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9 comments | Sunday, June 22, 2008




I have a confession to make. Last week I watched Bill Duke’s controversial film “Cover” and I liked it. If you remember it wasn’t too long ago that Duke announced that he was going to make a film about the down low phenomenon and the impact it was having in the black community, particularly among black females.

Gay rights activists quickly pounced on what they believed was another project aimed at further demonizing black men who identified themselves as heterosexuals but who secretly slept with other men.

I was one of those activists who after viewing the original trailer for the film was quickly put on the defensive, especially after seeing the inaccurate HIV/AIDS statistics among black women that were displayed in the trailer.





Like many others I expected the worst. More of what we’d come to expect from the media in regards to how black gay men were being portrayed.

But surprisingly, Duke’s film plays less to the “woe is me” from the central black female character and explores the dilemma of a black bisexual man who is trapped living the life expected of him versus the life he knows to be true. Particularly as it relates to the sometimes-harsh reality waiting for black men who do decide to tell the truth and come out.

James Baldwin once said, “You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all."

It seems I was living this truth before I’d even come across Baldwin’s words. When the words “I’m gay” left my mouth at sixteen and reverberated around my house it was extremely scary yet necessary. So a big part of me takes issue with anyone who feels it’s safer to hide and be deceptive versus standing in his or her truth, no matter what the consequences may be. But I also know that this is easier said than done and the potential loss can far outweigh the gains for some people.

But how long? How long must it take and how many lies must be told before you finally gather the courage to boldly affirm who you are?

We have no choice in our natural inclination towards the same sex, but we do have a choice when it comes to being honest with the people we care about. It’s incredibly sad that as gay men we’ve had to lie so much that we now have to learn to tell the truth.

Once the male lead in Cover hits rock bottom he screams 5 words that literally sent shivers down my spine. “This Is Who I Am”! Heart wrenching and affirming all at once.

I long for the day when society, black families, and the black church create a safe environment for brothers to openly be who they are without the fear of losing everything that they hold dear.

Only then will this DL phenomenon cease to exist. But in the meantime you can guarantee that lives will be ruined, books will be written, and movies will be made. Speaking of books, I think it’s time that a different story is told, one that affirms who we are as black gay men and doesn’t involve deceiving wives or girlfriends in the process.

I’ve put it off for far too long. I think it’s time.


Cover is now available on DVD. Check out the teaser I created below.

9 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I just watched this Sunday evening and thought it was so good. I had never heard of the movie, but a friend mentioned it so I went to blockbuster and they had it. Prior to watching it I was completely unaware that it even dealt with the DL issue (my friend didn't mention that part). I think it was tastefully done much like The DL Chronicles and I liked the overall message. I'll definitely be purchasing this and adding it to my collection.

Cash S.

June 23, 2008 2:40 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

So was the movie a threatrical release or straight to DVD?

Or was it a flop in theaters and THEN on to DVD? It didn't come to theaters here in Cincinnati, Ohio.

June 23, 2008 9:26 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"I long for the day when society, black families, and the black church create a safe environment for brothers to openly be who they are without the fear of losing everything that they hold dear".

It will not happen until black gay/bisexual men come out of the closet and/or up from the DL and make it happen. White people did not decide, all by themselves, to end slavery, legal segregation, public lynchings, etc. It took a MOVEMENT. It will take a similar movement of black gays to end homophobia in the black community.

June 23, 2008 10:04 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

There is no logical link between calling oneself "gay" and an increased use of condoms.

The AIDS epidemic among women is caused by the increase in incarceration rates of the kinds of men they like to date--not a rash of secretly closeted men who would use condoms if only they were out!

(And if you think condoms in prison would reduce the spread of AIDS, then I had better start laughing from now. Might as well perform marriages in prison too.)

Methinks you are so wed to the "Must come out!" mantra, that you have claimed the blame for something that has nothing to do with men who like other men. Reject the smear!

June 24, 2008 2:57 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

John-

I'm not sure what post you were reading because there was no attempt to prove a link between down low men and the increase in HIV infection among black women.

If you read the first paragraph I clearly state "I was one of those activists who after viewing the original trailer for the film was quickly put on the defensive, especially after seeing the inaccurate HIV/AIDS statistics among black women that were displayed in the trailer.

And yes I am "married" to the idea of being out. I think the decision to come out takes a lot more courage than it does to hide and be deceptive.

Darian

June 24, 2008 9:42 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

We watched the film last Friday. It's unintentional farce wrapped in proselytizing. It makes a great public service announcement, but a terrible, TERRIBLE film.

June 24, 2008 1:56 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"Gay rights activists quickly pounced on what they believed was another project aimed at further demonizing black men who identified themselves as heterosexuals but who secretly slept with other men.

I was one of those activists who after viewing the original trailer for the film was quickly put on the defensive, especially after seeing the inaccurate HIV/AIDS statistics among black women that were displayed in the trailer".

I have not seen the film. However, you have and you, black gay activist that you are, liked it. Based on your observations, I am now curious about seeing the film for myself.

I find it hard to believe that the outrage directed at the film and its director, while it was in PRODUCTION, did not have some influence on the final product.

Although we may never know, I believe that the protests by gay activists caused director, Bill Dukes, to rethink his film project and the result was a more balanced portrayal of the "DL" charactor.

June 24, 2008 2:37 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My mom and I watched this movie together...very interesting conversation that followed.

June 26, 2008 8:29 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I just watched the film. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I think the message was lost somewhere in between the substandard acting and poor editing. I watch a lot of movies, theatrical releases, and straight to DVD. So I know a thing or two about good movies, this movie was tragic.
It was just horrible.
I mean seriously, this was waste of production costs!

July 12, 2008 10:10 PM

 

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