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Is The Character Olivia Pope On TV Show Scandal Just The White Man’s Whore?

I agree with the black lady’s You Tube critique of the hit ABC show Scandal that the character Olivia Pope is the white man’s whore. I understand, that a lot of black women love Scandal because it is the first show since 1974 to have a black lady in the lead. Olivia Pope isn’t a mammy or a maid which is often a popular representation of a black woman on television. Remember, Nell Carter’s 1980s hit show Gimme A Break? Carter’s character was a maid for a white middle class family.

A common image of a black woman on television is to be mammy the black female character is usually overweight, unattractive, a loudmouth, and of course asexual. On another ABC show Grey’s Anatomy, Chandra Wilson’s character Dr. Bailey is a mammy she doesn’t really have a life of her own. Dr. Bailey is tough but she’s also very loving and nurturing she conforms to the black mammy stereotype.

Scandal is different from Gimme A Break and Grey’s Anatomy because Kerry Washington is a very attractive black woman she’s presenting a more feminine image of a black woman. Washington’s character on Scandal Olivia Pope is intelligent, sexy, and she gets to wear fancy clothes. However, beneath the surface, there are some subliminal messages that I find unsettling.

Scandal presents another stereotype of the black woman, the oversexed black whore. There seems to be no in between for black female characters on television they are either maids, a mammy, or a whore.

First, the relationship between Olivia Pope and President Grant is based on lust and sex that’s it. The You Tube critique is correct, Olivia Pope is the white man’s whore because she isn’t getting what she wants which is a loving relationship where is treated like an equal. One argument is, Scandal is a television show so why can’t black characters be flawed just like white characters? There is some veracity to this argument that black characters do not need to be noble saints.

However, given the fact there are very negative stereotypes about black women in pop culture in relation to sexuality Scandal simply engenders and reinforces these representations of black women.

Second, Olivia Pope sleeps with the President but she’s not his wife she’s his side chick, she’s the mistress, the jump off but she’s not his wife. Olivia Pope is never going to be more than the president’s whore that’s all she is. President Grant gets to have sex with Olivia and go back to his wife Mellie and have sex with her too. President Grant is getting what he wants a lot of sex without the commitment from Olivia Pope.

I don’t think Olivia Pope is like Sally Hemmings, but I do believe there is a strong power imbalance in the relationship.
Shonda Rhimes the executive producer of Scandal is also a black woman but she doesn’t have a problem making Olivia Pope so weak, fragile, and vulnerable.

Third, Scandal isn’t a positive image of a black woman because it depicts the black woman as being licentious and all about sex. The interracial relationship is hidden from the public’s view it is treated as though it is a secret not something that people should respect. Yes, certain characters are aware of the interracial affair but the general public do not. The fact that the interracial relationship is a secret simply magnifies the fact it is considered negative and bad.

I believe the interracial element to Scandal is indeed it is still taboo for a black woman to have an affair with a powerful white man. The Scandal is indeed the interracial relationship it is considered dirty, dangerous, and could be disastrous.

Where is Olivia Pope’s dignity? Doesn’t Olivia have enough self respect to break off a relationship with a man who clearly doesn’t love her?

I am aware that Olivia Pope did have a black male love interest in the second season but the black senator was an old man. The black male love interest wasn’t someone who could have become a serious threat to President Grant.

Hopefully, as Scandal progresses Shonda Rhimes will allow Olivia Pope to become more independent from President Grant but I doubt it. The audience seems to like Olivia Pope being the white man’s whore which is sad. Scandal isn’t progressive the program depicts black women as loose sluts willing to drop their panties for powerful white men.

People Magazine: Tennis Champion Venus Williams Is In Love With A Cuban Stud Elio Pis!!

By PAUL CHI

 

Elio Pis and Venus Williams
MICHAEL KOVAC/FILMMAGIC, VALLERY JEAN/FILMMAGIC
Venus has a hot new man!

