Do you remember that utterly bizarre season of Dallas when Pam Ewing awoke in the finale and we learned that it was all just a bad dream?
That's exactly the same premise behind the re-invention of J.L. King and his special tomorrow night on BET, The Down Low Exposed. King has immensely profited from the hype surrounding the "down low" and, it's just a little too late to try to take him seriously as a post-gay black man.
Supposedly, this is "a probing look into the world of men with wives or girlfriends who also secretly engage in sex with other men." We're not sure that this will be adequately addressed. Instead, some reviews, like today's Hollywood Reporter, have noticed the hype: "If there are any official statistics or research on the phenomenon, you won't find it in this." Terry McMillan's participation—her "last interview on the subject"—has been the most highly promoted aspect of the "documentary." Our position is more than obvious regarding some of the best-selling author's statements on gay men and the down low. However, we've had several recent long discussions with Terry, and, are willing to withhold judgment until the broadcast. But the network's promo copy is clearly inflammatory "on the subject of her ex-husband who hid his gay lifestyle."
Who else should we look forward to seeing on the J.L. King special? Let's see, there's the "exclusive interview with his former wife Brenda Stone-Browder"—not sure about the exclusivity factor, since they've been touring together and interviewing since last summer. There are also interviews with AIDS activist Maria Davis (who also works with the BET AIDS foundation); sex therapist and UCLA professor Dr. Gail Wyatt; author Scott Poulson Bryant; director Bill Duke, who is developing a movie on the down-low; Black AIDS Institute Executive Director Phill Wilson, and, Pastor O.C. Allen, the openly gay minister of the Vision Church of Atlanta.
You'd expect more from BET's "news" division—especially since they scrapped their nightly broadcast to concentrate on specials. Bill Duke's inclusion is even more odd because his unfinished film is already drawing criticism as inaccurate. As we said, the Pam Ewing season finale to a long nightmare.
Low Down on the Down Low (AOL Black Voices)
The Down Low Exposed (Hollywood Reporter)
Return of the Down Low (Keith Boykin)
J.L. King Launches Just Living Atlanta (the brotherlove)
Previously:The House That DL Built (Rod 2.0) On the Next Oprah ... (Rod 2.0) A Conversation with Keith Boykin (Rod 2.0) And Now—Back to the Down Low (Keith Boykin) Bill Duke (SGL Café) The "Invisible" Man Returns (Rod 2.0) Coming to a Megaplex Near You (Rod 2.0) Couldn't I See the Signs? (Rod 2.0) The DL Chronicles (Rod 2.0) Kirk Franklin: Gays and the Black Church (Rod 2.0)