On Black Queer Parenthood with Adair Curtis | OUT WITH IT ft. JAYMES BLACK

In this episode of Out with It: Unleash, Unlearn, Understand Jaymes Black talks with interior designer, creative director, and star of Netflix’sย Styling Hollywood and Instant Dream Home, Adair Curtis. Together, they talk about the challenges, joys, and hopes that come with being a Black queer parent and the importance of representation in creating change for future generations.ย 

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Watch Adair and Jason’s family story!

History-making entrepreneurs, partners, and parents to baby Arrow, Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis are two of the most sought-after talents in the fashion, interior design, and entertainment industries. In 2022, Family Equality had the privilege of honoring them at our annual LA Impact gala, where they shared their story.


Episode Transcript

Jaymes Black:

Hello, outspoken changemakers, and welcome to Family Equality’s Out with It, the podcast where conversations are raw, insights are bold, and the mission is clear: To foster a society where justice is non-negotiable and equality is the norm. I’m your host, Family Equality President and CEO, Jaymes Black, and I think it’s time to come out with it…

Today, I have the great pleasure of chatting with Adair Curtis, an esteemed interior designer, celebrated TV personality, and creative director heralded by Architectural Digest as one of the nine rising stars taking the design world by storm. You might know Adair from the design and styling firm he founded, JSN Studio, or his Netflix series Styling Hollywood, which earned him a place on the coveted 1stDibs 50 2022 Honoree list and made him a star of Instant Dream Home. In addition to being a creative trailblazer, Adair’s greatest loves are Jason, his partner in marriage and business, and Arrow, his son. We actually had the joy of honoring Adair and Jason at our LA Impact Gala back in 2022, and I’m thrilled to say that Adair is now on the Family Equality Board of Directors where he helps us shape this impactful work for current and future families like his. Adair, I am so excited to be able to chat with you today.

Adair Curtis:

I’m so excited to chat with you today too. Thank you so much for that beautiful intro.

Jaymes Black:

Absolutely.

Adair Curtis:

[You should do] all my intros.

Jaymes Black:

Thank you for that. It’s a passion, I mean it. I’m so happy to sit down and have this conversation with you. Now, this podcast is all about having uncomfortable conversations. Or, rather, โ€” conversations that are maybe not as hard or excuse me โ€” not as easy to have and what people would consider maybe difficult. So before we jump into our opening question, I want to do just an icebreaker first, just to kind of warm you up to the conversation.

And it’s a really easy one. We ask everyone this question, but it is: What was your favorite childhood meal, and do you still enjoy it today?

Adair Curtis:

Oh man, my favorite childhood meal…Stumping me! Okay. So right off the top of my head, I’d have to say my mom’s lamb chops were probably my favorite.

Jaymes Black:

Wait as a childhood meal?! Now that is…So, you’ve had a great palette for a while.

Adair Curtis:

I guess I didn’t know what I didn’t know and if it was special or not! But my mom made these really incredible lamb chops, and I still do use her recipe, although I’ve expanded and kind of do my own thing too. But hers is the one that it’s like, “Ah!”, and I’ve got to have it every once in a while.

Jaymes Black:

I love that. I love lamb chops. I love that. What’s the one ingredient that you think makes the lamb chops? I’m a foodie, so when you start talking about food, I’m going to start talking about it too.

Adair Curtis:

So, my mom did this really special thing, which again, I don’t know what I don’t know. And so I don’t know if most people do their lamb chops this way. But, she would put lemon juice on the lamb chops and then put them back in the oven to roast a little bit with the lemon, and it just gave it a special “umph” to it that was irresistible to my little palette at the time, and I’m still in love with those lamb chops.

Jaymes Black:

I love that. We’ll talk about this later, but I’d love to know if Arrow is eating lamb chops yet.

Adair Curtis:

Oh, we’ll get into it. Mr. Arrow has not had meat in his life yet and he’s only three โ€”

Jaymes Black:

Oh wow!

Adair Curtis:

And even though that was a conscious decision early on, now we’re like, “Okay, do you want to try this?” and “Do you want to try that?” He’s like, “No.” He’s not into it. So we don’t know where it’s going to go, but right now he’s a vegetarian pescatarian.

