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Dear White People (2014; 2017-2021)

LIONEL HIGGINS as portrayed by DeRon Horton in Dear White People (2017-) Dear White People is trending right now as white folk scamper to "learn" how to not be racist. But that is a COMPLETELY different story, and we're here to discuss Black gay men. The Dear White People universe features Black and gay Lionel as one of the main characters who serves a very important narrative purpose. From what I recall, the film didn't really deal with his gayness all that much, although it is discussed. Through one lens, that's exciting. We get to see a Black gay man as the sum of his parts, rather than just his gayness. But, on the other, it can also be interpreted as shying away from the issues, so to speak. But any ambiguity was clarified in the series promptly and explicitly, and it explores his coming out journey (at least in relationship to his roommate) through his eyes, and we get to see what that looks like in real time. Full disclosure -- I have not watched this series in its entirety, so I can't yet speak to his evolution, nor all the details and nuance. However, I am able to say that it was refreshing to see a coming out story that was neither traumatic nor fantastic. It just was.


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