The 13 Best Male Black Gay/Bisexual Characters …EVER!

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Feb 24 2014 | 55 Comments  

best-black-gay-chracters

Instead of continuing to complain about what we don’t have in the media (something we do quite a lot here on Cypher Avenue), we decided to appreciate the positives and celebrate the best black gay characters we’ve seen in film and television.

All of the characters were chosen based on their complexity, realism, creative characterization and the overall performance rendered by the talented actors who filled their shoes. We left web series characters out of contention because, quite frankly, all of them have sucked so far.

Lastly, ambiguously gay characters have been left off of this list. The characters chosen were only those who either clearly stated that they were gay on-screen or were seen engaging and enjoying same-sex intimacy.


13. “Wade Robinson” [Jensen Atwood] – Noah’s Arc (TV Series & Film)

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Admittedly, Wade Robinson of Noah’s Arc wasn’t the most complex character on the show. And his instant transition from being a masculine heterosexual black man exclusively dating women to being in a full-fledged, head-over-heels-in-love gay relationship with a flamboyant fem was totally unbelievable.

However we did appreciate the consistent eye candy that was Jensen Atwood. Also, it was nice to see Wade be a regular guy, unlike his fem counterparts on the show. He struggled as a failed actor and is later seen working in the warehouse of a furniture store. You can’t get more everyday than that.

Beyond that, unfortunately, his masculine character only served as a fantasy and an object of desire for fems. Although every other character in Noah’s little “arc” of friends got their own character building storylines and obstacles, it was extremely rare to ever see Wade have any screen time that wasn’t related to his relationship with Noah.

 


12. “Officer Julien Lowe” [Michael Jace] – The Shield (TV Series)

JulienLowe

We originally left this character off of the list, not just because we forgot all about him, but for the fact that (now convicted murderer) Michael Jace as Julien Lowe was extremely frustrating to watch on screen. True, he defied stereotypes by being a tough cop, not a fashion stylist. However, the character paralyzingly struggled with his sexuality for years on-screen to the point that he almost became boring to watch.

On reflective thought, what made his character so great was the complexity that came with that struggle. This was a rare character who denied his homosexuality, not for status or concern for how his friends and family would view him. His struggle evolved from his deep religious beliefs that told him being gay was a sin, not unlike what many men are still going through to this day.

His rise from a beat cop officer to a detective was overshadowed with his inner conflict and repression, leading him to live a down low lifestyle. The horrible decisions he makes all stem from him being extremely closeted and paranoid.

 


11. “Boo” [Oneil Cespedes] – The D.L. Chronicles (TV Series)

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The D.L. Chronicles‘s most popular character has to be the down low thug, Boo. He’s by far the most fascinating and complex character in the history of the series. In 20 short minutes we see Boo struggle with his sexuality, his relationships with his girlfriend (and side-piece boyfriend) and his identity as a bisexual black man in general.

Whether we like to admit it or not, men like Boo do exist in the world. It’s a shame that actor Oneil Cespedes hasn’t done much else in film or television since this amazing performance back in 2007.

 


10. “Calvin Owens” [Paul James] – Greek (TV Series)

paul-james

The ABC Family dramedy, “Greek” was surprising in that it featured multiple gay characters, none of which fit the usual stereotypes. On top of that, the creators of the show made a point to add a masculine black gay character named Calvin Owens who was an all-state hockey and football player. Keep in mind this was back in 2007, long before examples like Jason Collins and Michael Sam jumped into the public eye.

You have to give credit to ABC Family for showing multiple gay relationships in this series on a network that has “Family” in its name. The people that actually saw “Greek” during its six season run got to see Calvin Owens as a normal, relatable, everyday black gay man…not a flamboyant reality show stereotype.

 


9. “Thomas Gavin” [Gabriel Corbin] – The D.L. Chronicles (TV Series)

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Gabriel’s Corbin’s powerful performance as paralyzed firefighter Thomas Gavin is still engraved into our brains ever since we saw it last year in the first new episode of The D.L. Chronicles in seven years.

Outside of the character displaying complex raw emotions, Thomas Gavin stood out from many of the other black gay characters in film and television in that he was totally believable as a flesh and blood person.

By the end of the short film, you personally feel his pain and triumph as he comes to term with both his disability and his sexuality.

