At the end of the first season of the Muchmusic soap LA Complex, Kal beat up Tariq because he was fearful Dynasty and his crew would find out he is gay.
I really enjoyed the Tariq and Kal gay romance because it is so rare to see gay black men in love on television.
Andre Fuller and Ben Watson are gorgeous!
Fuller and Watson are fearless in their romantic scenes and the passion is powerful and feels real.
I liked the fact that Kal and Tariq personalities are different and that their love was starting to grow.
Benjamin Watson and Andre Fuller are excellent actors and their physical chemistry is tremendous.
However, I am still disappointed that the LA Complex writers felt it was necessary for Kal to brutally beat up Tariq. I think it was lazy writing by the writers in order to keep the gay storyline dramatic.
I am not disputing that domestic violence does not occur in gay male relationships. However, since there is a paucity of black gay men on television was it necessary to make their relationship violent? I am concerned about the negative racist and sexist stereotypes that exist in society about queer black men.
I will tune into Much Music on July 17th to see the aftermath of the domestic violence scene. I wonder, will Tariq take Kal back? Is Tariq going to press charges against Kal for domestic violence?
Or will the writers simply end the relationship between the two men? I am intrigued by this storyline because it is nice to see gay black men on a television show who aren’t cardboard gay stereotypes. I am glad that Tariq or Kal aren’t drag queens, cross dressers, or effeminate that’s a real relief. It is nice to see two masculine gay black men on a prime time soap opera.
Last year, a young black woman Issa Rae decided to create her own web series called Awkward Black Girl due to the paucity of entertainment geared towards black women. The show is a hit on You Tube! Issa and her friends worked together, got on Kickstarter and raised the funds for the web series. In fact, Issa Rae has received a lot of mainstream media attention from CNN, New York Magazine, and other publications. Issa also had discussions with television networks interested in her series. Issa Rae wants to maintain control over her show and give the audience the entertainment that is lacking on mainstream television.
I am concerned about the representation of Kal and Tariq’s relationship on LA Complex. I am cognizant that Kal is a rapper in the closet but why does Kal and Tariq’s relationship have to be abusive? Why does Kal beat Tariq that’s not love that’s domestic violence!
Why are black men being depicted as violent? I think violence at the end is weird and abhorrent!
Why does Kal have to be a rap artist? I think that’s just lazy writing so a black gay man has to be on the down low? Give me a break! Why couldn’t Kal and Tariq be country western singers or something else? I don’t know but the whole hip hop industry thing reeks of racism.
One argument is the writers of LA Complex are illustrating gay relationships can be toxic and violent just like heterosexual relationships.
However, since there is a paucity of black gay men on television aren’t the LA Complex writers reinforcing racist and sexist stereotypes about black gay men?
Are the writers of LA Complex trying to say black gay love is violent? Would the writers of LA Complex write a white gay couple in this negative light? I doubt two white gay guys would have a violent relationship on Canadian television.
White homosexual characters in films and on television are depicted as loving and romantic. By contrast, a black gay couple’s relationship is depicted as abusive which makes me sick!
I abhor violence and to see Tariq in a pool of blood at the end of the scene makes me want to vomit!
Last week, I complained that LA Complex stereotypes gay black men. I was disappointed about the whole down low rapper storyline. Most gay black men are not rappers or musicians just regular people.
Now I have changed my mind. I think Kal and Tariq dysfunctional relationship is interesting drama. For some gay black men it is difficult to come out of the closet due to homophobia inside the black community. I think this story can help us black folks to have more dialogue about homosexuality.
The second scene in the studio Kal tries to act hard and create this persona that he is a heterosexual man is shocking.
Kal is hypocritical he is pretending to be straight yet treating Tariq like shit is disappointing yet real.
However, Kal is scared by his attraction to Tariq so he treats him badly. I think Tariq will have to decide whether he wants to deal with Kal`s internalized homophobia. It is refreshing to see two young gay black men on Canadian television! I hope the writers continue to expand the characters make them more real and not stereotype them.
In the final scene, my heart melted when Kal showed some vulnerability and admitted that he is attracted to Tariq.
By the way the kiss at the end of the last scene is so hot!!!
I love India Arie her third album “Testimony Vol 1: Life & Relationship”! India Arie’s third album debut at the number one spot on Billboard in the summer of 2006. “Testimony Vol 1: Life& Relationship” has been very successful reaching platinum status and selling close to two million copies worldwide. The high debut and solid sales are very important. It demonstrated India Arie is a force in the music industry and a black woman doesn’t have to change herself to obtain record sales. India Arie is very important not just to black women but everyone and the music industry. India Arie proves you don’t have to lose your integrity or dignity to have a successful career.
