The Media’s Representation of Gay Black Boys

The media and music industry have seen a rise in representations of gay black men over the past decade. Logo Network’s Noah’s Arc, about the lives of gay black men in Los Angeles, and Empire, a drama about Jamal’s struggles as a gay man in the hypermasculine rap world, have helped bring more visibility to this group of men. And in the music industry, we’ve seen the emergence of artists like Frank Ocean and Kevin Abstract.

Yet, media continues to portray gay men of color in a negative light. Oprah Winfrey’s 1997 episode featured a black man being portrayed as promiscuous and attributed with HIV. Brokeback Mountain, a movie that depicted a black man and a white man as “down-low” men, was another example. It received critical acclaim.

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