How Lil Nas X, Lena Waithe and ‘Sex Education’ are championing Black, queer love stories

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Black, quirky love stories – of all different kinds – are having a moment.

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lil nass x His live performances on TV and in his music videos in recent months”that’s what I want” (Off debut album “Montero”). Lena Waithe’s character Denise spent the entire third season of “Master of None” in one Complex Black gay relationship. and the third season of “Sex Education” black queer Characters are front and center in many major, poignant stories.

The media and its gatekeepers have stifled — and completely suppressed — that intersectionality.


“Honestly, Black queer love has eroded,” says DaShawn Usher, associate director of Communities of Color at GLAAD.

Experts say the current media landscape – particularly social media and streaming – has opened the proverbial floodgates for representations of all kinds.

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“It cannot be denied that[media representation]has given people the opportunity to be who they are and to be proud of who they are,” says Aymar Jean Christian, an associate professor at Northwestern University.

Of course, being black and queer is nothing new in the world of pop culture. Think of the 2000s drama television show “Noah’s Ark,” which featured four black gay men living in Los Angeles. or gay Singer and disco star Sylvester. These series and the cast paved the way for the next generation. And there is always room for more – especially joy and love.

“I’d love to see as many iterations of Black Joy and Black Trauma as possible as some of it may be okay, some of which needs to be told,” Usher says.

Necessary:How doctors’ perceptions of LGBTQ patients can be harmful to their health

How ‘sex education’ is changing the conversation

Netflix’s “Sex Education” is based on the sexual awakening and sex-positivity of students at a British high school. But this most recent season, which premiered in September, went even further in its progression to spot black, queer characters in groundbreaking, nuanced relationships.

According to series creator and showrunner Laurie Nunn, it started with a diverse writer’s room. The writer’s room played an integral part this season when Eric (Nakuti Gatwa) travels to Nigeria with his family. Tammy Wilkie, herself queer, Nigerian and British, wrote the episode.

“It was really important that there was a special uniqueness to that story,” Nunn says. In the episode, Eric visits a quaint Nigerian nightclub and enjoys a fascinating black and queer culture that he has not experienced at home. Eric cheats on his lover there – but it stems from a beautiful moment where he feels part of something bigger than himself.

Dua Saleh says, “To see the African queer portrayed in a way that was authentic and also sometimes light-hearted, instead of telling people about the same trauma stories and trauma stories at all It was beautiful,” says Dua Saleh. The non-binary student who plays Cal.

The season also featured several non-binary characters; The show hired non-binary consultants to land all the right ones.

Cal and the cisgender male character Jackson have an instant connection. But before the connection blossoms into something more, Cal explains that their relationship will naturally be a quirk—a fact that makes Jackson uncomfortable.

“That scene felt really important to me, because as someone who consumes media as a trans person, just knowing that there are a lot of trans people I know with their respective partners who are cis. , or those who don’t have an understanding of what their non-binary identity means to them, or what their queerness or sexuality means to each person,” Saleh says.

Dua Saleh as Kaal in "Sex Education".

Saleh is overwhelmed to the extent of tears seeing the love he has received from the fans.

“(For) a lot of them, this was the first time they had ever seen a non-binary person on a show,” Saleh says. “It’s something I have to take with me.”

Elsewhere on Netflix:9 Notable Netflix Premieres in October: Gwyneth Paltrow Talks About Sex, Colin Kaepernick Bio

What Lil Nas X is doing for queer black people

lil nass xThe star gets brighter and brighter with each passing day, whether she’s pulling off tons of different sexy, shocking Met Gala videos or teaching safe sex among black queer men in the new music video “That’s What I Want.” Be.

Recording Artist Speaks TIC Toc Posts scathing tweets in February about her depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and has always stood up for LGBTQ rights – not to mention her kissed one of his male dancers at the BET Awards.

The star of Lil Nas X gets brighter and brighter with each passing day, whether she's rocking several different sexy, shocking looks at the Met Gala (as pictured).

Social media exploded after the premiere of his video for “Montero (call me by your name)This spring, which included sexually-explicit biblical and satanic imagery (he kills the devil, among other things). Fans celebrated the weirdness in the video but others thought it went too far. Advocates say His critics miss the bigger picture: his brave statement for black queerness.

Lil Nas X, whose real name is Monteiro Lamar Hill, also wrote a letter to his 14-year-old self to accompany the song’s release. “I know we promised to die with secrets, but this would simply open the door to survival for many other queer people,” the letter reads.

Another music video for their song “Sun Goes Down” showed the artist helping a younger version of herself while contemplating suicide and having a hard time figuring out her sexuality.

If you missed:Lil Nas X Awarded Inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocacy Award by The Trevor Project

Lena Waithe and Trauma: It’s a Reality

The third season of “Master of None,” which premiered in May, kicked off co-creator and star Aziz Ansari, moving to Lena Waithe’s Denise and his wife Alicia (Naomi Ackie). The LGBTQ outlet wrote, “This was literally the only time a television series focused on a black lesbian couple as the sole protagonist, and in such a close-up close-up portrait”. Autostraddle Editor-in-Chief Carmen Phillips in May. It’s not a happy picture – but that’s the point.

Waithe’s works, such as the films “Queen and Slim” and “Master of None,” have been criticized as “black trauma porn”. But “the sad reality is that being Black in America means experiencing a lot of trauma,” says David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “To be black and queer, trans and nonbinary means what we experience in interpersonal ways that means that trauma is often complicated.”

Usher says these stories need to be told. “It shouldn’t be just the story or just the things told,” he says. “But this is the reality of what has happened, or what is currently happening.”

Christian appreciated the reality of the series. “It seemed like they were trying to tell an intimate universal story that wasn’t trying to negate the blackness and queerness of the characters, but also giving them the opportunity to live a life that was entirely their blackness and queerness.” Not queue focused,” he says.

Lena Waithe as Denise and Naomi Ackie as Alicia in "Master of None".

The examples of successful black, queer representation don’t end here. Watch Starz’s “P-Valley,” and “Lovecraft Country” and “Random Acts of Flyness” on HBO. Or the VH1 reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Miami.”

More representation – especially when it comes to Black, love stories of all kinds are better.

“When people are proud of themselves, they live their lives differently,” Christian says, “and they force other people to face and accept those in their real lives who are different. “

the more you know:Most of our slang comes from the black community. Not accepting that perpetuates racism.

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