It’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer and the answer is yes.
Of course there has been no real mention of gay, lesbian or bisexual African-Americans in the 10-week BET docu-drama BALDWIN HILLS.
I came across the show on a fluke. I spent a Sunday evening at home after several weeks of non-stop travel. I needed to get into that mindless activity zone. I decided that some lite television fare was in order. Searching for a good On-Demand movie to watch I saw a promo for BALDWIN HILLS. It looked interesting and I rationalize that it was research as well—since I’ve never lived in the area and the lives, hopes and dreaams of the young African Americans are central to my work.
BALDWIN HILLS is a voyeuristic examination of the lives of “11 upper middle class African-American teens as they grow up in the upscale black neighborhood of Los Angeles where professional athletes, television and film stars, doctors, lawyers and engineer reside.”
There are seven young women and six young men whose lives we are lead to believe are being caught on camera. None are identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or even questioning. They all seem solidly in the heterosexual camp--though I have a question or two about one of two of them. Then again, they are teens so only time will tell. Given that the show is being shot in California you would have thought that there might be at least a LGBT young person, teacher, or neighbor in these young adults orbit.
It may be true that these young people, ten upper middle class high achievers and one street smart young woman who resides below the Hills, just didn’t cross paths with any gay men or lesbians in the 10 weeks (?) that this series was shot. However, since the much of this drama is so clearly being played for the camera you would think that there would have been an overtly gay man at the “Diddy-style” Hollywood party that Jordan, the entrepreneur threw against his mother’s wishes.
The closest we have gotten to a gay mention is when Moriah, an athlete, basketball player and honor student mumbles the name of his would-be girlfriend, Gerren (a model who Oprah once called the “Mini Naomi” Campbell) it comes out sounding like Darren. His father quickly responds questioning the name. Assured that it’s really a girl he pretends to wipe sweat from his brow in relief.
I haven’t yet seen the final episode. It’s graduation day for Roqui, Garnett, Makesny and Willie. I doubt that there will be any big coming out scene. Not that I want any of these particular individuals to be same gender loving. Rather, I want the lives of non-hetrosexualy identified black men and women to celebrated as well.
Maybe this will get picked up for another ten—if so, I will alert my Baldwin Hills brothers and sisters so they can make an effort to represent.