Dopeness #1: Moonlight, Signal23TV’s porn, Gay Actors, #OscarsSoGay

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Feb 17 2017 | 27 Comments  

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Brehs, we present to you a new podcast called DOPENESS where every week Nick Delmacy is joined by a guest and they discuss dope movies, dope music, dope web series and all things dope in pop culture (except celebrity gossip). Some topics will be gay/bisexual related, some will not…but every discussion will be from a POV that you won’t hear anywhere else!

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The episodes will be available in four ways: You can listen to them on the site, watch on YouTube, download a MP3 version or subscribe to us on iTunes or YouTube for automatic updates!

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In this debut episode, filmmaker James Peoples joins Nick to discuss his work at Black & Sexy TV, their controversial Black Gay Characters (4:50), Why straight filmmakers make better gay films than gay filmmakers (16:30), The sexually explicit Black gay web series from Signal23TV (22:15), Their criticisms of “Moonlight” and the backlash they’ve received from Black gays (30:50), Why there are so few openly gay Black actors in mainstream media (48:25), and their predictions on “Moonlight” winning any Academy Awards at the Oscars (56:00). Enjoy Brehs!

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DOPENESS #1

 

 

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

   
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27 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. AD | February 18th, 2017
    0

    Outstanding analyses of all the topics discussed. This is the best episode I’ve listened to (been listening for two years).

  2. Kehlin Sears | February 18th, 2017
    +2

    GREAT episode. i never thought i wld be the type to comment here but i felt compelled to. In reference to Moonlight, James said “we deserved a sex scene” and i love how u brought up the point of u guys criticizing too much sex in web series but not enough in moonlight and James asking if it serves the story.

    if we got a sex scene, who would be the top and who would be the bottom? Would Chiron and/or Kevin have fleeted before the actual meet-up?(lets be real, a reality with gay sex is that its not quite that easy to have spontaneous sex unlike our hetero and lesbian counterparts) Also with the information we got in the diner scene of Kevin having a baby, we also don’t kno if he identifies as bein bisexual or if he was just experimenting as a kid.
    I understand where u guys r coming frm but I think the movie was indeed sexual and sensual and that this didn’t need to be shown through a sex scene. There are plenty of ways to do a sex scene that are interesting and rich, but so many of them rely on a narrative of the peak/climax/culmination of erotic energy. (Too often this logic of climax mirrors the narrative of “coming out,” which Moonlight also really resists. How many gay movies have you seen where identity is “unlocked” with a sex scene, as if reaching a new video game level?) I feel like one of the achievements of Moonlight’s study of queerness is that depicts that energy in ways that are appropriate for Chiron and Kevin. The cooking and restaurant scenes when Chiron visits Kevin were certainly sex scenes, for example. This isn’t to say that sex in a more conventional way isn’t realistic, but that it took on
    different forms that were more interesting. Sexual contact/energy and sensuality can be portrayed in avenues other than what’s expected in porn normative ideas of what sex is.
    You also keep saying “if the last act was short film i would be praising it” but the ending would not have really made sense if it wasn’t for the first 2 acts. This leads me to my theory that the homosexuality was secondary to the story honestly. The main theme was this concept of “hard men” first introduced to Little by Kevin when they were kids, actualized by Chiron in response to Kevin, and then criticized by Kevin in his apartment. Chiron said “You were the last man to touch me” Think abt all the times he was touched in the movie; Juan teaching him to swim, Kevin at the beach, then with the same hand he used to jack him
    off and wipe cum in the sand, he used to beat the shit out of Chiron. He wasn’t looking looking for sex, he was looking for closure and compassion. Kevin calling him all those years later brought all those feelings back.

    The fact that Teresa wasn’t in the third part of the movie really bothered me- until I realized that she really had been taken by the place of Kevin. They both cook Chiron food to make him talk, and encourage him to open himself up more. This also
    connects to Chiron becoming Juan- if Juan and Teresa were the surrogate fathers and mothers to Chiron, then he has become his own “father” figure, to which Kevin has become his analogous love.

    I’ll admit that I’m an up and coming writer and director trying to create more nuanced, auteur films starring black folks and I’m hella biased with my love for this film but I can see how the ending can leave people feeling unfulfilled; especially if you’re used to Tyler Perry wrapping everything up with a bow on some happily ever after shit.

    Anyways love the channel, keep up the good work. hopefully someone reads this essay I wrote lol

    • TheDarkness
      TheDarkness | February 18th, 2017
      0

      You offer great insight here, Bruh! I co-sign pretty much every point you made.

    • hannibal
      hannibal | February 18th, 2017
      0

      Asking for a fulfilling conclusion does not mean we are looking for anything Tyler Perryish.

      Asking for a sex scene does not mean we are looking for something simple, but the character deserved it…not a hug.

      The climax of the film should not have occurred in the second act like it did with the chair scene. I think it’s ridiculous that the most crowd pleasing moment came in the middle of the movie.

  3. Pawl See | February 18th, 2017
    0

    Fuckin love moonlight. Seen it four times in theater. Gotta support the artists who impact me!

    I'm gonna listen to the podcast now n

  4. Nicholan
    Nicholan | February 18th, 2017
    0

    I enjoyed listening to this conversation. So I’m wondering what kind of conclusion would you guys have liked to see…?

    If it ended with a sex scene, would that have made part 3 stronger?

    I do agree that part 3 could have been taken a few steps further. Trevante’s acting was great, but I would have liked to have seen more development in the script for his part.

    BUT, I did take this as an artistic “film,” so I was okay with them leaving a lot of room for interpretation. Besides–it created good conversation, right? lol

  5. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | February 18th, 2017
    0

    The more I think about it, the more I believe that the third act actually robbed us of resolution and closure. The strength and courage the character (magically) gained after being gang beat was just shrugged aside. We're really led to believe that going to a juvenile facility (for what had to be a month tops given the offense and having no criminal record before that) toughened Chiron up. But why would that strength not also apply to his sexsuality? Especially after finally seeing how good exploring sex can make you feel even when the rest of your life is shit…

    The problem with debating about this film is ppl like us are using ONLY what the filmmaker presented to us on the screen, while others are using a lot of flowery symbolism and their personal experiences to fill in the huge gaps of character logic and story in the film. It's like debating memories vs dreams.

  6. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | February 18th, 2017
    0

    I could think of at least 3 better endings for the film…but this film exists as is and has been successful so it really doesn't matter at this point lol

  7. OhSheit
    OhSheit | February 18th, 2017
    0

    For kicks, why not make a post "3 better endings for Moonlight, Act III" or fill in some gaps that would make more sense or give ideas that would have made the film better – your ideal Moonlight. People are interested.

  8. sekou
    sekou | February 18th, 2017
    0

    I am one who thinks the third act is stronger than the second . I Say that because the acting in the third conveyed the full breath of what he had become and what he was hiding. To me the transitioning (acting) of that act made the second act the weaker of the three.

    The problem of the second, to me is the lack of (shown) connection between the two leads. I am not talking sex but something. For someone to get that closed off and that attached to Kevin in the third act vs the second, something more than a hand job and a kiss had to happen, to me . This was, all in all, missing in the second act and hence did not back up the strength of the acting in the third.

    Kehlin Sears summoned it up perfectly though, sex would have clouded intent / closure. Like all black wanted after all those years was just some ass.

  9. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | February 19th, 2017
    0

    Wait, Holdup….do you view Moonlight as being about a Love Story between Chiron & Kevin? That's maybe the other disconnect on the film that I have with other ppl, I don't see them as dating, in love, a couple or even really friends…The only time they had even been intimate was on the beach and THE VERY NEXT DAY Kevin helped gang beat Chiron. So its not like they had this long romantic relationship that was finally reunited 10 yeas later.

    I would agree with you on this if the film was actually about a young man struggling with his sexuality, but it was really about that. Even the director of the film said it was about perceptions of manhood/masculinity and bullying. I think most guys on this site know what its like to be in high school and hiding your homosexuality. I doubt anyone could honestly say that experience was accurately portrayed in Moonlight.

  10. sekou
    sekou | February 19th, 2017
    0
  11. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | February 19th, 2017
    0

    I see what you're saying but I think you're reverse engineering the film to fit into what you would have liked it to be about. If the first 2/3 of the film was primarily about Chiron wanting to explore his sexuality and find love, I would agree with you. But it was not. This is why @hannibal and I had such an issue with the 3rd act, we agree with you that as a stand-alone piece it accomplishes everything you stated above, but the problem is it wasn't fully set up and "earned" by the events in the previous 2 acts.

    The other problem is it by having the film end the way it does, we don't get resolution to much of anything from the first 2 acts.

    Regardless, you love the film so I'm not trying to convince you not to…I just find it odd that fans won't even acknowledge that it has serious flaws, LOL.

  12. hannibal
    hannibal | February 19th, 2017
    0

    Omg Nick this is what i'm talking about. People are reverse engineering the movie to make the third act work. You cannot say that since the third chapter was inconsistent with the other 2 that that somehow makes the other 2 acts weaker lol.

  13. Dante
    Dante | February 19th, 2017
    0

    I love how this movie has been able to pull eclectic inferences to dig into Chiron's life. I'm also glad that Mooonlight didn't meet the "Black Gay Movie" or "Gay Web Series" criteria or expectation within the LGBTABCDEFGWXYZ community. Those reasons alone confirm why this movie as an independent film is its own success story.

    #MissionAccomplished

  14. mojoreece
    mojoreece | February 19th, 2017
    0

    Im a lil biased because I really liked moonlight especially the 3rd act. But I totally get the criticism of the 3rd act. After reading the original script of the last Act I think they totally could have made an artistic and tasteful love scene at the end without it being too graphic. That's really what the scene was building up to.

    I think a lot of it comes from us wanting soo much more for Chrion. Its disappointing that after all the stuff he went through he ends up being just a run of the mill trapper/drug dealer. It would of been great to see Chrion graduating college or grad school. Finishing an enlistment in the military. Or just working and being a productive member of society. Add in the "just a hug" ending, it just leaves you disappointed; but still liked to movie.

  15. jpo
    jpo | February 20th, 2017
    0

    Before I get to the discussion of Moonlight: the podcast was excellent, a combination of a strong guest and a solid interviewer. You said several times that you were going to edit the discussion before putting it up, so I don't know whether the fluidity is due to the natural way you let the interview develop or to your editing, but either way, it was well done. When you and @Ockydub do a podcast it sounds different, the sense that you are two familiar collaborators comes through and there is less of a sense of drawing each other out. This is a good format – not saying that you and @Ockydub is not good, it's different. One other point I think is worth making: your preparation is good, you bring depth to the interview. I look forward to future ones.

    I disagree with you and James Peoples about the third act of Moonlight, but I understand your argument. I think I am more comfortable with ambiguity, so I was not let down. You are absolutely right on target about this being a film about masculinity and bullying and I recall that sometime in the early fall, @Ockydub wrote a post about not being able to reach the Moonlight team (I can'r find the post) and I recall that I said at the time (before its general release) that I was struck that the marketing was not playing up a gay theme but was focused on a coming of age and masculinity theme. As for the bullying, I will note that in the first act when Chiron's mother confronts Juan she raises the gay issue when she says something like are you going to rell him why they're beating him? I felt the bullying was rooted in his incipient sexuality.

    So, we disagree, but what I appreciate is the amount of time you spent discussing the film, taking it seriously and challenging what I do think is a lot of misguided readings of the film. As I said, I hope to hear more episodes, while you and @Ockydub continue on with the original format.

    This site just keeps building.

  16. BlackVictory
    BlackVictory | February 20th, 2017
    0

    I totally disagree with the statement that we can’t expect Little and Chiron to become Black. I hope this isn’t a stretch, but I saw that film as also making a comment on mass incarceration and what it can do to kids. He learned how to run the streets from inside juvenile prison, he even said it in the 3rd act “A cat taught me how to run the streets” (something along those lines). Furthermore Chiron became what society wanted/forced him to BECOME, which was hard and hyper-masculine. It was the only way he could gain “respect.” So to me its very believable that shy, skinny Chiron became Black.

    Seeing Kevin again melted that away. I saw this especially when Kevin asked him “Who is you Chiron…this isn’t you.” The director didn’t send him to college or have a happy feeling ending because in real life tbh it doesn’t happen that way. So many blk boys get lost in this crazy world, Kevin pulled him back. He was the only “person that ever touched him.” Just some thoughts….

