Kwame "Blackkat" Banks
New York City
How did it feel to win? I was
elated. I knew a black man had never won, so I wondered, “Is it
possible?” My friends tease me; they’re like, “You’re like Vanessa
Williams!” But as soon as I won, I thought, “OK, what do I have to do
to live up to it?” I didn’t want to be a titleholder who just wore cute
How is Blackkat—your leather persona—going to live up to his title?
I ran on a sexual-health platform. I want to do safer-sex outreach at
leather events [visit www.blackkatsalley.com]. It’s tricky because
leather is about liberation, and there’s a fine line between offering a
resource and dictating behavior.
You’ve already created one anti-crystal campaign for leathermen.
was at a meeting about crystal meth, and none of the organizations for
black men were there. And I advocate. If I’m in a room, I’m going to
advocate for somebody. The groups there told me, “We want to do
something.” The rest is history!
How does the leather community deal with HIV? The
conversation happens a lot quicker. If you’re already telling somebody,
“Hey, I want you to piss in my mouth,” then you’ve gotta tell them “I’m
So...are you single?
I have a leather family. I have a leather daddy, and I have a
boy—spelled b-o-i—who is my life partner. And I have three “sons,” who
I mentor. Our family is not about sex. We all have responsibilities—but
my daddy does spoil me real good.