Jaymes Black:

I love that. Alright, so I want to talk a bit about Mr. Arrow as we continue with the podcast, but let’s start with the opening question. So as I said, the whole point of the podcast is having difficult conversations or more open and honest conversations about topics that are often swept under the rug. And we really think that the only way that we can create real change in this world is by creating real connections. So I want you to be out with it. And what I want you to be out with it with is the question here โ€” [it] is what’s the one thing that you feel that you want to come out and talk about? Something that you might not have had the space to talk about in other places, but you do here.

Adair Curtis:

Yeah. Oh, okay. You know what? One thing is โ€” in terms of us being fathers and Black gay fathers โ€” is the process of surrogacy. There are a number of ways to start your family, thank God and thankfully, and just the hurdles and sometimes challenges to finding egg donors of color โ€” like Black donors specifically. When we started our journey to start our family โ€” and finally we have Arrow and thankfully he’s a part of our family now โ€” we made a conscious decision to want and seek out Black egg donors, and it was so hard for us to find options and have them be plentiful. And you have your criteria and you’re like, “These things matter.” And of course, most of those things are health-related, but we also want to…and we want to use our option to start a family to bring about a beautiful Black boy and to raise him to be an incredible Black man.

And we feel like that’s our responsibility. And I think responsibility is really the weightiest of words. It’s our responsibility, the thing that we want to be a part of our legacy. And it was very, very difficult. Very difficult. We went through a number of agencies because they just as we would go through the process with them and they would tell us, “Oh, we have everyone as options, and if you want a Black egg donor, cool. We have a ton of options for you to choose from.” And “a ton of options” meant maybe three. So that was challenging for us, and I think that that’s not really talked about. And I think that for more than not, you want to get that conversation out there and going so that Black women know that these options are available to them too to donate their eggs, and there are a bunch of reasons why that doesn’t happen. But anyway, I’ll let you go.

Jaymes Black:

No, I’m so glad that you brought up this conversation because I don’t think it’s talked about enough. When my wife and I started our journey, we first started with IVF, and we had the same challenge where when we were looking for sperm donors. We could not find an African-American sperm donor. So when we were trying, we had to figure out, so what is the “meet in the middle” that we could do to still have this baby look something like us? But I am thankful that you brought this up because I think that one of the doctors that we work with at Family Equality said something like only 2% of sperm donors are folks of color or African-American. We’ll have to check that number, but that is a low number comparatively. And so it certainly is a challenge, and so I’m glad that you’re bringing light to it and especially the, “Oh, we have a ton,” but it’s only a few, right?

Adair Curtis:

Yeah, I mean, to me, three is not a ton. And to go through 15 pages, 20 pages, 50 pages of profiles, and there being 25 profiles per page, and there are only three across your entire catalog of profiles. It’s not enough. It’s not enough.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, it’s not, and I know we won’t, I guess, get deep into that, but it would be great to dig deeper into is it a cultural thing? Is it an access thing? What is it? But I would think about all the LGBTQ+ folks who are thinking of starting a family and then understanding that this is a challenge that they have to navigate and how can we help them better help them?

Adair Curtis:

Absolutely.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah. So let’s talk about the – your experience of becoming a father. Tell me about that journey. What was your journey to parenthood?

Adair Curtis:

Okay, so first off, I got to give all the praise of my husband because he had the vision for all of this. In my entire life, I never thought that one, I would get married. It wasn’t an option, it wasn’t something that I dreamt of, and I never really even thought that I’d have the option to start a family. So it wasn’t a dream that I carried with me. And it wasn’t until I met Jason and he just started talking about the life that we were supposed to lead together, that I really saw the opportunity for us just forming right in front of my eyes. And so I got to give him that praise and acknowledgement because it was his dream, it was his vision, and we found each other and knew that we were perfectly yoked and matched for each other. I really believe in your partner being brought to you, and I feel like someone led Jason to me and vice versa.

And once we did decide that we were going to start a family, it was like, cool, well, how do we do this? And there wasn’t a ton of information available to us. We didn’t have a ton of examples out there that we can look to in the media just to say, okay, cool. This is one way of doing it. So we just went about gathering information and for a long time gathering information and trying to figure out what the best option was for our family, for our set of circumstances, and led us to surrogacy for a number of reasons. But before surrogacy, we did look at adoption and looked at if that was one thing that we wanted to do, and for a number of reasons decided, I think, surrogacy was better for us. And here we are, but it was a long, long โ€” I can say, and here we are now, but it was a long journey, long journey.

Jaymes Black:

I love that story. And the fact that Jason came to you with this vision, and I’m just curious when he said, “Hey, you know what? I think that we are here to have a family together, that we should create a family together.” What was your initial reaction, if you don’t mind sharing?

Adair Curtis:

My husband is a dreamer. I’m a dreamer too, but I think I’m a lot more logical. And so he’s like, let’s start this family and we’re going to have a son and it’s going to be amazing.

Jaymes Black:

He even said a son! Even went as far as to say a son!

Adair Curtis:

Oh yeah, he said, “We need to raise an amazing Black boy to be a man.” And so once I heard it, I was hooked on it, and I wasn’t afraid at all. I’m a “decide and figure things out later” kind of person too, less so than him. He’s definitely a “This is what I want and now someone figure it out.” I’m the “someone” in the “figuring it out” in his equation and in our lives. So once we decide on something together, and I was on board immediately. Okay, cool. And how and what are those steps to take? I mean, so far as I set every meeting and just added to Jason’s calendar, and of course he showed up and showed out like he normally does.

Jaymes Black:

I know Jason, so yes.

Adair Curtis:

That’s him. I know who I’m married to. He showed up. He showed out, and he was really excited. And I think that we can get into it a little bit more, but there was a little bit of tension about the When that we sort of explored a little bit on our show Styling Hollywood on Netflix. But there was never a question of IF we were starting a family. That was always decided. We were definitely doing it. And now we have, “Are we having a sibling?” And it’s like that’s another story. But for โ€”

Jaymes Black:

Those conversations are always great. And I know that you have shared with me that you raised some of your siblings, so it feels that naturally that you have that instinct.

Adair Curtis:

Right? Totally, for me. Jason on the other hand is…We are both one of five, and so I’m the oldest of five. He is the middle of five, and what that means to be the middle child and all that comes with growing up in the Midwest for him, it’s almost like the middle child can almost feel like the only child. In some ways he’s like, “This is great. We have one.” And I’m like, yeah, but he needs a sibling. So Jason’s like, “I’m not there yet,” so we’ll see.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, it definitely [is] continued conversations. We’re having this conversation. I’ll share with you offline how those conversations are going.

Adair Curtis:

Okay, I can’t wait.

Jaymes Black:

Yes. Okay. So parenthood does not happen in the vacuum, and you and I are not only parents, but we are creatives, we’re leaders, we’re queer, we’re Black. So what has it been like navigating fatherhood while occupying all of those different identities, navigating all of those identities?

Adair Curtis:

So first word that comes to my mind is exhilarating. I am living an absolute dream. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges. There are tons of challenges, but I am a person who likes challenges. I like to be challenged to an extent and work my way through things. And so all the hats that I get to wear, I’m so fortunate that I get to wear these hats. My mom and dad didn’t wear all the hats that I wear. And so I have a tremendous responsibility, not only for myself and my immediate family, I look at that as my responsibility across my entire family where I sit and am a part of the foundation of keeping the family together and progressing forward. But the fatherhood part just makes it so much sweeter. The fatherhood part makes it so much sweeter. And our child is not an easy “I’m just going to do what you say” kind of child. He is strong-willed/minded. He’s his own creative entity. Even at two and a half, the boy dresses himself. If it’s a sunny day, he’s like, well, where are my sunglasses? He’s eccentric. And so we are doing our best to parent and really guide and while still enjoying all the other parts of how we show up in the world.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, absolutely. Do you find that it is…For me, I find that I try to balance, speaking of being Black, being African-American, I try to balance how I was raised versus how my child is showing up and honoring who they are. And this is no disrespect to my parents, but they were very much, “So this is the box of parental rules that we were given, and so you are to be given that too” and “This is how we’re going to raise you.” Versus the balance of the tools that they used for us that some were really, really good, and then this child is asking for needs something very different than what’s in that box. Are you trying to manage that balance too?

Adair Curtis:

So I’ve not thrown the playbook out completely from what my parents have done. There’s still a…What did he just start to do that reminded me of my mom specifically. I think Jason said to him yesterday, Arrow or something, he called Arrow’s name and Arrow said “What?”

Jaymes Black:

Nope, nope. No.

Adair Curtis:

Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And so there are a number of people around and we all stopped and everyone’s head just swivel to look at Arrow and then look at Jason and I. Everyone was like, so what next? What are y’all going to do? Whatcha y’all going to do? Arrow? No, let’s start over. We do not say “what” to each other. I’m thinking about my childhood and the way that I was reared. My mom was immediate with…There was no room for that. There was no room for it.

Jaymes Black:

At all. Oh, I’m laughing because we have those moments and I’m like, what is – almost like everyone – it’s like the record scratches.

Adair Curtis:

Yes, yes.

Jaymes Black:

Literally. And if there are other people in the room who are also African-American…

Adair Curtis:

We all have the same collective experience. It couldn’t just be like, what?

Jaymes Black:

No sir. No, no, no. In fact, I’m getting hot and under the collar. I’m like, he said “What?”

Adair Curtis:

No, exactly.

Jaymes Black:

But those types of things that we…[They] are a continuation of how we were raised. And so I’m with you, we do that, and there’s this piece of I’m like, “Wow, this kid is really unique in some ways or eccentric, like you described Arrow, and how can I show up or raise them in that way that honors that and it’s very different than how we were raised, at least for me.”

Adair Curtis:

Yes. Very, very different. And so I have that awareness. I’ve also not thrown the playbook out, but we are gentle parenting a lot more than we were gentle parented. And so there’s a lot more room for explanation. There’s a lot more room for questioning. Arrow is in the phase of “why.” Everything is why. So he really wants to know, you told him to do X or not to do X. He’s going to say, well why? And so he wants you to break it down and it’s our responsibility. We do break things down for him a lot more than they were broken down for us because my mom will be like, “Because I said so.” At a certain point she’ll be like, “Because I said so.” And you’re like, okay. And that’s the end of that.

Jaymes Black:

I got it. Exactly. Yeah. We’re calling it, we’re trying to figure out what the balance is between, we call it Black mama and conscious parenting.

Adair Curtis:

Yes!

Jaymes Black:

What’s the โ€” I love conscious parenting, and then there’s this part of us that… How we were raised that I think is still applicable to how we want our kids to show up as Black kids in this country, to be quite honest.

Adair Curtis:

Absolutely.

Jaymes Black:

So we’re just like, what’s the Black mama to conscious parent ratio here? What is it?

Adair Curtis:

So we’re doing that exact same thing.

Jaymes Black:

Yes, yes, exactly. Love that. So another purpose of this podcast is to get real. So we’re going to get real right now. So I know that you mentioned that all the identities that you navigate, we talked about that and how being a father makes it so much sweeter. But let’s talk about some of the challenges that you face as a father, especially with three of those identities being a Black queer dad. Can you share some of the challenges that you and Jason have experienced?

Adair Curtis:

Totally. So one, again, I’m a glass half full kind of person. I’m an optimist, so I can recognize challenges, but in my mind, I’m always trying to compute how do I get over this? How do I overcome that? I don’t allow to sit in a space and live in a space of lack or can’t or any of those kind of -isms, if you will. So I had to put that out there because when I think of challenges, even we succumb…We don’t succumb…Well, we overcome those challenges that we’re faced with, but some of them can be being stereotyped. That happens a lot. We travel quite a bit. Arrow travels with us, not as much as some of our friends, but he does travel quite a bit. And we get the side-eye from people. We are really fortunate to have the same person with us from him being a week old, be with us full time and live with us. And so sometimes they’ll say not to her, they’ll say to her, where is his mom? And it’s like, how do you navigate that? These are really tough conversations if you let them be tough. We don’t…He goes to a private school โ€” he’s only two and half, so there’s not much to do there besides learn through play โ€”

