The Influence of Cleo Manago


Cleo Manago is a prominent figure in the fields of activism, health advocacy, and social justice. With a career spanning over three decades, Manago has dedicated himself to addressing issues of race, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS within the Black community. His work has had a profound impact on the lives of many, as he continues to challenge social norms and advocate for change. In this article, we will explore the life and contributions of Cleo Manago and the lasting legacy he has created through his unwavering commitment to social equity and public health.

Table of Contents

The Early Life and Activism of Cleo Manago

The early life of Cleo Manago was marked by a deep awareness of social injustice and a passion for activism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Manago grew up in a community that was heavily impacted by poverty and systemic discrimination. These early experiences fueled his commitment to fighting for the rights and well-being of marginalized communities, particularly those within the Black LGBTQ+ community.

Manago’s activism began in his teenage years when he became involved in local grassroots organizations that focused on addressing issues such as access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for Black LGBTQ+ individuals. In the 1990s, he co-founded the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), which became a prominent platform for promoting dialogue and advocacy around the intersectional issues faced by Black gay and bisexual men. He also played a significant role in raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS within the Black community and challenging the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.

Throughout his early activist years, Cleo Manago demonstrated a strong commitment to challenging societal norms and advocating for the rights and well-being of marginalized communities. His work paved the way for greater awareness and understanding of the unique challenges faced by Black LGBTQ+ individuals, and his legacy continues to inspire activism and advocacy within these communities today.

Significant Contributions to LGBTQ+ and Black Civil Rights Movements

Cleo Manago, a prominent activist and researcher, has made significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ and Black civil rights movements. His work has focused on advocating for the rights and well-being of individuals within these communities, as well as addressing the intersecting issues they face.

Some of Cleo Manago’s notable contributions include:

  • Founding the AmASSI Health and Cultural Centers, which provide comprehensive health and wellness services specifically tailored to the needs of Black and same-gender-loving individuals.
  • Developing the concept of “same-gender-loving” to affirm and celebrate the diverse identities within the Black LGBTQ+ community.
  • Conducting research on the impact of homophobia on Black communities and advocating for more inclusive approaches to addressing LGBTQ+ issues within the larger civil rights movement.

Through his activism, research, and advocacy efforts, Cleo Manago has been instrumental in advancing the causes of LGBTQ+ and Black civil rights, challenging societal norms, and promoting greater understanding and acceptance of diverse identities.

Innovative Approaches to Health and Wellness Advocacy

Cleo Manago is a renowned advocate for health and wellness within the Black community. As the founder and CEO of the AmASSI Health & Cultural Centers and Black Men’s Xchange, Manago has been at the forefront of innovative approaches to health advocacy for decades. His work focuses on addressing the unique health challenges faced by Black individuals, including HIV/AIDS, mental health, and disparities in access to healthcare.

Manago’s approach to health and wellness advocacy is rooted in empowerment and cultural competence. He emphasizes the importance of embracing holistic wellness, which includes addressing mental, emotional, and spiritual health in addition to physical well-being. Through his organizations, Manago has been instrumental in creating safe spaces for Black individuals to access healthcare services, receive culturally competent support, and engage in community-building activities.

  • Founder and CEO of AmASSI Health & Cultural Centers and Black Men’s Xchange
  • Advocate for addressing unique health challenges faced by the Black community
  • Emphasizes holistic wellness and cultural competence in health advocacy

Challenges and Controversies Surrounding Cleo Manago’s Work

Cleo Manago’s work has been the subject of various challenges and controversies, which have sparked discussions and debates within communities and academic circles. Some of the key issues surrounding his work include:

  • Controversial viewpoints: Manago’s perspectives on race, sexuality, and health have been deemed controversial by some, leading to disagreements and pushback from certain groups.
  • Conflict with established norms: His work often challenges traditional societal norms and ideologies, which has led to criticism and resistance from those who adhere to these norms.
  • Impact on marginalized communities: Manago’s work has both supporters and detractors within marginalized communities, with some praising his efforts to bring attention to social issues and others expressing concerns about the impact of his work on these communities.

In addition to these challenges and controversies, there have also been instances where Manago’s work has been lauded for its innovative and thought-provoking approach to addressing social and health issues. It is evident that his work continues to spark important conversations and reflections on the ways in which we approach and engage with topics that affect diverse communities.

Impacts and Future Directions of Cleo Manago’s Influence

Cleo Manago’s influence has had a significant impact on various aspects of society, particularly in the realms of social justice, public health, and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Through his work as a social architect, cultural influencer, and public speaker, Manago has brought attention to important issues and has sparked critical conversations on topics such as racial equality, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the empowerment of marginalized communities.

Manago’s influence can be seen in the following ways:

  • Advocacy for the rights and visibility of Black LGBTQ+ individuals
  • Promotion of holistic health and wellness, particularly in underserved communities
  • Encouragement of open dialogue on the intersection of race, sexuality, and gender

Looking towards the future, Manago’s influence is likely to continue shaping social movements, policy initiatives, and cultural conversations, as his work contributes to building a more inclusive and equitable society.


Q: Who is Cleo Manago?
A: Cleo Manago is an American social scientist, scholar, and activist known for his work in the fields of sociology, psychology, and public health.

Q: What are some of Cleo Manago’s key contributions to the field of social science?
A: Manago is known for his pioneering work on issues related to Black masculinity, racial identity, and the impact of racism on mental and physical health within the Black community. He has also been a vocal advocate for the rights of LGBTQ individuals of color.

Q: What organizations or movements has Cleo Manago been involved with?
A: Manago has been involved with numerous organizations and movements, including the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX), which he founded in 1989 to address the needs of Black same-gender-loving, gay, and bisexual men. He has also been involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and education efforts in the Black community.

Q: What is the significance of Cleo Manago’s work?
A: Manago’s work has been instrumental in bringing attention to the unique challenges faced by Black LGBTQ individuals and in advocating for greater awareness and understanding of the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality.

Q: What are some of Cleo Manago’s current projects or initiatives?
A: Manago continues to be involved in advocacy work and has been a prominent voice in discussions surrounding mental health, wellness, and social justice within the Black community. He also continues to be a sought-after speaker and consultant on issues related to race, gender, and sexuality.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, Cleo Manago’s work in advocating for the rights and health of African American and LGBTQ communities has been both influential and controversial. He has been a vocal figure in addressing the intersectional issues faced by these communities and has worked to dismantle systemic barriers to their well-being. Regardless of differing opinions about his methods and ideologies, Manago’s impact on the conversation surrounding race, gender, and sexual orientation cannot be denied. It is important to continue engaging with his ideas and the wider conversation about social justice in order to create a more equitable society for all.


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