After dropping out of last year’s U.S. Open and announcing she was suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome, a happy and healthy Venus Williams made a triumphant return to the New York Grand Slam tournament last week with her new boyfriend at her side. The tennis champ, 32, has been dating Cuban model Elio Alberto Pis, 24, for several months, PEOPLE has learned.

And it’s been a love match on and off the court.

The couple were seen holding hands and sweetly kissing each other while walking through the corridors of Arthur Ashe Stadium. During all of her matches, Pis sat courtside with Williams’s friends and family, cheering the two-time U.S. Open winner. Her return was cut short, though. Williams lost to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the second round on Aug. 30, and she was eliminated from the doubles competition with younger sister Serena on Sept. 3.

With Williams set to present her clothing line, EleVen, during New York Fashion Week, expect to see more of Pis. As he steps out with the tennis ace, here are five things to know about the guy that has won over her heart:

1. He’s a model on the rise
Pis has worked with Williams on her athletic line, EleVen. The two posed together for her website, showing off her ready-to-wear tennis apparel. The 6’1 hunk has also been featured inFrench Vogue with Brooke Shields and has modeled for Russell Simmons’s clothing line.

2. He’s a hard worker
The Cuban – who now lives in Miami – studied diligently to learn English and put himself through school. He graduated with a psychology degree from Florida International University in 2010.

3. He’s outspoken
According to his Facebook page, Pis describes himself as a “constant thinker, optimistic, a free spirit and blunt.”

4. He’s a DeNiro fan
He loves to play checkers and enjoys reading books such as Robert Wright’s The Moral Animal. The 1993 Robert De Niro crime drama A Bronx Tale is his favorite movie, and he likes listening to Miami recording artist J-Toven.

5. He loves tennis
Pis lists only one sports hero on his Facebook page. His favorite? None other than Venus Williams, of course.

Surprising News: White Gay Publication The Advocate Devotes An Entire Issue To Frank Ocean & Black Gay Queer Artists.

The Meaning of Frank Ocean

When the up-and-coming musician came out, he drew praise from celebrities and his hip-hop collaborators, and revived the question of whether gays have a place in the industry.

BY TERRANCE DEAN

SEPTEMBER 06 2012 4:00 AM ET

It was a sweltering Fourth of July. People across the country were in parks, in backyards, and lined up along waterfronts anxiously awaiting the fireworks displays. The smell of barbecue, hot dogs, and hamburgers being grilled wafted through the air. It was a celebration of our great nation. And all the while, Twitter and Facebook were buzzing about an entertainer, a relatively unknown young man from California who posted a letter on his Tumblr page about having been in love with another man. The Internet was suddenly in a frenzy about this guy.

“Who is Frank Ocean?” a million tweets asked. Google searches began.

In 2010, Frank Ocean, born Christopher Breaux in New Orleans, became a member of the alternative hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. His solo debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, was released the following year to critical acclaim. He released two singles, “Novacane,” and “Swim Good,” and both achieved chart success.

Ocean’s first full-length studio album, Channel Orange, was set to be released July 17, and a letter in which he declared his first love, for another man, was initially meant to be a part of the album’s liner notes. But following an early listening party, BBC Radio 1Xtra personality Max pointed out that the lyrics referred to “he” and “him” instead of “she” and “her,” which she took to be an indication that Ocean is gay or bisexual. Ocean took matters into his own hands, and on Independence Day he posted that letter on his Tumblr for the entire world to see.

My hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did. anyhow, what I’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. It was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits, but with all the rumors going around…I figured it’d be good to clarify…

His letter went viral and traveled worldwide in a matter of moments. Suddenly, everyone knew his name.

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless…. It was my first love, it changed my life.

Instantly, it seemed those words changed the entertainment industry. The letter caused its own firework

“It was sheer joy because he was the first national well-known artist to come out and announce his sexuality,” says Lloyd Thurston “Gyant” Dinwiddie, referring to Ocean as the first black artist to come out to a hip-hop audience. Gyant, the gay media personality and blogger at Gyant Unplugged,was one of the first to share the story online. “Frank Ocean is cemented in music history forever. Anyone who has walked in the LGBT shoes knows that story. His message related to people, and for him it was a weight lifted off his shoulder.”

