Brooklyn Nine Nine (2013- )

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

CAPTAIN RAYMOND HOLT as portrayed by Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine Nine (2013- )

Captain Holt appears week after week and shows the world a “different” kind of Black gay man, (i.e. one that’s not effeminate – we can discuss another day why folks don’t like seeing effeminate Black gay men, as if they don’t exist and deserve meaningful exploration on screen too). He is a neurotic, intellectual police captain who is noticeably void of emotion. As an actor, Braugher shows his range with this character who is in stark contrast to the homophobic womanizer he played in “Get on the Bus”, and the actor is straight in real life. I've seen the majority of this series and I must admit I never really connected with Captain Holt as a Black gay man. In making this character, the creators crafted someone who is easily divorced from his Blackness and his gayness, and he is certainly not defined by either. On the one hand, some consider this progressive. But on the other, it can be seen as unrealistic and even dismissive, akin to "I don't see color". But. still, these people do exist, and the creators of the show are free to bring to life whatever characters they are inspired to. Especially on a show that is decidely not provocative in its poilitical and cultural interrogations. I mean, it's a show about NYPD set in Brooklyn, and they haven't really talked about the myriad issues on the surface, alone something deep. At any rate this does highlight a gaping hole in the overall media landscape. Think about this: we're 22 days into this exploration, and only three of these characters have been series regulars on a primetime network show. THREE. I can’t help but wonder what it's like for Black gay boys and men who don't have access to cable TV. They don't get to explore the more “edgy” or “niche” shows nestled deep in the cable lineup. Also, why are Black gay characters considered niche in the first place?

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