Welcome back to Black Friday, y'all!
It’s not your one-stop shop for black news (prioritize black people all the time), but do check in for a corner of black-centric news—preferably of the queer and femme nature.
Black Women Erased From Black Power Movement in Guerilla
Premiering this month, John Ridley’s TV show Guerilla will do it’s best to depict a story of revolution. A story of resilience and power, BLACK power, and there will be what….no black women. Wait there’s one. Oh, she’s the informant for a white police officer.
This, so far, is all we’ve seen from the Showtime series set in the 70’s era black power movement, and it has provoked much criticism and backlash towards the project. I mean really though, an Asian lead, but the only black woman present in promos is an informant . They’re just gonna slip that in there? Explaining the move in a recent Q & A screening in London, Ridley on the verge of tears responded,
“I said previously, I think the characters in this story are complicated across the board, so the concept that any one person is somehow better, or more elevated, or more appropriate than any other individual, I’m sorry, I don’t accept that.”
Then he continued:
“I don’t want to make this overly personal, but part of why I chose to have a mixed-race couple at the center of this is that I’m in a mixed-race relationship. The things that are being said here, and how we are often received, is very equivalent to what’s going on right now. My wife is a fighter, my wife is an activist, and yet, because our races are different, there are a lot of things we have to still put up with.”
Now as a writer, inspiration may create minor tweaks in accuracy or detail, but the question here remains why no positive and prominent black, female roles in a black power movement. When stories involving black people can’t even pave way for strong, positive role models and accurate representation of themselves, then something has definitely gone awry. This beta max retelling of racial transcendence and coexist stickers has been made clear to be less of a story of black power for black people and more of the struggles of Ridley’s relationship, now set in 70’s UK. It’s unfortunate because people such as Olive Morris (British Black Panthers), Stella Dadzie (Organization of Women of African and Asian Descent) and activist Claudia Jones may have added a bit more flare and substance to this narrative, but I guess nonblack fictional characters are what we have to work with now..
In a sea of pink nipples and rampant appropriation, one can be very hard-pressed to find a black gay character that isn’t stereotyped, hypersexualized/fetishized or just there to be the black person in the room. Well SlayTV, has arrived to fill a bit of that void. Created by a black gay couple, the network presents a range of stories with black trans and queer people at the forefront. With series such as “Love At First Night” and “No Shade”, the content aims to depict a reality that’s more true to the gay black experience, while delivering some laughs along the way.
Meanwhile, docu-series “Other Boys” - created by video producer Abdool Corlette - centers stories of black queer and trans men growing up in NYC. Delving into family life, careers and socioeconomics each episode gives a perspective mostly silenced or subverted in mainstream media. These and other series on the network consistently garner a refreshing feeling of reliability, but with a mostly black team behind the project, this comes as no surprise.
SlayTV’s official launch is on May 15th, but all of this content is available now on Youtube.
Matt Jones is your average carefree black boi, community worker, and sensei. As an Atlanta based artist he dreams to foster community and advocate real change for issues involving but not limited to mental health, queer life, and POC disparity.