It is 2016 ladies & gentlemen. There is absolutely no reason why our inclusion in mainstream television programming should STILL focus on these tired, lazy, DL characters and their associated “down low” experiences. It truly KILLS ME that producers are still seemingly perpetuating the idea that two black men can’t exist in an openly loving, monogamous, mentally & emotionally stable relationship. And if a black man does exist in a healthy union, his partner HAS to be of another ethnicity.
While I certainly am pleased to watch and support the Jamal Lyon’s, Tariq Muhammad’s & Milan Christopher’s of the world, I want to see them on screen in a way that reflects the reality of a changing, more accepting cultural landscape.
BLACK MEN DO EXIST IN ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER BLACK MEN who are out to their families, desire marriage, seek longterm partnership and are comfortable within their sexuality.
The large majority of us are NOT wasting our time chasing behind closeted rap stars & athletes who have not yet accepted their same sex attractions or feelings.
In my opinion, these “DL” storylines, though written & performed fairly well, do nothing at its core to lay bare the most visceral, romantic elements of male interaction. And because there are so few representations of gay, black men on screen, there is no time or space to waste on pure “entertainment”. We, as a community tend to accept and get excited about seeing these washed storylines because the only alternative in black, gay media comes in the form of start and stop web series’ made for YouTube or digital/print magazines that unfortunately never reach beyond a tiny segment of readers. I WANT TO SEE MY BROTHERS ON SCREEN accenting the sentiments of two men, living as partners, working to build a home together, establishing finances, raising a family and committed to loving one another, eternally.
It can be featured in the most basic form of two 22 year olds in their senior year of college: sharing their first apartment together, struggling to make ends meet, one working, the other unemployed, but both making sure the other eats daily and has his basic needs met. I’m not pitching fantasy situations here.
Networks and production companies need to STOP sensationalizing the “DL” man and his “struggle to be himself”. ITS TIRED. They do it specifically to throw black, gay men a bone (see… we included you) – all while echoing the perspective of the masses that suggests our interactions are abnormal or our carefree, sex filled, irresponsible, ungodly “lifestyles” are all the same. We are painted as being unworthy of traditional love.
It’s the antithesis of my reality and to those I most commonly meet, befriend and engage with across the country.
If God ever grants me the opportunity to create LGBT content beyond the Internet, it will be my priority to redefine the depictions of black gay male relationships – the connections we’ve established with ourselves, our families, our partners and the universe as a whole.