Have you ever heard of someone who is a jack of all trades but a master of none? Almost all of us have that one friend who has had more careers than we can remember, and while we’ve either silently (or openly) wished that they’d sit down somewhere and focus on one thing at a time, we do our best to be as supportive as possible because that’s what friends do. Well rest assured that this month’s Black, Gay and Gifted feature, Shawn Joyner, despite wearing many hats, is not that friend.
Shawn has made a name for himself both in and outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia as a real estate agent, event planner and dare we say, party promoter. Not only can he sell you a home but he can almost certainly find you one located within a stone’s throw from one of his grown and sexy Shawn Joyner Presents events! Joyner and his real estate prowess has been featured on HGTV’s House Hunters (don’t act like you don’t watch it), hosts monthly events in and around the greater Atlanta area and will forever go down in history as the catalyst for one of the country’s most talked about getaways.
Next month, Shawn and a few hundred of his closest friends will attend Falltacular, a high-quality, inexpensive, yet unforgettable weekend getaway for the man and/or woman in desperate need of a quick but memorable getaway. Falltacular’s inception occurred in 2000, after Shawn and some of his closest friends and family members snuck away to celebrate his birthday.
“No one was doing cabin retreats. It was actually unheard of. Especially for the LGBTQ Community” Joyner says as he recalls a time when Falltacular wasn’t Falltacular, but a gathering of loved ones. “No one was doing cabin retreats.” Four years later, Shawn’s spur of the moment birthday trip grew to include more and more people and this eventually lead him to deciding to extend invitations to anyone who was interested in participating and just like that, Falltacular was born.
The retreat was an almost instant success, and anyone who has ever experienced it can tell you that the sense of community and family is real. However, there was almost a time where it came to an end as Shawn felt as if he needed a break from hosting the annual event.
“I got burned out” Joyner says, but he found motivation in the disappointment expressed by the event’s attendees. “They told me that they really look forward to the retreat. Throughout the years I continue to hear of stories where people meet their best friend at Falltacular, people have met their life partners at Falltacular, some people have even gotten married at Falltacular. Falltacular is like a BIG family reunion.” A family reunion indeed. The Falltacular Facebook group, which is filled with past, present and future attendees boasts a little bit over 7 thousand members.