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“Authenticity—To Thine Own Self Be True”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham      “To thine own self be true.” I’m sure that somewhere, at some time, brothas have heard or read that phrase. As an Old School New Kid, it has deep meaning when dealing with not only coming out, but being out as an LGBT man […]

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“Never Give Up”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham   Believe in dreams and never give up.      For this Old School New Kid author, this motto has seen me through my ongoing journey. July has been a productive month for me, as well as one for fun and some me-time. On the fun side, I […]

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“Fatherhood”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham          June is when Pride Month is celebrated. It’s also the month when Father’s Day is observed. For far too long, there’s been a myth that the two are mutually exclusive. As a Black gay man of a certain age (or SGL) who is also a father, […]

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“REFLECTIONS FROM A BROTHA OF A CERTAIN AGE”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham      When I hear the word “Reflections,” the old school in me immediately thinks of the hit by Diana Ross and the Supremes in 1967. Of course, that was one of Motown’s go-to songs when your man has dumped you and you […]

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“You Never Know”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham “YOU NEVER KNOW” “You never know what hand in life you’ll be dealt.” That is a motto of the Edwards family, in the next book of my series, ‘You Never Know: A Christopher Family Novel’. Yes, there were Black folks who came from old money—we simply didn’t hear […]

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“Self-Determination”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham      In my first column, this Old School New Kid mentioned the learning curve as an independent author. When it comes to writing, some see it as a hobby, others their passion, still others a business, and a very few regard it as all of the above. I am one […]

Latoya Hankins

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“Lessons in Love and Loss”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins            Greetings, veteran Hot Tea and Ice Sippers–and those new to the blend of wisdom I offer!  It has been more than a minute since my words graced this space. A lot has happened to me: some good, some bad, and some I haven’t quite figured out—and […]

Old School New Kid

“I’m an ‘Old School New Kid’–and I Own It.”  Guest Writer: W.D. Foster-Graham      Yes, that’s what my teenage Millennial son would call me in this age of social media, iPhones and Internet branding.  How did I, that 21-year-old version of myself, survive without the bells and whistles of 21st century technology?  But hey, […]

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“Loving U Is Beautiful”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins        Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I send you all springtime wishes of non-allergy inducing days and seasonably warm nights.  This is the time of the year we spring forward and make plans to shed our winter woes and embrace a new season of potential.      One thing I […]

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“Taking All the Time You Need”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins          Greetings Hot Tea and Ice Sippers, and Happy 2018!  Trusting the New Year has treated you well and the novelty of snow days hasn’t worn off.  It’s amazing how a weather occurrence that brought many of us so much joy when we attended elementary and middle […]


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“Are You Wearing a Mask?” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman          We ran down the dirt road to the little store to buy candy. It was me, my little brother and my cousin. My grandfather had given us each a dollar. He made us promise not to tell my grandmother because she would have […]

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“Appreciate, Don’t Hate”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins        Greetings Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I trust you are well.      The temperatures are dropping, clothing is getting thicker, and we are getting into that holiday frame of mind. Even if you do not subscribe to a particular faith, the remainder of 2017 should offer you at least one […]


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“Love Is Not Always Blind” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman          I stood at the door to the apartment, preparing myself for the mystery that was in store for me.        “Behind this door might be my perfect soulmate,” I thought.      I checked my clothes, my breath, my hair—everything.  I had to make sure that I was totally “on point.” […]

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“Roll With Being A Role Model!”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins        Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  Trusting you are well and staying cool this summer. I’m currently giving thanks every day for air conditioning, cool beverages, and lightweight clothing.  Although I’m a Southerner by birth, this heat is something else!      Despite the high temperatures, […]


Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 15

“Four Simple Words of Comfort” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman       It was so dark in the room that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was so dark that I could probably hear a pin drop; that’s if a pin did drop. I know that if I were a kid, […]

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“Parents Are People, Too!”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins      Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers! I send a virtual shower of confetti and a round of kudos for the college graduates and their family members partaking of this month’s literary offering.  Regardless how long the journey took, you made it to the end and you should be […]

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“The Things We Do,” Part One  Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes       “I’m so drained, Evan,” Derrick mumbled to me through his meaty palms. “I’m so fucking drained with no semblance of an end in sight.”      I sat across Derrick at a seemingly swanky restaurant (until they brought out the oxymoronic monstrosity of gummy, […]

