Native Son is a “global platform that illuminates Black gay/queer men and assures them of their worthiness and purpose in all communities in which they exist“.The organization was founded by Emil Wilbekin who is an expert in multimedia storytelling. His credits prior to founding the organization are a testament to that. He served as Chief Content Officer at Afropunk, Editor-at-Large at Essence, Managing Editor of Essence.com, Style Guru at Complex Media, and much more.Of course given the focus of the organization, it was only right that they celebrate Black men in the community to honorpride month. The event was sparked by the Stonewall Riots. Today it serves as a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, but also a reminder of the struggles they still face.To mark the occasion the organization partnered with photographer Ricky Day to create the 2021 Pridephotoshoot. We spoke to Ricky about the project, and what it means for him and the community at large.Why was it important for you to collaborate with Native Son on this project?It was important for me to collaborate with them on this project for very simple reasons. Native Son and its founder and my dear friend, Emil Wilbekin are doing tremendously important and impactful work by amplifying the black gay male voice and presence in our society. By sharing our collective and individual achievements, Native Son makes sure the world sees us and equally important. Native Son makes sure we see each other and ourselves.As a result, the organization now has the bandwidth to reach a very large and diverse cross-section of our community and I wanted to use that bandwidth to make a simple, but powerful and elegant statement about who we are today. Creating beautiful images of some of the amazing men who make up our community and hearing about what Pride means to them continues the work of Native Son by empowering members of our community to tell our own stories using our own voice and our own images.With the consistent progression and advocacy happening in the LGBTQ community, in what ways do you hope to continue to amplify the Black male voice?There are so many ways to continue amplifying the Black male voice. As a visual artist and emerging theologian, I hope to continue this work by creating additional portrait series. Works of fine art including photographs and paintings, storytelling via film and TV production, and of course in my writing, teaching, and soon by preaching a loving message of inclusion and dignity.You can find out more about Native Son and how to support themhere.