Racism, Misandry, & Homophobia The Real Reasons Noah’s Arc Wasn’t More Successful


Since the issue of same sex marriage is a hot button issue in the United States I believe the producers behind Noah’s Arc “should” of made sure this movie had gotten a “wider” release. The quandary for Noah’s Arc is the issue of marketing the movie. How can a movie about young gay black men be marketed beyond the boundaries of the gay community? Unfortnately, I feel the issue of racism needs to be explored into the reasons why Noah’s Arc wasn’t more successful.

Of course, Noah’s Arc is a success because the television show and movie has broken down so many barriers. However, I believe Noah’s Arc deserved better. The show should of been on HBO or Showtime but it was on the American fringe gay channel MTV LOGO a few years ago.

I just found out the Noah’s Arc movie was recently released in the United States last month. According to box office mojo www.boxofficemojo.com  the domestic box office  for Noah’s Arc was only $482,000 dollars. I think the number is impressive given the fact Noah’s Arc did not receive a lot of media attention. Also, the movie was only released in a few cities in America.

Also remember  Noah’s Arc is groundbreaking it is the first black gay television show to ever air on American television. Noah’s Arc did not receive much media attention due to the intersection of racism, misandry, and homophobia. There is still a “fear” of gay black men in society and even within the North American gay communities. Black gay men we are often stereotyped as sex objects for white homosexual male desire or as drag queens. Was the issue a “fear” of black gay men loving each other?

It is rare in the media to see a movie about gay black men in love with “each other” and not in an interracial relationship with some white guy. It is very refreshing to see black gay love. It is a real eye opener for me because I rarely ever see gay black men or gay men of colour in love with each other.

Black gay men we encounter the deleterious hypocrisy and racism from white gays and homophobia from heterosexual black people. There is a constant tug of war with both communities wanting gay black men to “decide” which side we are on. However, race + gender + sexual orientation are all interconnected.

The television show and movie for Noah’s Arc placed black gay men in the center and no longer on the margins. Noah’s Arc demonstrates that young gay black men we are just like everyone else. The characters Noah his boyfriend Wade, and Noah’s friends Alex, Ricky, and Chance are best friends. I love Noah’s Arc because the gay male characters are not stereotypical bitchy queens or narcissistic gay men.

 The black media ignored Noah’s Arc because the show deals with “black gay men”.  Noah’s Arc has a special place in my heart because I feel the show relates to the life experiences of young black gay men. I give a lot of credit to Patrik Ian Polk the creator of Noah’s Arc he took the initiative to create his successful show. Patrik should be very proud of himself. I don’t know if Patrik Ian Polk knows this but he has helped so many young black gay men because we can see ourselves and not feel invisible.

Why wasn’t the cast of Noah’s Arc on Oprah? After all Oprah champions herself as being accepting of homosexuality. Noah’s Arc was an opportunity for Oprah to reach out to the heterosexual black commuinity and for a serious discussion about gay black men take place on her program. One argument is that the show Noah’s Arc wasn’t a huge hit and that’s why it did not receive Oprah’s attention. However,  Oprah could of done a wonderful episode in raising awareness about gay black men. It appears Oprah only wants to have shows on gay black men when something negative occurs.

Why wasn’t the cast of Noah’s Arc on the Tyra Banks Show? After all, Tyra Banks has gay black men on her show America’s Next Top Model. The only gay black men Tyra Banks wants on her show are stereotypical queens like Miss J or Jay Manuel.

The question has to be asked why wasn’t the cast of Noah’s Arc on the cover of “Ebony Magazine”? After all, I think we are all tired of Beyonce or Rihanna or any of those other black celebrities that grace the cover of Ebony. Ebony Magazine has over 1 million readers why couldn’t Ebony publish an article about Noah’s Arc? Why wasn’t there an article about Noah’s Arc in the black youth culture magazine Vibe? Why wasn’t Noah’s Arc on BET? I contacted BET a few years ago and I only received lip service.

There are so many misconceptions about black gay men and Noah’s Arc. Noah’s Arc should be on mainstream television the show was just that good. Noah’s Arc also was not dirty or slutty like Queer As Folk. The love scenes on Noah’s Arc was very tender and not overtly sexual. I guess the “taboo” is the issue still the idea of black men being in “love” with each other. Maybe the thought of black men actually “kissing” each other is still so shocking for some people in society?

 However, the Noah’s Arc movie had a limited release the question remains why? According to the information I have read the Noah’s Arc television show when it was on MTV LOGO a few years ago was a hit. I also learned that the DVD sales for Noah’s Arc was solid. Also, why wasn’t Noah’s Arc released in Toronto?

