Photo of Juhnay Arabesque (aka Paul Renolis) at the California College of the Arts, filming the school’s 114th Commencement Ceremony [2021]

This past spring, I did something really cool and I may have been the world’s first to create such an experience for myself and a global academic community.

My drag persona, Juhnay Arabesque (phonetically pronounced “JUH-NAY”), was the Emcee of the 114th Commencement Ceremony at San Francisco’s California College of…

Illustration: LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Mother’s Day: [silence]

Father’s Day: [more silence]

[annual cycle repeats]

Each year, as I get older, wiser, and more liberated, these holidays become easier to deconstruct, reconstruct, and digest — to make sense of such a layered holiday that’s trapped in outdated American ideals, gender binaries, and antiquated feminist values.

Image by Alona Miller, Visual Managing Editor at The Shakerite

During my first year at Boston University, I completed an introductory writing research course titled, “African American Voices,” and learned a distinction that edified my racial identity and affirmed a sentiment on which I’ve been ruminating since childhood: There is a distinct application between using the terms, “African American” and…

Paul Renolis

San Francisco-based queer performing artist, creative, and writer that explores black joy. prenolis.com

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