Last night, I attended, “Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media,” hosted by GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition. The event discussed the images of Black LGBT people in movies and television. The conversation moved through issues of out and closeted actors, lack of support from the LGBT community, and the messages the characters send.
The panel was consisted of
Willis Edwards, National Board of Directors, NAACP; Vice Chair of the NAACP Image Awards
Deondray Gossett, Writer/Producer/Director, "The DL Chronicles"
Maurice Jamal, Writer/Producer/Director, "Dirty Laundry," "The Ski Trip"
Quincy LeNear, Writer/Producer/Director, "The DL Chronicles"
Marcellas Reynolds, TV Host/Correspondent, E! Networks
Sonja Sohn, Actor, "The Wire"
J. Karen Thomas, Actor; Founding Member SAG LGBT Actors Committee
Each of them provided their opinions on the reasons why Black LGBT are not visible, as well as the struggles to present non-stereotypical characters.
I was happy that the discussion moved to the importance of the visibility of Black LGBT characters. It was mentioned that the lack of LGBT characters of color makes it hard for Black communities to accept or to understand gay culture. I totally agree with that, in some ways we don't exist to many in the Black community or it's not talked about. Still to this day, I will hear that being gay is a 'White' thing. By increasing our visibility, we can make this a 'People' thing regardless of race.
It is definitely important to reflect the real faces of the LGBT community. I can't help but to think if there were more LGBT characters of color on TV, Prop 8 may not have passed. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but it's something I truly believe.
So here are some of the points I was feeling last night:
- More visibility of LGBT characters of color
- More execs should be open and willing to put more diverse LGBT characters on TV and film
- More diverse types of LGBT characters of color
- More lead roles for LGBT characters of color
In all, it was a great discussion. We needed more time, but we got into some good stuff. We should have more discussions about the diversity of our LGBT community. It's time for a change.