You may recall mention of an important forum co-sponsored by GLAAD, Screen Actors Guild, and The National Black Justice Coalition on this blog back in February titled "Knocking Down The Door: Black LGBT Images in Media. Video footage from this event is now available online and is definitely worth watching.
Moderated by Rashad Robinson(GLAAD) and including some of the best black gay filmmakers and actors in the business including Maurice Jamal(Dirty Laundry), Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett(The DL Chronicles), Marcellas Reynolds(Big Brother), and Sonja Sohn (The Wire) to name a few.
It's no secret that the images we see on television has the power to influence and change the hearts and minds of millions and this couldn't be more accurate in terms of how the world views the LGBT community. With a shortage of gay characters on prime time television or in film there's an even greater shortage of black gay characters.
Maurice Jamal articulates perfectly during the panel discussion the power of positive LGBT characters specifically for gay youth who are in the process of coming out and who often rely on media to spark a discussion with their parents about their sexuality.
Get into the video below:
In related news: Afterelton.com has a comprehensive list of television shows featuring gay characters. Paul James as Calvin on the ABC Family hit Greek and Desmond Dube as the stereotypical flamboyant hair dresser BK on HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency starring Jill Scott.
While black gay characters may be lacking on scripted TV shows we're bound to pop up in reality programming. Here's a reason to tune into MTV's latest reality show Taking The Stage. The show follows the lives of five talented student performers at Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Dancer-choreographer Malik(pictured above-right) also happens to be openly gay and is shown in rehearsal during the first episode along with his boyfriend Matthew. My gaydar tells me he's not the only gay person on the show and the forced relationship between Tyler(pictured above-left) and prima ballerina Jasmine doesn't lead me to believe otherwise. Are you watching the show? What do you think so far?
Learn more about Malik below: