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5 comments | Monday, November 16, 2009

It seems the entire motion picture industry and audiences across the country are praising the new Lee Daniels film "Precious" based on the book Push by Sapphire and starring Monique as an abusive mother and Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe as an overweight, abused, and illiterate victim of incest. It can be argued that a film with a predominantly African-American cast hasn't been this anticipated since Dreamgirls in 2006 and at the helm of this cinematic gem is Daniels- an openly black gay man.

While this fact has been somewhat ignored by the media and definitely not mentioned in conversation among the minorities who are flocking to the theater in droves to see the film, Daniels is using the films attention to describe his experience as a gay man of color in countless interviews and it's not always pretty.

"In the Black American community, homophobia is rampant, says Daniels to Clay Cane of Bet.com. " I think it is very difficult to be out, gay and Black. I feel very much alone, especially amongst my people. It's a very lonely place. I'm not going to live a f*cking lie. I'd rather get stoned, be made fun of and take a bullet." He adds, "It's not cute being out, but it's a really important part of the story that I think is overlooked."

Daniels’, says there was "zero tolerance" for gays in the southwest Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up. He recalled, “I was beat up, and I went away to a white world that was more tolerant. I don’t want to know what I would have become if I’d stayed where I was. In our culture, homosexuality is so bashed, and I think that’s what f*cked me up.”

Daniels masterfully infuses what he calls a "gay sensibility" into Precious by featuring two lesbian characters that are void of stereotypes and forces the audience who may have held negative views towards gays and lesbians to look at them differently.

What does it say about our community that one of our own felt he needed to "go away to a white world" in order to live authentically?

Daniels was recently included in Out Magazine's annual Out 100 list. Precious opens nationwide on November 20.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree with him to a large extent. Having grown up in Harlem with a closeted older brother whose partner died of HIV complications in 1996, I see where he's coming from. I've seen countless clubs of many floors jammed packed with black and hispanics(whites too)and know the stigma many of us have. If we as gays could somehow influence the Gay club scene and breakdown the " You're a fag" mentality that society has placed on us...we'd be a real force to deal with. Its easier to go home for the night or even a few hours with a " thug" or a "hottie" than it is to fight for being accepted as caring,out same sex loving individuals. Still fight we will...until we bring society screaming and kicking if need be into the 21st century.


November 16, 2009 3:30 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Sometimes I feel bad, crazy and even ignorant when I say things like, "I feel so much more comfortable in predominantly White neighborhoods like Tribeca, the Upper West Side, Soho, the Vill, Dumbo, etc." It's almost as if I step out into a new world whenever I am in those places; a world where I can be careless to a degree. I am glad Daniels shares my belief. It is not cute being out, and while it is cute to stand up for your self and fight back, I truly believe that once you make the choice to COME OUT, it is CHOICE to get out of dodge and live your life where you are comfortable.

November 16, 2009 8:39 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree with him. I've felt more embraced and affirmed by whites more than I ever have with black people...my community.
This is yet another reason why I love Lee Daniels. He voiced an unpopular opinion that too many black people try to avoid...
The black community is virulently homophobic.

November 17, 2009 11:26 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The quote from Gay City News should be shown to our straight relatives and friends as a launching pad for discussion about homophobia in the black community.

I will say that in my experience, the most well-adjusted and confident black gay men have been the ones who "got out" like Daniels described.

It's hard to be out (and respected) in the hood, on the corner, in church, the frat line and other stereotypical places black men congregate. Why should I put myself in an uncomfortable environment?

I was out as the pres of the black student union when I was in college (a white university) and the ensuing drama made me give up on trying to "show my straight bretheren the light."

November 17, 2009 11:58 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Yes, what Lee Daniels is saying is true. But it’s not that whites are more accepting than blacks. It’s the fact that the black “hoods” have the same low tolerance, hateful attitudes towards gays that a lot of the small towns that the white people who now live in Tribecca, the UWS, SoHo, Dumbo, & the Vill once fled themselves. Blacks are still a minority, so it may seem as if whites are more accepting, but if out gays of any color were to venture into Middle America we would still be faced with the same hatred that so many have experienced in the “hood”. We would also be able to find just as many or even more married DL white men in those towns too.

November 17, 2009 4:19 PM


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