Jenise is an inspirational speaker, author, actress, TV host, performing artist, entrepreneur and activist. She has been gifted with the ability to use her voice as a powerful instrument of change across many platforms. In 2015, she kicked off her “Bi Out the Box” book tour to a diverse Richmond audience. Her first book DownLow Sister OnTop has received rave reviews. However, the struggle to be included in the development of the LGBTQ community in Richmond is like walking barefoot on rocks uphill.
While studying voice and journalism at VCU, Jenise became keenly aware of the homophobia that existed in the heterosexual community, as well as the disparaging difference between “White gay” Richmond and “Black gay” Richmond.
As an inspirational speaker, she travels worldwide offering individuals and organizations inspiration to create desired outcomes in all areas of their lives. Her advocacy has led her to work for national organizations such as AHEAD Inc., World Ebony Network, HRC, GLAAD and Bridges to Communities. Bringing that experience and energy back to Richmond, she says, has not been easy: “Until a few months ago, there was no entry point for the bisexual within the LGBTQ [Richmond] community. The challenge now is to really foster inclusion and not appeasement or apathy.”
Jenise is currently writing two more books, starring in two plays and has a leading role in a feature film.
This post is part of a partnership between GayRVA and Diversity Richmond to feature honoree’s of Diversity’s first LGBTQ+ Black History Month series. Honorees were asked to share their stories in their own words. We’ll be posting more honorees as the month continues. Photo provided by Harron Fells