But he’s one of the only Black kids in his class. I think he’s the only Black kid in his class, and one of three in his school. And so we have those challenges of keeping him surrounded by people that also look like him. We have diversity in spades in our community, but it’s also important for him to see himself reflected back in men and children and doing many different things and living all kinds of ways. So we’re fortunate in that, but that we have to keep that at the top of our mind. Whereas I think our counterparts may not have to. And again, I don’t know because I’m not them, but for sure we need to be conscious of these things. So…

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, I agree with you, and I don’t want to make generalizations, but I do think that when I think about our experience versus say some of my friends who are not African-American, it feels like the experience is that society is not accustomed to seeing two Black men or two Black women raise a child versus some of my Caucasian friends have said that it is something that seems more societally accepted, right? And so I think for us, and we’re navigating the sort of, we’re not used to that model seeing two. I really don’t think we’re used to seeing two Black men or two Black women raise a child. So there’s that. You’re sort of navigating that and educating people at the same time, I’m assuming.

Adair Curtis:

And sometimes there’s a benefit to it. For instance, there are schools here that are really recruiting us to have Arrow go to their schools because they’re like, we like what you have. [We don’t have] anybody like you at our school, and we want you. And I’m like, “Okay, we’re being othered.” But there’s a benefit to it. And it’s like, we don’t want to be a token in your school. We don’t want that to be the deciding factor if you’re going to let us in or not. We want all these other reasons that you want us to be a family at your school. But…

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, definitely a delicate balance. You don’t want to be tokenized, but then there is an opportunity for them to learn and to show up. And obviously you had to give the Arrow the kind of education that you want to give him. Absolutely.

Adair Curtis:

Yeah, absolutely. Which is for us, one that’s centered on all the STEM subjects, but then heavy on culture, heavy on arts, heavy on language. Those are the things that are really important to us and that I wish I got. And so hopefully we have to see the child that you have, you have to teach to the way that the child is going to best benefit. And so we are figuring that out. Arrow speaks English and Spanish as his first language is too, but we’re going to add French to that and then see how that goes. So we’ll see the verdict…The jury’s out.

Jaymes Black:

Love that. So now speaking of challenges, what advice would you give to parents who are navigating some of those challenges?

Adair Curtis:

Okay, so depends on what the challenge is, but the very first is dream. Figure out your dream. My dream is going to look different from your dream, which is going to look different from their dream and their dream and their dream. Create your own unique dream and then do all the research to figure out how you go about achieving things. I like to take really hard, big dreams and goals and break them down into really small bite-size bits, and then figure out how to work my way backward in my planning, and then to figure out what the next step is. The very first step I should take on the journey to getting the thing that I want, Jason wants, the family wants and needs. So that’s one thing. Dream. And then break everything down. Another thing is understanding that there are a number of ways to, if your dream includes a family, I would say number of ways to start a family.

And so figure out all those ways. And then you need to figure out also what the thing is, what path you want to take that best suits your situation and your family. It might not surrogacy. For us, [it was, but] it might be adoption. We were offered options of working with people that we actually knew to contribute to our family and by way of egg donorship and even carrying our child. And so we opted out of that for a number of reasons, but that might work for certain people. So it’s like I want to know all the tools that I have at my disposal and then figure out what’s best from there.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, absolutely. Speaking of the challenges, I think about young couples or young African-American couples in particular who desire to create a family, but they don’t see the role models, they don’t see the folks like you and I, and just wonder how can we create visibility? Maybe this is one way, but how can we create visibility? I know that if I saw you and Jason growing up, I would say, oh, there is a possibility. I saw folks who didn’t look like me raising families who were queer, but I didn’t see people who look like me. And I feel like there’s still this โ€” and that was years ago โ€” I still feel there’s a gap in visibility for folks who look like us, who want to raise families. I know we’re getting married, but the kid thing becomes, I think, a challenge. You have to see that almost in front of you to know the possibility is there.

