This week I talked with best-selling author Joie Lamar about curating the new coffee table book Cuarenta y Nueve, which is Spanish for 49 pays artistic homage to honor the lives of the 49 we lost in Orlando at Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Cuarenta y Nueve is a unique compilation from 49 contributors including Lamar, to remember and honor the lives we lost on June 12, 2016. Joie was shaken to the core by this tragedy especially since she had lived in the Orlando area for 10 years as part of the Latino LGBTQ community and had partied at the Pulse nightclub many times, even knowing one of the victims. She wanted to do something that would honor the victims and came up with the concept of paying homage to the 49 lives lost by gathering 49 talented individual contributors and Cuarenta Y Nueve was born. The 49 diverse contributors come from our LGBTQ community including Cat Grant, a multi-media artist and writer in Toronto who began recruiting for the project early on. Filmmaker Kate Johnston also helped Lamar gather talent for this passionate project. The names and variety of talent poured in including photographer Angel Torres who designed both the front and back cover of the book as well as recruiting other contributors. All proceeds of Cuarenta y Nueve will be donated to support the work of Pride School Atlanta and GLAAD in perpetuity. I talked to Joie about what she hopes to accomplish with Cuarenta Y Nueve and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.
When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration Lamar stated:
Well it’s two steps backward for every one step forward and even more under this administration and if you’re old enough to vote we need to get out there and vote with your heart and your head for what is right. I think we need to stay positive. We fight so much for our rights as LGBTQ people in the community but we need to fight for rights of people in general. This administration is very good at dividing and we need to find a unity and we need to keep saying we are human. I think we tend to say we’re lesbians and we want equal rights; we’re women and we want equal rights. You know what, we’re humans and we demand what we deserve as human beings. We have to keep saying that.
Joie Lamar published her first novel volume 1 of a 2-part memoir entitled Mambo Lips in 2016 and volume 2 entitled Salsa Hips that are currently being developed into a feature film Las Alas directed by filmmaker Kate Johnston. Both books have been added to the curriculum and library portfolio at two LGBTQ schools. The Harvey Milk High School in New York City and Pride School in Atlanta. There will be three launch dates for Cuarenta y Nueve including Montreal, Canada on January 27th 2018 with launch dates in Toronto and New York to be announced. Joie Lamar lives in Canada with her wife, two fur babies and a growing number of world changing projects.