People like me are not represented. It’s a very broad statement but rightfully so because my lack of representation spans several industries and categories. There’s no one like me on the TV shows that I watch. There’s no one like me in the movies that I love. There’s no one like me performing the songs I listen to. There’s no one like me writing the books that I read. And there’s definitely no one like me on the covers of the magazines that I peruse. I am not represented.
It’s odd to me that this type of exclusion still exists in a day and age where everyone in America seems to be patting themselves on the back for their acts of acceptance. Sure, you all changed your Facebook profile picture to the rainbow flag when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of nationally recognized gay marriage. You were all enraged after the countless acts of violence against unarmed black teens and rushed to use the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. Everyone and their faux activism would suggest that America is ready to accept someone like me in every forum. But the evidence would lead me to believe otherwise.
I am black. I am gay. I am a millennial. I am educated. Yet when I see gay people or black people portrayed on television, they are caricatures of each category and quite often separate entities. God forbid a writer out there creates an intelligent black person who’s experiencing something other than coming out of the closet. What about all the normal, smart, gay, black people? It may not seem normal to everyone else, but as a card-carrying member of the club, it’s pretty damn normal to me. And I’m tired of not seeing it in everything I enjoy. Token stereotypes are not enough. Begrudgingly including one underdeveloped character is not enough. Sure, we have Lionel in Dear White People. But that’s just one character. To represent millions. Clearly you see the issue here.
Boogie was born out of this frustration. I’m tired of quietly complaining about this social issue to my close friends and loved ones. I wanted to create a safe forum to share articles and essays about issues that are important to our community. I wanted to lend a hand in sharing our collective voices in a productive way. I wanted to lead the conversation around a subtopic of diversity that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.
Boogie, pronounced /bū:gi/, was a childhood nickname my father used to call me. It represents a period of my life when I could be myself with no restrictions. It reminds me that no matter how much we change or how different we are, we should always love ourselves. We should always be included. This newsletter serves as a liberation for me and my voice as well as all of yours.
I don’t consider myself an activist. And I don’t consider myself a segregationist. This newsletter isn’t intended to exclude anyone nor is it intended as an indictment of popular culture. I see it as an opportunity for underrepresented people to engage in dialogue about what’s happening across our community and about what’s happening all over the world.
Embark on this journey with me. You’ve got nothing to lose. You might even walk out on the other side a little more enlightened. This is just the beginning.