by Mia McKenzie
Black Girl Dangerous’ Crush of the Month is a new feature from BGD, where we choose one bold, brilliant, badass QTPoC whose work and general amazingness inspires all the crushing in us. We’ll interview said crush-worthy individual so that you, dear readers, can share in our swooning!
Our Crush of the Month for April is UndocuQueer activist and artist Julio Salgado! Oh, be still our QTPoC hearts!!!!
From his website:
Julio Salgado is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift.com. His status as an undocumented, queer artivist has fueled the contents of his visual art, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act movement. Undocumented students and allies across the country have used Salgado’s artwork to call attention to the youth-led movement.
How crush-worthy is that?????
Julio Salgado is smart, hilarious, committed to social justice and has an amazing, warm energy, all of which come through in his answers to these crush-related (and not) questions:
Mia: When we were filming the (still unfinished) BGD web series, you talked a bit about being a “bear”. What’s a bear? Are you like a cuddly bear? Or a scary bear? Or both?
Julio: Ha! Bears are a bunch of cuddly people who have that extra love to give. Discovering that there was a scene where I was desired was hot. I never felt desired. Specially in a the cis gay boy community where all you see are these unattainable standards of beauty that are bullshit. But now that I am 31, it’s not just about the sex part. It’s about not giving a fuck what others think about your body. If you own your shit, skinny or fat, the world will find you hot if that’s what you want. But it should start with you. And I am definitely a cuddly bear.
Mia: What’s your type? What sort of folks turn you on?
Julio: I seriously don’t have a type. Anyone is welcomed in my world. But if I have to pick something that will make someone stand out to me, it’s humor. If you make me laugh, I will say yes to a drink or two.
Mia: If someone wanted to get with Julio Salgado, what would be the most effective approach to take?
Julio: Oh my! I’m pretty easy so a simple “hi” has worked in the past haha! But again, humor takes a front seat. I can’t deal with people who take themselves too serious. We live in a shitty world and it’s important to point out that bullshit. But we need to find creative and sexy ways to laugh at it all for our own sake.
Mia: Are you crushing on anyone right now? Do they know?
Julio: Oh my god, always! I don’t know if they know, but if I like someone’s picture on Instagram that’s like 2 weeks old, it might give them a hint.
Mia: Are crushes (and romance and sex) important for revolution? Why?
Julio: Very important! We need to take care of the basic needs our minds and bodies ask for in order to be aware of said revolution. I think we’re still very scared to have frank talks about sex. As someone who grew up catholic, sex was just too taboo. Gay sex? Forget about it. But it’s actually the people that I’ve met in queer and migrant spaces, specifically women, who have made me feel safe to have these conversations.
Mia: Make Out With, Date, or Banish from QTPoC Island: (A Twist on Fuck, Marry, Kill): Jussie Smollet, Laverne Cox, Ricky Martin.
Julio: Make out with Jussie! Date Laverne. And banish Ricky. Sorry Ricky, your music never truly did it for me!
Mia: What inspires you most as an UndocuQueer artist and activist? What drives you? And what’s next?
Julio: The biggest thing really is about telling my own story. That includes talking about my mistakes and saying that I am not perfect. For many years in the migrant narrative, we focused on the brightest ones. The ones who wanted to show how American they could be. But that’s all we knew. As our politics evolve and learn from the mistakes, it’s important to acknowledge that we’re not perfect. White people have been allowed to talk about their imperfections for years! This is what pisses me off about the difference between the white art world and the art world people of color have been creating for themselves. You’re not supposed to question white art. It’s in the tv shows we watch and on the books we were forced to read growing up. But when a person of color is trying to create art for us, then it gets questioned by those who have no clue what they’re talking about. I’m driven by those communities who say ‘fuck that’ and continue to speak up. What’s next? Well, I am so excited that folks ask me to visit their cities, so I’ll be doing that in April and May. I also have a couple of projects that are still in the works. Folks can check out my website for visit and project updates!
Mia: In closing, why are you so damn adorable?
Julio: Awww! You totes made me blush! I got it from my mom I suppose. It’s in my blood. I can’t help it!
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Mia McKenzie is an award-winning writer, a speaker, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous. Bring her to speak at your college or community event.