Some people have tried to insult India Arie by calling her the “Oprah” of music. So what if India Arie is positive? Sometimes when I feel depressed and miserable I listen to India Arie she makes me feel better. I admire India Arie for her courage to actually think outside of the box. The music industry is all about paradigms and following trends. India Arie has found her own niche and it works for her. India Arie has her own path. I also love the fact India Arie can play the guitar she reminds me of Tracy Chapman but she is less melancholic. I wonder if India Arie will move beyond a mixture of folk and R&B and release a full length folk album?
Don’t we have enough grief in our lives and this world? What’s wrong with a little bit of love? India Arie’s music is very positive and why not? Why should music always be depressing all the time. India Arie is all about helping the public to realize we should be thankful for being alive. Since we are alive we can make changes to our lives to make it better.
There is nothing wrong with examining ourselves and questioning how we can help the world. India Arie is all about exploring the internal side of ourselves the side some people refuse to share with other people. We have feelings of darkness, pain, sadness in our lives. What’s wrong with trying to overcome the unhappiness and grief?
Another reason why I love India Arie is because she is proud of her blackness. So often in pop culture we see black women such as Mary J Blige, Tyra Banks, and Beyonce Knowles with their lace front blonde weaves. The question is what messages are these black entertainers sending to the public? Mary J Blige talks about “real love” yet girlfriend has been rocking the same blonde weave since 1992!
Its like girlfriend get a new hair style! India Arie is all about natural hair but she says its okay to wear a weave and she’s right. Everyone has a right too style their own hair anyway they want to. I am just glad India Arie exists because she is demonstrating to black people and the world that black is beautiful.
I love Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson but I must admit I don’t feel they have dealt with the internal struggles with their blackness. Why did Janet get the unnecessary nose job? Janet Jackson’s original nose is beautiful. Why has Michael had multiple nose jobs and bleached his skin yet continue to deny the truth? My sister says Janet’s nose looks jacked up. Michael Jackson is a completely different story this guy needs a therapist. India Arie is heading to Broadway this summer in New York City she will be in Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”.
The ABC television movie, “A Raisin In The Sun,” will be broadcast on February 25th 2008 at 8:00pm. The television film fulfills the black quota for “black history month”. Pop star Sean Combs. is the protagonist Walter Lee Younger. The title of the movie refers to black gay poet Langston Hughes poem “Harlem”.
African American lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s legendary play, once again, will be brought back to television to reach a new generation next week. Hansberry was the first black lesbian playwright to have a play produced on Broadway in 1959. “A Raisin In the Sun” was a huge success for Hansberry and launched her career.
The general public of course does not know that Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian due to homophobia. Why is black lesbianism considered “private” yet “heterosexuality” is a part of the public domain? Although Hansberry married a white Jewish man, Robert Nemiroff in 1953, the couple separated in 1957 and divorced in 1964.Hansberry was conscious of her lesbian identity and she negotiated between the public and private spheres. Black lesbians encountered racism from the mainstream, white gay culture, and also persecution from heterosexual blacks.
Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity emerges from the articles she wrote for the lesbian publication “The Ladder” in the late 1950s. Hansberry did not use her full name when she wrote articles for “The Ladder” she used her initials L.H. instead. In the 1950s, in America, gays and lesbians lived in fear due to witch hunts against homosexuals. Black lesbian women encountered a triple form of oppression in relation to their race, gender, and sexual orientation.
Can you imagine the difficulties black lesbians endured in the 1950s? Homosexuality was still considered a mental illness that can be cured. The topic of human sexuality was still taboo in the 1950s. America was sexually repressed due to heterosexual male domination and male supremacy. The racial and sexual apartheid existed in the United States and black lesbians lived in constant danger due to racism, sexism and homophobia. The civil rights and gay movements did not gather strength until the 1960s.
Black lesbians encountered racism from white lesbians and were barred from entering white lesbian bars and establishments during the 1950s. Black lesbians also endured gender discrimination due to being women and unwanted sexual advances of dangerous, violent, and hostile heterosexual men.
Hansberry was indeed a lesbian but this important component of black queer history should not be erased by the homophobic Occidental world. Heterosexual black publications always ignore the important fact Hansberry was a lesbian. I didn’t know Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian until I read lesbian activist, feminist, poet, and writer Adrienne Rich’s incisive essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”. Rich’s analysis is correct society attempts to erase, diminish, and destroy the contributions of lesbians in many ways. I believe the silence about Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbianism is due to the negative attitude that still exists against homosexuals.