July 4, 2012, marked a declaration of freedom for 24-year-old R&B soul singer Ocean. It was his coming-out party, and we’d all been invited to the virtual parade. His image, that of a serious-looking, handsome young man with a strong jaw line, a short beard, and a short fade haircut, was circulating along with his letter. Those who hadn’t previously heard of Ocean quickly learned that his announcement was significant, and especially significant to watchers of hip-hop. But it wasn’t a shock to everyone.

“I was like, What’s the big deal? It’s not like we all don’t know homosexuality exists and has its place in hip-hop,” says Reggie Osse, entertainment attorney, author, former TV executive, and host of The Combat Jack Show. Osse has represented artists including Damon Dash, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Puffy, and DMX. He was instrumental in helping Jay-Z secure his first recording deal.

“I was really happy that Frank Ocean took his life and career into his own hands and made his proclamation,” says Osse. “It’s the first announcement of someone making a statement willingly. But let’s not act like this doesn’t exist.”

Frank ocean’s letter spoke of an unrequited love. More than simply coming out, Ocean was inviting the world into his emotional state at a vulnerable moment. In beautiful prose Ocean shared the raw intensity of wanting to fully experience love with the object of his affection and being met with an unwilling heart.

I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years.

Tyler the Creator (left) and Ocean dance onstage during a performance at the 2012 Coachella music festival in April.
Before long music celebrities including Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé began tweeting and posting messages of support for Ocean. Even Odd Future member Tyler the Creator, who’s well-known for his use of the word “faggot,” tweeted how proud he was of his brother and friend. It seemed as if the hip-hop industry, which has notoriously been a closed boys’ club that shuns and ostracizes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, had experienced a change of heart. Hadn’t Jay-Z, a towering figure in hip-hop, just recently announced his support of marriage equality, following a message of support by President Obama? Jay-Z had seemingly just given Ocean a pass and ushered him into the boys’ club. And not from afar: Ocean had written and performed on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hip-hop album Watch the Throne.

“I’m surprised that a lot of young gay people flocked to him, like he was doing something big,” says gay rapper Deadlee. “My first reaction was like he didn’t do anything. It didn’t seem to me like it was that big of a deal. But then I did research and discovered he was a part of Odd Future, and Tyler the Creator, who is always saying ‘faggot this’ and ‘faggot that.’ I was like, Whoa! This dude [Ocean] never checked him. Maybe they knew the whole time, and they were taking the word back and not tripping on it.”

The words “gay” and “faggot” have been a mainstay in hip-hop since its inception. In Grandmaster Flash’s 1982 song “The Message,” a portrayal of inner-city life, we are introduced to a down-low man hiding his secret:

Now you’re unemployed, all non-void Walking ’round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd / Turned stickup kid, look what you’ve done did  / Got sent upstate for an eight-year bid / Now your manhood is took and you’re a may tag / Spend the next two years as a undercover fag

The hyperbolic masculinity of rappers, lyrically slaying homosexuals and degrading LGBTs, continued as the culture of hip-hop evolved from party anthems to aggressive gangster thug styles by performers including 50 Cent, DMX, Busta Rhymes, and Eminem. As men boasted about their cars, bling, and hard lifestyle, women and LGBTs bore the brunt of hip-hop’s lashings.

Reggie Osse, describing homophobia in hip-hop, says, “I had a conversation with rapper Lil B last year. We were talking about the changing values thematically and what these new rappers are doing. However, the old-guard rappers are like Republicans and want things to stay the same. Whereas hip-hop is changing, and many who are born in this culture are taking it to another place. There are some old-school cats who want to keep rap conservative. Some of my friends who are in hip-hop are very adamant that there is no place for gays. They begin quoting the Bible, and they are coming from an antiquated way of thinking.”


