Tag Archives: Black LGBT

A Kiki with Michael Sam

Michael Sam

Let’s Have A Kiki

“I’m sorry; did I answer your question right?” Michael Sam’s voice is not necessarily soft, nor is it smooth, but what it is, is respectful and earnest. This is at least the third time he has worried if his answers to my questions are correct. I, hoping to put him at ease, reply, “It is fine; just think of this as us having a kiki in a cafe.” Instantly Sam’s brow furrows; he briefly squints his eyes and asks, “A what?” The language is foreign to him. Again I reply, “A kiki. It is black gay slang for when friends get together to laugh and talk. Basically it’s shooting the shit.” His brow releases its wrinkles and he slightly smiles, “Oh; I thought you said ‘kinky.’ I was like, ‘what?’A ‘kiki?’ I have never heard of that?” The fact that he didn’t speak the language was not shocking to me; I had suspicions as to why but I wanted confirmation: “Don’t you have Black gay friends? Or are most of your friends straight? Or if they are gay are they…?” I thought better of finishing the question, but Sam answered, “Most of my friends are straight. I don’t have a lot of gay friends but I do have one really good transgender friend.”

Michael Sam had, unknowingly, confirmed all of my inner doubts about him, and he confirmed many of the criticisms of him and many out Black gay celebrities. Criticisms that maintain that Michael Sam and others like him are symbols of pride and progress precisely because they have such fragile ties to the Black queer community (or to Blackness in general except for confirming supposed Black pathology). They are the pieces of charcoal in Frosty’s white face that make him complete, the black top hat that brings his white body to life. Each one of them come to the media table with a story that confirms Black homophobia and the power of self-love, and each reach for their white lover, who becomes an avatar for whiteness. And, for many a Black queer boy, in that moment, the moment of the reach for the white hand, the fantasy reveals itself to be just that, a fantasy, a fraud, or, worse, a confirmation that healthy Black gay love is not loving another Black queer person.  

And, there is reason for this suspicion. If we turn to the world of imagination, sadly, it too fails us. We have a paucity of Black queer characters on television and film; so, often, when we see a Black queer character there is an initial moment of joy. A deep hope once again sprouts and we think, “Maybe this time will be different; maybe this time [we’ll] win,” but then we inevitably discover that our hope is misplaced. Often the Black queer is usually male and subordinate to other characters. If he is the center of an episode of television, he is often, though not always, on the DL.  If he is femme, he is often depicted as romantically and sexually undesirable and given little complexity. If he is “masc,” or simply “not femme,” he may have complexity, but his love life is always one constructed for the white gaze because he, visually coded as desirable, is almost always dating a non-Black character. It seems that even in the collective American imagination, Black queer folk loving other Black queer folk is too strange to comprehend.

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Questions in August 2014

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be 

in the streets, with my thoughts in front of me

ten feet.

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be on 

a tree, swinging slowly, 

feet dangling?

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be 

on a fence, scaring crows

away?

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be

in a class, my head across the glass as the

screen blinks/

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be

in a street, with my skirt and 

legs open?

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be 

on a sidewalk, throat 

pulled in

            Will they find me? 

Where will they find me?

Will I be 

found? 

Or will they hide me

will they wise up and hide me?

            Will they find me? 

Where will I be when

they come for me 

and…………………………………………………………

 

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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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