BBB National/Detroit Chapter
Black Bear Brotherhood National/Detroit Chapter and Contact
L. Michael Gipson, MS (Principal/Founder)
A writer, educator, and 25-year advocate for a range of social justice causes, L. Michael Gipson, MS is the Founder and Principal of Faithwalk, LLC, the Urban (W)rites Project, the Black Bear Brotherhood of Detroit, and co-founder of the Black Alphabet Film Festival in Chicago. Mr. Gipson previously served as Deputy Director at Equality Michigan, Executive Director for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and is the co-founder of the Beyond Identities Community Center, the first LGBTQ youth of color drop-in center in Ohio. In 2017, he launched The Black Bear Brotherhood of Detroit, a social collective for Black gay/bi/SGL/GNC men of size and their allies, which has since expanded to chapters in Seattle, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC. An Editor-at-Large at SoulTracks.com, Gipson is a Red Dirt Press author and the Lead Writer and Co-Producer of the docuseries Indie Soul Journeys. Gipson’s essays, articles, and short stories have been variously anthologized in several commercial properties. Gipson holds a BFA from Goddard College and an MS from Full Sail University. Chicago bred and D.C. refined, Gipson now proudly calls Detroit, MI home.
Terry Allen (Interim Co-Executive Director)
A healthcare worker and part-time black bear icon, Terrance “Terry Bear” Allen is an officer of the Black Bear Brotherhood Detroit. Allen has worked for such esteemed health care facilities as the Detroit Medical Center and worked in the committed service of developmentally challenged adults for over a decade. Father to a loving cat, Allen is a lifelong Detroiter and full-time human services advocate for vulnerable and disenfranchised populations.
Chael Smith (Treasurer)
A Master Control Operator in television broadcasting, Chael ‘Shazam’ Smith is an officer of the Black Bear Brotherhood of Detroit. The self-proclaimed “Daddy of Bears” is also an emerging leader and official Associate of the Onyx Great Lakes chapter. Married to his long-time partner and husband, Frank, and a strong father to children from his previous marriage, the lifelong Southeast Michigander is a music and geek culture aficionado who regularly appears as a media personality on the Beats & Bullshyt podcast by Hood Geek Productions where Smith has shares his acerbic opinions about everything from video games to the last pop star news story.
Eric Anderson (Officer)
A hip hop artist, podcaster, and geek cultural influencer, Eric “Black Autobot” Anderson aka Cliff Jumper, Jr. is an officer of the Black Bear Brotherhood of Detroit. Anderson is the Founder and Principal of Hood Geek, a multimedia urban geek cultural movement, as well as the popular Beats & Bullshyt podcast series. In addition to his creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, Anderson has also worked in security for a range of esteemed commercial and government establishments. A music producer, beatmaker, and all-around media personality, Anderson has released several mixtapes and music videos under the name “Mr. Anderson aka E.R.A.,” including The Green Files and What Doesn’t Kill Me Makes Me Stronger. A lifetime Detroit area resident, Anderson is a devoted father to his daughter and engaged partner to his fiancé and fellow podcaster, Antonio Williams
Christopher Grafton (Officer)
A painter, portrait artist, and freelance illustrator, Christopher Grafton is an officer of the Black Bear Brotherhood of Detroit. A largely self-taught artist in the tradition of Kehinde Wiley, Boris Vallejo, and Julie Bell, Grafton has attended the College for Creative Studies and Wayne County Community College. Adept in a range of paint and pencil-based mediums, Grafton’s work can be found in everything from print and digital advertisements to private memorial keepsakes. An advocate of polyamory, Grafton has been in a loving partnership with fellow artist, Brandon McCall, for over eight years.
Jerome P. Dent, Jr., M.A. (Associate Editor of BBB United)
Jerome P. Dent, Jr. is a Ph.D. Candidate in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester where he currently teaches a course on Black Queer Theory. His research interests include speculative fiction film, queer theory, disability studies, and critical race theory. Dent has an M.A. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, an M.A. in Humanities from Mount St. Mary’s University, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature and African American Studies from the University of California Irvine. Send writing submissions to Jerome P. Dent, BBB Associate Editor at email@example.com.
To reach BBB National/Detroit Chapter, please email us at BlackBearBrotherhood@gmail.com