Left: Gay hip-hop artist Deadlee
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has called on record labels and hip-hop artists to end the name-calling and anti-LGBT behavior, and protests have been lodged over lyrics by Eminem and Jamaican dancehall/hip-hop artists Beenie Man, T.O.K., and Buju Banton, among others. From the birth of the musical genre, gay acceptance and hip-hop seemed incongruous. But Eminem performed with Elton John and later announced support of marriage equality, and Beenie Man, in the face of canceled shows, recently made a public apology for his history of antigay lyrics and public remarks. But Frank Ocean’s coming-out is a marker of a different kind, and it revived the question of whether the treatment of LGBT people is truly better than it was just a decade ago. Or are the changes for the better just cosmetic, on the surface?

“I think there is more of an acknowledgment that LGBT people are part of hip-hop culture,” says Tim’m West, a scholar, youth advocate, and gay-identified rapper who founded the groundbreaking rap collective Deep Dickollective. “Hip-hop is one of the last territories and spaces where gays cannot be part of the culture, instead of being the stylists, choreographers, and hairdressers. We can be behind the scenes, but not in front of the mike. The climate has changed around homosexuality, and it’s one of the civil rights issues of today. Hip-hop previously didn’t think we were in the room. We were not visible, out, and present. Now we are.”

Many LGBT figures view hip-hop’s historically homophobic attitude as tied to the black church’s deep-rooted issues with sex and sexuality. Condemnation of gays by an institution central to many black communities has the effect of deeply entrenching antigay hostility.
“Some people are not inherently homophobic,” says West. “It’s cultural, and a lot of homophobia is not from a deep-seated hatred of gay people but more by what is socially acceptable and what they see others doing.”

“I believe in…one’s right to be free,” says legendary rapper MC Lyte. “When we as a community, be it African American, the entertainment industry, or just the block, allow someone’s sexual, political, or religious preference to cloud our ability to see their true spirit, we lose. We lose the opportunity to fully embrace another one of God’s children. Truthfully, no matter how much an individual would love to point out the differences between themselves and another, we are all one.”

Ocean may have received support by some influential hip-hop figures. But the list of artists who were not willing to discuss him for this article is revealing. B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Trey Songz, Jaheim, and Wiz Khalifa declined to discuss the subject. The representatives for Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj said their clients were busy and unavailable for comment.

Jay-Z, one of the many artists to voice support for Ocean, performs onstage.

“I’m an advocate for those in my family and those who I am close to, and I am an advocate for the homosexual community,” says rapper Murs, a member of the hip-hop groups Living Legends, Felt, and the 3 Melancholy Gypsies. He is also part of a punk fusion band, the Invincibles, out of Jacksonville, Fla., and is prepping for the release of his new album, This Generation, with fellow rapper Fashawn.

Murs recently released a shocking music video for his single “Animal Style.” Both the single and video feature a young man as he struggles with his sexual orientation, and portray the conflict he feels as he begins to date another man. Murs plays his boyfriend. In the video, the two men share a kiss. He explains that he spoke with his wife prior to making the video, and she fully supported him and the concept.

Murs faced significant opposition in making the song. “I wanted to do this song for five years, and for five years producers did not want to touch the song,” he says. “They didn’t want to be associated with the subject matter. However, those same producers are now calling me and supporting me and saying they are proud of me.”

Murs says he did the video and song to let his gay friends, associates, and fellow rappers know that he was aware of their being closeted and that he still cared for them. “I wanted to give them their moment and let them know that the door is open and I am going to take a stance for them,” Murs says. “And I think with artists like Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, and myself, homophobia in hip-hop will disappear.

“Teenagers are killing themselves,” he continues. “We have to stop this because people are losing their lives and getting beat to death. It makes me extremely sad. I can’t watch children die.”

While gay men and lesbians in hip-hop have often been pressured to stay closeted so as not to invite public, family, and personal shame, for many artists being openly gay was considered career suicide. Many performers are still strongly encouraged by agents, managers, and label executives to not be out—or even identify as one of the letters in the LGBT acronym.

