It was 2006 and I was on the phone talking to Malcolm. Malcolm is that guy that you shouldn't have attempted to date or fuck because he was better off as a friend. I hold him in a high regard. I love him. We understand each other. I'd like to think that he and I have a connection no one else has...He hasn't been the best friend - but who is? One thing that he is, is loyal. That can never, ever be denied.
I first met him in 2005 when I was promoting my first novel, "At This Moment." I was at club "Metro," one of Ivan Daniel's, (thee L.A. [gay] Party Promoter) Wednesday night parties back when it was hosted at the "Here Lounge." Malcolm was with a few celebrities, I was solo. Ivan was helping me promote my book at the time and he made sure that I went to every single party that I needed to be at and to make sure I met all of the right people and that particular Wednesday there was someone I needed to meet. Without the specifics, I was introduced to the very popular gay-friendly author who Malcolm was with. I didn't care for the author too much because he blew me off and never made eye contact. I took it personal and chopped it up to a few things. But in hindsight it was my first real lesson in dealing with a celebrity.
Malcolm and I made eye contact and it was intense. He was handsome out of stratosphere. But he shook my hand, rolled his eyes and hit it. :-) Should have been a sign right? I got in my truck and went home shortly after that. I was grieving the death of my cousin who has like a sister, I was dating an idiot. The last thing I needed was to be introduced to some assholes. I got in my truck, turned on some Rahsaan Patterson and hit it. This was before my weed smoking days. Mind you at this point I was 23. Boy was I young. So much has changed.
I still thought Malcolm was fine and I didn't forget him.
The summer of 2005, I went on tour to promote my book. The 4th of July weekend, I did my very first author panel at L.A. Black Gay Pride. Shortly after the authors went downstairs to the vending area of the hotel to sign & sell our books. As I set up, I see Malcolm. Mind you I hadn't seen this clown since March when he and his author friend shaded me. Hmph. So he came up to me and started talking.
"Hey! I remember you. How are you? What's your name again?"
"Damn you remembered my name? Now I feel bad."
"You rolled your eyes at me. Plus you were cute. Lasting Impression." I said blandly.
We went over the small talk - he bought my book and we talked the rest of the day. It was one of those conversations you have and you just know that no matter what that you and the person will be good friends for life.
He was living L.A. that weekend to go back to Atlanta where he lived.
Sunday night he called me and insisted that we hang out before his flight left. We met up at Roscoes and talked more. I was really into him. Like, overload. Before we left, he asked me to find a place that made keys. I told him no problem, because in L.A. you just have random key makers in booths all around town.
We found a location, he hopped out my truck and got his keys made. As I sat there and waited, I watched him walk off. I liked him - but I wasn't going to show that, just in case he didn't like me back or even see me in that way. Another thing I liked about him is that he was older - 10 years older, but he still looked like he was in his late 20's.
When he got back in the truck he looked at me and said, "The blue one is for my apartment in New York and the Green one is for the condo in Atlanta. You use them whenever you need to."
We went back and forth about him giving me his keys like that. But I took them and I still have them to this day...they always work.
As time went on he and i talked on the phone practically every day. He flew me out to D.C. for the very first time in 2006. I knew when I visited then, I had to live in this city.
That weekend in 2006 - I learned a lot. Things that you just keep in the books. Blueprints. Knowledge if you will.
As we got closer I saw how the industry started to wear on him. The things that it did to him. His drug use, his relationships, his friendships. Just the way he changed. I never judged him. I continued being a friend.
One day in 2006 before his use got heavier, he said, "You should write a book about being gay and famous." I insisted he help me write it. I didn't know that, that conversation would lead to my own experiences and actually writing a book about being gay and noteable. While I was experiencing my own successes, popularity, etc he was right there beside me...in a sense he did help write it.
In 2007, prior to experiencing my growing pains and prior to my book tour for "Full Circle," I was leaving Century City and Rahsaan Patterson's song "Stars" off his "Wine & Spirits" CD came on. As I was thinking about Malcolm and his struggles and a few of my other celebrity friends struggles, Rahsaan's song hit me like a ton of bricks. It was my blueprint for my new book, "Pop Life."
A few weeks after hearing that song I was on my second stop for my "Full Circle" book tour. It was New York City. That solidified so many things for me. It was epic. It was the greatest moment and greatest failure in my life. I'll talk about that later. But that trip began my writing process for Pop Life. A process that has lasted 4 years.
I can't wait to share the book with you...