We’re going to try not to bombard you with too many posts about black gay films but with so few out there, we have an urge to at least make you aware of some of them.This brings me to “On The Downlow”, a documentary by Abigail Child about (somewhat) masculine, young, black, gay men living life “on the Down Low” (hence the title). The setting is Cleveland, Ohio and we follow the lives of four men of all different types. One man has been “prison trade”, one man is a father, one man is bisexual and hiding it from his current girlfriend and another man faced with the pressure of coming out to his father.The degrees of masculinity vary widely in this film but for the most part all of the men don’t “look gay” (for lack of a better way of putting it). Admittedly, some of the sections of the film feel staged (ie: the girlfriend finding out her boyfriend is gay in a night club while the camera is conveniently rolling) but it was still an interesting watch nonetheless.


The biggest problem with this film, and other like it, is one that the filmmakers really can’t control. The mere notion of a person being “down low” means that they don’t want anyone to know that they are gay. So in reality, REAL down low men would not agree to have themselves filmed for a documentary about down low men.Having said all that, there are still things I could relate to in this documentary and the stories/opinions told by the men seemed to come from a real place.“On The Downlow” is available on DVD and Video-On-Demand through Amazon.com.
Clip One: Ray, 18 Years Old
This guy Ray has some SERIOUS identity issues. In this clip he discusses how and why he chooses a particular gender to date at any given time.
Clip Two: Kerwin, 24 Years Old
Kerwin is an example of many “soft” men I meet who claim to be “down low” yet seem pretty obvious and clockable to me. In this scene he attempts to come out to his father and is not sure how he will react to the news.
– Nick D