It’s pretty clear that we’ve got a bit of a… feminist spin, going on here at The Sirens. It’s true, we were born out of a desire to celebrate womanhood, in all its messy glory, but more than that, we were born out of a foundational, deep-seeded belief in equality– across the lines of gender, race, sexual orientation (or lack thereof), religious affiliation (or lack thereof), and any other of the innumerable elements that makes every single human entirely unique.
That’s why, when John, a brilliant, well, everything (actor/writer/producer/model/creator/overall-lovely-human-being), posted on Facebook about his new podcast, entitled “Me and the Gay Homie”, my interest was immediately piqued. As I followed the page and read up on details of the project, I knew it was something special.
John and his friend Joe recognized the rift that exists between straight black men and gay black men and decided to dedicate their time and resources to using the platforms at hand to try and open the lines of communication. Seven episodes have been published thus far, and I can attest that they are smart, funny, poignant, well thought-out, topical, and well worth your time.
John and Joe graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us, so sit back and enjoy a look at the inception, inspiration and heart behind ‘Me and the Gay Homie.”
Siren:What inspired you to start the “Me and the Gay Homie” podcast?
John: There was a need for it. Black gay and straight men don’t have the best relationship in terms of understanding one another. Its time that changes.
Joe: Basically from John and I arguing all the time. We will debate anything. The other thing was the friendship that we built. It came from understanding each other’s perspectives, and more so me understanding his perspective. I didn’t have many gay friends so I had no idea about that lifestyle. It was also us wanting more from the black community. That is big for us. We want more understanding, support, and unity in our community. We felt like a podcast like this would be big step in the right direction.
Siren: Why did you feel it was important to try and open the lines of communication between straight and gay black men specifically?
John: Because we are all black men at the end of the day and have way more in common than we don’t. Why not join forces in this crazy world that clearly doesn’t value us?
Joe: Because there is no real communication between straight and gay black men. There is no relationship between the two. Gay black men are ignored and ridiculed by the majority of straight black men. These are our brothers, cousins, uncles, and sometimes even our fathers. How can our community grow like this? Do you know how many gay black men there are?! Straight black men are willing to completely disregard that many black men because of their sexuality!? That makes no sense. We need to build together and show great examples of successful and progressive men to our youth. Sexuality has nothing to do with that. I don’t care who a straight man is having sex with so why would it matter to me who this gay brother is having sex with? Forget all that. Let’s start talking. These brothers are still going through the same struggles in America that we go through and more.
Siren: How do you choose your content for each production?
John: We just keep an ear/eye to the social media streets and news and choose which ones would be most interesting.
Joe: Society and social media. Honestly, a lot of the content is chosen because of our daily conversations. We will start discussing something and when it starts getting good we will pause and say leave it for the podcast. Now if anyone wants to send topics our way, please do.
Siren: What advice would you, John, as a gay black man, give to other young, gay, men of color?
John: I would let them know that it is never as bad as you anticipate, coming out. And to make sure they have people in their lives that will encourage them to be their best, truthful selves
Siren: What advice would you give, Joe, to young men of color struggling with the lifestyle of their gay loved ones?
Joe: Have an open mind and be understanding. Also, be logical! A lot of people’s issues with homosexuality don’t make any sense. Once again why do you care who another man is having sex with. LET THESE PEOPLE LIVE! And stop worrying about them trying to come after you. You are not gonna get raped dude. RELAX. Nobody wants you, especially if they are your family members. Just show some damn love and understanding. Talk, ask questions, and then get over it.
Siren: Who do you think are some of the best allies in pop culture for marginalized demographics?
John: Hmm…Bernie Sanders? Not pop culture but with the way the news and social media have intertwined, yeah. Matt McGory, Ilana Glazer, Constance Wu.
Joe: Jesse Williams, Nick Cannon, and Colin Kapernick. They get it. They are the definition of woke and they are doing the work.
Siren: What does a Donald Trump presidency, and all that that entails and suggests, mean to each of you?
John: To me, as a black man, it means trouble. To me, as a gay black man, it means, trouble. Ultimately it represents a fear that many of us thought we’d moved past. It’s just super essential now more than ever to stick close to each other.
Joe: It is time for the people to unite and start looking out for each other. The government does not have our best interest at heart so we must do for us. This can happen at a local level. It is time.
Siren: When I pitched this interview to you, I wanted to make sure you understood that we are, at our foundation, a feminist publication, but that more than anything, we speak to injustice and inequality for all people. What finally convinced you to go ahead with the interview with The Sirens Rise?
John: For the very reason that it is at its core a voice for the underrepresented and those who suffer injustices. Why not be a part of that?
Siren: If someone gave you the ability to build the perfect ally, what would that look like?
John: Whew man, definitely someone who totally understands the power of their own voice in speaking up for others, and one who takes the time to at least try and understand the subtle nuances of what makes each person’s journey different from the other. I feel like many allies fall short when they assume they know everything about a group of people.
Thank you, John and Joe, for taking the time to answer our questions, and for using your experience and talents to bridge the gap and open up the dialogue between straight and gay black man. At the end of the day, love really is the only thing matters. What it looks like could not possibly matter less.
Dani Strehle, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, is hoping to reshape the narrative to leave behind a better world for her daughters, so that they may sustain, rather than battle and rebuild.