Keep the Conversation Going: An ‘Unbreakable’ Truth (And An Overdue Introduction)


“I’ve been listening… let’s keep the conversation going.” – Janet Jackson

I suppose, as with all personal journeys, it’s always best to start with a bit of truth.

The thing is, I’ve always felt certain energies and emotions a lot stronger than others and for decades, it scared the ish (think “poop”) out of me. Except, it never really did, in the sense that I don’t believe it ever scared me as much as it scared other people.

“He’s so sensitive,” others warned of me far too many times throughout my youth, from family and friends, and to and from everyone who sits between those personal connections.

And that’s of no fault to them. I see that now, 35 years into a life that is just getting comfortable with all of my feelings after far too long of keeping the majority of them at bay. Some people just aren’t meant to “get” me and truthfully, I’m not sure many of them should.

Nonetheless, I still, wholly, wish them well. And yes, I mean that with every fiber of my being.

“Everyone is not meant to be in your life forever,” La La Anthony once said, “the key is to know when to cut them off. Sometimes the most hate you get is from your inner circle.”

Don’t be afraid of that word, by the way. “Hate.” I know it’s a strong one, but it is just that: a word.

A word to explain a real, albeit in this case, exemplified meaning of another to help clarify a feeling that feels like hate from another, but is more often than not, anything but hateful. And I get that, too. I get that more than anyone realizes, and I always have, just as I’ve always been able to “get” the enormity and occasionally light intentions behind the common word.

Words have so much power and combining them in the right or occasionally very wrong ways, can make them all the more powerful. They can be tricky little creatures, if you allow them to be, with all kinds of emotions attached; both clear and understated, and depending on the person using them, they can either be the catalyst to an equally powerful and necessary change, or an equally powerful but wholly destructive firestorm.

Enter Katy Perry.

Beginning in 2010, Katy and her music slowly, but surely, managed to reach the level of admiration and enjoyment that I have for the music and existence of one other pop phenomenon, the brave and beautiful Britney Spears.

Besides, that kind of dedication costs money and I am no longer a teenager with a super-expendable budget.

But, nonetheless, I’ve been mostly able to maintain that same level of dedication for Katy too, somewhat. Until this year, that is, with the release of Witness, her most recent album, and the messy roll-up to Witness dropping, including all of the blatantly racial and queer ways she’s been trying to be “down” for this era (if any of this is lost on anyone, Google it. It’s what Google is for).

And then, I actually heard Witness. And it was a bit of a mess, yes, but, not completely (“Pendulum” is a soul shaker in the best way). And with being able to appreciate it that much, even with what I thought I felt of Katy’s antics at that point, forced me to realize that I still liked Katy enough to hear her leaked demo of a song once recorded by Britney Spears.

And I forgive you, Katy. And I’m so very sorry for judging you.

The thing is, music has always meant something more to me than the common listener, just like everything else in life has been to me. And it’s always been my greatest savior in my most necessary times of need and yet, here I was disrespecting one of my biggest heroes — because all who create art are heroic — because she, like me, like anyone, has made some mistakes in her life.

But, Katy was trying, and I lost sight of that truth — that word — all because I had allowed other people’s “truths” to shield one of my personal biggest: Never turn someone away for, at least, trying to be a better version of who they were yesterday.

As imperfect as words may be, they’re the only real things we have to convey who we are as imperfect people. And at the surface, they’re sometimes hard to understand or “get,” but I’ve always be blessed enough to “get” them.

I literally use words day in, day out as a writer and they have always been my greatest asset to convey that I, too, am just as imperfect as Katy, but I am trying, day in and day out, to be better than who I was, in all regards, yesterday. But, I think that starts with everyone getting to know me. And I like to talk.

So, let’s talk.

About anything. About everything. I want you guys, gals and non-binary pals and everyone in between, to really know me and I truly – but, most of all, I want all of us to really know each other. I’m so tired of being in this wide space of beautiful human beings known as social media, where connection is supposed to be the norm, but no one is actually connecting, because everyone is so scared of saying the wrong thing or are screaming over one another with words that are easily misunderstood.

Words are scary. And sometimes, the wrong ones will be said. But stopping people at the “wrong” words can ultimately stop them from getting to the “right” places in life.

My fear of using the right words to express what wasn’t anger, but frustration, at someone I still admire quite greatly, almost stopped me from hearing a take of a song that has, in a few short weeks, has become one of the most important that ’ve ever heard in my entire life. But, we’ll talk about that later.

For now, a rule, and it’s the only one I swear I’ll ask of anyone when putting together these rambles on my thoughts on all facets of life, not just pop culture topics, unless something else needs to be addressed later on.

We need to keep the conversation going.

If I ever say something “wrong” or “bad” or “un-PC,” and I’m sure I will, do not shame me. Do not shut me down.

Read my words, take them in and try to really hear and feel me, as best as you can. Then, if one needs to, feel free to respectfully respond. And I will always do the same, I promise.

To any person who is brave enough to join the conversation, feel free. Any subject – black stuff, gay stuff, gay and black stuff, all stuff. I want to talk about things. And I want to talk about them with everyone, and I want everyone to talk about them with me.

Welcome to Keep the Conversation Going. Now, let’s talk.

– Jonathan

Pop-culture obsessed, opinionated and not afraid of either aspect, Jonathan Apollo tends to have a lot to say about everything and anything — especially when it pertains to the world of entertainment. Check out more of what he has to say on his Facebook page and his Twitter profile. Be warned, though: he’s not afraid to respond when necessary.


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