Why is the term lesbianism treated like a scatological word? One argument is some straights believe “it doesn’t matter” and if people discover that Lorraine Hansberry was a black lesbian it might “scare people off” from watching the movie. Why is there this invisible code and this silent barrier? If black lesbian emancipation is to occur why is black lesbianism still a social taboo? Society appears to have a love and hate relationship with lesbianism.
The political, cultural, social, and artistic merits of black lesbians such as Lorraine Hansberry must be celebrated and not treated as some shameful abhorrent secret. It is the year 2008 so why are we still reticent? Why hasn’t this final chasm been shattered and the truth still shrouded in silence? Lorraine Hansberry proves that black gay people care about the black community.
Often heterosexual blacks believe black gays and lesbians only focus on sexual orientation and ignore race. Lorraine Hansberry proves through art that she was cognizant of the racial, social and political polemics blacks endured during the civil rights era. “A Raisin In The Sun”, is about a fictional story about a black family struggling to survive in 1950s Chicago at a time when America’s social and racial apartheid was at full strength.
Virtually all the articles published about “A Raisin In The Sun” always mentions Lorraine Hansberry’s race and her gender but excludes her sexual orientation. The question is why? It appears in the year 2008 homophobia reigns supreme. Lesbianism is more then just a sexual act there is more to lesbianism then just sex. Lesbians are women that are not sexually attracted to men but there is an illogical fear of lesbianism in society that lesbians are anti male.
Lorraine Hansberry lived a double life a life where she constantly was in fear that the heterosexist matrix would discriminate against her since she was a black lesbian. The real Lorraine Hansberry is blurred between the printed lines of “A Raisin In The Sun”. The sentences, paragraphs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and doubt, lives in Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play. “A Raisin In The Sun” is about emancipation and personal determination I believe this also relates to the struggles gays and lesbians encounter. Perhaps Hansberry used her play as a metaphor to explore the internal struggles she endured during her own life?
Lorraine Hansberry’s incredible groundbreaking play proves that black gay and lesbian people were cognizant of the struggles blacks endured in the mid 20th century. Hansberry wanted to bring a greater awareness to the incredible racism, sexism, and economic discrimination African Americans experienced in the United States.
Lorraine Hansberry is very important she shattered an artistic and cultural barrier in the performing arts. It is such a disservice to ignore Hansberry was a lesbian. Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity should not be concealed in the shadows and be treated as an afterthought. I believe it is imperative, and crucial that there be a dialogue about how Hansberry’s play relates to her lesbian identity. It is simply disgraceful that the mainstream press to ignore and attempt to erase the importance of lesbianism in Lorraine Hansberry’s life and art.
The articles Lorraine Hansberry wrote for “The Ladder” are very passionate and powerful she wrote about the struggles she endured as a black lesbian woman in the mid 20th century. Legendary African American actors Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier were the stars of the original stage version of the play and the 1961 feature film. Sadly, Lorraine Hansberry died in her prime at the tender age of thirty four in 1965 due to pancreatic cancer. Lorraine Hansberry died at a very young age she was such an incredible talent.
The press have showered the movie with a lot of praise saying the three hour film is a testament of Hansberry’s incredible talent. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Audra McDonald, and the omnipotent Sean Combs. I will admit I might take a peek at the movie. However, I am not impressed that Sean Combs or P Diddy or whatever that guy calls himself is the star of the film. I wanted a younger black male actor to be the star of the movie.
The crisis in black Hollywood is the paucity of film roles available for young black actors. I am sure some black actors are seething right now that Sean Combs is the star of the film. In white Hollywood you rarely ever see a “singer” attain a prestigious movie role these days. Can you imagine Jon Bon Jovi as the star in a movie about Elvis? So why is there a double standard for black Hollywood? Why do untalented bottom feeders such as Sean Combs get to the be star of such an important movie?
I really feel for the talented young black male actors that are training hard at various universities, colleges, theater programs, across North America and the world. The only reason Sean Combs was hired is due to greed. The producers and director behind the television film believe Combs can generate huge ratings for ABC television. ABC television will hype this movie to the maximum I just believe a talented and much younger black actor should of chosen for the male lead.
The lead in “A Raisin In The Sun” Walter Lee Younger is a young black man and Sean Combs is thirty eight years old. Since Combs in thirty eight one argument is he can bring “maturity” to the role. However, I believe the feeling of naivety and optimism is diminished for the character Walter Lee Younger due to Combs advanced age.
A younger black male actor possibly someone between the ages of twenty five to perhaps thirty two should of been chosen for the role. Combs is simply not talented enough and too old for the part. Combs is also a rap artist he’s a wannabe actor he is not a serious dramatic actor. I have so much sympathy for the talented black actors that want to become stars in Hollywood but are not given the opportunity.
Why does Hollywood continue to insult the audience and cast these talentless flakes such as Sean Combs in such prestigious roles? The barriers for black actors in Hollywood are incredible there are limited opportunities to advance up the Hollywood star system. Twenty five years ago perhaps an unknown black male actor would of been chosen for the lead role. Hollywood is profit driven and the ideology is since Sean Combs already is successful in various demographics his fans will fans will flock to watch the movie. However, does talent not matter anymore?
Why do young blacks in Hollywood have to always be singers or dancers in order to breakthrough and get the big movie roles? Beyonce just won the lead role in a biopic about the legendary singer Etta James. I cringe because Beyonce is not an actress she needs acting lessons. Beyonce cannot act she requires an acting coach and numerous hours to learning the craft of acting.
Young talented unknown black actors are being disrespected and ignored. A young black male actor with talent would of been electrifying in the role of Walter Lee Younger. A young black actor could of brought pathos, complexity, sensitivity, and range to this very important role. Unfortunately, Hollywood is now all about profit margins, ratings, and the craft of acting is now secondary. The only glimmer of hope is that young people will learn more about Lorraine Hansberry and gain an appreciation for her incredible talent.
Let’s be real here the media love to say just because Senator Barack Obama is a black man that blacks support him. It is so typical of the media to ignore the most important person in Barack Obama’s life and that’s his wife Michelle. Michelle Obama is the reason Barack is having success right now. I seriously doubt he would be doing so well right now without his wife’s support.
It is so common in the mainstream culture to see so many high profile black heterosexual men with spouses that are not black. Now of course love is a personal choice and decision. I won’t mention names but we know who these black men are. It is indeed wonderful to see in the popular culture black love both Barack and Michelle are educated, intelligent, young, black people.
Here you have a black man Barack Obama trying to become the first black president in United States history and he is married to a black woman. Yes, I think this important and it is nice to see black love in the mainstream culture.
White feminists such as Gloria Steinem tried to play the divide and conquer strategy of placing race against gender. Steinem and some other white feminists want black women to vote for their “white sister” Senator Hillary Clinton. Notice Steinem expects black women to just support Hillary Clinton due to gender and race. When have white feminists ever supported black women? The answer is never.
There are also other black females that are inspired by Michelle Obama they see her support, hard work, her dedication, and love for her husband Barack. Michelle Obama makes Barack acceptable to black women. Michelle Obama is also a very hard working professional black woman she is also outspoken that’s just fabulous. So while the mainstream ignore Michelle Obama she needs to be given her due.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be cognizant of the fact that folk rock singer Tracy Chapman is a black lesbian. So why is Chapman still reticent about being a lesbian since her first album was released in 1988? Chapman has sold millions of albums, is a multiple Grammy award winner, and a black lesbian feminist icon. Chapman’s audience knows she is a lesbian yet she refuses to come out of the closet and declare she is gay.
Another interesting fact, Tracy Chapman’s core audience is white and not black. Even though, Chapman sings about racism and other forms of discrimination, she is still not accepted by the black community.
I think some black people just didn’t “connect” with Tracy Chapman due to homophobia and sexism.
I think most black people already know Tracy is a black lesbian woman.
Another reason, the black community can’t “connect” with Tracy Chapman is due to the fact she is a folk rock singer and not an R&B and soul singer.
Some blacks say Tracy Chapman is acting white and that’s such bullshit. Chapman is an individual and it is sad that the black race we don’t respect her.
Why can’t a black entertainer break the racist and sexist stereotypes? I applaud Tracy Chapman for having her own vision and being extremely successful. Why should all black singers just sound like Mary J Blige or Beyonce? Isn’t this boring? Musical taste is a personal choice and preference it’s just interesting that many blacks have shunned Chapman for so many years.
Why has Tracy Chapman been on the cover of Rolling Stone but not Essence, Upscale, or Ebony Magazine?
After all, Chapman is a multi platinum international superstar. Why is Chapman shunned by the black media ?
Although Tracy doesn’t discuss this it’s got to hurt, that her own race disrespect her this way. Tracy Chapman is a legend, it is so horrible that black people have no respect for this legend.
