LOVE AND LIGHT
Happiness, peace, family, and friends top the list of things that this month’s Black, Gay and Gifted feature is grateful for, and anyone who knows him knows that these things are in perfect order. While some of you might recognize Michael Heard from his appearance on Love Works with Juan and Gee. Episode 9 of the dynamic duo’s Youtube show was titled Love and Marriage and featured Heard alongside his estranged husband Aaron Leigh. The video has since been deleted but contained some pretty useful insight on the high and lows and marriage. Although Michael had pretty much established a reputation for himself prior to being featured on Love Works, its safe to say that he became a bit more recognizable afterward.
Since then he’s pretty much been an open book as he’s been involved with at least one very public relationships, another very public separation and God only knows what he’s got in store for his audience with the launching of Love and Light TV. Michael has always appeared to be that silver lining we hear about every cloud having, and though we tried, we couldn’t find one single negative post on any of his social media platforms. It should come as no surprise then, that his biggest hope for his Youtube effort is for it to educate, encourage, empower and enlighten his base.
We’ve witnessed at least two of Michael’s relationships ending. The first of these two breakups occurred after his split from his husband, Aaron Leigh and the second occurred after he and Youtuber Tai Couture of Tai Couture TV ended a relationship that many referred to being their #relationshipgoals. Breakups are almost never easy, and many of us choose to play them close to the vest and are reluctant to have them play out in the public eye. Michael has both been there and done that, and we were very interested in how he navigated through the stress of it all.
“Both of my breakups have been very emotionally difficult. My responses or the way that I have handled those experiences has nothing to do with me being a public figure. I handle them in the way that is true to my character. They decided to make our private shit public and I choose not too. Everyone handles things differently.”
Heard’s character definitely stood the test of time as he didn’t participate in the mudslinging or airing of any of either of his previous partner’s dirty laundry. Kudos to him for that, because many of you reading this knows how that can be. Heard continued by stating that not only did he love and care about his previous partners, but that he continues to love and care for them both. “They are both amazing men and I see nothing but greatness and goodness for their lives. I learned so much from them both and I could never find it in my heart to handle things in any other way than how I did.”
Michael doesn’t concede the role he played in the ending of either of his previous relationships and admitted that his behaviors triggered his partners’ responses. “I take full responsibility for everything, it was my fault. I didn't realize it then, but I see now that both of them gave me a gift -- the gift of exposure.” According to Heard, this gift forced him to look deep within himself to see the areas in his life where he needed to make changes. “I hurt while it was happening but I love them both for loving me enough to expose me and putting me in a position to become better. I just want all of us to heal.”
Mike admits that his viral interview with Juan and Gee lead to a lot of people treating him differently, and that for the most part, it was those with an outside-looking-in perspective and that they’d be shocked to know that he and Aaron remain in contact with each other. “ Aaron and I are really close and we talk almost daily”, Heard says. “Aaron knows the kind of man that I am”. Michael asserts that the reason he agreed to participate in the Love Works interview was that the episode was supposed to provide its viewers with insight on how to progress after a breakup or divorce. “The interview went left and things happened. I was so angry with Gee for even allowing the video to be released, but the truth is he had a job to do and he did it. He couldn’t air anything that I didn’t show.” Regardless, Heard still expresses his appreciation for Gee for giving him the opportunity and the platform. “ I have nothing but love and respect for he and Juan.”
So why is Michael here? Well, as you all know, we make a very concentrated effort to feature the best and the brightest members of the same gender loving community, and Michael’s affirmative attitude and his knack for spreading the very love and his Youtube channel is named for. “I have the gift of empowering others. With everything that I do I hope to empower.” Michael’s much-anticipated return to Youtube was met with positive feedback. “I don’t know where this channel is going to go, how big it's going to get, or what’s going to happen, but what I do know is that I’m following what I believe that God has put in my spirit to do.” Michael, who thanked his former partner Tai Couture for introducing him to the platform, is building his channel on the foundation of love and light. “ I feel like there’s so much negativity, so much frustration, and messiness and drama going on and I feel like its a blessing to have a platform where we can have an atmosphere of love and light.”
Now if you were hoping for a channel that focuses on celebrity gossip or one teetering in the direction of messiness, you probably won’t enjoy Heard’s efforts as he states in his very first video that his mission is to educate empower, encourage and enlighten. “ I’m looking forward to us producing those types of things.” His inaugural video runs for an hour and touches on the subjects of love, spirituality, and truth. Viewers of the channel can expect a hodgepodge of professionally produced spiritual empowerment, movie reviews, and insight into who Michael Heard is as a person and his continued journey of spreading love and light to the masses.
Outside of focusing on his Youtube channel, Michael spends his time and energy planning and hosting cabin trips. “The cabin trips are [geared towards] groups of mature men and give them the chance to come together and have a weekend of fun. We hike, boat, swim, play games, party, chill and talk. It's always a great time and experience.” These weekend getaways are affordable and promote brotherhood, bonding and of course, relaxation. Michael wears many hats, and according to him, the most coveted of those hats is his life coach hat. “I just love to see people win”, he says and credits the source of his strength and dedication to offer encouragement to others as a by-product of his faith. “My Faith gives me so much strength. I always know that things will get better.”
Michael, as a person, is very open, and that’s something that his audience has come to know and love about him. One of his most recent Facebook posts stated that everything that Mike was afraid of happening to him has already happened publicly. He maintains that navigated this challenge with an understanding that his fear that opened those doors. “However,” Heard says, “ I am not afraid of anything! No one else can expose me or hurt me by making any of my shit public. I have been broken to the point of death.”
Mike is not focusing on building his life the right way and advises anyone who encounters an experience similar to his to not respond in the face of being exposed. “ Surround yourself with people who love you no matter what. Learn the lesson of the situation and stop focusing on the mistakes that other people make in the place of focusing on where you messed up.” Heard encourages people to not only take responsibility, to heal, and most importantly, to move forward. “ I know that this is easier said than done, but it works.”
Heard is definitely one to be on the lookout for. He’s already accomplished a lot and is already making plans on what he’ll achieve next. He’s hopeful that the production of his reality show will begin in January, that he’ll be able to launch his store and is making plans to travel more. Most importantly Mike says that he wants to continue with his self-work that “ I need to do on and for myself.” Be on the lookout for these things and more as Michael Heard continues to do what he’s almost always certainly done, which is to share love and light.