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“Spring Cleaning the Negativity Out of Your Life”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins      Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  We are now officially in the middle of spring; and depending on your faith, past the pastel parade that is Easter Sunday when it seems that everyone has to break out the suits in shades of […]

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“Who Do You Think You Arr?”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins     Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for spring to officially arrive. I love the opportunity to bundle up with thick sweaters and strut my stuff in cute boots, but I’d much rather leave the […]

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“The Greatest Love Affair of All”  Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes             Picture, if you will, a young, Black man on a personal journey during the chaos known as New Orleans at Mardi Gras. He ends up in an establishment on Bourbon Street where the music is just as lively as the gyrating bodies […]

Balancing My Virtues and Vices

“The Virtues of Communication”  Guest Writer:  Ja’Won T. Blackmon       After pondering my experiences as part of the LGBTQ community, I’ve learned so many things about myself, and the friends and acquaintances whom I have crossed paths with along the way. The variety and multitude of issues, facts and opinions are always interesting to listen–and […]

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“The Power of Prayer” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman   I pray that the doctors find out what illness my friend has, and cures him. I pray that my cousin graduates high school, continues on to college, and stops hanging with the wrong crowd–before he ends up in jail. I pray that my fifth novel, “Honey Hush, […]

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“Who Do You Think You Are?”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins      Greetings and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I send well wishes, and hope that 2017 has been filled with good things. We are not going to talk about what happened in D.C. on the third Friday of this month. It is enough to say we should not […]

Mark’s Surreality

“The Divine Power of Surreality”  Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes       Per Webster’s Dictionary, the word surreal means “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; unbelievable; fantastic.” The latest election; the virulent spread of false information in the form of memes, fake news sites, and sheer stupidity; and personal demons have all coalesced into a hazy […]

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“Looking Back to Move Forward”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins       Greeting and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  Can you believe it has been an entire twelve months since we were introduced? My, doesn’t time fly! For those whose 2016 has been filled with all kinds of shiny and new things, I send […]

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“Family Matters:  Not the TV Show”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins       Greeting and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  The holiday time is upon us with all the trappings that come with it. Travels plans will be made. Diets will be broken. And of course, the holidays are also the time that the concept […]

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 13

“Hands Down, Hands Up”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman        As I sat in the back of the car waiting, I was blinded by all the flashing lights. Vehicles were slowing down as they passed by, with the drivers trying to get a glimpse of what was happening. With all the people who were trying […]

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“Grown Folks’ Friendships”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins    Greeting and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  Sending wishes, and hope fall is doing right by you. For many of us, it is time to move away from shorts and open-toe shoes to sweaters and sturdy footwear. Nights are getting longer, temperatures are dropping and before […]

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“Time: That Most Precious Commodity”   Guest Writer: Buster Sly      This past year has been challenging on a very personal level. After spending so much time away in Europe last year, I returned to the States when I find out that my mother had just been diagnosed with third stage cancer.  That came on the […]

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 12

“The Master Plan”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman        I was standing on the side of the stage out of the line of sight from the audience. From my vantage point, I could only see a few people in the front rows. I had no idea how many people showed up for this event–my debut. […]

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“Age Is Just a Number”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins         Greeting and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers. I hope this month finds you all in good spirits–and staying cool. As for me, I’m coping with the heat by drinking plenty of cool beverages–some of them adult–and trying not to exert myself too […]

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“I Will, I Won’t, I Do”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman      “I object!” the man shouted as he stood up in the back of the church. I can’t believe this is happening! How dare someone object to my marriage? I know that some people in my position would not get married; but I […]

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“PRIDE: A Celebration of Liberation”  Guest Writer:  Carlton R. Smith       President Barack Obama has just designated the area around the Stonewall Inn in New York City as the nation’s first national monument to LGBTQ rights.  As you know, The Stonewall Uprising is largely regarded as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ movement for civil […]

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“The Power Of Pride”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins         Greetings Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!   Hope you are staying cool in this summer heat. Although I consider myself a proud daughter of the South, even I sometimes find the rising temperature a little bit too much to take. Days of ninety plus weather leaves me […]

