Just recently, we attended the Outfest Legacy Awards which aims at physically preserving LGBT media that risk extinction due to negligence, time, and atrophy. As we sat in an audience of thousands, among the who’s who list of Hollywood; the power, the money, the decision makers behind the scenes such as Showtime, Lifetime, and more, we couldn’t help but notice that we were only a few contrasting specs in a sea of sameness. I could count the number of Black people on both hands.
The host of the night was the legendary diva, Jennifer Lewis, who in her brilliant comedic way, made mention to the fact that there were no Black faces in most of the projects made about LGBT people. “You wouldn’t need to preserve this shit if you had some Black faces in it… because Black don’t crack!” Then she burst out into her one woman show theme song, Black Don’t Crack. As funny and tongue and cheek as it was, it was a very poignant and disheartening moment, at least for the few Black faces there.
The second poignant moment was when the President of Outfest made mention in her donation plea that these are the images that shape us, that taught us, the images of our selves that we identify with, they helped teach us our history, who we were and who we are, our struggles, our lives (paraphrased). But watching the images on that screen and noticing the dearth of our presence in that room, those statements couldn’t have been more contrary for people of color. There were no images of us, alone or inclusive, that could make those claims true. Yet, I watched the hundreds of attendees fill out donation forms in support of THEIR stories.
This is a reality. We can get angry and point fingers, play the race card, yell about the man and the Good Ole Boy’s club, and I’m sure there are valid truths in some of those arguments, but the bottom line in Hollywood is ACCOUNTING. Follow the dollar. Green trumps all.
WHERE IS OUR BLACK LGBT AUDIENCE?
I can get on my soap box and write for hours about both sides of the equation and I can lay back and moan and wait for someone else to come knocking at my door, to put me on, to give me a chance, but I’m not, because we are not afforded that luxury. We HAVE to take matters into our OWN hands. Tyler Perry became the highest paid entertainer in Hollywood this year because he NEVER WAITED, NEVER EXPECTED the doors to be opened. He took matters into his own hands and with the SUPPORT of thousands of Black dollars across the country, he made his brand a force that had to RECOGNIZED.
If Tyler had not have taken the initiative and not have gained the support of the countless fans across the country, there would be no Tyler Perry Presents. Regardless of what some may think of the artistic merit of Tyler Perry’s work, he has provided at least 1/3rd of the Black images currently on TV and in Films – about us and by us.
Hollywood history has proven this over and over. Pre-Tyler Perry, there was Robert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans. They knocked down the doors with independent projects that were lauded and supported in great numbers by the Black community. They/We made themselves/ourselves RELEVANT and RECOGNIZED. They went on to populate the majority of Black Images on TV and FIlm throughout the nineties. The Wayans are now a creative force because of this past.
To address the recent extinction of Black stories and images in Television, BET, TvOne and Centric has decided to create ORIGINAL content by us and for us, with a slate of new sitcoms that are beating mainstream Network Show’s Nielsen Ratings. If we waited for the CW, FOX, ABC, NBC, or CBS to give us the stories we want to see of ourselves, we would still be waiting. There has been none seen in their Fall lineups.
We MUST do the same for Black GLBT images. LOGO, HereTV, Bravo, Lifetime, VH1, Showtime, even BET, Centric and TvOne (you can add many more to this list) are not checking for us because we have not made them RECOGNIZE the power of our Black & Brown LGBT dollars. They could care less about diversity, our stories, or our cause if it does not bring in the NUMBERS.
Nonetheless, we should no longer look to these outlets as the epitome of access to entertainment. Yes, they are long established sources of distribution, so much so that they are ingrained in our cultural psyche, but prior to TV, those outlets were once Radio, Vaudeville, Stage, and Print. We are currently on the precipice of defining our own sources of distribution with the advances of the World Wide Web. We have to begin thinking outside of the box. A film or TV series should not be seen less valuable or less successful if it is not seen on traditional TV. We can garner the same numbers and more ONLINE and prove to be as successful if not more.
THE DL CHRONICLES RETURNS OR WILL IT?
Many of The DL Chronicles fans have asked the questions of WHY and WHY NOT. Why was the show cancelled? Why hasn’t another network picked it up? Why hasn’t the show come back yet? There are countless answers to those question, but we are no longer interested in questions because now is the time to stop wondering and start doing.
For the past few years The DL Chronicles had been under the control and auspices of it’s former TV Network which failed to produce the promised 2nd season. However, the series Rights reverted back to the creators this Fall, now affording the fans and supporters the opportunity to bring back The DL Chronicles with all NEW stories.
The DL Chronicles has thousands of fans across the country and thousands more across the globe. The pirated clips and illegal downloads of Season 1 alone are in the millions across the web (not including the uploads that were reported and removed) and not to mention the numerous subscriptions and legal purchases. So we know that the numbers are there. We know that you are watching, publicly and even privately, and we know that you, like everyone else, want to be able to see the stories that you identify with, that will reflect you, that chronicles your lives and tells your stories, but to do this we need your ACTION. Your HELP.
We have the muscle, the machinery, and the plan, but we need the PEOPLE. If you want to see The DL Chronicles Returns and more, we need you to COUNT. This is a grassroots effort, for the people, by the people.
LIKE this page to help us gather the thousands of viewers across the web to help The DL Chronicles Returns aka Season 2 premiere in 2012!
The scripts are written and ready to roll!