*****UPDATE 9/13/04: So ... just found out Mary Ellis Bunim died last year. Story is still the same. Funny though, i'm usually the one who thinks folks are dead before they really are.*****
Okay, Mary Ellis Bunim has finally done it. It took 15 years, but MTV's The Real World (Bunim is its creator) has finally got a black gay man on the show. I dunno, maybe she was watching the advance news about Showtime's American Candidate and got jealous.
Funny, i used to be a Real World junkie, but i haven't been a regular viewer since Melissa turned out the New Orleans show and went on to become one of the Girls Behaving Badly. So the only reason i even know about this latest development is because of Charles.
You know i had to investigate.
Seems there's this kinda-sexy brotha named Karamo on the show who stunned his straight, white, male roommates when he came out to them. I loved seeing their jaws literally drop at the end of the scene. (Of course, i probably would have clocked his T for myself after getting a load of his striptease in his casting video.)
Why is this a big deal?
Well, one thing i've notice since Ms. Bunim started the current boom in reality TV is that MTV is pretty much still the leader in this type of programming. I have yet to see a reality show on another network who's roots can't be traced back to something similar that MTV has already done. You can accuse MTV of fluff programming, but after they got over that whole "no videos by black artists" thing, they actually developed a history of being pretty progressive in the issues they tackle and the people they present. (Probably part and parcel of targeting their young and presumably progressive audience.) I'm actually surprised they haven't found a gay brotha before now. Now let's see if he finds another black man to hook up with.
I guess for me it's a big deal whenever i see more reflections of my folks on TV and in the movies. The more people see us, the more people will see us, y'know?
So let's see, who have we had so far? We had "Carter Heywood" on ABC's Spin City, we've got "Keith Charles" on HBO's Six Feet Under, and "Omar" on HBO's The Wire, Keith and Nathan on the aforementioned Showtime's American Candidate and ... um ... well that's about all i can come up with. (I am not counting minor walk-ons or straight actors who play over-the-top stereotypes just for laughs.) Oh yeah, and there's this South African TV show called Yizo Yizo, now in its third season, that has developed a relationship between two of the male characters.
Yes, two black gay male major characters on a television drama, and it happened in South Africa before the USA.
So, forgive me for getting excited about one more black gay man on TV -- and a real one at that. If you want to fault me for making to much of something trivial, go ahead. If you want to correct my on my list of black gay men on television, please send me an update.
For once, i look forward to being wrong.