Chapman was never really embraced by the black media or black community for a plethora of reasons. The first obvious reason I believe Tracy Chapman wasn’t accepted by the black community is due to her androgynous appearance. Although Chapman has a feminine voice and personality, she is a butch lesbian. Chapman doesn’t wear seductive clothing or utilize her sexuality to sell records. Some heterosexual people of African descent are uncomfortable with Chapman’s masculine appearance.
Another point to consider, is the black media can be very myopic at times. Tracy Chapman was never treated fairly by the press in the black community. Tracy was often ignored on black radio, BET, black magazines and newspapers.
Tracy is an incredible artist a black woman who defied the odds.
She is a music superstar, she shattered through the pop world and claimed her place and audience. Chapman’s tours are very successful and yet the black race ignored her due to prejudice. Tracy has never denied her blackness she is a proud black woman and yet blacks still treat her badly.
Why is the representation of “black music” so limiting? I think there is more to black music then just R&B and hip hop. However, black radio and the people in the black media still promote less talented artists than Tracy Chapman. I think if the black media did make the effort Tracy Chapman could have had a larger black audience. I do wish black radio, black TV was a bit more open about different musical formats. I mean why isn’t Meshell N’Degeocello on BET more often?
Tracy Chapman has never denied she is a lesbian, but she hasn’t exactly been open about her sexuality either. I understand Tracy has a career and she has a right to a private life. However, given the fact that black gays and lesbians we have so little visibility in the mainstream it would be nice if Tracy was more open.
By now, I am sure, everyone knows that the bisexual feminist writer Alice Walker and Chapman were involved in a romantic relationship in the 1990s. Walker talked about her former lover Chapman in an interview with the UK newspaper The Guardian. Here is the link: http://books.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1972800,00.html
Another black entertainer that lived in the closet is Luther Vandross. Luther Vandross situation is similar to Tracy Chapman, but Vandross was loved and respected in the black heterosexual community. Vandross was gay, yet he kept his secret leading all the way to his death. People will say “well the black audience didn’t care that Luther was gay we loved him anyway.” I disagree because I think the love the black audience had for Luther was not unconditional because if it was he would have come out. I think Luther remained in the closet not just because he feared about losing revenue by coming out but he also feared losing his place within the black community.
Vandross was cognizant that he needed the black heterosexual audience to buy his CDs, concert tickets, DVDs. Vandross also was aware of the fact the white gay community certainly was not a market he could rely on to keep the revenue flowing. Luther had a “don’t ask don’t tell policy” with the black community.
An issue that is rarely discussed in the mainstream media is the fact to be “gay” means to be “white” this displaces queers of colour.
If you look at the gay magazines such as Advocate or Out Magazine or the LGBT movies being released the message is gay people are white people. The gay celebrities that come out of the closet are rich white gays and lesbians such as Ellen Degeneres or Rosie O Donnell.
Being black and gay is unique because we are a “double” or even “triple” minority.
Maybe some black gay and lesbian stars are correct in being fearful of the racism of the mainstream white gay community?
What is the point coming out as a black gay or lesbian star when you can be marginalized due to your race?
Next, black gay and lesbian stars have to worry about the entrenched homophobia in the heterosexual black community.
Some black heterosexuals believe black gays and lesbians we are going straight to hell they are very religious people.
So, the option for many black gays and lesbians is to remain in the closet because they are safe in the black community. Meanwhile, black gays and lesbians can surreptitiously explore their homosexuality in the gay community.
I think this is the quandary that hurt Luther Vandross. Luther had to negotiate between the white and black public spheres.
I think it’s so sad that Luther’s life was a tragedy he wasn’t able to really be himself in the public sphere. The black media did ask Luther numerous times in interviews about his sexual orientation and he always either ignored the question or just denied that he was gay. I wonder though, would the black community really turn on him? Everyone knew, Luther was the “eternal bachelor.”
It was the “fear”, I think that held Luther back the unknown. In some ways. Luther was a sex symbol for some black women he sang songs about heterosexual love. Vandross was the “classy” R&B singer he didn’t sing the bump and grind such as R Kelly and his clones.
Yet when a black entertainer does come out the black community and the mainstream white gay community either ignores or disrespect the artist.
For instance, bisexual singer Meshell N’Degeocello has been out for several years although she has never attained the success or respect she so richly deserved. I still believe there was a resistance to her work because she was so brash, bold, and outspoken. Meshell never denied or hid the fact she is bisexual.
I think this is part of the reason Queen Latifah refuses to come out of the closet. Queen Latifah has more to lose than someone like Meshell N’degeocello she is an A list black actress. Queen Latifah has numerous endorsements, high profile film roles, and she is loved by the black heterosexual community.
I think most black people “know” Queen Latifah is a lesbian but she has not declared she is gay due to fear. Perhaps Queen Latifah doesn’t want to come out because she is not interested in being a “role model” to the gay community or seen as a “spokesperson”?
When I was coming out as a teenager, in the mid 1990s, it really helped me a lot to accept my sexuality. I remember watching Meshell talk about her sexuality and life on Much Music. People that are not black and gay don’t understand what it feels like to invisible and be a double or even triple minority.
When K.D. Lang and Melissa Etheridge came out in the 1990s they did not register with me because they are white. I just couldn’t relate to them. Yet when I saw an interview with this courageous young black woman Meshell N’Degeocello on Much Music I felt empowered. Meshell she discussed her incredible second album the amazing “Peace Beyond Passion” and the song “Leviticus Faggot”.
I love Meshell! Meshell is one of my role models! It was incredible for me to see this black LGBT woman Meshell N’Degeocello on television talking about how wonderful it is to be black and an LGBT person.
It meant so much to me to see someone that looked like me on TV that was black and gay. It takes a lot of guts what Meshell did it really does.
Meshell never looked like the typical female black singer she has a shaved head, her music was not just soul, it was also rock, funk, pop, maybe even some folk too. Meshell was not a puppet controlled by the record company either. Although Meshell is slim she wasn’t a size two, she didn’t wear the designer clothes but she has a lot of natural talent and is a true multi instrumentalist musician. Meshell was radical in the sense she was proud of her sexual orientation and her blackness.
Meshell has spoken honestly about the pernicious racism, hypocrisy, and bigotry of the mainstream white gay community. When Meshell came out she didn’t receive that much press in the white gay media either. Meshell she was ignored by the mainstream white gay magazines such as Out or Advocate. The white gay media treated Meshell as though she was just an afterthought. However, I felt Meshell was so incredibly talented and her talent allowed her to rise to the top.
There was an indifference and ambivalence the white gay press had for her because she is an outspoken black bisexual woman. Meshell refused to play the racist game of ignoring her “blackness” to just focus on her “sexuality.” Meshell she was cognizant of the fact there is an intersection of race, sexuality, and gender.
Meshell let it be known that just because she is bisexual does not mean she didn’t care about black issues or the black community. Some heterosexual black people still believe this fallacy that just because a black person is gay that means we don’t care about black issues and that’s false.
I know for a fact that although there is homophobia in the black community the racism in the mainstream white gay community is so rampant and so obvious. It’s the reason why I couldn’t be bothered with the gay pride events in Toronto, I don’t read the gay newspapers because they never write about issues or things I am interested in. I don’t go to the gay bars in Toronto either.
Some people say Meshell’s music was too ”preachy” meaning too “black” but I loved it! Meshell should of sold millions of albums she should of become a bigger star. Meshell can play several instruments and she also is a very good singer/songwriter. Meshell basically started the “Neo Soul” movement all by herself in 1993 with her first album”Plantation Lullabies.”
Yet black heterosexual singers Erykah Badu, Maxwell, and Jill Scott get all the credit. Meshell released five albums on the Maverick label yet not one album went gold or platinum. Meshell never even won a Grammy award. How could such a talented artist be so disrespected? I think part of the reason Meshell wasn’t more successful was because she was honest about her sexual orientation.
I remember when I was sixteen back in the year 1993 and I had the biggest crush on Tevin Campbell I absolutely adored him. A lot of people I talk to these days say they always knew Tevin was gay. I recall rushing home from school and tape recording Tevin’s hit songs “I’m Ready”, “Always in my heart”, “Can we talk” and playing the videos over and over and over again. I just loved him! I still believe Tevin’s second album “I’m Ready” is one of the best R&B albums of the 1990s.
Tevin as everyone knows got caught a few years back trying to solicit gay sex with an undercover police officer. Tevin has never officially come out of the closet but its well-known he’s gay. Tevin is trying to make a comeback he’s in the musical “Hairspray” and he’s working on a new album.
So is Tevin going to be singing about loving a woman when everyone knows he prefers men? I understand the music business is after all a business but shouldn’t music be made from the heart? Why do so many closeted black gay and lesbian singers sing about the opposite sex when everyone knows they are gay?
There are a few black rappers that everybody knows are lesbians yet they will continue saying in the press that they aren’t gay. I mean people aren’t stupid people can put it together. I am not going to mention the names of these black lesbian rappers because anyone that’s paid attention to hip hop music can figure it out.
There are also some black entertainers everyone knows are bisexual or gay yet its another one of those “don’t ask don’t tell” policies. I can understand if the black gay actor was a leading man it could perhaps shatter the mystique the female audience has with this entertainer. I think that could be a reason some of the black gay male actors in Hollywood remain in the closet. Also, there is the issue of being typecast.
I wonder if we will ever be honest with each other? Anyone that’s been to the black church knows there is always the ubiquitous choir director, gay piano player, or gay pastor. Everybody knows somebody that’s gay whether it is a realtive or a friend.
The easiest way fans can figure out if an artist is indeed gay is not by what they say but by what the entertainer doesn’t say. Actions speak louder than words. Whenever you read an interview about your favourite black star think to yourself why does this black celebrity never talk about his or her’s love life? Why is the topic off limits during the interview?
Whether people want to admit it or not the public wants a connection with stars. It is the human connection that not only attracts people to the star but also gets people to go see their movies, buy their CDs, DVDs, or got to their concerts. If society is so accepting of homosexuality these days why is there an imbalance in the type of stars coming out and those that remain in the closet?
Today its raining in the greater Toronto area and I’m bored. I rarely watch TV these days except for the local news, some pro tennis, or pro golf, BBC news, a couple of reality shows, and that’s it. I click the remote control and there is nothing good on TV right now. Its times like these that I keep on thinking about why was Noah’s Arc cancelled? Noah’s Arc was the first all black gay TV show ever to be broadcast on television. Is Noah’s Arc ever going to air in Canada? And why was Noah’s Arc on the small gay channel MTV LOGO and not on a major American TV network like HBO, Showtime, or one of the mainstream channels?
The story is that MTV LOGO claimed that Noah’s Arc production costs were getting too high even though the show was one of the highest rated programs on MTV LOGO. I enjoyed the show but didn’t like the fact episodes were only 22 minutes I felt it should of been a lot longer. Also now that the show has been cancelled MTV LOGO announced a movie will be released in the year 2008. I don’t think MTV LOGO was the right network for Noah’s Arc it deserved so much better.
The black TV sitcom genre has died a slow death. The glory days of black television was only for twenty something years from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. It all started with “The Jeffersons” in the 1970s then “The Cosby Show”, “227″, “Amen” in the 1980s, “A Different World”, “In Living Single” were great 1990s shows. However, Girlfriends is the only black TV show that I think had any meaning or importance and yet that show isn’t even on a major network its on the cable channel CW network. Jill Marie Jones the talented young actress that played Toni Childs quit the show and it hasn’t been the same since.
Although I welcome black sitcoms I don’t see the risks that “The Jeffersons” “Cosby Show” and “A Different World” took back in the day. The new black TV sitcoms are derivative and unchallenging and that’s why they get cancelled so quickly. The CW network cancelled the program “Alll of Us” and I am not surprised. The rapper Eve had her own sitcom which was quickly cancelled by the CW network. The new black sitcoms play it a bit too safe because the producers want to ensure their shows don’t get cancelled they make the programs as boring as possible. I also notice another trend and pattern this decade all the new black sitcoms have to be wannabe Cosby show rip offs and all focused on black heterosexual nuclear families. The Cosby Show was considered daring and controversial when it aired in the 1980s. Bill Cosby made sure that there was a positive image of blackness that American pop culture ignored when he made the Huxtable family middle to upper class. It was such a pleasure to watch the Huxtables deal with regular life problems and struggles yet still love and respect each other. It was so refreshing to see a show about a black family where the father was was a doctor and the mother was a lawyer they didn’t speak in slang, they had five kids and lived in a nice house in New York City. The knock offs of the Cosby show just didn’t have the excitement or good writing. As I matured I realized that my experiences as a black gay man was always ignored by television. Television is more important then some people realize it is where social attitudes to various topics and issues are discussed and a cultural dialogue is formed.
Noah’s Arc is definitely one of the best black TV shows I have seen in a long time. Noah’s Arc is controversial just for existing. Black people aren’t going to watch MTV LOGO I think Noah’s Arc should of been on BET. I mean BET broadcasts the most boring and mundane entertainment these days Noah’s Arc would of really helped the network gain more black viewers. BET these days isn’t even marketed to black people these days its obvious the people behind BET have diminished the black content so much they are trying to reach a white suburban audience.
