When J.L. King brought his best-selling book ”On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of ‘Straight’ Black Men Who Sleep With Men” to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, suddenly everyone started talking about “down low” brothers: Why are they so closeted? What in the black community prevents gay men from coming out? Are guys on the DL giving HIV to their female partners?
Finally, openly gay black TV producer Earnest Winborne got fed up with all the ignorance and started No More Down Low, an online news show with black LGBT role models now celebrating its one year anniversary.
Before starting the series, Winborne thought:
Why are these nameless, faceless [down low] people who are creeping, so to speak, getting more media attention than the black same-gender-loving (SGL) people who are open and honest and living in their truth? Where are the black SGL role models who are productive members of our communities? Where are the television segments, talk shows, newspaper articles and stories that feature people like my friends and me?
Then one day while venting to a friend about it, he realized that his experience in TV and desire to see positive portrayals of LBGT African Americans on TV could potentially create one answer to the problem.
Every month they cover four stories—sometimes the same ones as Queerty—but from a vantage point that gives greater insight into the black community. For example, to highlight “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” they explained that black women got discharged more than anyone and interviewed Corporal Evelyn Thomas a lesbian Marine who got arrested for chaining herself to the White House fence.
They interviewed Collin Powell to discuss the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda, discussed Kobe Bryant’s anti-gay slur with The Los Angeles Lambda Basketball League and even joined 100 other black LGBT activists during the National Black Justice Coalition’s Out on the Hill Summit.
In a time when it remains a challenge to find good LGBT reporting with an eye towards racial issues, No More Down Low provides a good outlet and a great model for oft-ignored communities to begin telling their stories.