Adair Curtis:

I think that one…So, I think our show Styling Hollywood was groundbreaking for a number of reasons, but as far as we know, we were the first Black married couple that showcased even just the conversation around starting. And so I think what we didn’t get the opportunity to do with Styling Hollywood, since we didn’t continue on with it, but I think that that leaves the door open for a number of programs to come about that showcase life as a family, the way that we live. And I think it’s about telling more stories and getting more media attention around our stories, be it on a streamer or on Netflix or network television, even YouTube. YouTube is a massive medium. And I think that the more people tell their stories and take the chance to tell their story, I think that it helps the people coming after us to see, wow, look what they did. And that representation just equals possibility.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with you. Now look, I want to talk about Mr. Arrow. I haven’t met him yet, but I’ve heard all these incredible stories about him and I cannot wait to meet your son, just I can’t โ€”

Adair Curtis:

Later this year. I’m thinking of a few opportunities.

Jaymes Black:

And so I mean, getting his sunglasses, all the things, I’m like, I got to meet this kid. Our kids go through stages. Arrow is two and a half years old. What’s the most surprising thing that he’s doing now that you’re like, where did that come from?

Adair Curtis:

Oh, surprising. Oh my gosh. You know what? It’s him picking up little bits and pieces from everybody around him. One thing he does, which is funny, is he walks around and he puts on Jason’s shoes, or he’ll put on a watch and he’ll say โ€” I’m Papa and Jason’s dadda โ€” he’ll say, “I’m Jason.” And you’ll [be] like, what? First of all, who is Jason? Why are you calling him that? That’s one…Black community stuff. My name is Dadda. So funny things like that. And then sometimes concerning, but let’s put a pin on it, kind of things. Like the other day, he didn’t say to us, but he said to our copilot, which is what we call our nanny.

Jaymes Black:

I love that.

Adair Curtis:

Yeah. She’s our copilot. She does everything with us. I’m so fortunate to have her, but he says to her and gave her a number of questions and asked a number of questions of her, and then finally he was like, “I’m half-Black.” And so she starts recording immediately and she’s like recording. We were out, I think it was at nighttime or bedtime. And so she sends it to us and we both get the message and we look down and we look at each other and we’re like, “Where did he get that?” First of all, it’s inaccurate. Who told you it’s accurate? Who told you this? And what do you know about being half anything? Or even…

Jaymes Black:

He’s two and a half years old!

Adair Curtis:

Where is this coming from? So it’s the picking up of other things that we can’t pinpoint yet. He only said it once. And so our motto is, okay, cool, we’re not going to wig out because he said it this one time. Now we need to monitor and see if he says it again. And then we can get into unpacking where this came from and then course correcting because we don’t identify any of us as half anything. It’s literally inaccurate. And let’s get into it. You want to talk about it at two and a half? Let’s get into it.

Jaymes Black:

Right. That’s interesting because again, I can’t even fathom a two and a half, two and a half year old understanding what that even means. But the fact that he said that, it’s like where is he picking that up? And also think it speaks to his intelligence, to be quite honest, right? Yeah.

Adair Curtis:

Yeah. I mean, but we’re not [muffled]

Jaymes Black:

But, there may be some course correcting that has to happen.

Adair Curtis:

We’re like, slow down. That’s a little bit later in the book, but

Jaymes Black:

The parenting book, he’s โ€”

Adair Curtis:

Toss it.

Jaymes Black:

Gone.

Adair Curtis:

Toss it. Toss it.

Jaymes Black:

Yes, yes, yes. He’s tossed the book. You have not tossed the book, but he โ€”

Adair Curtis:

He’s like “I’m just trying to tell you guys.”

Jaymes Black:

Oh God, that’s hilarious. So a few years back, actually, no, no, no, this was in 2022. I feel like we’ve known y’all for so long, but in 2022, we honored you and Jason with the Visibility Award โ€” exactly โ€” at LA Impact our LA Gala. And a big focus of that award was recognizing the representation that you bring to Black gay fathers across the country. And you mentioned earlier that you said, this is so powerful. You said representation means possibility. Is that what you said? I love that. And so speak a little bit about what representation does mean to you and Jason, and just maybe go into why you do think it’s critically important.

