Two years ago when I was first introduced to Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett's television show The DL Chronicles I quickly dismissed it as another attempt to add more fuel to an intensely lit fire that was burning black gay men everywhere.
Men living on the down low is nothing new and existed long before J.L. King's infamous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But that one-hour changed how the world viewed black gay men and black straight men alike forever.
Black gay brothers were driven further underground, black women's suspicions of their partner's "true sexuality” were heightened, and the down low brother became the scapegoat for an increase in HIV infections in black women.
So when I sat down to watch episode Wes, the first of four episodes in the first season, I honestly didn't want anything to do with this project or any other with the title DL.
Fast forward to January 2008. A copy of the soon to be released DVD (now in stores) lands in my hands and somehow I decide to give this show with the tainted title and controversial content my undivided attention...and I'm blown away!
I won't get into specifics about each episode, (read our review here) but all I can tell you is that when each episode ended I was "full" (as the church folks would say) with a myriad of emotions. I immediately wanted to tell everybody about what I'd just seen. I would take out my iPod every chance I got to expose someone to the show who may not have seen it.
For the first time someone (Quincy & Deondray) saw beyond the image the media had created of black gay men and those living on the down low and turned it on it's head. While The DL Chronicles neither condones or condemns down low behavior it addresses the reasons why some men travel down this path.
In each thirty minute episode we become invested in these characters whom many of us may recognize from our own lives and for once they're more than just sexual predators out to destroy innocent lives, they're real human beings with real issues.
I couldn't keep the brilliance of The DL Chronicles to myself so this is what I decided to do.
On Saturday, February 16 I will be hosting a special screening/discussion of The DL Chronicles at an undisclosed location in Atlanta at 7pm. I will be showing three episodes from the first season to be followed by a discussion with a panel of some of our communities most respected artists.
Blogger pioneer J. Brotherlove will moderate the discussion and the panel will include James Earl Hardy (B Boy Blues), Tim’m West (rapper, activist, spoken word artist), Eric Ware (The Down Low Diaries), Anthony McWilliams (Atlanta Activist), and Anare Holmes (In The Life Atlanta, Clik Magazine).
If you're in Atlanta and would like to attend then shoot me an e-mail. Seating is limited and the guest list is already a little out of control, but I will do my best to accommodate everyone.
The DL Chronicles is now available on DVD. Order it here.