Why didn’t the Noah’s Arc movie receive an international release? I wish the movie was available in Toronto!  Toronto is the most important city in Canada yet it was unavailable for Canadian fans of the show. I guess I will have to wait until February 2009 to purchase a DVD copy of the movie.  Noah’s Arc was on MTV LOGO which is basically the white gay channel in the United States. The MTV LOGO promotions department obviously did not promote the program to reach a black audience. I remember when I purchased the first season of Noah’s Arc last year my sister was hooked. I also recall how “hard” it was to find the series. I basically had to investigate all across Toronto until I finally found the series. It is interesting that the white gay show “Queer As Folk” was given major media attention when it was on the American cable network Showtime.  The cast of “Queer As Folk” was even on CNN Larry King. The cast of Queer As Folk have been on the cover of all the major gay magazines such as Out & Advocate. It is interesting that the gay media have basically ignored Noah’s Arc. The gay audience is a niche market.

Noah’s Arc “could” of been successful if the heterosexual black community was aware of the program. I believe Noah’s Arc might of been a real good educational tool to the heterosexual black community. Gay black men we may be gay but we are still black. We go through the exact same issues black straight people go through such as dealing with life’s struggles, the friendships, relationships, love, happiness, sadness, and pain.

 I believe the producers behind Noah’s Arc should of attempted to reach the mainstream black community.  Maybe the people behind Noah’s Arc did try to reach out to the black and mainstream media but were ignored? Maybe MTV LOGO did try to reach out to the black media but encountered homophobia? The issue of homophobia in black communities across North America is a very serious issue. Everyone knows about the gay preacher or the gay pianist in the black church. Everyone has a gay uncle or cousin. It is ignorant when some people say that black people don’t know about gay people. Of course we do.

I just think it is very sad that the Noah’s Arc movie did not receive a wider release! I wish the Noah’s Arc movie was released in Toronto. Noah’s Arc has a cult following and the television show and movie deserved better.

About orvillelloyddouglas

I am a gay black Canadian male.

10 responses to “Racism, Misandry, & Homophobia The Real Reasons Noah’s Arc Wasn’t More Successful”

  1. Taylor Siluwé says :

    You better preach!!! I couldn’t agree more. Excellent post.

  2. catchingupat20 says :

    You made excellent points as to how and why Noah’s Arc hasn’t received a bigger audience. But I don’t think that the show in anyway was an accurate representation of black gay men.

    During the movie, my friend repeated joked about “How a struggling screenwriter affords THOSE boots.” The show seemed to suggest that black gays occupy some romantic fantasy world of light skinned, muscular, and attractive gay men that are never single, and despite their careers always seem to have extra money.

    QAF wasn’t a much better slice of life piece on gay life, but at least they reflected more realistic personal relationships, gays of various income levels and attractiveness, and more interaction with the outside world. Of course, QAF had issues, especially concerning race, but at least the characters were somewhat more dynamic and honest than those of Noah’s Arc.

    I would love to live in the bubble of Noah’s world, where attractive, educated, and fit fellows seem available at every turn, but alas I do not. And I must be out of the loop, because i don’t know anybody who could honestly say that Noah’s Arc is accurate or a good portrayal of black gay life.

    • JamReloaded JamDik Flux says :

      I have to say I feel the same way regarding the show. I watched a few episodes and was totally turned off by its fluff of gay lifestyle that was more reminiscent of White Life in black “gay” face…

      I tried to like it, I really did.. even met the cast and writer, yet it just never rang true to me. I stopped watching it after just the first season and resigned myself to creating stories that reflect more of the experiences ive encountered day to day.

      Like you, I asked… how do BROKE (negros) afford all that they have, yet are “aspiring” (FILL IN THE BLANKS). I cant remember a starving artist being so “fab”…

      Its a lot of peanut butter and a spoon…

      I am not tryin’ to take away from the impact the show has had for BLACK SAME GENER LOVING people across the world, I just dont believe it was inclusive enough for it to be touted as something “mainstream” media would have cared to look @ and definitely not worth HBO’s time… @ best, maybe a parody of some 3rd channel show… ending up on fox, then to UPN…

      But hey, what do I know… im married to a dude…

  3. Rick says :

    Oh Thank You God For Noah’s Ark;