Adair Curtis:

Yeah. I mean, if I don’t see the thing and say I wanted to be a doctor โ€” for lack of a better example, right off the top of my head โ€” if I wanted to be a doctor, and I’ve never seen a doctor who looked like me. It’s not that there’s not the possibility. Because it still exists. But I have to get a little bit more abstract in my thinking to get to seeing myself in that role. And so like I mentioned, growing up, it wasn’t my dream to start a family. It wasn’t my dream to get married. But I think that really stems from not being a ton of examples for me to point to that said, look, they look like you. They come from similar backgrounds, but even if we just take the, “they look like you.” I didn’t know anybody who looked like me growing up that point to say, “Oh, wow, look what they created. It’s so beautiful. Wow, you’re from where? I’m from there. Oh, your mama said don’t suck your teeth, but because X, Y, Z. It’s like, “Oh, mama said the same thing!” That representation again is the possibility of, wow, I can see myself in your exact same footsteps.

Jaymes Black:

Yeah, I agree. So you were from, if I remember right, Cleveland, did I get that?

Adair Curtis:

No, no, no. So that’s Jason. Jason’s from โ€”

Jaymes Black:

That’s Jason. Jason’s from Cleveland?

Adair Curtis:

No, he’s from St. Louis.

Jaymes Black:

So who’s from Cleveland? Did I make that up?

Adair Curtis:

I’m from the Bronx in New York.

Jaymes Black:

Okay. I’m now remembering the love story and the way you connected. Okay. So where am I getting Cleveland from?

Adair Curtis:

I don’t know. I mean Cleveland, St. Louis,

Jaymes Black:

Maybe it’s a St. Louis thing. So Bronx, St. Louis. What I wanted to say is that no matter where you’re from, I’m thinking of the people who could be inspired, who are at the age of thinking about starting a family, or even someone who is just coming out. To see people like yourself and Jason, to see the possibility, to see what representation means. It’s so vitally important. So that little kid, little brown kid, little Black kid who believes that there are no possibilities. And I think about just the attacks in our youth that are happening today, possibility is exactly what they need to see. Representation. And it’s time for us to show up in any way that we can. But whether that is even telling our stories and telling stories that they can believe in. So I just want to say thank you to you and Jason because you’re telling stories that they can believe in and that they have a future.

Adair Curtis:

Thank you. It’s also our real life. And so we don’t do anything just for the look. This is a real family. We love each other. We’re in love with each other. We do have a business that’s kind of inextricably tied to our love and that we did with a conscious effort. But again, we’re not doing it because the community needs it. We are doing it because this is who we are. This is who we were yesterday, this is who we are today. And if something should change and knock on wood, it never does, that’s who we would authentically show up as. We can only just be ourselves. And so we are fortunate that we have each other and that we are on the same page about just showing a small peek into our lives. And hopefully that inspires somebody who wants to do something similar.

Jaymes Black:

Oh, I know it will. And I think it will. So I really appreciate that. So being unapologetic, lemme start over with that one. Being unapologetic about the fight for equality of course means being fierce when it comes to difficult conversations, but it also means being brave enough to have hope. So Adair, what’s one thing that you’re fearlessly hoping for the future? And what’s one change that you want to see in the world?

Adair Curtis:

Ooh, I’m fearlessly hoping for, and this is easy. I’m fearlessly hoping for the generations that come after us to have it easier and easier in every way. From options for life and living to financial, to career choices, to who they choose to show up as in the world. I’m really hopeful that the next generations continue on the fight and they make it easier for everyone to come after them.

Jaymes Black:

Absolutely. And I am thinking that we’ll see Mr. Arrow in the White House or something. I’m not decided yet, but I’m just saying.

Adair Curtis:

Arrow’s an artist. He is a little rock star. I don’t know. But maybe…

Jaymes Black:

Musician?

Adair Curtis:

Maybe musician. Also into construction. I’m like, are you a builder? You just never know.

Jaymes Black:

I love that.

Adair Curtis:

We’re here to support him with all the things.

Jaymes Black:

I love that. I just have to say this too, is I’m also aware that those of us who are African-American, who are raising children, are opening up this entire new world of possibilities to them of things or roles that they can be and that they don’t have to follow a standard or a norm. I think that is so important for Black youth to know that there are other possibilities beyond what we were told that we were and what we’re supposed to be. And I guess again, back to the boxes, the boxes that people want to label us and keep us in. I see that y’all are doing that with Arrow. We’re doing it with our boys, and I think it’s vitally important to open up that world for them.

