Category Archives: Television

That Moment When Lafayette Read The Nation

“Has it ever occurred to that I want a piece of happiness to. Lafayette that queen who makes you white heterosexuals feel happy? No.”

I am sure that the quote is not 100% accurate but forgive me because I was too busy screaming, “Speak my life!” It was not because it was such a great read, I mean it was an epic read, but I screamed because so many times in my queer black life I have been made to feel as if I am to exist solely for the pleasure of straight females, or the curiosity of straight white folk, or to teach straight black folk about gay and queer rights, to convince masculine gay guys that fem guys deserve more respect than we are given by our brothers, or to tell white gay folk why Sierra Mannie’s article deserves something better than a “Bye Felicia.” I have been made to feel this way and I refuse it; I struggle against it on a regular basis.

It becomes repetitive.

It becomes too familiar.

It makes you numb.

This can be exhausting.

So, when Lafayette said his speech he was not speaking only to Jessica, nor was he speaking for all gay folk; he couched his words in a rhetoric that acknowledged sexuality, race, and gender performance. He was speaking to so many of you about us.

We black femme queer bois and gurlz want that piece of happiness and we don’t exist for any of you.

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On TV: Where Would You Be Without Me? Kurt Hummel

While everyone has gone gaga for Kurt Hummel on Glee let’s be honest, without these two there would be no Kurt:

Rickie Vasquez (My So Called Life and my everything!)

and

Justin Suarez (Ugly Betty)

yes the first awesome gay kids/teens on TV are POC, gag honies!

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ON: No Queens Allowed?: The DL Chronicles Returns

Take a listen to the creators of The DL Chronicles give a long and in-depth interview on Discreet City promoting The DL Chronicles Returns

While I find much of what they speak of enlightening and on point, I would be remise if I did not cite the part of the interview that makes me cringe: The section about Fem Boys (about the 41 minute mark). They claim that most depictions of black gay male characters are of fem black gay males and this is laughably untrue, particularly within the last decade or so. The interviewer actually suggests 90-95% of gay characters are effeminante and flamboyant, and the creators say the reason for this is that the effeminante character is familiar.  Now, the reality is, no, people are not comfortable with effeminante gay men. Effeminante gay men are rarely, if ever, really allowed to be multidimensional and sexual and shown to be desirable. And, if we look historically, no, effeminate gay men originally existed to illicit horror and disgust and the failed male person. Now if we look at the vast majority of black gay stories, these stories tend to be  geographically are located in urban environments (Seriously when was the last time you saw a black gay story set in the suburbs or the country but not the South?)  and the characters are either relatively affluent or rather poor, the middle does not really seem to exist, and the vast majority of the male characters are decidedly masculine. There exists some need, an odd need, to disavow the existence of the fem gay boi and uphold the masculine gay guy who is able to be “just like others except for this one aspect.” Now admittedly this is a rather simplistic casting of the issue but at times getting to the bare facts of the matter is important.  Even in the DL Chronicles, there is not a single episode dedicated to a feminine gay male, and this is a decision right? When the interviewer says using feminine gay characters is creatively lazy, I agree if all you do is have the effeminante person just be flamboyant, but it is also creatively lazy if all you do is write masculine characters and act as if they have no femininity to them. Many of us have experiences with and know those men who are so masculine in the streets and feminine at home, and the drag queen who is one of the butchest mother fuckers around. If you really want to be creatively daring and challenging, show us a couple that is both masculine and feminine, or better yet, don’t waste your time falsely claiming that you “are not pushing a masculine versus feminine point of view” (you actually are; just because you tell me that you are not trying to hit my face, that does not mean my cheek is not stinging from the slap) instead give us a black gay effeminante man and make him complex and compelling and dare to show him and present him as desirable. A fem desirable black boi, now that is real danger.

But until then I guess I will just have to ignore this part of the interview and just wait eagerly for season 2.

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The Super(queer)bowl

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What this whole night is about: 3 Black divas

waiting with an…tici………pation

slain by bey

 

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More than just a “reality chick”: How Mo Ivory got “Scandal” and Olivia Pope wrong.

ImageConfession: I love Scandal; I go through withdrawal the moment my Thursday clock hits 10:01PM. I love Scandal and I love Olivia Pope. Reality Check: Not everyone agrees with me.Second Reality Check: As with most things, life would be better (for them and me) if they just did. Final Reality Check: I have slight issues but that is another post. Mo Ivory over at CBS Atlanta published “Olivia Pope is No Different Than Any Other Reality Chick (She Just Costs More),” and in it she proceeds to analyze Oliva Pope and Scandal  and comes to the conclusion that Miss Pope is a lot more of the same, and that she, and those of us who also complain about reality shows and their depictions of women of color, is a hypocrite because she likes Scandal. Ivory makes a considerable effort to break down the show and expose its flaws, and in a committed determined effort show us that:

Olivia Pope is no different than Joseline from “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” or Kim from “Real Housewives of Atlanta” – she just has more expensive clothes, a higher paying job and tighter security. She is no breath of fresh air, nuanced or complicated, and definitely not a rarity in black female representation. She is merely presented on a shiny platter in a sparkly house instead of at the bar in a strip club.

