“Gender socialization is trauma.” – Yolo Akili
Ever meet someone and it feels like you’ve known them your entire life?
This is going to sound crazy, but I knew Yolo Akili before I knew him.
Like many men I follow on Twitter, I started following him because I thought he was cute. He would show up in my timeline every so often with some good wisdom…it wasn’t until about a year later I realized I was already familiar with his work.
Most of the men I look up to are renaissance men. I was first introduced to Yolo around his work around race and sexuality (naturally), but I was delighted to find out his work crosses other arenas including spoken word, yoga and astrology. How many black/brown men can I have an intelligent (intersectional) conversation about Western astrology with?! I immediately booked a reading.
My full chart was hands down the best money I spent that year. It was recorded and was supposed to be a podcast, alas we lost it due to technical difficulties. But the Ah-ha moments will stay with me forever.
I also had the pleasure of watching Yolo teach an undergraduate class at Fordham university; you could see the light bulbs going off in folk’s mind. I’ve been doing this work for so long, I take for granted most people will never take a sexuality/gender studies course (let alone with an instructor who can infuse critical race theory into the mix). Many students in the class began to unpack that very night.
His new book, Dear Universe: Letters Of Affirmation & Empowerment For All of Us has been my saving grace this year. When people get on my nerves and I have the urge to ruin their self esteem, Yolo reminds me to “give people back their crazy.”
We need more of this.
We need more people engaging in this work, especially LGBT people of color.
We need more Yolo.
You can find out more information about Yolo at YoloAkili.com including astrological services. Highly recommended if you’re into that sort of thing.
There’s a great interview with Yolo regarding his talk at the Queer Astrology Conference in San Francisco (of course). More about compatibility and power soon.
And Dear Universe can be purchased here. Makes a great gift!