Adair Curtis:

Absolutely. Absolutely. No one gets to decide for you who you are and what you’re going to be. You decide that for yourself. And so I shake off every label that someone tries to put on me that I don’t believe belongs on me, get that off of me. Like, Nope, that’s not me. Or I might be that, but it’s also it and it.

Jaymes Black:

I’m not just that โ€”

Adair Curtis:

I’m not just that. I’m a dad, but I’m also an entrepreneur. I’m also a husband. I’m also a big brother. I’m all of these things. I’m also a champion double-Dutch…Not champion. I shouldn’t say that. I could have said…I could have taken to the championship, but I’m also โ€”

Jaymes Black:

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Hold on. How long have I known you and you’re telling me you double Dutch? What?

Adair Curtis:

I grew up on the block, just like the girls will be playing. Can you turn for me? We’ll teach you. So they taught me you know how to jump. I’m like, I think I can do it. And then I got really, really, really good at it.

Jaymes Black:

Okay. Your friend circle knows that you doubled Dutch. This is not a secret. This is not something you’re just first revealing on this podcast.

Adair Curtis:

A lot of people might know, a lot of people might know, but there are a lot of people who don’t know. It’s double Dutch. I love that. Those are my two.

Jaymes Black:

What’d you say?

Adair Curtis:

Double Dutch spades and chess. Those are my three. Okay.

Jaymes Black:

So you’ll have to teach me spades. My wife is so annoyed that I don’t know it yet.

Adair Curtis:

That’s what happens in the black community. We’re supposed to just inherently be born with spades.

Jaymes Black:

Inherently know spades. So when they play it, I am on the sidelines going, you’re getting kind of loud over there. What’s going on?

Adair Curtis:

It’s serious. It gets heated.

Jaymes Black:

And then the double Dutch, I think by the time…I dunno if it started in New York or something, it feels like it’s an East Coast thing, but by the time it got to Texas, we were like, whoa, what is this? But I could never figure it out.

Adair Curtis:

Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun. And you burn so many calories, you don’t realize it because you’re just having a great time. Whether you’re turning or you’re watching, it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.

Jaymes Black:

Okay, so we should get two jump ropes next time we’re all together. That’s right.

Adair Curtis:

Yep, that’s right. And we’re going to play double Dutch and I’m going to teach you the basics

Jaymes Black:

And then teach me spades.

Adair Curtis:

I’m going to teach the basics and spades.

Jaymes Black:

You heard it here. Y’all heard here on this podcast, Adair from everyone at Family Equality, thank you for joining me during this great conversation for being such a huge part of our work. Thank you for your position on the board, and you are the definition of an outspoken change maker. And before we go, is there anything else that you want to share with the great people of Family Equality or any projects or initiatives that you want to promote?

Adair Curtis:

Nothing necessarily to promote. I mean, I have a ton to promote, but I’ll use this opportunity to say thank you for all the work that you do for the fighting that you do, for all of us around the country, every single day. You are an inspiration. We aspire…you are doing the real work. So I’m just, I want to shine a light back on you and everyone at Family Equality for what you do. Thank you. Thank you.

Jaymes Black:

Thank you so much. Thank you for being here. Thank you.

Jaymes Black:

This has been a Family Equality production. As the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families, we work to advance equality through advocacy, support, storytelling, and education to ensure that everyone has the freedom to find form and sustain their families. I’m your host, Family Equality’s President and CEO, Jaymes Black. Our producers are the communications team at Family Equality, and our amazing music is designed by Michael Koppelman. Special thanks to Clockwork for supporting this podcast. And special thanks to you for listening. The fun doesn’t have to stop here. Follow Family Equality on socials at @FamilyEquality for up-to-date resources, community events, insights from the movement, and ways to get involved. You can also follow me at @theJaymesBlack on Instagram and TikTok. Remember, this is more than a podcast. It’s a platform for change. So rate, subscribe, and review this podcast to help us spread the word. As always, you can support Family Equality and the amazing work we’re doing on behalf of LGBTQ+ families every day by donating at donate.familyequality.org. You can also reach out to chat more about potential sponsorship opportunities. But for now, I’ll catch you next time.