The Wire (2002-2008)

OMAR LITTLE as portrayed by Michael K. Williams on The Wire (2002-2008)




This was an important shift in the depictions of Black gay men on screen. Until this point, characters seemed to generally fall into the flamboyant/effeminate, and/or were in an all white world. In Omar Little, we see a masculine presenting Black gay man in a Black environment, an urban and one at that. I find it interesting that this character emerged during the "DL" era which reached its zenith with J. L. King's book "On the Down Low". During this time it was finally becoming apparent to more people that gay men were not a monolith, and could present in many different ways, including engaging in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But rather than create community and expand definitions, King's book, and others, weaponized this complexity. This sent folks on a witch hunt to out and expose these men. But Omar Little was not living on the DL. He was comfortable in himself. I wonder what seeing him meant to young black gay boys who were just fine behaving the way society said a boy should.