Set your TiVos on Monday nights for Greek, the new ABC Family comedy on college life and the fraternity and sorority system. The third episode of the series debuts tonight and one of the pleasant surprises has been the introduction of a black gay character.
Twenty-year-old actor Paul James plays "Calvin" and his character goes against the grain: He's the only recurring black male character on the series, and, is the fraternity's resident wealthy "legacy" and a jock. In the pilot episode, we see Calvin "hooking up" with another fraternity brother and their relationship continues. “Calvin's issues sort of come with not wanting to be pigeonholed in what he was in high school,” the actor says in a new interview at Advocate.com. “Whether it was for being gay or for being a jock. He's very happy with who he is."
Unlike recent comments by black actors and singers who feel compelled to broadcast their (alleged) heterosexuality—some of these denials are quite comical, by the way—this straight actor is more than happy to play gay. "As a black actor, a young actor, it's really hard to find good parts," Paul James tells Greg Hernandez, the out entertainment reporter for The Los Angeles Daily News. "And a lot of times, the well-written roles for black actors are gay roles. They have some depth, something beyond I'm a thug on the street. I have no qualms about it at all as long as the material is good which it is."
There are some very obvious criticisms one could make of the series: Those yearning for Noah's Arc will be disappointed in the largely vanilla cast, and, Paul James' character isn't nearly as interesting as the roles. However, in Paul James' interview to Out in Hollywood, the actor goes out of his way to lend authenticity to his character. "I wouldn't have a problem with" kissing another man on-screen, he says—which we want to TiVo—and adds, "It's real important to me [to] show little kids who are gay that you don't have to be afraid of who you are. You can be happy."
Greek: ABC Family Mondays at 9/8c.
Some Background ...
Shemar Moore: "I'm Not Gay" [R20]
Rodney Chester of "Noah's Arc": "I'm Still NOT Gay" [R20]
R&B Singer Tyrese Will Ban ALL MEN [R20]
No Big Deal Playing Gay [R20]
Jason Steed on Homophobia [R20]
What Does the Future Hold for Noah's Arc? [After Elton]
Deal or No Deal? [Rod 2.0]
Noah's Arc Has Sailed [R20]
Michael K. Williams and Being Gay on "The Wire" [R20]
Beyond the Sassy Sidekicks? [R20]