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 10

“Writer, You Say What?”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman        He stood across the room from me not saying a word. I was slowly becoming nervous as he just stared at me, looking all seductive. As he walked slowly towards me, I backed up until I could go nowhere.      I bumped into the desk […]

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“I Am a Survivor!”  Guest Writer:  Carlton R. Smith       For my second column, I was trying to think of a theme that would be of compelling interest to my new readership.        Then, I had an epiphany:  how about sharing my story, my journey of being a longtime HIV survivor.      As of […]

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“No Confetti Required”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins       Greetings and salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers! Happy belated Mother’s Day and early Father’s Day to those who fall in those categories. Also, we observe a moment of silence and loads of respect for those who served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice. We […]

Conversations With The Duchess

“Remembering a Musical Genius: Prince Rocks Us with ‘Pop Life’ to Pop Culture”  Guest Writer:  Carlton R. Smith      Greetings!  First, I want to give a shout out to Wyatt O’ Brian Evans for such an amazing opportunity to write this column for his extensive fan base.      My nickname is “Duchess,” which was given […]

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“It’s Not How You Got Them, It’s How You Keep Them”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins               Greetings and salutations, Hot Tea Sippers. Hopefully, temperatures are warming up in your neck of the woods, and you are getting ready for short sleeves, shorts, and sundresses. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s just something about shedding layers that […]

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“Honey I Should Have Told”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman        I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was stumbling down the street to meet my blind date whom I had met on-line. It was about 9 o’clock p.m. on a Saturday night in the middle of winter. There were about 10 […]

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“It’s All About March-amorphosis”  Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins      Greetings and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice sippers near and far!  I hope your spring sprung in the best way possible; and, if you plan to partake in Easter festivities, your basket will overflow with good things.     This month marks a transition into […]

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“Kiss Me You Fool”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman       “Oh, my gosh!  Oh, my gosh!  My parents will be home soon, and this boy peed on my mama’s new couch!  I’ll bet that when she finds out–besides giving me a whooping—she’ll wish she had put plastic on the furniture. She wanted plastic on it […]

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“Missing The Ones That Didn’t Get Away”   Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins       Happy February!  It’s also known as the shortest month, with the most reasons to break your diet.  I hope your Mardi Gras was filled with “flava,” your Valentine’s Day was full of love, and you have recovered from Beyonce’s “Formation” domination of the […]

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“Is It Live Or Memorex?”  Guest Writer:  R. L. Norman       I, along with everyone in the audience, stared at the big screen with shock!   As I slowly looked around, I saw people whispering and gawking with disgusting looks on their faces.     That was because on the screen, there were four naked men.  It […]

Bits Of BS

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“Shady BS”  Guest Writer:  Bobby Smith      A white CIS woman and a Black SGL man are leaving a business meeting together. The woman tries to hail a cab for both of them to share; however, a cab is not obtained until the man attempts to hail one.      The woman chalks it up to old […]

Hot Tea and Ice

“It’s About That G-Thang” Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins  Happy 2016!  I’m trusting all is well in your world. Please allow me the opportunity to introduce “my selves” to you.  I may be an only child raised by an only child, but I feel I have a not-so secret identity I want to share with you. […]

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“WHAT DO THE LONELY DO AT CHRISTMAS?” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman    It was so silent that we could hear every sound or movement in the house.      We sat there as still and as quietly as we could, even though we were half asleep. We had waited until we thought our parents were asleep […]

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 5

“Do You Know Your A, B and Cs?” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman       On a sunny day in June, I was among what seemed to be hundreds of guests at this outdoor wedding.  It took place in the backyard of a mansion in Bowie, Maryland.  Rumor had it that a Washington Redskins football player owned it. […]

Bits Of BS

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“HIV Taboo BS” Guest Writer: Bobby Smith  Are our actions saying only the lives of celebs like #MagicJohnson or #CharlieSheen matter after a HIV-positive diagnosis?      I “went straight” after the maternal matriarch of my family–my great grandmother–passed on to a higher plane.  You see, I broke up with the high school crush I had connected […]

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“LaToya Hankins:  Madame Triple Threat” Guest Writer: R. L. Norman      LaToya Hankins is an author, poet and an activist. Upon graduating from East Carolina University, she earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.  Currently, she is the president of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority graduate chapter in Raleigh, […]