Gee Smalls serving success as Black LGBTQ entrepreneur in Atlanta

Add this share
Gee Smalls is quick to admit that his biggest accomplishments haven’t been planned. But the Black LGBTQ restaurateur, author and non-profit founder continues to serve delicious hits across Atlanta.

His latest? A just-released memoir – “Black Enough Man Enough” – that takes a deep dive into his life across 28 chapters and more than 350 pages. It doesn’t pull any punches in dealing with racism, homophobia, masculinity, marriage and fatherhood as he reflects on his own life and upbringing.

“This has been another thing that was not planned. I never intended on writing a book either,” Smalls said during an interview for a new episode of Podcast Q [Listen below]. “Once you start that story, you start remembering all of these things and all of these wounds start getting healed. It’s been a great four to five years of how long it took me to write it and release it.’

“Now, I think it’s really the most impactful thing I have ever done,” he added.

Which is saying something for the restaurateur who launched Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar in 2019 with his husband Juan and created the popular Gentlemen’s Ball and its Gentlemen’s Foundation – also with Juan – to celebrate and support the accomplishments of Black LGBTQ people.

“There were no plans for us to do this, but now it was like, you know, our divine order moved us here,” Smalls said.

Smalls discussed the book and the reaction from family, running a restaurant during a pandemic, whether the Gentlemen’s Ball is coming back, the ongoing racial justice movement and how tough it is to be his personal assistant during a wide-ranging interview for a new episode of Podcast Q.

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe with Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.


  • (0:55) How the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the restaurant
  • (1:35) The impact of the pandemic on Gee and his family
  • (2:35) Gee on getting into the bar and lounge business – that turned into a restaurant
  • (4:45) Where do those recipes come from?
  • (7:45) Pivoting the business during the pandemic
  • (10:55) What inspired Gee to write “Black Enough Man Enough”
  • (14:55) The importance of family, their impact on Gee’s projects and their reaction to his memoir
  • (19:45) What’s it like to be his personal assistant
  • (21:49) How did the Gentlemen’s Ball get started and is it coming back
  • (27:02) Using his voice in social activism and ongoing racial justice movement
  • (29:15) Gee on going public on social media – and what stays private
  • (30:56) What’s his next project – and is there a second Virgil’s in the works


Sorry but your #Instacrush probably doesn’t want to date you

"Sometimes I feel like he’s a messy flirt, starved for attention. Other times, he might not respond at all, then I wonder if maybe he’s the strong silent type that I actually need."

This small-town Georgia official has been out and proud for 55 years

Hamilton, Ga., Mayor Pro Tem Ransom Farley was around 11 or 12 years old when his grandmother told him he was “special.” He realized what...

Calling trans men out of invisibility and into queer legend

When Q listed LGBTQ legends, transgender men who “most everyone knows and will remember forever” proved difficult to bring to mind. I consulted a trans male friend.

Tracking Atlanta’s trans murder cold cases through the decades

Metro Atlanta’s missing and murdered transgender and gender nonconforming victims are not forgotten. Thanks to a pair of forensic genealogists in Massachusetts, trans cold...

The best LGBTQ things to do in Atlanta this weekend

The perfect weather meets its match with local queer events as reasons to get out in it. Out on Film begins, plus AIDS Walk...