I have known Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes for well over THIRTY years. This remarkable person has seen me at my absolute best and at horrible life lows. She has been among my greatest spiritual teachers. AND she is among the fierce, pioneering New York queers that I pledge allegiance to on a daily basis. All along, our sisterhood has remained strong.
There was a point very early on in our time together when I tried helping Yolanda sculpt her talent into pop stardom. It didn't work. In the end, she was too complex and adventurous for the homogeneous mainstream. For a short time, it emotionally leveled her, which broke my heart. I remember one particular soul searching conversation that we had about what it means to be truly successful. I told her that I believed success to be the act of doing what you love at the highest level you can muster in the moment. Most people don't take the risk to even try. At the time, I didn't know if she agreed with me, or if she thought I was just trying to soften the blow of so-called failure.
During one of the gaps of contact that life throws between people, Yolanda took all of her magical talent and charisma and not only found her groove, she found her audience. She's not a drag queen, but she knows how to paint her mug. She sings about faith and spiritual devotion, but she is not a classic gospel artist. She writes. She sings. And she tells stories like the finest of troubadours. Best of all, this gorgeous, yummy artist has one of the more legitimately devoted followings I've witnessed in a long time. She has done it. Bigtime.
As I scrolled through these photos just now, I found myself truly moved and inspired by the joy I see in my sister's eyes. She is one of the most gloriously successful people I know... not because a chart says so... but because she just is. She is doing her thing. She loves it. And that is drawing people in to her world.
I have been sitting here at my desk, meditating on what Yolanda is achieving. And what there is for me to learn from it. After over thirty years, this bitch is still schooling me. Thank goodness.
Larry Flick with Sirius Radio @LarryFlick on Twitter
@REVYOLANDA Miss Yolanda is more than my friend. She is my family. Deeper and truer than anyone I'm blood related to.
— Larry Flick (@LarryFlick) October 14, 2014