Does The DL Chronicles Feed The Machine?

Blogger and porn star Tre Xavier has condemned TV shows like The DL Chronicles and Keith Boykin's Beyond The Down Low as feeding the mainstream media's negative stereotyping of black gay men. In his latest blog for thugpornblog.com, Tre suggests the works "feed the racist white media machine with ammo to make it seem that guys having a secret gay life is a problem mainly among Black males, and not males of all races, ethnicities, and cultures."

The mere mention of that self-serving, hate-mongering separtist Boykin had my blood boiling enough for me to start cheering Tre on there and then, but I'm a fan of The DL Chronicles and I wonder if Tre might change his mind if he watched the four episodes of the show. One of the things I liked about the show was the fact that, although the main characters were all black or mixed race, they also came from different walks of life. Only in the third episode, Boo, did homothug raise his bald, gold-toothed head. The other characters (professionals and family men) could just as well have been white. And rather than living DL lives for one blanket reason (homophobia in the black community, as Tre suggests) The DL Chronicles delves into the numerous reasons why men might choose to live on the DL.

It also happens that The DL Chronicle's creators wanted to make a series about "men of color who by consequence and by choice, live sexually duplicitous and secret lifestyles" - in the same way that Noah's Arc is about men of colour and Queer As Folk is about white gay men. I don't see any problem with TV shows setting out to depict one particular racial group or another - should Seinfeld have had a black character crow-barred into the format for a bit of diversity, or should The Wayans Bros have had a white pal - just because? It's a fact, whether you like it or not, that most people stick with their own racial demographic. It's also a fact that plenty of people don't, but we've yet to see a TV show from the emerging gay television genre embrace diversity - only Rikki Beadle-Blair's criminally short-lived Metrosexuality (pictured above) managed to cram in the kind of racial (and sexual) diversity that you'll never, ever see on American television.

Being "DL" isn't the exclusive preserve of black gay men, and The DL Chronicles doesn't suggest it is. I haven't read Boykin's book, so I won't comment on that - but I bet I wouldn't have anything good to say about it if I had done...

7 comments:

Ameen said...

I've seen one or a piece of an episode on DVD. Interesting

Anonymous said...

Did this guy even read Boykin's book? He says in his book that the DL is not just a black thing. Maybe Tre's got Boykin confused with JL King. He's the one who started all this-not Boykin.

Tre Xavier said...

Maybe you are unaware of how it is over here in the United States, but lately the gay media here in the US has made Blacks out to be extremely homophobic, when as I have stated they are no more homophobic than corporate America (which is predominately White).

With that in mind, I might have wanted to view "The DL Chronicles" had it aired at a different time in American gay media history. But Keith Boykin gave the racist of American gay media just what they wanted - a way to pass the buck, which may have led to the Here!TV greenlighting "The DL Chronicles".

It may be a quality show, but aired at the wrong time."

ka-os said...

I don't have first hand experience of how things are in the States, but I can well believe that the "mainstream" gay media make black people out to be more homophobic than others. It's pretty much the same here. Maybe the truth is that those black people with homophobic feelings are more vocal in their discontent than white people... Who knows? I sure as hell wouldn't set my stall up as an expert on the matter!!

In any case, I fully appreciate why you feel the way you do about the subject - it sucks being saddled with a media-inforced negative stereotype, and anything that seems to reinforce can provoke a reaction...

Tré Xavier said...

To answer "anonymous" question, NO I did not read Boykin's book. But I do recall him doing the talk show circuit to promote his book, and while he may have said that DL is not just a black thing, his book title and his interview CLEARLY paints "life on the DL" as being a black thing.

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who passes judgement on The DL Chronicles as a demeaning depiction of gay men of color has clearly NOT seen the series. Reviews far and wide say the same thing - It's a phenomenal show.

I too have problems with the term DL being subjugated or synonymous with black folks, but The DL Chronicles actually tries to re-define what this term means, and makes every viewer watching aware that this scenario can happen to any race, creed, religion, or social class. I admonish you, Tre, to actually WATCH the ENTIRE season of The DL Chronicles before bashing it. It's a gem of a show that our community is extremely proud of - those of us who took time out to watch it.

And PS: 69% of blacks voting Yes on prop 8 seems to combat your theory that black folks are no more homophobic than whites. Care to reply?

ka-os said...

Anonymous - please don't be. I won't normally publish 'Anonymous' comment. Thanks.

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