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16 January 2008

Comments

Mel Smith

Rod, I agree.

Shabaka

It's great that he publicly praised a black,gay character on TV but I still don't get the need to insist on it not being an endorsement or a favorite character of his. What's at stake here if that's the case?

Mel Smith

Shabaka, Omar is a robber on the show. Can you imagine how they would attack Obama if he said Omar was his favorite character? Yeah, Omar is gay but he also robs from people, and he also carries a shotgun.

Cadence

He says it's not an endorsement because the character is a thief, and many may not think that's a positive image.

I love the Wire, but I know many people who don't because they aren't crazy about the seeing Black characters who are killers, drug dealers, etc. I try to tell them how three dimensional the characters are, but many of them are just tired of seeing the glorification of violence, especially as it pertains to Black people. I don't think The Wire glorifies violence and Omar is my favorite character too, but I can see the need to not send the message that his actions or values are something that should be excused.

Andy Niable

I too love watching The Wire. But the chatter online (at least here in Seattle) is that Obama erred a bit when he said, "He's the toughest, baddest guy on this show, BUT he's gay, you know." (emphasis added) instead of saying AND he's gay. Some are saying he was making a contrastive statement that Omar is contrary to the USUAL STEREOTYPE, while others complain that it sounds like Obama slipped and implied that being "toughest and baddest guy on the show" wasn't expected of a gay person.

Probably putting to fine a point on it, but an interesting discussion. I think it shows Obama has interesting tastes in television dramas, preferring the rich complex ones to the oversimplifying time-wasters. It's not surprising, as he continues to campaign as if our problems and challenges are complex, not easily waved away by simplistic slogans and jingoistic sermons.

Imagine what the favorite GOP shows are (shudder)?

William

Straight up. If he is smart enough to watch The Wire, he's got my vote.

KevinETaylor

"BUT he's gay" felt more to me like just the opposite. That the typical guy would think that "a bad ass" is a rough and rugged dude AND that he's gay is a real relevation and that's what it felt like to me. OMAR LITTLE is a brilliant character study, not only for the potential President of the USofA, but for US as Black Gay men! I love that the actor says "IT IS WHAT IT IS!" If we could take that stance, I think we'd all be more alive, more present and more serious about living our lives with integrity. It's so hot that one of the best Black men on TV ever, as it relates to characters AND the best Black Gay male portrayal ever, as it relates to balance and presence and even masculinity. OMAR is about standing up, to the criminals and for his community, and he isn't scared to be tender.

I love, LOVE that his character not only "messes" with Senator Obama's head and stereotypes, but that that's happening in barbershops and basements, pool halls and hang out spots around Black America and everywhere is AWESOME!

I think that the Senator is trying, in a rather galiant way, to say that THIS BLACK GAY MAN IS AN EPIPHANY TO HIM! Come on, Omar Little is a relevation to US and we are still WOWed by the fact THIS KIND OF SGL BROTHA is on TV!

Once again, Rod, you are doing the dang thang! This interview is just another sign to me that WE have got to do better about living our own lives so that we aren't so surprised, amazed and astounded when someone days "being Gay" better than us!

Andy in Seattle

Agreed, Kevin, I felt similar--I was just reporting on the chatter here out West. I found the parsing amusing.

Derrick from Philly

RevKev & Andy: you're both right. Being a staunch old-time queen, I'm not on good terms with either homothugs and DL Brothas, but I accept what y'all are saying about the character of Omar. Like you say, RevKev, it's about "balance and presence"--everybody shouldn't be a hairdresser or choir director in black films & theater. (although hairdressers & choir directors are some of the "toughest, baddest" homos out there, and can kick some ass when they have to. No, don't anger no hairdressers). So, yeah, I'm glad to see black folks see this different type of black gay image in the media. Only problem is now they'll want us ALL to turn macho and tough. No, darlin's that aint gonna' happen. And your average drag queen is tougher & badder than a homothug, anyway. A lot of homothugs turn into pussycats in the privacy of the bedroom. That's why I stay 'way from them--I can't do 'em no good.

Oh, yes, I know: not all hairdressers & choir directors are gay--I'm sorry I generalized. Shoot, probably 'bout 95%.

KevinETaylor

Andy,
I feel you. I wasn't coming at you, but rather the general topic. BUT HE'S GAY...what a relevation!!! BUT HE IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I AM TOLD....BUT HE DOESN'T LOOK...BUT HE COULD WHOOP BY BUTT...BUT HE'S MORE MAN THAN ME.

MAN, that character could start a REVOLUTION for us if we let him because the character and the actor (Brother Williams) who so brilliantly portrays the character is asking us WHAT WE THINK OF OURSELVES AND OUR OWN COMMUNITY. Mr. Little is really Mr. Huge, as it relates to standing up in his own, on his own, with his own...WHAT A BRILLIANT STANCE. This could be something real...this could be something powerful.

Anyway, BAM. Great topic!

DFS

I am going to be so sad when the last episode airs. I agree that it improves my opinion of someone when they appreciate the genius of this show (since the knuckleheads who vote for the emmys dont get it)

Luv Me Some Omar

For fans of Omar, don't dare miss the next episode. It's going to break you heart. It's the beginning of the end. Word!

