Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tribute To A Friend

After I learned of Assotto Saint's death, I played "Forever Gay," the song he and his life partner Jan wrote and performed, on my cassette player. It was my private tribute to a cherished friend's short but productive life.

The most outstanding thing about Assotto (1957-1994) was his lack of selfishness. He was always willing to share information and give of himself. When our mutual friend, writer David Frechette, was hospitalized with AIDS, it was Assotto who looked after Dave's apartment and took care of his personal business.

I could always count on Assotto to send me a Christmas or birthday card, direct some editorial work my way, or call me to find out how I was doing.

Unlike some black men with white lovers, Asssotto did not abandon the black gay community. His publication of two black gay poetry anthologies attests to that. He also did not forget his African and Haitian roots. He was able to do this because he was comfortable with himself as a black gay man and proud of his heritage.

As a poet, playwright, musician, painter, editor, publisher, and activist, Assotto leaves a rich, edifying legacy. He will not be forgotten.

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