*On Saturday, former MTV and BET executive and now comedian Darren “Buttah Man” Brin received the “Courage Award” at the first Truth Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles from Better Brothers LA.
The event was sponsored by Tony nominated actress and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheryl Lee Ralph in cooperation with the Diva Foundation.
Brin had previously served as the director of music and development at BET, and oversaw the music for the long-running show “106 & Park”. Prior to BET, he worked in the music and talent department at MTV. He also created, produced and hosted the first nationally-televised hip hop game show “Hoodfab,” that aired on MTV Jams, MTV2, Mobile and MTV.com.
After being laid off from BET recently, Buttah Man has taken his comic routine on the road so that he can focus primarily on performing comedy, which is his first love.
EUR sat down with Buttah Man by the pool at a downtown LA Live hotel hours before he was to receive the award for courage in coming out to the hip-hop culture of which he is a member. Daren came out on the Sway morning show. We talked about his beginnings, his journey, his coming out and reinventing.
About the reaction to his being gay:
Its interesting how people respond, I don’t lead with the fact that I am gay, but I get two responses, people will applaud or look at me like, ‘you don’t look like the gay guys I see on bravo’….
Buttah Man gives his take on courage:
“Courage is about not living in fear, not letting fear dictate the decision making in our lives, one of the biggest sources of fear in my life was people finding out I was gay, and especially working in the industry I was working in. I made a conscious decision that I was not going to live my life in fear, I was not going to feel like I had something to hide, or that just because I was attracted to men that that made me less than… So that was really why I made the decision because I have to live a life of truth”
What needs to happen between hip-hop and the LGBT community?
I feel like, we are in a good place, I think a lot of strides have been made as far as people opening up to understand that gay people listen to your music, they buy your music, we have a voice in the industry, as more people come out you will see a lot of us out here and its like you can do the homophobic rap stuff but at the end of the day we are the ones that set the trends and are a lot of the tastemakers of the industry…
This has got to be an incredible moment for you, what do you say to the kids that don’t believe they will ever have a moment like you have right now?
I will say this, it is awesome! It’s a blessing. I feel like a lot of times in life just when you are about to come into your greatest hour, a whole lot of stuff gets thrown at you, a lot of times you look back on these experiences and you feel like why am I having this streak of bad luck, why does it feel like nothing is working… I have learned in the moment to flip that perception to say o.k when something difficult happens, that right now my character is being tested this is a challenge I have to deal with this and navigate this and not necessarily go into the woe is me mentality…
When I first started comedy, I thought about it like, yeah I’ll get a TV show, a sitcom, Now this time around, (I went away from it because I actually did get a TV show) I hosted a show on MTV for 3 years on National Television. Something that a lot of people never get to do, I actually got to live that dream. But I missed comedy in terms of the performing, and having that voice to be able to say whatever you want to say. So now this time I’m in it and appreciating the technicality of it. The art of it, how the jokes are set up, watching other comics and doing all the things that you do to be able to do this art.