The call came while I was driving down one of the most central and beautifully diverse streets in Detroit. Woodward, as it's called, is representative of the complexity of a historically booming city, turned riotous metropolis and now in the midst of a daunting rebirth into a new Motown. What better place for an introduction to one of the Motor City's most visible personalities and advocates for the LGBT and African-American community? Detroit City Council hopeful Charles Pugh is a former radio and TV personality. His credits include FOX2 Detroit and FM-WJLB. Yet Charles Pugh doesn't consider himself famous. He prefers the term “in the spotlight.”
Perhaps spotlight is the best way to describe 37-year-old Charles Pugh. It was apparent, listening to his comical and lengthy self-described soliloquy, that Charles Pugh was a man that embraces the now, his every breath for the present and future. I'd like to say the tragic deaths of his parents at a young age and passing of his grandmother defined him, but it's painfully obvious that this TV/radio personality was destined to be.
"It surprises me that there are not more African-American men in the spotlight who have come out of the closet." These words left his mouth painlessly. For Charles Pugh, it was practically painless to publicly come out during an exclusive Between The Lines Magazine article. Partially raised by his uncle and his partner of 33 years, Charles had a positive gay support system growing up, but explains that even if that weren't the truth his being himself–a gay man–took precedence over all else.
"I was just being me.I was doing what I felt was necessary. Fear immobilizes; fear is an addiction; fear is anticipation of pain. In order to [come out] you've got to be unafraid. My need to be a man is more important to me than being on TV or being a journalist."
Look closely and you'll see Charles Pugh just hanging out at his favorite table in a local Detroit restaurant, hosting a Town Hall meeting or dancing at the club. A kind heart and a need to be himself has launched him into his current role as one of the most significant leaders and role models the African-American, gay and gay African-American communities have seen in years.
Follow Charles Pugh's campaign:
The Victory Fund Endorses Charles Pugh