by j. brotherlove
Panelists: Tim’m West, James Earl Hardy, Anthony Antoine, Anaré Holmes and Eric Ware
This post is long-overdue and to tell you the truth, it won’t do the event justice. But I’m still getting used to a daily regimen of waking up at a set time, fighting traffic and sitting at somebody else’s desk for 9 hours. Nevertheless, I can’t let another day go by without giving props to Darian Aaron for organizing and hosting a screening/panel on The DL Chronicles this past weekend in Atlanta. It was a fantastic event!
The turnout was overflowing and the inter-generational dialogue was great. As a nascent moderator, I couldn’t ask for a better panel. James Earl Hardy, Tim’m West, Eric Ware, Anthony McWilliams, and Anare Holmes provided insight and thoughts on everything from coming out to the lack of diversity in our images. As I told attendees, it is because of our (global) collective work that we are able to have these types of conversations. Each accomplishment builds upon those that came before it.
But I have to admit, upon first hearing about The DL Chronicles I was as hesitant as Darian:
Two years ago when I was first introduced to Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett’s television show The DL Chronicles I quickly dismissed it as another attempt to add more fuel to an intensely lit fire that was burning black gay men everywhere.
Men living on the down low is nothing new and existed long before J.L. King’s infamous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But that one-hour changed how the world viewed black gay men and black straight men alike forever.
However, the series goes beyond the stereotypical depiction of predatory, deceitful men cheating on their female partners to expose varying ways in which we box ourselves in, due to pressures from our family, society and ourselves. It even points fingers at how heterosexuals play a part in the DL problem and how their behavior can be irresponsible and hypocritical.
Front Row: Darian Aaron (Host) and James Earl Hardy
Second Row: Anaré Holmes and Tim’m West
Third Row: Eric Ware, J. Brotherlove (Moderator) and Anthony Antoine
As I mentioned before, “the acting, storylines and production are exceptional especially, when you consider the subject is black gay men and their sexuality.” The four-episode season is a great start in bringing closeted dialogue to the forefront. Some of ideas expressed on Saturday:
- We’d like to see The DL Chronicles to go deeper into the Hollywood closet. Brokeback Mountain didn’t bring in a flood of gay-themed films. The more of our stories that are experienced, the better larger society will understand us.
- Also, we’re tired of hearing how “brave” (presumably) straight actors are for portraying gay characters? Whatever. Gay actors have been fooling audiences for ages.
- It’s time we stop making the “sissy” the comic relief and give him his own story. Also, I know a lot of “sissies”. Why is it that film and tv can never portray them properly? They’re always a conflagration of every gay stereotype at once.
- “Masculine” gay men who choose to pass for straight rather than come out are partially responsible for the continuance of the DL “blame game” because they don’t show society how diverse the LGBT community really is.
- Although, black men have gotten a lot of negative scrutiny since the DL explosion, it has encouraged our friends, families and coworkers to at least talk about homosexuality. It’s our job to steer them away from the DL conversation which is only a “kernel in a large bowl of popcorn” [Hardy].
- Now that we are producing more works depicting gay men of color, we need to integrate more body shapes and looks. Not everybody looks like an L.A. gym model.
- Organizers of our Black Pride celebrations should showcase more out, gay artists; there are plenty of them. The trend of paying for (usually heterosexual female) mainstream music artists to “appear” at our events is counterproductive when those individuals do not do any other work for our community. Ask yourself how many of them take our money back to their homo-hating church to tithe?
There was so much more, of course. But you had to be there. Everyone involved has committed to doing something similar again on either a larger scale (to get more participation) or more intimate (because, we don’t get together often enough). Darian has a multimedia overview (with clips).
As we seek diversity in our imagery, can we also see some older characters? We aren’t all 20 or 30-somethings trying to be “fabulous” 24/7. Some of us are comfortable, established 40, 50 and 60 year olds.
Excellent post my good man! Just about everything that can be thought of as an issue with black gay men popped up, good stuff.
I wonder if there are going to be new episodes on heretv!? And, if they will ever even show the orginal ones again? They adverise the show, and, yet, never seem to show it.
The other thing I would like to see explored is why black gay men are seen in such a negative light within the gay communtiy as a whole?
And, I agree with Bernie, show some older black gay men, for me, this would be better than the a sassy sissy as the comic foil, even though, I admit, I usually laugh my butt off at the zingers. But, the wisdom of the elders is always needed.
Jeff and Bernie both have vaild points. I do however; appreciate the antics of the young and the older gay Black men, there is wisdom and entertainment provided from both parties. I truly enjoyed the DL Chronicles.
Share your love:
The ability to comment on this site is a privilege; not a right. Inflammatory, off-topic and ignorant comments will be removed. Basic XHTML is permitted (if you don't know what that means, stick to plain text).