A Gentleman's Guide

OCTOBER | 2018

BLACK, GAY & GIFTED | OCTOBER | 2018

FALLOUT BOY

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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.

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“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.

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Shawn’s hustle doesn’t end at Falltacular. He’s also runs a Shawn Joyner Presents, a promotoin company that puts on live music events and concerts. Joyner, through his promotion compay has been afforded the opportunity to put on concerts that have allowed him to work with Avery Sunshine, Angie Stone, Tweet, B. Slade, Rick Dillard and New G. His most recent venture is Groove Lounge which is hosted monthly at Atlanta’s Suite Lounge, a highly sophisticated venue located in the heart of downtown Atlanta that specializes in southern- influenced cuisine. Groove Lounge at Suite Lounge gives crowds the opportunity to enjoy some of Atlanta’s hottest independent artists and is a near sell out every month.

Many of you reading this might be doing so while at work. We’re more than excited that you’ve decided to break up the monotony of your work day with us, and, because many of us have that same dream of ditching the time clock for a less constricting existence, we decided to get some insight on what lead Joyner to his decision to become a real life entrepreneur.

I have been an entrepreneur since I was a kid.”  Shawn was only about 5 (or six) when he began selling the eggs from the chickens on the farm he grew up on. He later began selling candy at school. ”I was always the top sales person. Entrepreneurship is just in my blood.” Joyner’s first source of inspiration comes from his father who he says taught him about being a man, responsibility and on how to “treat people with respect.” Shawn finds additional inspiration in his pastor, Anthony Murry, who has always motivated him to step out on his dreams. “He continues to push me”, Joyner says and that Murry shows him support by attending his events.

There’s a lot that any of us can learn from Shawn and, since we’ve already mentioned National Coming Out days throughout this month’s round of updates, we decided to inquire about Shawn’s experience in coming out.

I actually never came out to my family.  Hell, straight people do not come out as being straight.” Joyner goes on to talk about an experience that took  place during his sophomore year at Morehouse College. “I took my mom to a gay club.  My mom likes to turn up and I told her were were going to hang out.  I never told her that we were going to gay club. We got into a big argument because she was not ready to go and I was because I had to be in class in the morning.  She had so much fun.

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Shawn’s very fortunate to have had that experience, and he’s totally aware of that and offers this advice to those who are still trying to navigate their way through the coming out process, “Seek other mature people who are comfortable with their sexuality for advice. I believe no one chooses to be gay. Just be who you are.  Being a gay is a small part of who you are. There is so much more to you. I would suggest that you also seek professional counseling. Most insurance companies will pay for this. Counseling truly works!”

Joyner has come a long way from that egg selling boy on the farm and continually makes it his business to ensure that those around him are having as much fun in their lives as he’s having in his. He’s still not done playing Monopoly and plans on investing in real estate in Ohio and branching into doing more concerts and other events outside of Atlanta. “ I want to take some of the independent artists in Atlanta on the road and let other cities experience their gifts.” We have no doubt that Shawn will do anything differently than that which he’s already had planned and are excited have had the opportunity to share him with you! For more information on Shawn you can follow him on Instagram here and, of course, you may learn more about Falltacular here.  

Jeremy Carter