Thursday, February 9, 2017

LGBT Love from BLACK-ISH

It's a hit sitcom on ABC and it's one of my favorite TV shows.  It's BLACK-ISH.  Last night, there was a Dre and Rainbow moment of love for those of us who wave the rainbow flag.
Dre and Rainbow (Mr. and Mrs. Johnson) needed a specially-designed cake.  They found a bakery that could fill their request.  However, they left the store and did not give it their business when the clerk told them the shop makes any specialty cake -- except cakes for gay weddings.  Dre and Rainbow, an upscale African American husband and wife with four kids, left the store and refused to spend their hard-earned money at a homophobic shop.  Dig it! A short and understated yet strong moment.  Thank you, BLACK-ISH writers and cast.  The cast is headed by ANTHONY ANDERSON and TRACEE ELLIS ROSS as one of the most charismatic, interesting and funniest sitcom couples to hit network TV in years.
So, this got me thinking about a possible story line for a BLACK-ISH episode.  What if the oldest son, the lovable and often clueless geek, strikes up a tight and innocent friendship with a black male high school classmate who happens to be openly gay.  Maybe something at the school provokes a student protest in which they both plan to participate. Dre Jr and his friend bond because the friend brought the principles of non-violent protest to the group demanding a change.

But Papa Dre, who is gay-friendly, gets knotted up at a gay friendship now involving one of his kids.  He's has to -- and he will -- learn another lesson in acceptance.
With that story line, Dre could tell us in a voice-over about the vital, important black people who added to our culture, who added to our black history -- and happened to be gay.  People like Bayard Rustin.  He was called "The Architect of the March on Washington."  He was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's top advisor and introduced him to Gandhi's principles of non-violent protest.  Bayard Rustin spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington, he stood behind Dr. King as he spoke at the March on Washington, he organized the March on Washington.



Add to the mix other gay African Americans of major significance --  such writers Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and A RAISIN IN THE SUN playwright Lorraine Hansberry.


There was civil rights activist, feminist and writer Audre Lorde.  Jazz lyricist  and arranger Billy Strayhorn collaborated with Duke Ellington to compose some of the greatest music of Ellington's career.  One such composition was "Take the A Train."

You get the idea.

If you are a BLACK-ISH writer and you are reading this....THANK YOU FOR YOUR FUNNY, TOUCHING, RELEVANT WORK!  I know that writing is not easy -- especially writing for episodic television.  I've been a fan of BLACK-ISH since its premiere episode.  I grew up in South Central L.A. watching shows like ROOM 222, SANFORD AND SON, JULIA, GOOD TIMES, THE JEFFERSONS, THE FLIP WILSON SHOW.  To see a current show about a black family that touches on feelings and experiences I've had, a show that stars an actor who grew up where I did...wow.  I am extremely grateful and proud.



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