The cultural politics of “gender”, “sexuality”, and “race” appear to have hindered the show’s success. Why wasn’t Noah’s Arc on a bigger network? Why wasn’t Noah’s Arc on HBO, ABC, or CBS, NBC, or FOX even? The two recent shows dealing with gays were on Showtime in America. Why wasn’t Noah’s Arc given the opportunity to be on Showtime? People like to say race wasn’t a factor in Noah’s Arc’s inability to reach a larger audience but I definitely believe racism was indeed a core reason why the show didn’t take off like it should.
The mainstream media says “Will and Grace” was a groundbreaking show but I beg to differ. Will and Grace still maintained the status quo where heterosexuality was at the center of the program. Also, Will and Grace had nothing to do with my experiences I just didn’t find the show that interesting. I am not a white gay man and it just doesn’t interest me that everything gay has to equal everything white. I wanted to see myself on TV or people I knew and recognized on TV and Noah’s Arc was that show.
MTV LOGO was created to provide the gay and lesbian community its own space to broadcast programs that would interest a gay audeince. However, MTV LOGO is such a small specialty channel. Why couldn’t Noah’s Arc be on the regular MTV dial? I mean MTV has silly shows about rich white kids such as “The Hills” on their main network Noah’s Arc should of been given a chance to reach a larger audience. Unlike those other two gay shows Noah’s Arc wasn’t overtly sexual the show had class. Noah’s Arc was so much more important then that program. Canada had its own gay channel that I could care less about I mean it has nothing to do with gay people of colour. And that’s why I miss Noah’s Arc so much. I miss Noah, Ricky, Chance, and Alex. Its maybe a bit hard for people that are not black and gay to understand why Noah’s Arc was so important to us. I wish the reruns of Noah’s Arc was on BET. Yes I contacted BET already and of course I didn’t get a response. The show was not disgusting like that other gay TV show that got so much press a few years back. Noah’s Arc had class.
And that’s why I was so pleased a few years ago when Noah’s Arc became the first black gay sitcom to air on television. Although Noah’s Arc was broadcast on American TV I heard about it through the grapevine and I knew once the show was available on DVD I had to watch it. Noah’s Arc aired on MTV LOGO which is the gay MTV channel that is owned by the parent company Viacom. Viacom also owns BET, MTV, and various other networks. Its such a shame that Noah’s Arc was not broadcast on the regular MTV or BET. I think the executives at MTV just didn’t care for the show it simply wasn’t promoted enough. I also found it interesting that the so called “gay media” also ignored Noah’s Arc and certainly didn’t give the show the press it deserved. Part of the blame definitely is on MTV LOGO for not promoting the program enough but the other part is the so called “gay community” patronizing attitude towards the lives and experiences of gay black men. Let’s face it, we live in a culture where whiteness has to always be the center of the universe. The cultural production of “gayness” equals “whiteness”. And Noah’s Arc was a form of resistance to this racism. The attitude of the mainstream American gay press of course was to patronize Noah’s Arc because it had nothing to do with them. Sure, the program dealt with the issue of homosexuality but Noah’s Arc was refreshing that homosexuality was not the core focus of the show. Noah’s Arc was incredible because it demonstrated the struggles that black gay people go through being both black and gay. And in gay culture far too often gay people of colour are treated like a circus or a side show.
For once, Noah’s Arc dealt with a black gay community where black gay people are at the center and not on the margins. Black culture isn’t much better I mean BET has its nightly comedy programs and so often the comedians make gay jokes. Its frustrating because gay black men we are a part of the black community yet we are also demonized as well. And when black heterosexual shows attempt to deal with the issue of homosexuality its often from a negative perspective such as focusing on the whole down low issue. I wish more black people got to see Noah’s Arc maybe they would learn and open their eyes to see that we are just like them. We have joys and struggles with life we deal with similar issues just like them.
I commend the people behind Noah’s Arc for keeping the show black and keeping away from those tired racist storylines. The show dealt with important issues such as the black church, homophobia, black parenting, and many more.
Noah’s Arc was groundbreaking for many reasons. For once it was a show where white gay men were not at the center and black gay men were the focus of the story. Second, it was a show that I could relate to. The show demonstrated that black gay love and romance was real without the supremacy. Far too often in gay culture men of colour are paired with whites in TV and film erasing the existence of black gay men and other gay men of colour. Noah’s Arc broke this supremacist mold of thinking and firmly focused on four young black gay men trying to make it in this world. It was so uplifting and amazing to watch. Its such as shame that Noah’s Arc wasn’t able to reach a larger black audience. I really honestly believe if more black people knew about the show they would watch the program. Do yourself a favour go to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble go to your local HMV, or music store and purchase a copy of seasons 1 and 2 of Noah’s Arc on DVD and see why this show was so amazing.