Thursday, June 26, 2008

Denying the Chosen History

The Black homosexual is hard pressed to gain audience among his heterosexual brothers; even if he is more talented, he is inhibited by his silence or his admissions. This is what the race has depended on in being able to erase homosexuality from our recorded history. The "chosen" history. But these sacred constructions of silence are futile exercises in denial. We will not go away with our issues of sexuality. We are coming home.
--Essex Hemphill

Across the nation, the month of June is celebrated as gay pride month. In honor of this national celebration, I too sing myself and celebrate myself.

Throughout the course of history, a number of well known black people have embraced their sexuality, bravely and openly. Many of us know about Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. We proudly recognize the voice they gave to so many of us. But how many of us know that Barbara Jordon, the first southern black female to be elected to the house of representatives was gay or that white house architect Benjamin Banneker was gay? It is rumored that singer and dancer Josephine Baker had numerous same-sex lovers and that Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen left his wife two weeks after marriage for his best man.

Today, numerous black celebrities are rumored to be gay. What impact would it have on the black community if, finally, a celebrity at the height of their career as either a professional athlete or entertainer came out of the closet and proudly embraced their homosexuality? What if Terrell Owens or Alicia Keys came out? What would that do for the black community?


Anonymous said...

It would be nice if a someone did that, but I'm being pessimistic here, when I say society isn't ready and we'll bring them down. Hard. We are too insecure to celebrate them, and are way too obsessed to find flaws and point out differences. We are deathly afraid it will ruin our careers (not everybody's employers are open-minded).

But I could be wrong....

Bullet Proof Soul said...

We are our own worse nightmares. It's like we want to have our cake and eat it too. Heteros don't want the DL to exist but they aren't willing to accept if someone comes out. Homos want to be accepted yet many act a fool and switch coats on people making it hard for people to swallow.

As much as I hate to say this sometimes we just need to celebrate seperately. Do this at least for now until the younger generations take over. The elders and lawmakers are just too much.

Sedrick said...

Alecia already came out. A long time ago. She is bisexual.

Darius T. Williams said...

Um, What would happen if they came out? Who knows, but I doubt they will. You gotta understand that for many of the black celebs that are out- being mainstream is what keeps the bills paid. Think Rihanna right now. She's hot to death - with no talent - but she's mainstream. Mainstream is also homophobic. It's like an unemulsified oil and vinegar - they don't mix. Therefore, it's too bad, but we won't find out who's really in and who's really out. At least no time soon.

Kritzmoritz said...

Nice blog...I wonder why I haven't been here

BronzeBuckaroo said...

If every famous brother and sister would come out, or better yet, every average Dick and Jane Doe among the brothers and sisters, how so much would be challenged and owned up to.

Slowly, I think the larger Afro American community is opening its arms to us. By all the straight folk who visit my own blog, I know there are those out there wanting to listen and know us better.

I think we have to keep challenging them by never going back into the closet and reclaiming our history by opening the doors to an all to often closeted history.

You just taught me something I didn't know about Benjamin Banneker. Thank you!