DFS

LMSO

yeah watched it a week early on Demand...by god I hate Marlo

elg

So Omar Little, "the black gay homothug and stickup artist with the heart of gold" is considered a breakthrough TV character by the presidential candidate, Obama. Are black gay men willing to accept a thug character on TV as a "role model" just because the character breaks with commonly held sterotypes about what a "typical" black gay man is like. How is a thug character on TV supposed to start a "revolution for us if we let him"? Are some black gay men so starved for "masculine images" of themselves that they are making more of this than it's worth? Just wondering.

freeleo

Obama never said he was "role model." He said he was an interesting character, which he is. He puts people in direct conflict with their preconceived notions of what gay black men look like. Omar makes our straight brothers very uncomfortable. I love the character for that. It gives the larger society a chance to see other aspects of the sgl community. Omar's thuggish ass doesn't speak for me but I like that he has a voice. 'Twan and Blaine, from In Living Color didn't speak for me either, but they were for a long time the only images we saw of homo men in the media. I've never robbed or shot anyone, nor have I sold drugs, but I am a brother from the ghetto. I have a better understanding of he Omar character then I do the more effeminate representations of our community.

Derrick from Philly

Understand and respect what you're saying, FREELEO, but guess what: I found the two characters on "In Living Color" (Twan & Blaine) offensive as hell--and I call myself a "queen"! The characters were presented as mentally inferior, the same way all black characters were presented in too many old Hollywood movies. I've never felt mentally/intellectually inferior to any traditionally masculine man--straight or sgl or black or white. (I've seen some on the Dick Cavett, David Suskind, Charlie Rose & Tavis Smiley shows that I'd have to defer to, but none that I've met in person). I realize it was a comedy show, but the characterizations of effeminate black gay males in black media may be just as offensive to effeminate black gay males as they are to those of you sgl black men who are traditionally masculine.

I always had the belief, you can laugh with me, but don't laugh at me because I'll say something out of my "sissified" mouth that will make you want to kill...brotha'.

freeleo

lol.. It's funny Derrick, you have me thinking about when I was a teenager in Philly (grew up in Richard Allen), and the "queens" I knew were more like Omar then 'Twan & Blaine.

Even today on V100 radio, here in Los Angeles, there is a character who does the entertainment news that in my opinion, is the equivalent to the sgl community, what Step & Fetchit was to the black community. Another person 'cooning (with a lisp) to the embarrassment and detriment of so many other black sgl brothers, but to the delight of straight people who think this is all we are.

Derrick from Philly

Incredible, freeleo: I hope Rod will let this little tidbit to be posted because it does have to do with the topic.

Years ago, I got picked up by this guy who lived in the Richard Allen Projects. He was just like Omar except that he had more muscles everywhere-even in his feet it seemed. His name was Thomas, and I thought he was a usual but beautiful "piece of trade". Well, I'll cut to the point: Thomas wanted me to "top", and I had on more make-up than Elizabeth Taylor! I figured he must've thought it was safer to be seen bringing home with a "faggot" than another dude (but that doesn't make sense either--who would even be suspicious of two dudes comin' home). Well, I was shocked and insulted, but his fists were huge and so I tried to accomdate his wishes--it didn't work. Later, some drag queens told me that this scenario is quite common--the fems taking the "top" position.

How does this pertain to Omar? I knew it was possible that a few of the guys at Richard Allen Homes may have known Thomas' secret, but I knew most the folks could never--would never know. There have always been traditionally masculine black homosexual men, but like the "down low" guys, their sexuality appears heterosexual. Unlike the "down low" guys, they claim they're not deliberately deceiving anyone, but most black folks have no idea they, like Omar, could be homosexual.

Dluv

Omar, Omar, Omar. I love the character too, but can det. Kima Greggs get some love too? She's just as interesting (on the right side of the law) and is well loved and respected among her colleagues. Her sexuality is not a big deal but is not ignored. And that she fucked up her domestic life shows she's not "super lesbian" either.

freeleo

You are right D'luv. I like that character too. I think people were talking about Omar because of what Senator Obama said. I've also know a lot of lesbians in law enforcement. In fact I briefly dated this dude in Jersey, who's mom came out on the force and left his dad. She was kicking it with this other fine lady state trooper. My boy couldn't handle it. I guess he felt like he should be the only one having fun..

Dex123ter

Best show on television, period, hands down, all of that jazz.

Good to see, well, read that Obama watches my beloved show.

DFS

I agree on Kima freeleo. I think a lesbian cop is not as challenging to the usual assumptions as the Omar character is.

tbag

I feel shallow, but who is the cute guy on the right? Is his character gay too?

tbag

OK NVM, I just read the post, LOL.

Javier

Omar is a revolutionary character, the Wire is a revolutionary show, perhaps the best on tv. Omar is beloved not so much by gay men, but by straight heterosexual men. He is the show's most popular character. NFL players routinely cite him as their favorite tv character, as do real life urban males. Omar is the first same-sex loving character embraced by urban men, and Omar is no closet case.

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