Excuse me, just a queer black boi here, but um, yeah, no. Olivia Pope is not at all like the women Ivory listed, and moreover Ivory’s entire piece is just problematic. Her argument pretty much hinges on the embracement of a politics of respectability. Can we just agree that while the status quo is not desirable, the politics of respectability is not much better either? 

Much of Ivory’s gripe seems to circle around Miss Pope’s sexual life. Sigh. This to me is the only thing about this whole argument that is familiar  Black Women are often damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Let’s put this in context: Scandal is a Shonda Rhimes show; I don’t even currently watch other Shonda Rhimes shows but I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy so I know that on each of her shows, her main female characters (who have all been characterized as strong but flawed) have engaged in extramarital affairs. So in that sense, Scandal is following a Rhimes formula. In another context, Olivia Pope is the latest in a long line of women post Ally McBeal who have their professional lives tight (at least at the beginning of the series) and their personal lives are a mess. Think of this as the female equivalent of the very male antihero ( Olivia Pope: Don Draper).  What is refreshing about Scandal is that it refuses to victimize Olivia Pope, and much like the (problematic) character Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & the City dares and demands that you love her and root for her despite her being a mistress and doing things you don’t agree with. There is not much room in pop culture for Black and Latina women to be flawed in any way (and if you disagree just wait for the respectability police to speak) and still respected, admired, and strong. Scandal demands this from its audience.

Now let’s talk about the rest of the article. Ivory just gets facts wrong.
1) “She’s having an affair with a married man who made sure he secured a really good job for her that she has been able to turn into a profitable business.” ~ Ivory. Ummmm No. Cyrus brought Olivia Pope in to help Fitz. You can bet Cyrus was not wanting an affair as that would just be a problem for him to clean up. Fitz was attracted to Olivia because she was beautiful and smart, and the show has implied she is opposite from his wife. Indeed, while we can see what draws him to Olivia and Olivia to him, what we have not seen is what drew him to Millie in the first place. Olivia left the White House because she did not want to just continue the affair. She started her own business  So at no point during any of this did Fitz help her. She helped him. 

2) “She sneaks over in the middle of the night for booty calls and has her “yes” men and women to cover her tracks.” Ummmmm yes and no; middle of the night illicit sexual sessions are somewhat par for the course in affairs, but this has also happened, more often, during the day and in the daylight. Her ” ‘yes’ men and women” do not really know about her personal life; the only exception is Huck. 

3) “She keeps a thug around (Huck) for protection and to do her dirty work.” Huck is not just a “thug.” He is a smart, internet savvy, Latino with a certain set of skills; he used to work for the government and he is damaged. It is no wonder they have such a bond because after Olivia, Huck is arguably the most interesting character on the show. 

4) “She keeps a good guy on the side who she should “really be with” in order for her to claim to herself and others that she is finished being a whore.” She doesn’t keep Edison on the side (she finally broke up with him); he popped BACK into her life and she decided to end things with Fitz and date Edison. What is important here, at least what I find interesting, is that Edison shows that Olivia doesn’t date weak or unambitious men. She is a woman who demands an equal (black or white); this is different from the script Black women are often fed. A white woman may have sung it, but Black (and Latina) women have been living the damn “Stand by Your Man” life way too long.
And can we please address the language Ivory uses: “whore,” “stripper,” “escort,” “hooker.” I am skeptical about a piece that seems to judge a person (but especially women and queer people) based upon their sexuality and its expression. At no point is Olivia Pope paid for her sexual services, and at no point can she be boiled down to just what is between her legs.

My biggest gripe with Ivory is that there are things to criticize about Scandal but this whole respectability angle really isn’t one of them, or at the very least it is the weakest aspect. We could talk about the Olivia’s obsession with the color white; the seemingly asexual nature of the very attractive Harrison (I am holding out hope that he is gay); the way Olivia had Harrison use Abby’s history with domestic violence against her; Quinn’s presence on the show; the way Shonda Rhimes is address same-sex adoption with Cyrus always manipulating James, and James always ready to drop anything and everything when he hears the word baby (an odd subversion of the typical man-woman paring, and a possible commentary on homonormative Americans [granted I doubt it]); the characterization of Millie; a SCOTUS justice not being aware that Huck would be tortured; Olivia Pope continuing a looooooong tired tradition of Black women taking care of everything and everyone around them and leaving little to nothing for themselves. You see, tons of stuff. And yet, Ivory chose to write what? Incorrect, weak stuff.

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Game of Thrones (i.e. my life in gay world)

There are so many problematic aspects to this show but I still love it. Bring. It. On!!!!!

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