You may have noticed the absence of television sitcoms featuring primarily African-American casts, only one exception comes to mind with the return of the CW cancelled fan favorite The Game returning in January with new episodes on BET.
Now African-American audiences can look forward to a second show when TV One premieres "Love That Girl", a new series starring Tatyana Ali premiering on January 10th. Ali plays Tyana Jones a recent young divorcee returning to Southern California in search of new independence, a new career and a brand new chapter in her life.
The sneak peek for the show includes two effeminate gay male characters who are tip-toeing the line of In Living Color's Blaine and Antoine's buffoonery from the early nineties. I'm reserving judgement until the show airs but it does give me pause.
Gay characters of color are already invisible on black networks and when we are present we're often on the down-low, outrageously over -the- top or caricatures of who we truly are only serving as the punch line.
Don't get me wrong I have the utmost respect for effeminate gay men(Stonewall uprising... anyone?) and believe their stories are important and should be shown, but I also believe there should be a balanced representation and far too often LGBT characters of color on television are one dimensional. We must demand to be portrayed as the multi-layered and diverse group we are just as we did prior to The Cosby Show era when black men were being reduced to gang-bangers and dead beat dads and not doctors, lawyers, or entrepreneurs.
I know some people will say it's just a TV show and it's not a big deal, but media has the ability to shape societal attitudes and for black people who may never come in contact with an LGBT person, Blaine, Antoine, and the gay characters from Love That Girl may be their only access to who we are. Let's hope the writers will get this one right. I'll be watching.
Get into the sneak peek below: