Television and film producer, writer and columnist for Essence, Nathan Hale Williams has made more than a name for himself; he is making his mark. Williams received the Legacy of Pride Award at Harlem Pride’s launch party, and with accolades in nearly every arena it is easy to understand why. Even with a resume worth envying, he remains humble and diligent in his work to help others attain success. Read below to discover why Nathan Hale Williams is PROUD.
Harlem PRIDE, what does it mean to you?
Harlem is changing and evolving and to see people out and proud is encouraging. I think often the black community is portrayed as being homophobic and I think we’re homo-tolerant and it’s now time for us to be homo-accepting. Harlem pride represents progression.
How long have you been “out”?
I came out on a rolling basis. I had my first boyfriend when I was fifteen and came out to my mom officially fifteen years ago. Then I was on the show American Candidate with my boyfriend at the time, Keith Boykin, on Showtime and that was kind of like my national “coming out.”
Within your career, and even in your personal life, what challenges have you faced as a result of your sexual identity?
I work in the entertainment industry which is the most closeted organization, but I’ve only had one instance where someone told me I probably shouldn’t be “out” but I am unapologetic about who I am. Whether it be my identification as black, gay, and from Chicago, anything of my spirit or being I am unapologetic about.
Being both black and gay, what was your reaction to the rulings for DOMA and section 4 of the Voting Rights Act?
Being a multi-minority is complex. I celebrate the victory but I don’t forget the fight that needs to continue. I have to make sure that what happened with section 4 doesn’t affect black voter turn-out and the ruling against DOMA propels the gay community forward.
Most important piece of advice for black LGBTQ youth?
Education. I would give this advice to all youth. Education has always given me options. Being a black male people will always try to discredit you. Education has been the equalizer in changing people’s perceptions.