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Black Mirror S5 E1: Striking Vipers (2019)

DANNY as portrayed by Anthony Mackie and KARL as portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on Black Mirror S5 E1: Striking Vipers (2019)

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Until this point the projects on our list pretty much only considered Black gay men as those explicitly attracted to men. This is the truth for a great many of us. But, we also understand that sexuality is not a hard a fast designation, and folks exist somewhere on a spectrum. And, it's also more than just physical sex. This episode of Black Mirror was interesting in that it teased out a very complex scenario, set against some technology that doesn't yet exist. What would happen if you could explore sexual fantasies with those you're attracted to in ways that made you comfortable, even if that is different than their body and gender expression. That sentence is intentionally convoluted and nonspecific, just as the episode was. And, it brought to the fore a taboo nether region so many folks have played in in real life, but never discuss. The decision to include this show in an exploration of Black gay men on screen is very much up for debate, and I welcome it. Just know I believe this episode warrants inclusion because although not explicitly gay, these Black men are certainly not straight. And, I believe their ability to be open with each other is colored, and maybe even stymied, by the pervasive homophobia in our society. If being gay wasn't still a bad thing by and large, would they have needed to play this game? Would they have dated way back when if they knew they could without judgment or labels?

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