If You’re Not Invited to the Party, Throw Your Own

By Victoria A. Kishoiyian

Lena Waithe and Unremarkable Black Art

Following the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, there was a slow yet sharp change in public consciousness: Audiences were more willing to consume content with queer characters. Though many creators attempted to combat cultural exclusion and social erasure, the prevailing representations of queer Black people from this period were often very speculative and simple, almost symbolic of the dissonance between the acceptance and aversion different parts of American society felt post-Stonewall. Today, most mainstream television writers still heavily rely on simplistic tropes when representing queer Black people in their work. This is not surprising. Television, for the most part, reduces race and sexuality to plot points — the conflict faced by a protagonist coming of age and fantasizing about “freedom.”

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