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How To Live Fabulously According to Patrick L Riley

Queer Money™ by Mass Mutual

Patrick L Riley Chooses His Best Life

‘Certain blocks [in Harlem], you may wanna watch that twist… But the truth is, I don’t have to un-code anymore. We know there’s still hate out and about and all around, but I don’t feel that fear anymore.’ Today’s guest is prepared to get you out of that shame spiral and help you see life through a lens of possibilities and positivity, sharing his journey as a successful gay black man in the public eye.

Patrick L. Riley is an independent personality and writer in the New York City area. He made his name as a field producer for Oprah from 1998 through 2012, and he continues to do freelance assignments for OWN, as well as independent projects in the areas of pop culture, entertainment, and human interest. Patrick learned the fundamentals of working both sides of the camera while studying mass communication at Morehouse College and worked in local media outlets before moving to the national stage. He has had the opportunity to produce stories on a number of American icons, including Diana Ross, President LBill Clinton, Beyoncé, Mary Tyler Moore, and Master P.

Patrick has received recognition for his work from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the Atlanta Association of Media Women. He chairs the National Association of Black Journalists’ Arts & Entertainment Task Force and was recently named Volunteer of the Year by the New York Association of Black Journalists. Today Patrick shares his inspiring story of coming out to a resistant family, the challenges he faced around money, and the choices that contributed to his success. Get inspired to stop your ‘outdated inner recordings’ and foster success in the LGBTQ community at large!

Patrick L Riley is a pioneer for not only the LGBTQ community but for other gay black men. If you enjoyed his story, check out the Queer Money™ episode with Emil Wilbekin.

Topics Covered

 How Patrick got involved in field producing

  • Studied mass communication at Morehouse College
  • Initial interest in news reporting
  • Realized passion for pop culture, entertainment, and human interest early on

How Patrick came out ‘in layers’

  • Grew up in Bible belt, youngest son of Air Force Chief Master Sergeant
  • Came out to close friends first
  • Shared with conservative family in mid-20’s
  • Family had no interest in ‘what love looked like on me’

Patrick’s family’s mixed reaction to sharing his story on national television

  • Producing segment for Oprah called ‘When I Knew I Was Gay’ in 2005
  • Reluctantly agreed to share his own testimonial
  • Family and friends did not respond
  • Brother honest in his shame
  • Nephew proud, ‘sign of the future’

The challenges Patrick faced as a successful gay black man

  • Communicating with loved ones about life (small doses of honesty)
  • Making decisions around family members asking to borrow money
  • Overspending to fill emotional void (retail therapy, travel)

Patrick’s advice for the LGBTQ community in America today

  • Trust that consciousness of society is ‘on our side’
  • Count your blessings (i.e.: progress re: marriage equality)
  • Stop your ‘outdated inner recordings’
  • Consider mentoring with organizations like Live Out Loud
  • Pursue activism within your industry
  • Support LGBTQ up-and-comers in your field

Patrick’s guidance around avoiding the mistakes he made early on

  • Save your money (the ride doesn’t last forever)
  • Avoid the ‘disease to please’
  • Choose reciprocity when plutonic friends expect your perpetual availability

What Patrick ‘got right’ (contributors to his success)

  • Keep your eye on the prize
  • Stay ambitious and focused
  • Appraise your situation, be strategic in taking risks

Patrick’s take on fostering success in the LGBTQ community at large

  • Facilitate compassion among allies
  • Be clear with resistant loved ones when you can
  • Stronger individuals = stronger community
  • Contribute time, resources to LGBTQ causes

Patrick’s blog, A Day ‘In the Life of Riley’

  • Platform to digest life, career
  • Partnerships with brands (A-listers, underserved, divas)
  • Attracts on-camera work, event hosting

Connect with Patrick

A Day ‘In the Life of Riley’




Steps Film


The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Live Out Loud

National Association of Black Journalists

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Miss Jessie’s


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