“Dear White People,” is filled with plenty of compelling characters, including Lionel Higgins — a hypervigilant Black journalist learning about his own sexuality while uncovering some dark truths about his school.
Lionel is smart, funny, and entertaining, but he’s also awesome because he isn’t solely defined by being Black or gay. He isn’t boxed into the binaries society views Black men in and doesn’t need to be hyper masculine or effeminate.
Although LGBTQ+ representation on screen has come a long way, Black male queerness is often confined to specific categories, leaving little room for grey areas. Shows like “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and “True Blood” explore Black male queerness in Titus Andromedon and Lafayette Reynolds, who are both unapologetic about their identities and present pretty flamboyantly. And while both their stories are important, theirs isn’t the only kind of story for a gay Black man in today’s world. This is why films like “Moonlight” are so important because it highlights the struggles of someone who is both queer and masculine.
But this doesn’t have to be the sole way we see the life experiences of gay Black men either, and Lionel emulates this grey area. He’s neither masculine or effeminate, and his fluidity should also be celebrated on screen.