In 1986, Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) was conceptualized in New York City, a result of the vision of founder, The Reverend Charles Angel who, together with a few of his closest friends, embarked on a mission to empower black gay men.

Historically, black gay men had been forced to prioritize their battles as if each was mutually exclusive: they were simply not just black or not just men or not just gay. They were all three of these things. Rev. Angel’s goal was to create an environment in which black gay men embraced each aspect of their lives publicly and without shame. Thus was born the first serious attempt to mobilize this group of men, who, up till that point, had lived their lives in the shadows, often in fear, shame and alone.

In starting GMAD, a platform was created to help fill the void in these men’s lives, by providing the opportunity for fellowship, group support and family. Choosing not the path of least resistance but one of challenge and uncertainty, Reverend Angel and his friends took on the role – and the weight – of community activists in order to create parity for the black gay community.