by j. brotherlove
Cheryl L. West’s play Before It Hits Home opens February 8, 2008 at the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre. The story revolves around a bisexual black man with a fiancee and a male lover who discovers he’s HIV positive and returns home.
The topic is close to the heart of director Charlotte Young Bowens, an Ann Arbor native with experience as an HIV/AIDS educator. She returned to her hometown three years ago and was disturbed: “I noticed how silent it was about gay issues, and HIV and AIDS. I was shocked that black people are still not dealing with this stuff. So when I was given an opportunity to direct, I thought this would be a great play, for a couple of reasons.”
Face it, most network news is bad news. So it helps if it comes from some good eye candy. The Black Snob posts her list of the Ed Bradley Award for Journalistic Hotness, named after one of the most respected (and sexiest) men in journalism. Gracing her list are some of my favorites: Tiki “Bootylicious” Barber, Anderson “Cutie Pie” Cooper and T.J. “Hubba Hubba” Holmes (flippant nicknames my own).
New website blackgaybooksonline.com bills itself as “the first online shopping community for the same-gender loving black community.” It has an ability for visitors to create a user profile and register for their newsletter. Their inventory includes popular authors like Stanley Bennett Clay, Lee Hayes and some surprises like Grace After Midnight: A Memoir by Felicia Pearson (Snoop from HBO’s The Wire).
Kenyon Farrow posts a moving and informative memoriam on Regina Shavers. The longtime black lesbian activist recently died of cancer. Kenyon had intended on interviewing Shavers for an upcoming book but was unable to connect with her due to her health. Amongst her many accomplishments, Kenyon lists:
In 1995, Regina co-founded GRIOT Circle to combat the lack of community that she had observed amongst LGBT Elders, particularly those of color. She assumed the role of Executive Director of GRIOT in 2000.
There’s so much more, of course.
I hope West’s play Before It Hits Home finds the audience it so wants. I can understand the concern.
In my experience, themes of bisexual, black men (“on the down low”) still gain substantial numbers.
My hope is that we can start creating more works in which black gay men are not hiding their sexuality and/or are not grappling with HIV, despite both issues being important.
I understand why people are drawn to these sensational topics but they represent a narrow factor of our collective experience.
Every time I see TJ and, also Don Lemon, my heart goes a flutter! Sounds like a old spinster, but, those have to be two of the sexist men to ever be on a television screen!
And, thanks for the link to the website for books, good news, I would much rather get mine from them than my usual Amazon.com. And, I loves me my black gay themes!
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