Revolution Songs: Finding Our Own Beat
It came to my attention, that there were a couple of reality television shows being pitched to portray black gay men as intelligent, well-rounded, interesting human beings that some, if not many, of us are. My first reaction was, “Has this person not been watching television?” Across the cultural, racial, and sexual boards that aren’t any portrayals of any culture made to uplift them. It’s probably not because there’s some conspiracy going on, but because that’s not entertainment and in our culture, that’s not what people are trying to be sold. Don’t believe me that this isn’t just some conspiracy against black gay men and James Baldwin advocates? Ask Italians, and then catch the next episode of The Jersey Shore or Mob Wives or Jerseylicious. Ask any women between the ages of 25 to 50, and then watch Real Housewives…, Bad Girls Club or whatever other dating show VH1 is cooking up.
What the black gay community is so feverishly trying to accomplish, which is equality and fair representation might very well be manifesting in front of our very eyes. In a microwave, rape culture, we’ve already found our place. We’re being demeaned and simplified just like every other culture on television and it’s being called reality television. Our best bet is to work on the fantasy that we wish we were (and sometimes, probably are) and write scripts, get lighting, and employ actors to put in scenarios that are both entertaining, but not so detrimental to who we are. Yes, a black gay man’s The Cosby Show would probably be just as difficult to push, but I have an inkling that it would still move, instead of us being at this standstill asking for what nobody in the world is getting: Respect.
Believe me, I know better than anyone how such a soulful and complex people as the black gay community might find it terribly difficult to find their place in a sugar-coated pop song, but this is in a way, exactly what we asked for. The days of “We Shall Overcome” are over, and we are in a new era. It’s as equally as alarming with suicides and HIV rates going ballistic. However, we still have the responsibility to utilize discernment and strategy to make sure in these modern times that we’re portrayed as everything we dream of being and it actually being in mainstream media.