Patrik Ian Polk gives new positive perspective on black gay men
In today’s society’s people are more accepting to lesbians than they are to gay men but one can wonder why? Perhaps it’s the stereotypes and inaccuracies that Hollywood displays. Gay men are no different than say lesbians or heterosexual couples. They want to love, marry and live a life in peace like any other. They too have successful careers and are raising families like any other American family. Yet society sees them as different and not able, maybe it’s because they don’t see that two men can raise a family or see it as un-natural but what’s un-natural of two people in love, raising a family with successful careers. Society needs to not look at the inaccuracies and stereotypes that Hollywood portrays but if you do then look no farther than the work of Patrik Ian Polk, an out gay Black man who has created three amazing films portraying positive images of gay men and a TV show for logo network. However, Patrik didn’t find it easy to get his work shown and still finds it hard due to Hollywood not willing to accept positive images of Black gay men.
Patrik through his projects have shown that not all Black gay men are on the down low but are out and proud. In his network show “Noah’s ARC” Patrik portrayed four Black gay men living in Los Angeles all of whom are out, proud and comfortable in their own skin. The four friends were Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance. Noah an out gay screenwriter who in his career tries to find the balance between love and career and even faces some backlash with his work. Noah’s three friends are more of background characters but play off Noah very well starting with Alex who brought the comedy but was serious too. In the show Alex and his partner prove that black gay men can be monogamous in a long-term relationship. Ricky on the other hand was the opposite of his friends, he couldn’t hold down a relationship and never allowed himself too. Though, when fans of the show see the movie “Noah’s ARC: Jumping the Broom,” they learn why Ricky is the way he is and lastly is Chance. Chance was the one who is married, more experienced and knowledgeable. He like Alex is in a committed relationship, living with his partner and raising a young daughter. Giving more insight and a positive viewing of two gay men who are in love and raising a family both of whom are successful in their careers. Chance is a professor at a local university, his husband Eddie not much is mentioned on his career but in the show you learn Eddie is the bread winner in the relationship. As far as the other friends, Noah is a screenwriter; Ricky owns his own clothing store on Melrose and Alex runs his own HIV testing center. The show really enlightens its audience and shows a positive light on Black gay men. One can almost say it is the Black gay men version of “The L Word.” It brought comedy but some serious issues as well to light for instance HIV/AIDS. The show also attracted more than just Black gay men but all with its universal themes and the way the characters were portrayed. Though there were no lesbians as the main characters there were a few episodes where lesbians played a part and in Patrik’s most recent film “The Skinny,” one of the main characters is lesbian. Giving new light and showing that gay men and lesbians can be friends and get along.
Now why aren’t there more gay friendly shows, more specifically black gay shows well that’s because of networks not willing to green light and movie studios being afraid, not willing or knowing how to market such films. There is an increasing demand for gay and lesbian shows, the lgbt community want to see characters representing them on TV and in the movies. Not all gay men are on the down low but are out, proud, have successful careers and raising families. So forget the stereotypes and what you heard and all those men that think it’s cool to be on the down low. Instead let’s thank Patrik Ian Polk for his TV show “Noah’s ARC” and films “PUNKS,” “Noah’s ARC: Jumping the Broom,” and “The Skinny” for shining a light on positive images of out gay Black men.
“The Skinny” is available now on DVD, www.skinnythemovie.com
-Kelly J Newson