Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MUSIC Donyae Asante talks career choices, sex positivity
By Joshua Irvine

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

A few years back, a high school kid named Donyae Lewis portrayed Sonny in a production of In the Heights, at Governors State University. Lewis had started writing songs and poems that year to "get through life" as he approached the end of his senior year and prepared to enroll at DePaul University.

Recently, Donyae Asante strutted in front of a small Edgewater theater crowd, clad in a leopard-print rainbow onesie and a glitter-covered eyepatch, and crooned about sleeping with older men.

There have been some transformative years for the singer-songwriter, who dropped the single "Business Casual" in June and "Clapback" in early July. The former is an explicit ode to casual hookups, and Asante promised that ( and more ) with a forthcoming album out as soon as the end of the year.

Asante is unapologetic about the emphasis his songs place on sex. "Being sex-positive is knowing your worth, knowing yourself," he told Windy City Times. "As long as you're safe, as long as you're healthy, be a badass."

Asante wasn't always a voice of sexual freedom, but he always had a voice. Growing up in a "gospel home" where his grandma and uncle were regulars in a church choir, Asante started singing at age 5. He got involved in musical theater in the seventh grade, which usurped choir after he dropped the activity his freshman year of high school. At one point he performed with a group at Taste of Chicago, singing about math.

As a freshman at DePaul, he called himself "Yae" and sang covers at a weekly student showcase. He wasn't yet comfortable performing his own songs and would tell people he was bisexual.

"It wasn't necessarily that I was lying," Asante said. "I just didn't have the vocabulary."

He came out as gay by the end of his freshman year and started posting his music on SoundCloud and Bandcamp, using his middle name for his music persona ( "Donyae Lewis sounds like a CEO. Donyae Asante sounds like an artist" ). An early track, "Be Yourz," put Asante's sexuality front and center, with a music video showing him in bed with another man and interspersed with footage shot at PrideFest and on Hollywood Beach.

Asante tiptoed around the idea of an album but initially struggled to find a producer with whom he was comfortable. Post-graduation, he worked as a freelance writer for Gay Pop Buzz and then for South Florida Gay News, but it didn't stick.

"I'm all about healing and about connecting to people beyond words," Asante said, adding he didn't feel he could do that through journalism. Ultimately, he returned to DePaul for a master's in school counseling and mental-health counseling.

He had, however, found a producer: Thomas Fagan, known professionally as Linus, who helped release Asante's eponymous debut, Donyae Asante, earlier this year. Linus said Asante would come into the studio without written notes and would describe the song to Linus, who then composed instrumentals that Asante wrote over.

That debut ultimately took four years to produce and went through four titles. Asante felt he sat on the album for too long, but that he had to experience life in order to write the album.

"I was reintroducing the world to who I am," Asante said. "[Ages] 1 through 17 [weren't] me—I [identified as] straight then, so clearly that wasn't me."

Asante said his new album, Flaws and All, focuses past the "lovey-dovey" material of the debut. Slated songs include a tribute to a romantic partner who committed suicide and a track entitled "HIV." ( Asante, who is dismissive of criticism, also plans to attack gay panic on a future track. )

Asante emphasized that he's interested in more than the shock value of his material, and says he wants to offer a message of support to young gay men—specifically young gay Black men—like him and to put his master's degree to work through music therapy. He also spoke about a mission of combatting homophobia in hip-hop in an interview and during his performance in Edgewater.

"Being gay means so much more than breakups and makeups," Asante said. "My lyricism and my story are gonna show people that I'm not doing it for 'sex sales.'"

Explicit sex will remain central to Asante's work, however; he cited outspoken Chicago rapper CupcakKe as one his latest influences, and a lyrical sample of an unreleased track invokes voyeurism in graphic terms ( "sit back and watch while my man makes me cum" ).

"If gay people having sex in their private homes, in their houses, makes people so nervous, how about I just put that on display and make you more nervous?" he asked. "We're not going anywhere, we're going to continue to have sex [and] we're going to continue to love ourselves in a world that does not love us."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Karen Mason to perform Nov. 14 2019-10-17 - Singer and Chicago native Karen Mason—star of musicals Love Never Dies, Mamma Mia!, Hairspray!, Wonderland and Sunset Boulevard—will perform Thursday, Nov. 14,, at ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Transparent,' Tyler Perry, 'Drag Race,' singer Halsey 2019-10-15 - The soundtrack to Amazon Prime Video's The Transparent Musicale Finale—the movie musical fantasia of Jill Soloway's series Transparent—is available for streaming and digital ...

Gay News

Mixtape coincides with Warhol exhibit 2019-10-08 - As the Warhol exhibit comes to the Art Institute of Chicago this October, DJ Heaven Malone is releasing a mixtape, Factory Girls, honoring ...

Gay News

Oct. 21 benefit for homeless at Metro 2019-10-05 - More than 40 Chicago punk, prog, noise, rock and surf musicians—including current and former members of PiL, Naked Raygun and Local H—will perform ...

Gay News

'Activists and Icons' to end Oct. 27 2019-10-05 - "Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro," an exhibit at Skokie's Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, will close Sunday, Oct. 27. ...

Gay News

Simply Sensational Benefit to salute Music Director Robert Ollis Nov. 4 2019-10-02 - Pride Films and Plays' annual fall benefit, SIMPLY SENSATIONAL, celebrates theater artists who have had a tremendous impact on all they work with. ...

Gay News

Chicago's queer hip-hop scene: Visibility, evolution and culture 2019-10-02 - Chicago has long been known as a mecca for hip-hop culture. Within recent years, however, there's been a rise in queer and gender ...

Gay News

Don't lose the magic: Checking out the Chicago Magic Lounge 2019-10-01 - When Joey Cranford's wife jokingly bought him a magic kit as a Christmas present, she had no idea what she had unleashed. ...

Gay News

Jonathan Van Ness discusses memoir at Music Box 2019-10-01 - According to Jonathan Van Ness of the Netflix series Queer Eye, "Writing a book is kind of like putting your soul into a ...

Gay News

Mark Farris at Drew's Oct. 4-5 2019-10-01 - Vocalist/musician Mark Farris—who has performed in piano bars and cabaret lounges throughout the world—will return to Chicago cabaret at Drew's On Halsted, 3201 ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.