Yolo Akili Robinson, Founder/Executive Director of BEAM (Black Emotional And Mental Health Collective), a Los Angeles based non-profit organization committed to the emotional and mental health and healing of Black communities, received national recognition for his work during the annual BET Awards ceremony which aired on Sunday. Robinson's work was given an "Empowerful Spotlight," accompanied by a check for $25,000 from Wells Fargo to support the mission of BEAM.
Robinson, who began his career in public health supporting Black communities as an HIV/AIDS counselor, has been working in the Black LGBTQ community for over a decade. He co-founded "Sweet Tea: Southern Queer Men's Collective," a collective of gay and queer men who came together to address sexism and misogyny in LGBTQ communities. His inclusion in Sunday's show was a highlight for Black LGBTQ viewers of the BET Awards that was otherwise slim on Black LGBTQ representation.
Robinson expressed his "disbelief" in being selected by BET in a tweet on Sunday.
In a clip played during the broadcast, Robinson explained why it's necessary that an organization like BEAM exists.
"When there were conversations being had about mental health, they weren’t being said or talked about in ways that were targeting us," said Robinson.
"And so we really wanted to create an institution that spoke to us in our language, that also upheld our legacy of being healers. But also gave us an opportunity to learn some new things and to think about things differently," he added.
Since the show aired, Robinson's social media has been flooded with love and adoration.
Robinson is a longtime friend to Living Out Loud 2.0 and we couldn't be more overjoyed that his brilliance and life saving work is being introduced to a wider audience.
You can watch Robinson's BET Awards "Empowerful Spotlight" in the clip below.