Gay Artist Nhojj Planning "Love Is Love" College Tour
"Show me where Christ said 'Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones.' Gay people, too, are made in my God's image." - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Nhojj plans to spread this message on his upcoming "Love Is Love" tour.
Nhojj made history twice within the last year – first when his song “Love” won an OUTMusic Award, making him the first black male to win an OMA; and secondly when the gay music video “Love” climbed to #1 on the MTV Music Top 100 Chart.
This summer Nhojj completed an 8 city Gay Pride Tour which concluded in Germany, with a performance celebrating the 30th anniversary of CSD Gay Pride in Munich. Nhojj opened the festivities with his "I Miss You" while 500 balloons flew over the city – a commemoration for those who have fallen from HIV/AIDS. During the tour, he shared stages with American Idol's Blake Lewis, Taylor Dayne, and gay recording legend Jimmy Somerville.
When Nhojj ventured into the music business almost a decade ago it was for two reasons: 1 – He loved music; 2 – He wanted to share music. It was as simple as that.
Now chart topper Nhojj – hailed as a pioneer in music by BET and dubbed "the artist to watch this year" by About.com – has other reasons. He wants to affirm and empower youth today, especially the gay youth. He wants to reflect the timeless spiritual teaching that some religions forget - love. "Love is the truth" – lyrics to his #1 Out & Proud CDbaby single "The Gay Warrior Song." He wants to give back to the community (proceeds from the single are being donated to SASOD, an LGBT rights organization in his native Guyana ).
Son of a minister, Nhojj grew up in a deeply religious, yet loving family environment. His parents interpret the Bible differently than he does, especially on issues such as homosexuality, but it does not prevent them from being proud of their son. "I think accepting differences is important on both sides," Nhojj says. "How can we truly say we love one another if we can't accept differences?"
Nhojj says he was fortunate - his family never rejected him. A 2008 study headed by Dr. Caitlin Ryan on Family Rejection draws disturbing conclusions. It shows lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who experienced high levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to have high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse than their peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
Declaring ones self to be LGBT can be difficult for an adolescent, or for that matter, for an adult. "I want to express through my music that it's okay to be gay...” Nhojj explains, “we should all embrace who we are."