safe in.

B: Right? It’s like please show me that place so I can go there because even in the gay community there tends to be transphobia, and I witnessed this from some people after I said I am transgender. It hurt that some in the community were judgmental when I thought they’d be more accepting. I expected these people among all to say, “Yes, be who you are!”

J: I’ve noticed similar judgments within the trans community, and I criticized much of the discourse around your statement as misguided on Twitter. I was so conflicted when my dear sister Monica Roberts stated that she won’t “consider” you “part of Team Trans” until you medically transition. It perplexed me as to why she and many others immediately assumed that trans-ness equated to trans womanhood. It was the erasure of genderqueer, non-binary identified folks, gender diverse folks, like yourself, from our community that sparked my need for this conversation. I feel this discussion is the same kind of gender policing that is done to trans people everywhere by folks who don’t believe our identities.

B: I’m surprised by the skepticism about my identity because it took a long gradual process for me to get here, for me to get over the negative imagery associated with the transgender community and own my identity and place and get past it all. I wouldn’t embrace being transgender unless it was my truth. I believe I’m challenging the term and people’s beliefs, but I feel I can only do what’s true for me. I know that I will continue to raise awareness, and I hope that over time that who I am will serve a greater purpose for the community.

J: I myself deal with this daily from all sides, from black folks who say that being trans is “a white thing” or trans folks who say that I’m too “passable” therefore not trans enough to cis folks who say that I will never be a “real” woman. This discussion around authenticity and living your truth is what led me to tell my own story and title my book “Redefining Realness.” Only we can say what is real and what is most authentic to us. We must all learn to trust one another’s experience.

B: I’m just trying to live my best life walking in my truth. I’m used to never fitting in. People have always said something about me. I do love that we’re in the same family on so many levels, Janet, but also different and also understanding one another. I just think that we should all try to love each other a little bit more.

POST-SCRIPT: “How can you find B. Scott’s claim genuine?” My answer here.

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