Our new Editor in Chief and Communications Director for the Empty Closet and Out Alliance is Tamara Leigh. She’ll be putting her own spin on the Empty Closet beginning in 2019 and has big plans for the publication moving forward. We wanted to give our readers the opportunity to get to know the woman known throughout our community as “Tam” a little bit better.
What did you do before coming on board at the Alliance?
My day job was with the City of Rochester, doing HR & Communications/Marketing work for the Department of Recreation and Youth Services. I also own a Public Relations and Brand Development firm called Roc Candy Media. I’ve been able to work with so many entertainers, promoters, agencies and events in Rochester. It has really been an honor. My most important resume credit though is as being Mom to my 15 and 9 year old sons, Zaire & Zayden.
You’re involved in a ton of community endeavors. Can you tell us about them?
Absolutely! I have been fortunate enough to work with so many members of the community, businesses and agencies helping to plan and coordinate events as well as produce some of my own. I was a part of the founding team of Roc the Park. We did Black Girls and Black Men Roc. My own personal projects, #BlackGirlMagic@ the Movies around the opening of the Hidden Figures movie was incredible. Over the summer we produced the “Walk It Like You Talk It” All-Stud Fashion Show celebrating self-identifying “studs” of color which was amazing. I did a “LGBTQ+ Water Wars” event over the summer that invited people to come out and compete in different water games and we had a ball. I also have co-chaired Black Pride Weekend with Adrian Elim which has been so rewarding. My latest project has been a series of Ki-Ki Ball events with Peachez to help revive the Western NY Ballroom scene.
Who inspires you?
The people who inspire me are the people who have found the courage and strength to be absolutely unequivocally authentically themselves. Marsha P. Johnson inspires me. People who have fearlessly broken through prejudice and gender lines and everything that is expected and accepted inspire me. Dorothy Dandridge inspires me. Strong women, fighting the good fight inspire me. Kamala Harris inspires me. But I guess most of all I am inspired by the people who came from nothing, fought through everything, beat every set of odds and then turned back to reach for all the people who still sit where they once did to pull them through the fire too. They are superheros in my eyes.
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Photoshop!! I wish I was better at photoshop without actually having to put any effort into learning lol
What are you most excited to accomplish as Communications Director at the Alliance?
I am incredibly excited about working on the Empty Closet magazine. The history is so rich and the possibilities for growth are just endless. But what I really want to see happen from my work here is to help create an environment where absolutely everyone from our community feels comfortable and celebrated here. The Alliance needs to be reflective of our entire community and I’m hoping that many people who may have never thought to come here before, will see themselves reflected in me.
If you could choose one song to play every time you entered a room, which song would it be and why?
Without question, Janelle Monae, “I Like That”. It absolutely gives me the feels. It’s like the soundtrack of my personality. Maybe the Jersey Club remix version at the end lol
What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
What superpower will you bring to the organization?
Not to lack humility, but I am somewhat of a force to be reckoned with. I am extremely good at what I do and when I am passionate about something I am nearly unstoppable. I guess my superpower is my passion and the drive to see that passion come to fruition. So whether that means the power of my pen or incredibly big mouth lol …I’m excited about what we can make happen.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do the work that I love on behalf of a community that I adore. This is in many ways a dream come true for me and the start of a journey I am so excited for and proud of. I invite each and every person reading this page to come along on this incredible journey with me. We need you!! Your energy, your passion and your voices. If you are interested in contributing to the EC, please don’t hesitate to reach out. TamaraL@outalliance.org