“No one will support you if they know you’re gay,” Tim’m West says. “The notion in the black community [is that] coming out is a social death, and you might as well die. For white artists, such as George Michael, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, and Elton John, their record sales did not plummet, nor did their careers suffer. It’s only within the black community.”

Ocean has largely refused to do interviews on this subject, and even in his interview in the British newspaper The Guardian, he doesn’t address the issue of labels.

“A lot of people were giving Frank Ocean props and saying that he was letting everyone come into his world, as opposed to coming out,” Deadlee says. “In his letter he never used the word ‘gay,’ and this guy is getting more props for not even using the word or even identifying in his letter. I’m gay and I’m not afraid to use the word. I hope that Frank Ocean comes to the point of not being afraid to use the ‘gay’ word.”

Though he doesn’t give his sexual orientation a label in the letter, Ocean does describe relationships with women. “Frank Ocean never said he was gay or bisexual, he just said he was in love with a man,” says Ebony Utley, an assistant professor in communication studies at California State University, Long Beach. “It was others who needed to identify and label him instead of him, and allowing him to do it for himself. Let’s let the man define himself… Besides, he was wise not to say anything beyond his letter, and that’s what he needed to sell his record.”

The kiss in Murs’s “Animal Style” video.

Though the declarations of support for Ocean by 50 Cent and Jay-Z were a milestone in hip-hop, Utley notes, “Frank Ocean is an R&B singer. Let’s be clear, hip-hop hasn’t had its first openly gay artist. No rapper has come out. Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.”

The distinction is quite significant for music industry watchers, including Utley, who feels R&B is a more open environment for LGBT musicians. R&B artists Rahsaan Patterson, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Donnie had already publicly acknowledged being LGBT, and each was with a major record label when they did so. Donnie was signed to Giant Step Records and Motown Records when he publicly disclosed that he was gay, in 2007, and he was the first male to do so. The velvet-voiced R&B singer-songwriter has worked with India.Arie and recorded and released two albums, The Colored Section and The Daily News.

“There was nothing said about my sexuality with Giant Step,” Donnie says. “When they signed me they already knew. They signed me because of my art and felt it could sell.” From Giant Step, Donnie was signed over to Motown Records, and the discussion of his sexuality wasn’t brought up there either. “I figured Motown already knew about my sexuality because when The Colored Section was released I wasn’t on television or in videos acting like I was in love with a woman or singing to women. It was nothing for me to say in an interview I was gay. It was just like I was saying I was black. Besides, if you got gaydar, you can see I was gay. So why hide?”

Donnie grew up in a very strict religious family, which practiced the Hebrew Pentecostal faith. He attended the same church as singer Marvin Gaye. Donnie says he struggled with his sexuality as a young boy because the pastor of his church would single him out and speak to him in code via the sermons. “My mother made me go into his office and tell him that if whoremongers can play the instruments, then sissies can sing.”

Rapper MC Lyte (left) performs onstage during VH1 Divas Salute the Troops in December 2010.

Donnie’s music is much more about social messaging, as he addresses ideas that have perplexed the black population and society as a whole. “The music I do is political. I will mention being gay and talk about homophobia, but my songs are not love songs,” Donnie says. “I didn’t want to play the pronoun game and say ‘she’ when I meant ‘he.’ When you’re a songwriter and you’re writing a song, you want people to be involved. I am going to say ‘you,’ ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘they.’ I am not going to sit here and say ‘she’ because it blocks a lot of people out.”

Singer-rapper-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello wasn’t ashamed to speak about her bisexuality. She was one of the first artists to be signed to Madonna’s record label, Maverick Records, in 1992. Her latest album, Pour une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, is due out October 9.

“I was very lucky in that Maverick Records saw it as a benefit and not a hindrance,” Ndegeocello says. “They thought of it as a marketing angle. I totally understood that. I never had to deal with pressure from them.”

On Ndegeocello’s controversial single “Leviticus: Faggot,” she spoke candidly about a young man discovering his homosexuality and the rejection from his family.

