Declaring that there is a lack of positive gay portrayal in the media would be a true understatement. Truth be told if we were to make a list of things we’re lacking in our community, the list would be even longer. Our actors, directors, writers and businesses merely go unnoticed by mainstream media. The lack of funding from sponsors quickly turn into the same brands bringing us an ‘Absolut’ moment over and over again. We want to see change, but often find it hard to support even the smallest platforms where change can foster.
Over the weekend, my friends and I went to see the Dallas premiere of “The Skinny.” Everyone seemed to be happy at the debut. Even though I felt underdressed, everyone pulled out his or her finest bowties, vests and hard-sole shoes. The energy was very vibrant outside and inside the theatre. Sometimes I even thought the crowd thought they had to voice their opinions about every scene by standing up, shouting out obscene phrases and jabbing for the funniest joke of the evening. Needless to say, Patrik Ian-Polk kept the audience engaged throughout the movie. Some parts moved faster than others while others failed prompting viewers to ask for more. Most of the time directors use four main characters to tell a story; however, Ian-Polk fused five story lines of relatable characters (though I was more favorable to Joey and Langston).
Even though we enjoyed the film, the auditorium was far from packed. We complain about the lack of work, leading roles and diversity in films that accurately portray gay African American men all the time. We will never stop complaining because there is no way to accurately depict everyone. Being we all have different personalities, beliefs and motivators, this would be nearly impossible. However, projects that are developed in our community deserve the proper attention and assurance.
As an entrepreneur in the digital world, starting MUSED Magazine and interacting with different multimedia ventures, there are tons of places that need our support. Many of these efforts are grassroots and started solely by a few people. If we want to talk resources, many of our projects run on limited resources and our savings account. However, for so long we have been waiting on our invitation to the party. We want to be accepted so much we neglect our own businesses in our own backyard. Economic power equates to respect, but unfortunately that is something the black gay community fails to recognize as our key to success. There is much wealth inside of our community, however, we tend to support businesses that have no value or mission in advancing- or even supporting our well-being.
Could some of the lack of support for our own community of business owners be due to jealously and the fact that someone is doing something different? Is it a situation where we feel that we would be more successful by supporting mainstream projects?
We are the first ones to nag that the only gays we see are doing hair/makeup, breeding it raw and death-dropping to the latest house mix. Yet we know our community is much more than that, even if we are reminded that’s the role we should play in society. It is okay as long as we don’t ask for equal rights but just entertain and make us look pretty. Let’s try to change that trend by supporting creations that showcase our journey and proud moments in our history. No duck walking, laying of hair, just progressiveness. Would we always agree or give Stellar reviews? Of course, not.
Even with starting my own platform, I still realize that I have to support my community in hopes that we achieve economic power and influence. This will help us achieve social and political justice regardless who accepts us or not. With confidence comes empowerment and finally with empowerment comes success. Once you identify businesses in your community, encourage others to support them too. Others do.