 


8. “Sean ‘Kaldrick King’ Dugan” [Andra Fuller] – The L.A. Complex (TV)

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The character may not have been perfect…he may not have been the best role model for young black gay men…But its hard to deny that The L.A. Complex’s Sean Dugan (aka Kaldrick King) was a breath of fresh air in the world of prime time network television.

Also, actor Andra Fuller playing the troubled, complicated character was irresistible to watch. Watching Kaldrick’s transition from angry down-low black man to a person coming to terms with his sexuality and relationship with his abusive father was addictive.

 


7. “Carter Heywood” [Michael Boatman] – Spin City (TV Series)

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From 1996 to 2002, Michael Boatman convincingly played black gay character Carter Heywood, Head of Minority Affairs at City Hall in New York City.

Way back then we had an Out and Open professional black gay character that wasn’t a hair stylist or an In Living Color snap queen. By the end of the series, Carter Heywood even becomes a father, adopting a baby boy named Sam.

 


See the NEXT PAGE to view the remaining 6 Best Black Gay Characters…EVER!

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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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55 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Ace of hearts | February 24th, 2014
    +4

    Good list… I secretly still fantasize about Kaldrick King LOL

    • TheDarkness
      TheDarkness | February 24th, 2014
      +2

      Dude! I feel ya’! I still not-so-secretly fantasize about Kaldric King aka Andra Fuller. Dat dere’s a sexy Mutha F*cka!!!

  2. Angelo Martinez | February 24th, 2014
    +2

    Perfect list! I forgot about some of these characters, now it’s time to get my DVD collection together.

  3. 850famuman
    850famuman | February 24th, 2014
    +1

    @NickDelmancy
    I think you might need to rework your title to “12 best black gay/bisexual male characters” cuz you left the women folk completely out of this one. Some of us are bisexual or have vast respect for some of the black lesbian roles (like Queen Latifah’s Cleo or Wanda Sykes’ anything she has ever done:)

  4. Ocky Williams | February 24th, 2014
    0

    This was on point.

  5. hannibal
    Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
    +2

    I’m glad someone finally mentioned Michael Boatman. I feel like he’s too often overlooked. Why was Lafayette snubbed though?

    • 850famuman
      850famuman | February 24th, 2014
      0

      Yes, I was wondering about Nelsan Ellis’ character on Tru Blood not being mentioned as well. He certainly fits the guidelines and as far as character development goes, deserves be mentioned here. Too much “snap queen realness” perhaps? LOL…

      • hannibal
        Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
        0

        Well season 1 and season 2 Lafayette should be mentioned lol. Those seasons he was a bit butch.

        • Ocky Williams | February 24th, 2014
          0

          How is a man wearing lipstick and eye shadow “butch” again?

          • hannibal
            Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
            0

            He wasn’t like that in the first two seasons I don’t think. Hell, he spent half of season 2 locked up in a cellar. And the list doesn’t specifically say best masculine gays and I think Lafayette definitely holds a place as an influential black gay character. But…not my lits so oh well lol.

  6. blackzw
    blackzw | February 24th, 2014
    +1

    I just waiting with bated breath for Michael St Patrick’s character, I totally agree with this list.

    • OfficialJLC | February 24th, 2014
      +1

      Lol me too. I just felt chills I haven’t felt since…..forever.

    • Deacon
      Deacon CJ | February 24th, 2014
      +1

      Matthew St. Patrick

  7. scottywashere | February 24th, 2014
    0

    My favorite would have to be Damon (Terry Crews) from Friday After Next. First movie I ever saw with a gay male character that everyone was physically afraid of.

    • hannibal
      Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
      0

      I thought he was amazing to look at but I felt some kind of way at the portrayal of “”gay” men being portrayed as only gay beause of jail who only wanted to rape every man in sight.

      • 850famuman
        850famuman | February 24th, 2014
        +2

        LOL..that line of thought is probably what left a couple of my fav gay/bisexual characters off the list. But let the record show there was something about Simon Adebisi character that had me convinced my cookies would be in trouble if he ever escaped from prison 😉

        • hannibal
          Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
          +2

          I had a thing for Adebisi too. Don’t tell nobody

      • scottywashere | February 26th, 2014
        0

        I try not to take comedies or comdians too seriously. It was just a trip to see the gay guy play the neighborhood bully. So far from the way most people view gay guys.

  8. SB3
    African King | February 24th, 2014
    +1

    Man Nick you watch a lot of shows/movies. I have no idea who most of these people are. Just Kaldrick King because I learned about him through Discreet City. I have to check out The Wire someday.

  9. Jason Green | February 24th, 2014
    0

    Great list. Thank you for including Calvin from Greek. That character was amazing (and was the only reason I watched that show). My only complaint – Carter from Spin City should be number 1 (but that’s just personal preference). Phenomenal job and thanks for this list.

    • NextLifetime
      nextlifetime | February 24th, 2014
      0

      Ditto!! He was the reason I watched the show as well plus he had the same last name as me so that was like my unofficial big bro lol

  10. Deacon
    Deacon CJ | February 24th, 2014
    +1

    I’m glad there were enough character for you to even create a list, as for Will Smith’s Paul from Six Degree’s of Separation his performance was flat and one note but having seen the play the movie is based on I will concede the character complexities. What I will agree with you on 100% is Matthew St. Patrick as Keith Charles being the number black gay character. As a honorable mention I would list Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins from RENT 2005 movie.

  11. Thomas Hinyard | February 24th, 2014
    -2

    I disagree with this list. However, I know that this was compiled by the writer’s personal opinion. There wasn’t anything diverse about these characters to me. It was the same dynamic on repeat: gay male MASCULINE characters. I view this list and I see no one that I could see in my mirror, so that means that there is some underrepresentation. Simultaneously, I know that this isn’t an official list proclaimed by some lord. If I had to create my own list, it would include the characters of Holiday from “Holiday Heart” portrayed by Ving Rhames and the art student portrayed by Anthony Mackie in “Brother to Brother”.

    • Deacon
      Deacon CJ | February 24th, 2014
      +4

      Seriously, why go there with the masculine vs feminine comment, have you have seen every performance of the characters on the list. If the list was created by a white writer and didn’t have not one masculine male or black gay male character on it would you have made the same accusation? You may not be able to see yourself or relate to any of the characters on the list but they’re many of us who read Cypher Ave on a daily basis that do, I myself can relate to five in one way or another. It’s about time masculine black gay characters received some recognition for they are severely under represented on TV in the first place.

    • Ocky Williams | February 24th, 2014
      +3

      Hey Thomas, I Googled “List of the top black gay characters in film and television” and there are plenty of lists on other websites that include the characters you referenced, but guess what, many of those list didn’t have some the the characters we listed her. Go figure.

    • SB3000 | March 1st, 2014
      0

      U madd?? Nah leme stop

  12. Dre G | February 24th, 2014
    0

    Carter was cool,even with that rat he called a dog ,named Rags.

  13. hannibal
    Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
    +1

    You guys always talk about DLC: Thomas…is there anyway those of us who aren’t press see it or is it just gonna be under wraps indefinitely?

    • Ocky Williams | February 24th, 2014
      0

      Hmmm…imma take it to twitter and see what the Deondry and Quincy got to say about this!

    • questforknowledge
      quest for knowledge | February 24th, 2014
      0

      Yea don’t get me wrong I love the DL Chronicles, but I’ve been watching the same episodes for so long now. I really want to see episode Thomas! It looks like it’s really good.

      • hannibal
        Hannibal | February 24th, 2014
        0

        lol. They keep putting it on all of their best of lists but Nick and Ocky are apparently the only two people that have seen it. I’m fine taking their word for it but if it’s that good I wanna see it. I wanna be in on the fun.

        • questforknowledge
          quest for knowledge | February 24th, 2014
          0

          I know right. I’ve looked at that teaser trailer too many times, I’m ready to watch the full episode now.

    • SB3000 | March 1st, 2014
      0

      Thats what I’m sayin! I know there are way more hurdles from their end, but damn shawty! Im not even checking for the bootleg.

  14. questforknowledge
    quest for knowledge | February 24th, 2014
    0

    This is a great list. I think my favorite characters mentioned here are Kaldrick King, Boo, and Keith. There are a few shows/movies on here that I haven’t seen that I need to check out. There may not be an abundance of masculine gay characters in film, but it is good to see that some do exist and that they were shown to go against the gay stereotype.

