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Get on the Bus (1996)

KYLE as portrayed by Isaiah Washington and RANDALL as portrayed by Harry Lennix in Get On The Bus (1996)

I did not want to watch this movie as a kid, but not because it was rated r or over my head. Au contraire. I'm even fairly certain were told to watch because of its timely socio-political themes. I did not want to watch it because the idea of nothing but Black men on a bus felt very uncomfortable for me. It reminded me of places like the barbershop that were not always safe for little gay boys trying to figure things out. And so while I *think* I may have seen clips, I did not actively engage with it deeply until I decided to watch it in its entirety a few weeks ago. Here, we have two Black gay men untangling their dating relationship while on a cross country roadtrip to The Million Man March. Harry Lennix and Isaiah Washington play the lovers with sincerity, and this scene here discusses Black gay romance in a way that we hadn't seen before. We don't yet get to actually see Black gay men being intimate or even phyiscal in any way (still no kiss!), but do we get to hear about it. I'm not sure these are the words these men would use to describe their feelings, but that it is being discussed is the progression. And, Spike doesn't shy away from exploring the schism between Black gay men and Black straight men. It is explicitly talked about, and we see a range of responses from agnostic/not my business to staunchly homophobic. In fact, this is a major plot point that combusts in a surprisingly explosive way. I wonder how this was received by all my friends - gay and straight- who watched it intently back then. What l impacts did it have?


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