Thanks to Duke University's Mark Anthony Neal for the heads up. Heidi Lewis, Riley Scholar-in-Residence, Feminist and Gender Studies at The Colorado College, delivers a fascinating and engaging micro-lecture on the representations of Black gay men on television from the 1980's to present.
Lewis concentrates her analysis on two characters: The first is "Omar Little", the Black gay homothug and stickup artist on HBO's gritty drama The Wire. The second character is Julien Low, the closeted police detective on The Shield. President Obama once said that Omar Little was the "most fascinating" character on television.
"One thing that interested me were depictions of Black gay men in the new millenium," says Lewis. "Prior to that you have representations of Black gay men as effete, feminine or sissified, if you will. Around 2000 you began to see a shift in those representations. Omar and other characters began to challenge that. Omar is hyper-masculine ... his occupation was robbing drug dealers. That's a problematic occupation but one that is a stark contrast to stereotypical representations."
Lewis' lecture and video is very engaging. It's only about six minutes long. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP ...