Michael Arceneaux is a freelance writer and blogger. He has written articles on pop culture, politics, race and sexuality for various media outlets that include The Root, AOL News, BET.com, Essence.com TV One Online and TheGrio.com. Arceneaux was raised in Houston but currently resides in Los Angeles. PrideIndex talked to him about his blog, cynicalones.com and here’s what he had to say.
PRIDEINDEX: What is your earliest memory of being a writer? Under what circumstances were you first published?
ARCENEAUX: As awful as it sounds, I can’t recall the first moment when I felt like I was a writer. I mean, after a while I noticed I did rather well in English and in my senior year of high school I won a lot of scholarships based on essays I’ve penned. But, I didn’t really think of myself as a ‘writer’ until maybe college. It was always ‘I want to be a writer’ and then after a while I just kind of was.
The first time I ever saw my name in print was a letter I penned to VIBE magazine. I took issue with the cover story about Justin Timberlake and the comparisons made between his debut album, Justified, and What’s The 411? and Brown Sugar. I felt the bevy of praise he was garnering was so undeserving. In hindsight, maybe Justified was a bit better than I thought then – but it’s still not comparable to Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo’s debut albums. Ack.
The first ever article I published was a profile on the Church of Scientology for a paper called District Chronicles while at Howard University. I’m not saying anything else. They knuck, I dare not buck.
PRIDEINDEX: How long have you been blogging? How did you come up with the name thecynicalones.com?
ARCENEAUX: I started blogging on May 31, 2005. I remember because the first post was about my first date with a guy – although at the time I tried to sound gender neutral (but likely still obvious as hell) as possible. It’s as pitiful as it sounds.
“The Cynical Ones” is a play on words from the title of the Prince song, “The Beautiful Ones.” I’m not always the best with titles and after taking way too long to think of a name, that’s what I came up with. Or maybe I am good at titles and I’m too hard on myself.
PRIDEINDEX: Which subject do you most enjoy writing about pop culture, politics or race relations?
ARCENEAUX: That’s like asking me to choose between fried catfish and sushi: I don’t know how to because I love them each for different reasons. They’re also all pretty connected after a while. For me anyway. But, I guess I’ll say pop cultural writing tends to be the most fun.
PRIDEINDEX: Is there a subject matter that you will not touch under any circumstances? Why or why not?
ARCENEAUX: I won’t say that there are certain topics that are off limits, but as a freelancer who writes for several different outlets I sometimes remind myself (or am reminded) to tread lightly. Out of respect and/or for my own good.
PRIDEINDEX: I understand that you were raised in Houston but attended school in Washington DC, how come you decided to relocate to Los Angeles?
ARCENEAUX: The summer before I graduated I did a comedy-writing program with Chris Rock and Comedy Central. It piqued my interest in screenwriting/comedy writing so a friend encouraged me to move out to LA to explore my options.
PRIDEINDEX: Have you ever considered writing a book? Why or why not?
ARCENEAUX: I have wanted a book deal since the mid 1990s. Why? This might sound campy, possibly cocky but what the hell: I want to write a book because I have something to say and my point-of-view needs to be heard. I just need to hurry before everyone officially quits reading.
PRIDEINDEX: Do you believe African American and or LGBT writers have an obligation to the African American and or LGBT community? Why or Why not?
ARCENEAUX: If by obligation does a black gay writer have to write about black and gay issues because they’re black and gay, then no. It’s appreciated, but not a requirement. You should want to write about sexuality, race, and culture due to a passion for and understanding of those issues. If you’re doing it for the sake of or some feelings of ‘obligation’ it’s usually counterproductive and pretty much a nuisance to people who could do better given they know more.
PRIDEINDEX: Name at least 3 artists that have most affected your artistic style?
ARCENEAUX: I can’t really say they’ve affected my style per se, but I like Aaron McGruder, I am in awe of James Baldwin, and I get a kick out of David Sedaris.
PRIDEINDEX: What do you like to do when you are not writing/blogging?
ARCENEAUX: I’m usually always writing. I might take dance breaks, or Happy Hour breaks, or breaks to eat. Fun?
PRIDEINDEX: What projects are you currently working on?
ARCENEAUX: I feel like if I listed a bunch of stuff I’d more than likely jinx it. So, I’ll just say I’m working harder and more seriously about getting closer to achieving my long-term goals sooner rather than later.
PRIDEINDEX: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you?
ARCENEAUX: Read, tell a friend, and repeat: https://www.michael-arceneaux.com