    •  Bisexual crooner Meshell Ndegeocello (left) performs during the Melbourne Festival finale concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in October 2010.
      “I saw people like Ellen [DeGeneres] and what she had to go through for people to accept her and all that she achieved,” she says. “She is a ray of light. That is what I’m trying to bring to the LGBT community. We are exceptional people. Let’s share our gifts, and don’t shun my gifts because of who I have a personal relationship with. Especially the NAACP and the black pastors who quit and are upset over Obama and him supporting gay marriage. You embrace a religion that aided in slavery, but you judge me on my sexuality? Let’s be rational. I want to help people to rise above that.”Though a few brave artists have come out, rising above homophobia will require significant effort from the R&B and hip-hop communities, both gay and straight. Ndegeocello acknowledges the difficulty: “I think it’s harder for men,” she says. “Men need a movement. It’s harder to be black, gay, and male. It makes me have the utmost respect for black gay men in an industry of hypermasculinity.”

      For several years hip-hop has been described as being at a tipping point with regard to homophobia, yet the toppling of a pervasive attitude has yet to be achieved. Frank Ocean hasn’t yet said what it means to be Frank Ocean, but with each significant coming-out, the haters have less standing to insist that LGBTs have no place in hip-hop.

      “The ones who are hiding are the main ones with the commentary, and want to beat you up,” Murs acknowledges. But he says there’s a greater purpose in coming out despite the difficulty. “You don’t have to be afraid. You can come out. All the directors, rappers, producers, and all your homeboys, why don’t you all come out together instead of partying in the hills and being secretive? You have to stop being selfish, and come out and help some other young person who is struggling.”

Why Is It Easier For White Gay Celebrities To Come Out Of The Closet Than Black Gay & Lesbian Stars?

Entertainment Weekly’s new  issue this week is about celebrities coming out of the closet. The pop culture magazine examines the changing attitudes society has about gay and lesbian stars coming out of the closet. Is this really progress? A quick glance at the cover of Entertainment Weekly and the majority of gay stars on the cover  are white gay males. Only two lesbians are on the cover Wanda Sykes and Jane Lynch. The only non white person on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly is comedian Wanda Sykes.

Fifteen years ago, when Ellen Degeneres came out she was on the cover of Time Magazine.  It is true that North American culture is more accepting of celebrities coming out but only if they are white.  Now Ellen Degeneres has a hit talk show and has made millions of dollars after coming out. Can anyone imagine an A list black gay or lesbian celebrity come out of the closet and actually acquire more fame just like Degeneres after coming out?

Degeneres received support from the mainstream white heterosexual and gay media after she decided to come out in 1997. Degeneres white skin privilege allowed her to navigate the terrain of coming out as a lesbian.  Degeneres whiteness was her bargining chip to minimize the collateral damage of coming out.

Since the white image is still viewed as natural in society, Degeneres whiteness made it easier for her to declare she is a lesbian. Degeneres didn’t have to deal with any racial issues when she came out of the closet. Since whiteness is still constructed out of dominance in North America, Degeneres being gay wasn’t seen as  a threat to mainstream white American society.

The paucity of black gay and lesbian stars coming out is because being gay in North American generally means being white not black.

The television shows such as Modern Family, Will & Grace,  movies such as Brokeback Mountain and The Kids Are All Right all have the same white image about homosexuality. Entertainment Weekly’s cover about coming out reinforces the white gay image.

Hollywood just like mainstream society is still racially stratified.  Heterosexual black actors complain about not obtaining decent film roles like their white counterparts. The entertainment industry does not have a level playing field for people of colour. Black gay actors probably fear coming out will destroy their careers.

It is easier for a white gay celebrity to come out than a black gay and lesbian star. There is a paucity of African American stars coming out of the closet.

Although the mainstream media promotes coming out as a magical, wonderful, moment in a gay person’s life this is not always the case.

In the black community, black gay stars fear criticism by the black media and their fans if they come out.

