I’m sure we all remember Blaine and Antwoine from the popular In Living Color sketch Men on Film. I remember watching this sketch in the early 90’s and being totally aware of my orientation and laughing right along as they portrayed black gay men as flamboyant and overly effeminate people.
When I watch it today I have very different feelings about this sketch. I’m sure when Keenan Ivory Wayans created this sketch it wasn’t done maliciously, but it was done because he knew it would evoke laughter, but at who’s expense?
I know characters on television can’t be all things to all people, but I think you have to be extremely careful when you’re portraying a group of people who are often misrepresented, misunderstood, shunned, or simply ignored. The soccer mom in Ohio who may have never met a black SGL person or a gay person of any color is left to believe Blaine and Antwoine represents the entire community.
I wonder if this sketch would fly today in 2006? Would there be gay activists on the attack or would we laugh right along with the rest of the world as I did before I knew better? Or am I just creating an issue where there isn’t one? Let me know.