All research and profiles by Miko Evans for Meak Productions, Inc.
Dominique Brebnor, aka Dominique Jackson (born March 20, 1975), is a Tobagonian-American actress, author, model, and reality television personality. As an actress, she is most known for her leading role as Elektra Abundance on the FX television series Pose. As a model, she has appeared in Vogue España.
Born in Scarborough, Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago), Jackson grew up with her grandmother. She experienced a traumatic upbringing that included bullying and sexual abuse. Her family and community in Tobago did not accept her as transgender, and she was regularly reprimanded for displaying her natural feminine characteristics. Jackson grew up very religious and was an active member of the church from a young age. Her family moved to New York when she was a child, but she remained living with her grandmother. At age 15, she moved to the United States and lived with her mother in Baltimore, MD. During this period, she came in contact with members of the trans community for the first time.
During her time in the United States, Jackson experienced homelessness and turned to sex work and living off credit cards for survival. In 1993, while living in Baltimore, Maryland, Jackson was introduced to the ballroom scene. She then lived in various houses, including the House of Revlon and House of Allure, before settling in the House of Sinclair in New York City.
Jackson did most of her early modeling work for free to develop the right connections. In 2009, she became a resident model for fashion designer Adrian Alicea and walked for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She also modeled for Vogue España. She walked for the 2021 Mugler show, along with another trans model Hunter Schafer.
Jackson ventured into acting during this time and has appeared in various Indie films and documentaries such as Call Me, Christopher Street: The Series (an iconic series produced by Meak Productions’ Hall of Famer Dwight Allen O’Neal), My Truth, My Story (a Caribbean LGBTQ oral history and docu-series produced by the Caribbean Equality Project), Visible: The LGBTQ Caribbean Diaspora and the Oxygen reality television series Strut (2016). Her work on Strut earned her a GLAAD Media Award nomination and paved the way for her most iconic and historic role yet.
In 2018, Jackson was cast as the leading role of Elektra Abundance on the historic award-winning FX series POSE, set in the ballroom subculture scene in late-1980s New York City. The series premiered on June 3, 2018, and attracted critical acclaim. The first season boasted the largest cast of transgender actors for a scripted network series, with over 50 transgender characters/actors. She continued as Elektra Wintour in Pose’s second and final third seasons.
During and after the success of Pose, Jackson made numerous appearances at Pride events, including the famed New York Pride, along with being a special guest in Atlanta at the Annual Journey To Change Conference (a special HIV Prevention initiative created by the GA State Department of Public Health). She has also been open about her mental health struggles. After a thirteen-year writing process, she released her autobiography, “The Transsexual from Tobago.” She has worked for several nonprofit organizations, such as Destination Tomorrow in the Bronx, that provides outreach and services to the LGBTQ+ community.
Though living in the states under the radar since 1993, Jackson obtained her green card in 2015 and also had her sex reassignment surgery the same year.
Jackson was previously married to Al Jackson. They married at a courthouse in 2016 after dating for about 18 years and held their wedding ceremony during an episode of Strut. She separated from her husband, Al, in late 2018. An episode of House Hunters aired on June 1, 2021, featured Jackson engaged to her current personal manager, Edwin Torres.
Leo Hollen, Jr.
Leo Hollen, Jr. (born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, March 27) has lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for the past ten years, where he completed college and several short films. He graduated from Georgia State University and studied film, English minor. Queer Moxie is his first feature-length project, which he co-director with Heather Provoncha in 2016 and was featured at the annual Out On Film festival.
Along with directing the film, he was also editor of the documentary celebrating the importance, evolution, and daring spirit of queer performance in Atlanta. Leo and Heather have teamed up again to direct XOXO: For the Love of Football, a documentary celebrating some of the amazing women, on and off the field, who play tackle football.
He is currently a board member and on the planning committee for Out on Film. After completing post-production on his new film project, XOXO, his goal is to complete a pilot, write, and direct more narrative projects. Being a queer black man in the South, he finds it is important as a filmmaker to create art of all mediums as diverse as the world around him. Please find out more about the projects he’s working on at mettleandpluck.com.
Audre Lorde (born Audrey Geraldine Lorde, February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) was born in New York City to Frederick Byron Lorde and Linda Gertrude Belmar Lorde, Caribbean immigrants from Barbados and the Grenadian island of Carriacou. Lorde was the youngest of three daughters. Lorde’s mother was of mixed ancestry and could “pass” for white. Her father was darker than the Belmar family liked, but they allowed the couple to marry because of Lorde’s charm. This colorism would become a factor in Audre’s later estrangement from her family.