    This Television Series was wonderful and beautiful. It is also true. There are several of us Black Gay Men who are never recognized. Black Gay Men are doing it and have always done positive things but society never glamorize us. There are successful, down to earth Black Gay Men who want other Black Gay Men (and not Gay White Men, no offense) and the series and the Movie is true!!! The cast was beautiful, classy, intelligent and professional and if it’s not something that is degrading we Black Gay Men and Black Gay Women or Black People in a whole, Hollywood can’t accept it. This show should have remained on the air as well as it was not given credit for it’s wonderful example of Black Gay Men, dressing well, living well, educated and enlightened. I am a Black Gay Male who only love other Black Gay Men and Men of Color because I know our struggle and being A Gay Black is totally different from being a Gay White because they are two different worlds. I salute the cast and many Blessings to you all. Yes, there are Successful Blacks (Long Before Barack and Michelle) that are Elegant, go-getters, Classy and down to earth; Hell, I am from Chicago and I am use to seeing professional Blacks Living Well (long before Oprah and Michael J came to our city) and yes, on the south side. Again, this show wasn’t given a fair chance and I wasn’t even aware of the Movie.

  4. Anonymous says :

    should have, not should of

    I largely agree with you, Mr. Douglas. Racism and homophobia are the ever-present, always growing hurdles for actors of colour, especially in Straight Male/Very Pale America. That’s why, for instance, Mr. T. Perry resorts to buffoonery and stereotypes. That’s also why the producers of the biopic about Liberace could only be shown on HBO. But, there is the faint light of hope, because, gratefully, vehicles like Noah’s Arc even exist. A half million dollars reveue isn’t great, but to be fair, this movie was on television for a long time. A broader query could be why aren’t Blacks more successful in Hollywood, but that’s a whole other talk show…

  5. Jeffrey Sanders says :

    How about, “This is not a show about Black Gay Men” but it’s a show about INDIVIDUALS who happen to be Black Gay Men.

  6. Kendrew A. Heriveaux says :

    How about the acting was horrible and the script was just as bad. Let’s be realistic here, it was over the top campy and would have just perpetuated the many thoughts and preconceived notions that are put upon us as black gay men (I speak of the extremely queeny character). Aside from the, the script was not well written enough for a network the has produced multi-award winning shows like Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under etc. Furthermore, the show was just a “carbon copy” of Sex and the City, and frankly that has already been done, lets be original folks.

  7. Earnest Winborne says :

    How about all of you people who are complaining, go out and try to get your script green-lite by any network, anywhere? How about you learning something about the costs of a television production or a feature film for that matter and what goes into network development? Did any of the writers of this article do any real research? How about interviewing the producers, getting a statements from the networks, or even asking BET, part of the MTV Networks, why they declined to carry the show? Oh, they wouldn’t talk to you? And you stopped there? I don’t even see a quote here from Patrik. Did members of the black LGBT community ever start a letter writing campaign to Oprah or any other television show or magazine asking for more exposure for Noah’s Arc? Do you know anything about film distribution? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a film in a theater at all? Do you have any idea what budget the producers or the network, LOGO, had to work with and how they probably didn’t have the budget to afford a major media marketing and publicity campaign? Are any of the writers and readers of this article who posted comments, part of a local or state film commissions? Do you serve on any film, writing, directing, actor or theatrical board of directors? And here’s the important par, have you lobbied or for that matter CONTRIBUTED MONEY to any film production, not ticket sales, pre-production? If the answer is no to one or more of these questions, then you’re just part of the peanut gallery. You want to see change, then the change starts with you. Anybody can complain from the cheap seats, but if you haven’t taken action, then you’re just giving lip service.
    Earnest Winborne

  8. Kevin Andres Swiezak says :

    This is such a deceiving piece. If this truly was the case, why did “Queer as Folk” get such lauded attention. It is articles like these that adds to the already present jadedness of pulling the “its racist” card. They need to help being ignoring to the plight of black actors and people. This show was nothing more than a gay minstrel satire. To say the acting was terrible would simply be stating the obvious. I would like to state the obvious. The acting was beyond terrible.

  9. orvillelloyddouglas says :

    Kevin Andres Swiezak, do you honestly not believe QAF receive more media attention because the cast was white? And QAF had great acting? Give me a break!

    QAF was a piece of racist garbage which stereotyped gay men of colour as just sex objects for white guys. At least Noah’s Arc attempted to show gay black men in a more positive light than just being sex objects.

    Noah’s Arc DESERVED a bigger platform than just being on MTV LOGO it should have been on HBO.

    Too many television shows are about white gay men and NOT enough about gay men of colour that’s the problem.

    What world do you live in? In North America, there is a myopic image of gay men ONLY being white, not black, or Asian, or Native American, or Latino. Noah’s Arc wasn’t perfect, I acknowledge this but MTV LOGO DID NOT give the show the respect it deserved. Noah’s Arc only lasted two very short seasons and then there was the movie. I think Noah’s Arc did suffer from racism and homophobia and I am surprised you try to ignore this isn’t a factor.

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