GLAAD and Ally spotlight more Black LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, including WNBA’s Layshia Clarendon

The league’s first openly non-binary player is one of four documentary subjects in season two of ‘Changemakers’

Published On
Jan 31, 2023
WNBA player Layshia Clarendon in GLAAD and Ally’s ongoing docuseries ‘Changemakers’

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GLAAD and Ally had a hit last year with “Changemakers,” a docuseries produced by GLAAD’s NEON content platform about Black LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, which ended up winning a Webby Award. Now, the series is back with four more stories, including a profile of Layshia Clarendon (they/them/she/her), the first openly non-binary player in the WNBA and the first active player in the league to complete a top surgery. 

In addition to being a star athlete, Clarendon provides life-affirming healthcare and wellness services for the trans community through The Layshia Clarendon Foundation, which offers education, advocacy, and direct financial assistance.

The three other subjects this year are:

• Mariah Moore (she/her), founder of House of Tulip, which provides zero-barrier housing, case management, linkage to care, and community programming to trans and gender nonconforming people in need of a safe place to stay while growing the supply of affordable housing in New Orleans.

• Braxton Flemming (he/him), founder of Stealth Bros & Co., a luxury Dopp kit supply company that provides travel and at home personal storage for medical/personal necessities.

• Dani Lalonders (they/them), creator of ValiDate, a visual novel/game about 13 struggling singles navigating the harsh realities of love and life.

See the first three episodes here:

See the “Changemakers” season two trailer exclusively below.

[Note: Ad Age will be posting all the episodes here as they drop throughout the month of February.]


Season one of “Changemakers” was all about giving Black LGBTQ+ owned businesses more visibility in the wake of Covid. Season two is about expanding that reach with a series that has proven appeal—and digging into issues that are front and center for LGBTQ+ people today.

“We are looking at trans folks in sports, we are looking at challenges that LGBTQ parents face, we are looking at discrepancies with housing, we are looking at tech, we are looking at video games and how LGBTQ stories, expecially those of color, have been omitted for so long,” said Abdool Corlette, creative director at GLAAD and co-director of the series. “Season two is really focusing in on specific industries and talking about the need for expansion and representation in those sectors.” 

“‘Changemakers’ is a way to highlight queer Black entrepreneurs across the country, elevate their story, and hopefully let them have more notoriety and more resources given to their organizations,” added Major Nesby, founder of NEON and the other co-director. “The series allows people to look at individuals as humans first. It also allows you to peek into their lives and see how their humanity informs them being entrepreneurs.”

“We’re going to be able to reach a broader platform. It’s more about expanding our view—still walking alongside these companies as an ally, but really trying to upscale and upstage all of the things they’re able to do by creating a broader audience for them,” said Reggie Willis, chief diversity officer at Ally.

Below, Corlette and Nesby talk more about season two.

What did you learn from last year’s series?

Abdool Corlette: Season one of “Changemakers” became a model for how companies can show up for Black LGBTQ folks in truly authentic and impactful ways. Ally joined NEONxGLAAD in a partnership that focused on the people behind the businesses. This partnership poured back into the four Changemakers both financially and by honoring their stories with care and respect. Centering the people behind the change became our team’s north start when creating season two. 

Major Nesby: GLAAD and ALLY have been super supportive of both seasons of Changemakers. As a co-director, one of the things I learned this season is how important it is to sculpt a safe environment on set. That sentiment tends to become contagious and creating the work becomes that much easier and enjoyable for everyone. We have a great team and I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to work with such dedicated individuals, who believed in the mission of the series. 

How did you choose the folks to be featured this year?

Abdool Corlette: We knew we wanted to explore different industries than in season one. We wanted to focus on issues that are being discussed nationally such as the treatment of trans athletes in sports, representation in video games, access to medical care and the housing crisis facing the trans community. Our main objective was to cut through the divisive language we are seeing in traditional media and present these topics in a humane and sincere way. 

Major Nesby: Choosing the entrepreneurs to be featured was a collaborative effort between the Neon x GLAAD team and Ally Financial. Neon speaks to the amplification of the diversity within the Black LGBTQ community and we wanted to show more examples of that diversity in season two.  

What’s fundamentally different this year? How are you evolving the storytelling or the approach?

Abdool Corlette: For season two we really wanted to show the toll of being a change maker. We wanted to create a 360 profile of four people who have put themselves on the line to the betterment of their communities and industries. 

Major Nesby: With the success of the first season, in season two we wanted to intentionally diversify those featured even more. We really wanted to show the relationship between them as entrepreneurs, their personhood, and the environments that inform what they do. 

Are there moments or themes that emerge this year that viewers will find particularly resonant?

Abdool Corlette: I hope viewers take a way that regardless of how big or small, taking the time to make a positive impact on someone’s life goes such a long way and that only good can come out of reinvesting back into the communities that poured into you.

Major Nesby: I love the work we did with season one, and I am extremely proud of season two. This season viewers will learn the unique experiences of the featured entrepreneurs that inspired them to become change makers.  I think audiences will get the opportunity to connect with them and see the individual’s humanity and how the permeates through their leadership within their business. 

Where will the content live, and how are you amplifying it?

Major Nesby: All four episodes will live all across GLAAD’s multiple digital platforms. We are amplifying these stories through traditional media partnerships as well as working with specific community leaders in sharing them with their digital audiences and hosting online discussions centered around the series.