In case you somehow missed all the rainbows, June is Pride Month, which means it is a time for queer (I'm using this as an umbrella term for all the identities LGBTQ+) to celebrate…well still being alive. It is not, contrary to popular belief, just a celebration of being queer, but an acknowledgement of how the world constantly tries to destroy queer people but never succeeds (at least not fully). It’s a month celebrating the fact that queer people have a long and storied history of rebellion, protest, and contribution to the world at large. It is a time to pay homage to Ancestors like Marsha P. Johnson and others and take advantage of the lives we have left to live. Its a beautiful time where colorful flags paint the towns, there's parades and events all month long, and channels and cable providers show plenty of queer programming. Despite all of this though, I have to ask one question.
No but seriously. Why is EVERYBODY WHITE?! I know Black queer people exist (ahem), so where are they during a lot of these Pride Month celebrations? The "urban" (re: Black and Brown) events like DC Pride, Sizzle, and BOTH Atlanta Prides are all during other times of year, and the queer people (and allies even) who get shine during actual Pride Month are all pretty melanin-deficient. Why is that? Why are all of the highlighted shows and films all either two fit white guys who look like they could be brothers or one fit white guy and a Black/LatinX/Asian man? And good luck finding any lesbians or trans people of color AT ALL. It is tragically ironic that even a month that is designed to celebrate resiliency ignores the double whammy that Black queer (and other QPoC) people deal with. Yea, white queer folks are mistreated, but let’s be real: they constantly have a leg up on Black folks, straight or otherwise. We have a million and three stories of triumph and the history of white queer folx, but where are the Black ones? Where are all the celebrations of these Black people who dare to find happiness in a world that is determined to destroy them? Where are all the histories of Black queer icons? WHERE ARE THE BLACK PEOPLE?!
After MUCH searching, I found a few. There's the streaming site SlayTV, there's Pose on regular TV (which you SHOULD WATCH ASAP), there's a handful of (mostly indie) YouTube stuff and sporadic programming in other Black platforms like the arthouse. That's not enough. Stories about Black queer people are few and far between, and a lot of times what comes up ends up just being softcore porn (nothing wrong with that, but if you're looking for a storyline good luck) or tragic stories of Black people who were so mistreated by other Black people that they run (foolishly) into the arms of whiteness. It is the year 2000 and 18 and we deserve better; if not us that's big and grown now, definitely the next generation. I can’t tell you the number of Black students who have come out in my classes or to me directly and have then latched on to me because they wanted or needed guidance. I can’t tell you how many newly out/accepting of self Black queer GROWN folks I have tried to help through life, or how much I myself have looked for affirmation. People are LITERALLY DYING because people are so misunderstanding of Black queer people, including other Black queer people. There is no reason why Black queer people should have to go through this type of struggle. We deserve to be represented just as much as our white counterparts, and that requires a realization that Black queer people are worth celebrating and that we occupy BOTH Black and queer spaces.
I know that folks won’t agree with this, but really, you should get over yourself at this point. Cherrypicked religious sermons, pro-Blackness that is actually anti-Blackness, and whatever other ass backwards excuse people are coming up with nowadays is pure bullshit. It is an absolute necessity that Black queer people are centered, talked about, and LOVED for ALL of who they are. Halfway love ends up with people living half lives or all the way put out on the street; we don't have time for that in 2000 and 18. It is our duty as a Black community and as a queer community to demand more Black queer centered art for the people who need it. It is our duty as creators to give it to them by taking the time to present whole Black queer people. We owe it to ourselves, our children, our friends, our families, and to the four people in the header. Pride Month may be ending, but the people who live this life every day will wake up on July 1st still in need of representation and attention, and helping them is something we all can take Pride in.
Do you know of any other Black queer art (movies, music, TV, etc.) that may be helpful to those in need of it? How do you think cishet Black people and non-Black queer people can help this cause? Feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns you may have below and don't forget to like, share, and subscribe!