Lost Documentary Featuring James Baldwin Restored!

Watch it in its entirety online!

Take This Hammer, follows author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he’s driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. He is escorted by Youth For Service’s Executive Director Orville Luster and intent on discovering: “The real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.”

He declares: “There is no moral distance … between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.”

Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: “There will be a Negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now.”

I am so glad that this film is now available to help San Francisco avail itself of the idea that it is the most progressive and “multi-cultural” city.

Why Black Gays Love The Golden Girls

Hell Yeah!

Hell Yeah!

I, like many people, am morning the loss of actress/comedian Bea Arthur, who passed this weekend at the age of 86.

I noticed many years ago however, that many of my Black gay friends who were old enough to remember the show when it was originally on their air, had a deep love and appreciation for. I literally know Black gays who watch it on Lifetime everynight before going to bed. Black gay’s who have them all recorded. Black gays who will not leave for to go out to the club until they’ve watched the episode.

Now, there are and were other shows with 4 prominent women characters–Designing Women, Sex in The City, Living Single to name a few. And while one might say that ALL gays love the Golden Girls, but as Colin & Lamarr reminded me last night strolling up Christopher Street, the Black gays don’t share all of the same cultural tastes as the white gays–we’re more Chaka & Patti  than we are Cher & Judy.  So why do the Black gays love the Golden Girls?

THE THEME SONG

“Thank you for being a friend…” NYC-based Black drag persona Harmonica Sunbeam closes her show with this song nearly every performance she does.  I know I loved this song as a kid, and I think it the Black gays love it because it describes the kind of close-as-close can get friendships–family in everything but blood–that many of us have built with each other over the years.

The Original Fab 4.

All of us could see ourselves, and our friends in Blanche (slutty), Sofia (grumpy), Rose (dizzy), and Dorothy (blunt). I think alot of Black gays I know have lived in nontraditional households with friends as the primary caretakers, or have certainly developed those kinds of relationships, whether or not we’re close with our biological families.  I think I have friendships like that, and I think it was nice to see that reflected. Many “nontraditional” families or unconventional characters in general in pop culture I think become queer stand-ins for the gays in general (why do we love Samantha so much from Sex in the City–she’s the queer stand-in. Totally sex positive, refuses to bow to social conventions for what a woman “of a certain age” is supposed to do, etc.).

The Laughs

I think the particular style of comedy of the show also made it particularly appealing to Black queer sensibilities.  The way the show was able to tackle issues in a way that sit-coms today generally are devoid of, especially complex  issues around sex and sexuality. Their brashness and brutal honesty with each other–people who loved each other but who got on each others’ nerves a lot and were quick to read the other girls! And the best thing about Bea was that she didn’t take herself too seriously, on the show and off, she joked about her height, deep voice, and other masculine aspects.

The Fashion–Especially The  Shoulder Pads.

Need I Say More???

Need I Say More???

The Black gays will miss you, Bea. But we’ll see you tonight on the show.

Miss Me? I’ve Been On The Radio!

Hey —

I missed you. I really do. Life has been really busy. The kind of busy that’s unsustainable. Anyhoo, I will be getting back to the blog real soon, but in the meantime, here’s a couple radio interviews I’ve done this past week.

WBAI’s Out FM: I was discussing the new report that shows that men on the down low is not a term people use uniformly, and that they practise as much safe sex as out gay men (non-DL identified). On top of that, they have less HIV prevalence than out Black & Latino gay men. LISTEN UP!

This Show is So Gay! This show, I talk politics and the personal–there’s some stuff on here I’ve never talked about publicly, so if you wanna hear the dish, LISTEN UP! This show is definitely worth getting the podcast on iTunes!