  17. SB3
    SB3 | February 20th, 2017
    0

    This was a good one. Always a pleasure to hear from one of the original brethren playas, from the Himalayas, James Peoples.

    I admit, I was one of those ppl who got caught up in how I could personally relate to certain aspects of the story in Moonlight. But, as pointed out, you shouldn't have to be able to relate to something to 'get' it. I think you guys' analysis during this was actually pretty spot on.

    Ive always felt '1 on 1' convos with different guests would make for a great way to approach podcasts. Looking forward to more from this series.

  18. Nick Delmacy
    Nick Delmacy | February 21st, 2017
    0

    I think what @hannibal meant was that the actors who played Little and Chiron didn't look like they would grow up to be as attractive as Trevante Rhodes, no matter how much time they spent in the gym.

    I agree with him, it was a little jarring to go to that aesthetic extreme. If the director had cast an actor who actually looked like most incarcerated men, Black would not be as Modelesque…he would have more tattoos, have more scars, etc….

    Also, it made it harder to accept that a powerful, confident, "hard" gay man, who looks like Trevante Rhodes, living in Atlanta had not been touched by another dude since a random hand-job 10 years ago.

    Even without trying, an average looking dude like myself easily found anonymous ways to explore my homosexuality in ATL when I was in my 20s.

  19. Dante
    Dante | February 21st, 2017
    0

    Good analysis of the adult Chiron via the 3rd act.

  20. Romein | February 24th, 2017
    0

    Nice podcast! I remember the very first episodes of Free fall and I think that if they would had stick to that line the series wouldn’t be the mess it is. I remember that X was kind of narrating the story, he was talking to the camera about his relationship but for the second season they deleted some parts and make it about drug dealers. There was a rape there, a child apearing from nowhere and I think there has never been answers to these things. I think Free fall’s biggest mistake is that there is no continuity to the storylines.

  21. the ARTHOUSE tv | February 24th, 2017
    0

    Just listened to most of the podcast, thanks for the shoutout, James and Nick. I feel like I took a lot of sh*t for my work on this site and elsewhere (sometimes fair, sometimes unfair) over the years (Freefall in particular). It all has resulted in me retiring from producing content directly for the black LGBT community. Nonetheless, I appreciate the acknowledgement of what I tried to do all of these years (without the respect that was given to cinematic work that worked hard to cheapen the black lgbt experience). It’s been an interesting run and I leave with a lifetime of lessons learned. #ForwardMovement

    • Nick Delmacy
      Nick Delmacy | February 24th, 2017
      0

      This is both disappointing news and good news. Personally, I would love to see you tackle non-LGBT content. Your visual aesthetic and a good script that isn’t handcuffed by satisfying a gay audience could be a good marriage. If you would be interested in having a discussion on this decision, your past work, our past criticism and/or the current state of LGBT content on the Dopeness Podcast, please give us a shout.

  22. Wes
    Wes | February 24th, 2017
    0

    MOONLIGHT- TOTALLY AGREE with Nick’s perspective! Best Film in a long time…
    Though the movie overall was powerful and tastefully done, there were several components that seemed to be missing.

  23. BlackOnyx1 | February 27th, 2017
    0

    i believe jussie smollet is gay and is being vague because i feel that he doesn't wanna come out cause the industry will box him in and only cast him as a gay character, whereas in the new alien film he's playing a straight character. i agree with Nick that we need more black gay characters other than the stereotypical characters we see. but i can also agree with James cause it is a double edge sword. it's not fair but that's sadly how it is. again i agree with James the demand needs to be made like a collective of black gay actors start a movement

  24. Dante
    Dante | February 27th, 2017
    0

    Jussie Smollett admitted he was gay, bc Malik Yoba had diarrhea of the mouth. And after that, Jussie felt that introverted about just saying it. During an OUT magazine interview, he finally said it while trying to pansexualize his response.

    We do need more Black gay characters. But there is still work to do, especially when there is non-heterosexual phobia amongst the entertainment industry and people who only care to create a coon, stereotypical gay character to appease the heteronormative for laughs.




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