I was 23 years old when the first Ernest Opinion was published here in Philadelphia. Next month I will turn 25, and the conversation sparked by that first op-ed about racism in the Gayborhood is still happening.

My life has transformed in the past two years, and with new opportunities arriving more frequently than ever, old ones must take a backseat.

Today, after two years of op-eds and memories, The Ernest Opinion will take its final bow in Metro.

The decision was not an easy one to make. For some time, this column served as my formal introduction into the city as a black gay millennial voice that is often left out of the media. This column initially was an experiment. Would a major city be interested in reading the perspective of someone who isn’t usually a leading voice in newspapers? Surprisingly, audiences were. Metro took a shot on me, and I’m forever grateful.

As I have developed my voice writing about politics and social issues, my interests have expanded. In this space, I have predicted the fall of several city politicians, stood up for various underrepresented communities, and still managed to carve out some time to break the internet with a memorable Twitter exchange with Justin Timberlake.

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These were the moments that inspired and humbled me. It taught me that in a time in which we’re still fighting for black lives to matter and LGBTQ people are still seeking equality, folks can sometimes let go of their differences to support someone else’s rights. That knowledge allowed my column to reach new heights while also never forgetting the communities that served as the focus.

But with such exciting times come a desire to broaden one’s horizons. Quite frankly, I’ve grown up with a yearning to more deeply explore subjects that are important to me, to go beyond the confines of my column. I’m more political, controversial, and have become an unapologetic activist. I need the proper space and outlet to pursue this role. 

That’s really why I’m not looking at this as a goodbye, but as a hello. Metro gave me the platform to elevate my voice from the streets of West Philly all the way to City Hall and along the East Coast. It was a local column that grew to be a regional one, and it’s been one of the crowning achievements of my career.

As I embark on a new chapter of my journey that will reveal itself very soon, I’ll never forget the countless readers and the lessons learned. To my faithful followers: This is not a goodbye, but a hello.