Baltimore, Maryland is a city of firsts. And many of them are uneventful. It was within her borders that the United States saw the establishment of the country’s first umbrella factory and where the nation’s first post office system was inaugurated. Its where the world’s first dental school was founded and where the Basilica of Assumption, the country’s first Catholic cathedral, was built. She is known by many as Charm City, Clipper city and as the “City that Reads”. That last part seems like a good place to pause and allow us a moment to introduce our feature for April’s Black, Gay and Gifted feature, The Secretary of Shade. He has been described as being “...one of the most entertaining people ever…”, as being able to “make politics relatable, fun and funny” and as being able to “break it down” to ensure that his followers can “understand the complexity of how government works”.
We first discovered this jewel of a man on YouTube as he delivered the world’s best on air reading of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s “Unhinged”, where the once and former director of African American Outreach (*giggles) dished all the dirt on President Donald Trump and those existing within his circle. Manigault Newman’s “Unhinged” was all anyone was talking about, and if nothing else, the Secretary of Shade aided Omarosa in reaching an audience that may not have otherwise cared to know about anything she had written. Of course this was the first thing we asked DDM (The Secretary of Shade) about, because, well...why not?
“Honestly, I did it as a joke”, he says. “I’ve always followed politics so I knew what was going on. I thought [that] me and a couple of friends would watch and laugh and that would be it.” Little did he know that the thing he thought he would watch and laugh at became a viral sensation. The first installment of his readings garnered 59,000 views. By the time the series was complete, DDM had amassed nearly a quarter of a million views. Attention had to be paid. One thing lead to another and before we knew it, the Secretary of Shade was sitting side by side with miss Bitch Switch herself! We’re not going to spoil the interview for you, but you can check it out below.
While most of the Black delegation is still debating on whether or not Omarosa will ever be invited to the cook out, DDM is sold. He has always stood by his belief that Omarosa is strategic, calculated and smart (three truths, no lie), and its safe to say that his encounter with her didn’t change his mind at all. He described her as being very personable “She’s a very intelligent woman. I can’t speak for everybody but she’s welcome to the DDm cookout!” We’ll give her Stacey Dash’s old seat- because she can’t come back over here.
DDM was born and raised in Baltimore, and is one of three children. He acquired his moniker, “The Secretary of Shade” from one of his close friends and admits that his humor finds its genesis in the self-deprecating, undetectably sarcastic and consistent deadpans of British humor. “ I watch a lot of British comedy, so I love dry humor. I also love Martin [and] Eddie type humor as well.” He considers his approach to be “a mixture of the two”. DDM, who started out as a battle rapper (we would love to hear that) in the Baltimore/ DC area finds himself inspired by true and authentic talent. “I love Stevie Wonder, Grace Jones, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross and James Baldwin just to name a few.” He is a lover of 70’s and 80’s shows, a love that developed as a result of the time he spent alongside his grandparents, who watched them at the time.
DDM is what we would affectionately call a “ political gay”, meaning he’s more in the know than your average bear. He was more than willing to give us his thoughts on the importance of SGL political awareness in 2019 and beyond. “ I think sometimes gay people put themselves in boxes that end up defeating the purpose of fighting for freedom and self expression.” The Secretary firmly believes that SGL men and women of color wield a voting power, and that we might not even know it. “If we mobilized we could be a formidable voting block”.
We’re a little sixteen long months away from the next presidential election and the Democratic Party has eighteen candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring. E I G H T E E N. And our touchy freely uncle Joe hasn’t officially announced anything yet, so we might be looking at nineteen. Since DDM is somewhat of a political buff, we figured we’d ask him about what the Dems need to do to secure a victory in 2020 and on if he’s made his presidential pick. “I haven’t settled on any one candidate as of yet,” he says. “There are a few standouts, but honestly the democrats lack unity. The infighting and search for the perfect political candidate has left the party in disarray” When asked about whether or not he thought presidential hopeful Cory Booker stood a chance, the Secretary of Shade replied with a simple (but presumably shady) ”No”.
The Hilary question has been on the minds of many these past few months but the chances of her running are pretty slim to none. According to DDM, Hilary’s time has come and gone. Grand opening. Grand closing. “A Hilary Clinton presidency would look like 1992 to 2000..” like “when she ran the country the last time.” he says. As far as who we should be watching is concerned, DDM finds that Bernie Sanders is a force that simply cannot be ignored. The candidate watch continues with Pete Buttigieg, the 32nd mayor of the Indiana city of South Bend. “The jury’s still out on him” Buttigieg isn’t alone in this respect as DDM feels that while Julian Castro seems like a solid pick, “he’s gonna have to step up his awareness.”
Twenty sixteen was a thing. A lot of us don’t like to think about it, and try to act like it didn’t happen, but it did, and Donald Trump is...for whatever reason...holding the highest office in the land. It’s pretty safe to say that none of us benefited from Trump’s ascension to the presidency but the good ole secretary did. “I collected five hundred dollars I won on a bet that he would win. America loves a show, and Donald gave them one.” Given everything that’s happened within the Trump administration it should come as no surprise that the “I” word has been thrown around a time or two, or three...or ten. But according to DDM, MAGA supporters have nothing to worry about. “ That will never happen. It’s wishful thinking” he says, but “the country is too unstable to handle that right now.” Damn it, man. Damn it.
Politics are divisive, and if you don’t believe us then feel free the chase the MAGA hashtag on Twitter. However frustrating and polarizing the topic may be, engaging in political conversations and debates with people with opposing political views. Our political views penetrate to the core of who we really are and how and what we think of ourselves. They reflect the ways our parents raised us, how smart we believe ourselves to be and they allow us to make assumptions of how smart those with opposing political views are. The Secretary of Shade finds it to be important to engage in political debates with people who have different political views. “It’s important to listen and to have discussions. Debating is contests and television. Debating is to prove a point, not to understand one.”
Sunday mornings are filled with political roundtable shows. Anyone who has viewed DDM’s YouTube videos can tell you that he’d make for the perfect talking head. He says that he wouldn’t mind being part of a politically driven show. “I would actually love to interview members of the media to see how they feel they’ve impacted the election and the state of the country through their reporting.” Truer words couldn’t have been spoken as the media’s effect on politics is ever present. Bias is a thing of the past as CNN, MSNBC and Fox, are very selective about the things they choose to report, and in the instances where the media powerhouses cover the same stories, they do so at different angles. They work off of scripts, take biased approaches at polarizing subjects, yell within echo chambers and sometimes they forget to fact check. Its no wonder DDM can only stand to watch clips of Fox. “ I can only sit through so much of it after a while.” Fair and balanced? Whatever….
DDM, as one of three siblings, had his interest in reading sparked by his mother. According to him he’s always been an avid reader. “It's always been something I’ve always done”. He certainly puts the FUN in reading is fundamental! His 12, 586 YouTube subscribers would offer a collective second to that notion as he’s used the Google owned platform to keep them entertained and informed. To date he’s covered Bill Barr’s Mueller report, the Cohen testimony, and the 2019 shutdown of the United States’ government. He’s reviewed books by Michelle Obama, Stormy Daniels, Bob Woodward, and uses his Cabinet Meeting podcast as a way to breakdown the nation's leading political happenings. You can keep up with his political antics by following him on YouTube, where you’ll find out just why he’s called the Secretary of Shade!