We are only a week into 2019 and some people already need a reminder that Black lives still matter — including those within the LGBTQ community.
On January 7th, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies found another Black man dead in the home of wealthy Democratic party donor Ed Buck.
Yes, another Black man has died in Buck’s West Hollywood residence in the span of 18 months.
Buck, 63, who previously was investigated for the July 2017 crystal meth overdose death of Gemmel Moore, had no criminal charges brought against him. Moore was a 26-year old Black homeless sex worker from Houston, Texas who was flown out to Los Angeles on the day of his death by Buck. According to Moore’s personal diary, he alleges that “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth” and writes “I just hope the end result isn’t death…. If it didn’t hurt so bad I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
In regards to the most recent death, Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said that Buck was not arrested and is cooperating with investigators. Amster has told the press that the unidentified Black man died of an “accidental overdose” from drugs that were “ingested at some place other than the apartment” and describes Buck’s relationship with him as being that of an “old friend” that came to his home “intoxicated.”
The identity of the second dead man has not been released. Police have only stated that the person is a Black man in his 50s.
But according to local community activist Jazmyne Cannick, who’s demanded justice for Moore and now the second Black man who has died in Buck’s house, says she has spoken to several other gay Black men who allege that the wealthy donor would invite them to his house and pay them to partake in “Party ‘n’ Play”— an activity that involves being high and having sex simultaneously.
“[Buck] spreads his money around to get access and influence into these powerful circles and we need our party to say no, no longer,” Cannick said at a demonstration outside of Buck’s home. “I’m out here just as a black person I’m outraged, as a Democrat I’m outraged.”
Time for Action
And so should the rest of us — Black, LGBTQ, and the Democratic Party overall. Buck is often labeled as an LGBTQ “activist” who has made large contributions to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, former California Gov. Jerry Brown, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. But that shouldn’t exempt him from the accountability in the drug-induced deaths of now two Black gay men. It doesn’t take an investigative mastermind to recognize what is going on at Buck’s house, and turning a blind eye to these deaths only furthers them. I can only imagine how instant the arrests would be made if this were a Black gay man who had two white gay men dead in his house in less than two years. That racial disparity alone should compel you to give a damn.
Now is the time for Black people who have now been recently emboldened to speak up about sexual abuse and exploitation via #SurvivingRKelly to also raise awareness on this. Now is the time for white LGBTQ people to have that same energy they had for protesting Kevin Hart to come just as hard on this. Now is also the time for the Democratic Party who often campaign behind #BlackLivesMatter issues to divest from Buck’s contributions and disavow him publicly.
As a Black gay man, I can’t afford to be silent. I refuse to see another Black gay brother lose his life in the reckless hands of a white man who seems to have a fetish for our melanated bodies. Is Buck pretty much running a brothel filled with sex, exploitation, and drug overdoses that tragically end the lives of Black gay men? Is he using his wealth to lure vulnerable Black people to his house? It sure sounds familiar. Whether it is R. Kelly’s sex cult or Buck’s house of horrors, we should all be enraged by the trauma it is afflicting upon Black lives.
In 2019, none of us can pretend not to know of the hardships Black LGBTQ face. Now is the time to takeaction. Contact elected Democrats in your city and tell them to publicly condemn the deaths that Buck were present for. Support the local Los Angeles activists who are committed to bringing justice for the man who died recently and support their efforts in making sure another one doesn’t suffer the same fate. We can’t sit back and let another Black life be taken away by this monster. Buck needs to be arrested and thoroughly investigated. Justice needs to finally be served for both of his victims. Anything less than doing so against Ed Buck is furthering complicity that has already proven to be fatal.
Ernest Owens is the Writer at Large for Philadelphia magazine and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. The award-winning journalist has written for USA Today, NBC News, BET, MTV News and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.