Lorde’s affinity for poetry was recognizable at an early age, as her mother inspired her. She would memorize poems and would recite in response to questions rather than prose answers. In her earlier years, she also dropped the ‘“y’ from her name, citing the desire for symmetry between the e-endings in Audre Lorde rather than as her parents intended. Lorde wrote her first poem when she was in 8th grade. She would gain recognition at Manhattan’s Hunter College High School as a wordsmith. At 17, when her poem “Spring” was rejected by the school paper, she submitted it to Seventeen Magazine, becoming a published writer even before college.
Lorde explained in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation that her “English teachers…said [the poem] was much too romantic.” Lorde was also elected literary editor of the art magazine in high school and participated in historian John Henrik Clarke’s Harlem Writers’ Guild. She credited Clarke, a pioneer in the creation of Pan-African and Africana Studies, with teaching her about Africa.
After graduating from Hunter College High School in 1951 and grieving the death of her best friend Genevieve “Gennie” Thompson, Lorde left her parents’ home, becoming estranged from her family. She enrolled in Hunter College, part of the City University of New York, where she studied English literature and philosophy. During college, Lorde supported herself by working various jobs, including as a factory worker, ghost writer, social worker, x-ray technician, medical clerk, and arts and crafts supervisor. In 1954, Lorde spent a pivotal year as a student at the National University of Mexico, a period she described as a time of affirmation and renewal in which she confirmed her identity on personal and artistic levels as a lesbian and a poet.
On her return to New York, Lorde returned to school, worked as a librarian, continued writing, and graduated from Hunter College in 1959. She also became an active participant in the gay culture of New York City’s Greenwich Village, entering the “gay girl” scene, in which she was often the only Black woman. Lorde earned a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961 and worked as a librarian at the Mount Vernon Public Library. In 1962, the self-identified lesbian married attorney Edwin Rollins, a white, gay man. Lorde and Rollins welcomed two children, Elizabeth and Jonathan, before divorcing in 1970. In 1966, Lorde became head librarian at Town School Library in New York City. She remained in this role until 1968.
Lorde began her teaching career as a poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Tougaloo, Mississippi. While there, she led workshops and discussions with students on civil rights. She went on to hold various academic positions: as a lecturer in creative writing at the City College of the City University of New York and in the Education Department at Herbert H. Lehman College, where she also taught courses on racism. Later, she worked as an associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she fought to create a Black Studies Department. In 1981, Lorde returned to her alma mater, Hunter College, as an English Professor. At Hunter, Lorde became the Distinguished Thomas Hunter Chair of Literature.
During her time at Tougaloo College, she met Frances Clayton, a professor of psychology who became her romantic partner until 1989. In the late 1970s, Lorde had a brief affair with sculptor and painter Mildred Thompson, whom she met in Nigeria at the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. Around 1990, Lorde became involved with Gloria I. Joseph, her partner, for the remainder of her life.
Lorde’s first book of poems, The First Cities, was published in 1968. Her second book of poetry, Cables to Rage, appeared in 1970. Cables to Rage is noteworthy in that she comes out as a lesbian through her storytelling in “Martha.” Her third volume of poetry, From a Land Where Other People Live, explores themes of injustice and anger, Black womanhood, motherhood, and what it means to be a lover and friend, and she was nominated for a National Book Award in 1974. Lorde’s next volume of poetry, Coal, was published by W. W. Norton in 1976. Coal and its successor, The Black Unicorn, in 1978, were widely reviewed and reached a commercial audience.
Throughout her life, Audre Lorde fought for civil rights as an activist and writer. The political nature of her work is evident in essays such as “Apartheid U.S.A.” and “I am your Sister,” which examine how Black lesbians are stereotyped by white and Black people. In general, the voices in Lorde’s work challenge the conventions and norms of a racist, heterosexist, and homophobic society and stress the urgency of fighting against inequality. From her first texts, the poet reiterates her sexual identity and reaffirms her literary and social space. In Lorde’s poetry, essays, interviews, and fiction, she articulates a political discourse that underscores the oppression suffered by Black lesbians. In her essay “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Lorde attacked the underlying racism of feminism, describing it as unrecognized dependence on the patriarchy. She argued that by denying the difference in the category of women, feminists merely passed on old systems of oppression and that, in so doing, they were preventing any real, lasting change.