ORLANDO, Fla. – Rapper Lil Nas X released a “baby registry” in an advertising campaign ahead of his upcoming album, but instead of requesting baby essentials, the rapper is looking to make a difference.
The “Old Town Road” rapper plans to release his new album “Montero”, Sept. 17th, but before that, he is encouraging people through his “baby registry” to support and donate to local LGBTQ-plus organizations like Bros in Convo in Orlando.
“First of all like wow,” Daniel Downer said. “We were definitely amazed and astonished and truly shocked.”
Downer said he started Bros in Convo to help bridge the gap and promote health equity to black LGBTQ-plus people in Central Florida.
Downer said the organization has received some funds after the major shout-out but explains the grassroots organization got on Lil Nas X’s radar by being a part of the Compass Initiative that is working aggressively to end the AIDS and HIV epidemic.
“We can talk about the HIV epidemic, we can talk about all these things, but they’re connected to some core thing, right, they’re connected to some core disparities that we really try to work with,” Downer said.
The organization has different programs, like mentorship, STD/STI treatments and testing, financial assistance, mental health initiatives, and more.
Downer said to see one example of how the organization impacts people, look no further than his program director, Angel Nelson.
“I was in very much a typical setting,” Angel Nelson said, “I was around friends, we clubbed, we partied, we got into a little trouble, I will not expound on that too much, but I was very, very, very rough around the edges.”
Now, since joining Bros in Convo, Nelson just graduated Suma Cum Lade from the University of Central Florida and is employed by the organization that he says gave so much to him.
“I just want to be able to impact people by being meaningful and intent and honestly just navigating any space as a Queer Black person of color and if I can just stop some people from making the same mistakes that I made, I would feel like my life wasn’t in vain.”
Nelson and Downer introduced News 6 to other people who say the impact their organization has on the community goes beyond what people may think.
“I didn’t have anybody when I first came out, I didn’t have anybody to put me on the right path, I didn’t have anybody to tell me to do this or to do that, I didn’t have anybody, and I like the fact that Bros in Convo is that outlet the younger generation needs,” Travis Mercer said.
Nelson encourages any young, LBTQ-plus youth to live in your truth with confidence and unapologetically.
“Just enjoy life’s journey, love it, soak it all in-band and indifferent and understand that there is a bigger purpose and a bigger picture with the things that you may go through,” Nelson said.
Bros in Convo say they aren’t the only grassroots organization that serves the LGBTQ-plus community and encourage people to do their own research and support other places to help make real change.