EXCLUSIVE | Tyreek Wanamaker on life post 'Queer Eye', hope that BLM protests give rise to new Assata Shakurs
Tyreek spoke about regaining confidence post the show, his nonprofit initiative 'The Block Gives Back' and Black Lives Matter
Tyreek Wanamaker was one of the "heroes" that got the makeover of his life in the recently released Season 5 of the highly successful show 'Queer Eye' on Netflix. In an exclusive chat with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Tyreek speaks about his life post the show, his nonprofit initiative 'The Block Gives Back' and Black Lives Matter.
If you've watched his episode on the season, you'd know that at the end of the makeover, Tyreek exuded a different level of confidence. Elaborating on the same, he said that his changed outlook towards things is what brought about a noticeable difference in him. "The show gave me a renewed sense of confidence and focus and focus on self-care. I always felt like all of my energy was being put into doing the things that made others feel comfortable without really thinking of what makes me feel comfortable and that led to a lot of self-loathing and emotional harm, but now my outlook is much different."
The Fab Five also helped him reunite with his mother-like figure, Ruth and that was one of the high points in the episode. Speaking about how his equation with her has changed post the show, Tyreek said, "We stay in touch as best as we can and we spent the holidays together".
We asked Tyreek to elaborate a little about what he meant when he said he didn't like money that much on his episode to which he reasoned out saying he doesn't like the social hierarchies created by wealth and poverty. "We are told all of our lives how hard work pays off but time and time again I've watched the hardest workers barely making enough to eat and being ostracized for their lack of wealth."
In his episode, viewers were apprised of the fact that in spite of being homeless for a year, Tyreek stayed committed to helping his community. He continues to give back to his community through 'The Block Gives Back' (TBGB) a nonprofit initiative that helps organize a number of events towards bettering the community in Philadelphia.
'TBGB' organizes a lot of food drives to eradicate hunger and their end of the year events not only help feed the homeless but also supply them with gear to spend the winters comfortably. Organizing local park and street cleanliness drive with the help of the community is also something that they do regularly and in the near future, they wish to create youth education programs. Speaking about the motivation behind his involvement with 'TBGB' he said, "The motivation was to create a program that combats inactivity and an unwillingness by local government to address the direct needs of the people, to give people access to the simple things that keep us going."
As is the case with most BIPOC in America, Tyreek admitted to being racially profiled by the police and fellow citizens. Speaking about his take on the current protests around the country, he said, "I stand with every single Black person fighting on the streets, in city council and law offices fighting or fighting in whatever way they seem fit to change the culture of a country founded in the blood of people that look like me."
"It's tiring hearing from our elder's about the stories of slavery, stories of Jim Crowe to only have it dismissed today as irrelevant by the privileged majority. Ruby Bridges is 65, and what really has changed in her lifetime? I hope these protests breed a new generation of Assata Shakurs, Kwame Tures, and Angela Davis," he said in conclusion.