The black media also has a propensity to ignore queer black stars for a number of reasons. There is an attitude in the black community  that homosexuality is a white issue and not a concern to blacks. There is also a don’t ask don’t tell attitude in the black community  about homosexuality. Of course, black people already are cognizant Wanda Sykes is a lesbian but homosexuality is considered a private matter. Homosexuality is still a taboo topic to discuss in the African Diaspora.

Sykes was courageous in coming out because she is one of the few black celebrities to declare she is a lesbian.  However, the mainstream white culture reinforces the  subliminal message is gay people are generally white not black, Asian, Native American, or Hispanic. Of course, there are people of colour who are gay the question is why are most lesbian and gay stars of colour still in the closet?

Gay people of colour are marginalized not just because they are gay but also due to race and identity politics. Last year, the only high profile black celebrity to come out of the closet was CNN journalist Don Lemon. However, most black people yawned and didn’t care that Lemon came out because he’s not a real star he’s a journalist.

The black media only briefly mentioned Don Lemon’s decision to come out but he was generally ignored. The real big black gay and lesbian celebrities are unwilling to come out because they have already built their brand and audiences.  If or when a higher profile black queer star comes out of the closet then the black press will pay attention.

There is a reason Queen Latifah, Tyler Perry, Tracy Chapman, Missy Elliott and the rest of the   high profile black gay and lesbian stars are not out. Tracy Chapman is a multi platinum and Grammy award winning artist she chooses to not announce she is a lesbian because she believes it is a private matter. Chapman probably wants the general public to focus on her music and not on her sexual orientation.

Queen Latifah has high profile endorsements with Cover Girl cosmetics, Tyler Perry has a huge following in the African American Christian community, and Missy Elliott is a well respected rapper. Tyler Perry’s new movie Madea Witness Protection comes out this week Friday. Perry’s core audience are black Christians he can’t just come out of the closet and declare he is a gay black man. Perry is fearful if he does come out he will lose the audience he has worked so hard to reach.

For an A list black star to come out as gay and lesbian is still considered a form of career suicide. After coming out of the closet who will support the openly gay or lesbian black star?

One of the dilemmas some queers of colour experience is the struggle between coming out of the closet and losing respect from their race and cultural community. It might be difficult for a person that is not of colour to truly understand this point. We live in a white centered world despite the progress of the civil rights, feminist, and gay movements. The mainstream white culture is the dominant culture, but for people of colour there is a private sphere beyond the public realm.

Another issue that tends to be ignored is the fact that the gay media in North America is controlled by white people. Remember four years ago the controversy over proposition 8 in the state of California? Dan Savage the white gay activist blamed the black community for voting in favour of banning gay marriage. Even though, blacks account for about 4% of California’s total population.

Dan Savage’s racism and anger towards blacks underscored the racial tension and friction between white gays and blacks. Savage was condemned by black gay activists for his anti black racism.

On this blog, I have discussed numerous times the issue of racism within the gay and lesbian community. In North America there are even separate gay pride events for blacks and whites. In major American cities such as Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York City, black gay pride is popular among black gays and lesbians. The reason African Americans decided to create black gay pride is due to the fact blacks wanted to claim their own space. Black gays and lesbians were aware that the mainstream gay community did not provide a safe space for them.

Across North American the lesbian communities have created their own Dyke March because they are cognizant of the sexism of gay men. Lesbians realized they needed their own space separate from male homosexuals to celebrate being lesbian.

Some black gay stars are reticent to come out to the  gay media because they don’t trust the mainstream white gay media.

Some black gay stars don’t  see any benefit in coming out. The mainstream white gay publications Out Magazine, Instinct,  and Advocate, are geared towards a white queer audience. The white gay media’s attention is focused on white queer culture not black queer culture.

More must be done in the mainstream society and queer communities so that real progress can take place and that black gay stars can come out and be successful.

Good News: Second Season Premiere Of The Awkward Black Girl Web Series!!!

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.

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