While we’ve only been around for five short months, we here at Cypher Ave have been appreciative of all the emails and tweets from readers showing their support. We’re privileged to provide a unique and honest voice for masculine gay men of color.In the new year our goals include adding more contributors to the site, better HTML coding, creating an interactive extension, provide more current news stories, add exclusive content like in-depth interviews and use this platform to expose more of the efforts from the talented men in our community.Keeping in line with these goals for the new year, we give you the CYPHER AVE’S BEST OF 2011 AWARDS.
This is the first annual year-end rundown of everything we loved about the previous year, as it relates to masculine gay men of color.
BEST OVERALL FILM: FAST FIVE
While movies like “Drive,” “Shame” and “The Tree of Life” may be better works of art, no film released in 2011 featured more unabashed masculinity, testosterone, bulging biceps, explosions, gunplay, sexy Latina women and over 20 muscle cars than the epic sequel “Fast Five.” Granted, the film is about 30 minutes too long…but whenever we got bored something would explode and wake us up.The highlight of it all is Dwayne Johnson’s massive tattooed arms that simultaneously made us stare in freak-show wonder and also made us want to run to the gym to workout.
Honorable Mention: Attack The Block, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
BEST GAY FILM: SLOW
Darius Clark Monroe’s beautifully shot short film “Slow” about two black gay men and their online hookup encounter is undoubtedly the best and most accurate rendition we’ve ever seen. To be brutally honest, “The D.L. Chronicles” filmmakers Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear could have easily won this category if their verbose, sometimes boring, exposition dense web series, “The Chadwick Journals,” didn’t pale in comparison to this short film.Both the web series and the short film featured one location, two black male actors, gay subject matter, short formats and a limited budget. However, Darius Clark Monroe proved he was in a completely higher filmmaking league with his vivid cinematography, excellent use of music and ability to follow filmmaking rule number one: Telling the story with visuals, not dialogue. If the fellas are successful in bringing back “The D.L. Chronicles” (which we’d love to see) we suggest that they look to Monroe’s powerful film for creative inspiration.
Honorable Mention: The Strange Thing About The Johnsons, The Chadwick Journals
BEST TELEVISION SERIES: BREAKING BAD
With all the buzz about Vampire and Zombie TV shows, many people may have overlooked the best show on television, “Breaking Bad.” This series is like no other currently airing and continues to surprise us. This season, longtime character actor Giancarlo Esposito finally stepped to the forefront with his chilling scene-stealing performance as Gustavo “Gus” Fring.Admittedly, certain aspects of the series require huge leaps in logic for you to accept that a ailing high school teacher and a drug addict could go up against a well organized crime empire…but the ride is fun and addictive nonetheless.
Honorable Mention: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones
BEST ACTOR: IDRIS ELBA
Handsome England-Born actor Idris Elba had a good year. Not only did he continue to impress us as the title character of the BBC crime drama “Luther,” he also racked up numerous awards for his performances.However, the reason we really love Elba is for the controversial comments he made as a guest speaker at the Lens Project’s “Artist Spotlight” series on the campus of Rutgers University:
“Can I be candid? I don’t like all of Tyler Perry’s films. Yes, I did work with Tyler for “Daddy’s Little Girls” because it portrayed a positive image of a black father. I am happy for Tyler’s success…we need Tyler Perry…by going to support his movies, we need to show economic strength. But we are also responsible for elevating film. I’m not with buffoonish characters like Madea or Big Momma.”
Honorable Mention: Morris Chestnut, Omari Hardwick, Laz Alonso
BEST ATHLETE: BRENDON AYANBADEJO
What makes heterosexual Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo our favorite athlete of the year is not only due to his actions on the field but also his impressive and admirable actions off-field as well.Not only did he volunteer as a sexy model for California’s NOH8 Campaign, he also became a vocal supporter for Marriage Equality being legally passed in Maryland (the vote was eventually postponed for mid-2012).
We appreciate his spirit and wish there were hundreds more like him!
Honorable Mention: Grant Hill, Jared Dudley, Michael Lahoud