  15. kevin reed | February 25th, 2014
    +1

    i guess everyone has their own favorite…..i loved the role that rockmond dunbar played in punks by patrik ian polk.
    i totally agree great listing especially dl and will smith’s role…….

  16. Noel Austin
    Noel Austin | February 25th, 2014
    +2

    So0 On Point.Luv It! “ The 13 Best Male Black Gay/Bisexual Characters …EVER! – http://t.co/HyrbB8c02P http://t.co/idPjIS3qf6”

  17. Leon | February 26th, 2014
    0

    I agree with most of the list but then I like masculine males. I think the fellas who prefer more feminine brothers will disagree and THAT IS FAIR! Everyone has a right to their opinion and if your going to have a comment section then that should be respected.

    I wonder when everyone is picking their favorites is there a reason why Gregory Keith’s portrayal of Trey in Noah’s Arc is always left out? He was gay, NOT DL, masculine, nice looking, intelligent and mature. Just curious why I never see him mentioned when this topic comes up on different sites. Anyway, I agree with most of your list, might put them in different order but agree.

    At the risk of offending I still find it odd that in my 49 years on this earth I have never come across a man who considers himself to be gay who carried himself like Trey, Omar, Wade or Keith….? Part of it is the fact that I have never been to a gay club but I would love to meet (not date) , just get to know a masculine gay male. (Not trolling for one on this site, just want to know that they actually do exist other than on tv where I don’t personally know them).

    Spent my years with the DL crowd and in all my years in NYC and ATL I never ran across a truly masculine brutha who classified himself as gay. Time will tell

    Great Post!

    • Nick Delmacy | February 26th, 2014
      +2

      Agreed, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which is why I welcome people offering their own favorties.

      The problem many people (including myself) have with Gregory Keith’s character Trey is that he was basically just a prop character. Outside of his relationship, we never saw any details about his life. Where was he from? What did he do for a living? When did he discover that he was gay? What were his goals? What were his obstacles? He was not a complex, fleshed-out character at all. He was just masculinity and muscles.

      Lastly, its unfortunate that you’ve never met a masculine gay man in 49 years. Here in Atlanta, I know quite a few of them. Many of them range from the muscular gym rats to the regular and out-of-shape guys. I would say that your circle of friends possibly determines if you will meet truly masculine gay men.

  18. Exhibit REY | February 26th, 2014
    0

    This list is pretty accurate in my eyes however, I’d replace #11 with Tariq from The LA Complex. Boo, in my eyes, was a poor man’s version of Kaldrick King from The LA Complex.

    I’m glad somebody finally recognized Michael Jace’s character from The Shield because his character is often over-looked when it comes to gay/bisexual roles on television (past & present).

    • Nick Delmacy | February 26th, 2014
      0

      Thanks Rey,

      I added Boo because he was a rare truly bisexual character that didn’t date women only to hide the fact that he liked men. He genuinely liked both sexes, which caused the internal conflict. This was not the case with Kaldrick King.

      Question though: Do you really think Tariq was a complex character? What was complex about him besides him “looking for love” in the wrong place?

      • hannibal
        Hannibal | February 26th, 2014
        +1

        I’d hate to barge in on the convo but I agree with Nick. Many of my friends and I always get into a debate on this. They feel Tariq got the short end of the stick because he was feminine whereas Kal is still talked about because he was masculine. I think there’s some truth to that but the big picture is Tariq was just a boring character in a boring situation. I actually watched the entire show and all of the characters were flawed and crazy and interesting..Tariq was the exception.

        • SB3000 | March 1st, 2014
          0

          I dont even think of Tariq as feminine, he was just kinda, there. He was just soft. Kal had way more of a storyline, and quite frankly, way more appeal. I mean, I understand the whole ‘trying to make the everyday guy think he has a shot w a guy on Kals level’ thing, but cmon..

      • Exhibit REY | March 5th, 2014
        0

        I’m late with this reply; didn’t notice it until now LOL but I think Tariq reminded me of Calvin Owens from Greek. Boo, in my opinion, only slept with women to throw people off his scent so that they wouldn’t suspect he was gay but I’m sure some people will disagree with me on this. In Tariq’s case, his character didn’t feel forced in the way I thought Boo was and there wasn’t a facade behind his identity; he was genuine and believable but most of all, his character wasn’t the typical gay black guy you’d see on TV.

        To answer what Hannibal said, Tariq was never feminine in my eyes, if anything, he was soft/in tune with his emotional side so I wouldn’t equate that with being feminine.

  19. Dj Manager
    Dj Manager | February 26th, 2014
    0

    “: The 13 Best Male Black Gay/Bisexual Characters …EVER! – http://t.co/mioiICHIQn http://t.co/Q6OwiEBZr5”<- wow

  20. Deacon
    Deacon CJ | February 27th, 2014
    +2

    the issue with finding masculine characters from Noah’s ARC is that out side of Wade & the four main characters the other men on the show were throw away characters to balance out their feminine attributes.The show never tried to develop characters like Trey, most of the time the masculine character was there for eye candy or used as a sexual stereotype. For example all of Ricky’s hook ups were muscular brown skin B-boys, when Eddie cheated on Chance the guy he cheats with is suppose to be a thug so when they break up Chance is hooked up with a so called thug to give him thug lessons. The focus was never on having masculine characters and maybe the writers didn’t know how to write a masculine character.

    • Ocky Williams | February 27th, 2014
      +3

      Your last sentence says it all.

    • SwagJack
      SwagJack | June 8th, 2014
      0

      That last sentence pretty much sums it up. What they tried to do with the four main characters of the show was model them after the tried and true four female friends formula (or what I call the 4Fs). Shows like Golden Girls, Designing Women, Girlfriends, Sex In The City, Girls, etc. have all had success with this formula. The creator of this show decided to put a black gay spin on it. And it successfully spoke to its audience, judging by the fact that it was the highest rated show on the network for a while. But even though I tuned in every week, I never truly connected with the show. None of the characters represented me. Other than the fact that they were black, gay, and wanted to cultivate meaningful lasting relationships, there were no parallels. And that’s been my beef with Logo in general as a network…but that’s an entirely separate thread.

  21. Kasule | February 28th, 2014
    0

    Thanks for posting about Keith Charles [Matthew St. Patrick].

    I never finished all of Six Feet Under, but what I saw of their relationship left me feeling a certain kind of way because their relationship dynamic seemed so damn sincere – and I rarely see the media portray any interracial (masculine) gay couple, at all.

    1. It’s just TV, but I was pained sometimes to see how SHIT they often made their OWN relationship! Obviously, they got married in the end, but in the meantime all the elective cheating, mutually-and-self-inflicted traumas, and heartbreak gave a tragic sense to their relationship.

    2. Ok I get that the show is about death, ha-ha, but making Keith’s character die at the end of the show was still elective. Doesn’t a gay (interracial/black) couple ever get a break? And Keith was probably the most upstanding of the two.

    ***

    I don’t really want to talk about TV, but instead use Keith’s character and relationship to point out that, in real life:

    HOW many of our own relationship problems are optional? Probably most, right? All the heartbreak, betrayal, and lack-of-going-to-therapy-to-address-your-issues are self-inflicted wounds. I swear, life is hard enough without electively making our own lives even harder.

    It would have been perhaps more valuable for Keith and his partner to have a healthy relationship in which they invested real hard. Given all the cheating and relationship bullshit on TV, a healthy gay relationship might have broken even more ground.

  22. Kouncelor
    Jay Tee | March 10th, 2014
    +2

    I love the fact that all of the characters are not hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine… some of them fit into that wide band in-between.

  23. NickAuzenneNOLA
    NickAuzenne | April 9th, 2015
    0

    What I appreciated most about all of these characters is that take out their SGL identities these dudes are just various types of regular old black men and I think that makes these characters more tangible for the mainstream audience although I think they will always default everyone’s gay experience as an effeminate one.

  24. Ernest Timmons
    Ernest Timmons | July 12th, 2015
    0

    Really he beat his lover to death almost. just saying and there are other gay characters on tv to pick from

  25. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | June 17th, 2016
    0

    Carter Heywood(Michael Boatman) is my favorite.
    :rejoice:

    Also about that Will Smith character's sociopathic real life inspiration, David Hampton…"real life black gay con artist named David Hampton'..any relation to Walter Lee Jr.?
    :sass1:

  26. Dante
    Dante | June 17th, 2016
    0

    Hands down: 2, 7, 11, 12, and 13

    Great evaluation @Nick Delmacy!!!