*If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll remember the late night infomercials on the Psychic Readers Network. You may recall one psychic reader who wore a turban, and offered Jamaican-themed readings.
In fact, it was her eccentricity that helped make her a notorious pop culture personality.
From 1997 to 2003, Miss Cleo worked for the Psychic Readers Network and those interested in getting a glimpse into their future through her tarot card reading could call a pay-by-the-minute line.
But it all came crashing down in 2002 when an onslaught of lawsuits against the network gave way to closer scrutiny of its partners, and Miss Cleo was found out to be a fake. Not so much as a psychic (you’d have to ask those she gave readings to); but she wasn’t actually Jamaican. Instead, her real name was Youree Dell Harris and she was born in Los Angeles. Her parents were U.S. citizens, though likely of Jamaican descent.
But it was in 2006 that the life of the woman known as Miss Cleo took its most significant turn. She decided to come out of the closet as a lesbian; a revelation that many in her family did not take well.
In an interview with Peter Knegt’s Bent blog to promote her participating in Tony Shaff’s new documentary “Hotline,” which looks at the extensive world of phone hotlines, Miss Cleo admits that many of her Jamaican relatives cut her off after learning about her sexuality.
“I’m as gay as a two dollar bill, same as you,” she said. “And I mean no disrespect, because I’m gay. And in the black community and the Jamaican community, that’s not easy. Not at all. As a matter of fact, when I came out publicly in 2006, I lost a large portion of my family. It’s so difficult.”
“I’m grateful for all you younger folks where it’s not that way anymore,” she expressed.
See Miss Cleo in action back in the day, directly below.
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