Michael Wal­ters and Syrus Lowe The In­her­i­tance

Gay Times Magazine - - CULTURE -

On the in­ter­sec­tion of be­ing queer and black help­ing them nav­i­gate the world of the­atre...

Syrus: I feel like it’s the same as nav­i­gat­ing the world. I think there’s a per­cep­tion of a gay black man and you’re con­stantly fight­ing stereo­types, and it’s your re­spon­si­bil­ity as an artist and hu­man to try and chal­lenge that by cre­at­ing some­thing new. Or, cre­at­ing some­thing that’s go­ing against the stereo­type. Some­one who came to see our show said they were so happy to see a black char­ac­ter as a doc­tor and an­other as a lawyer. That made them happy as it wasn’t a neg­a­tive stereo­type. You’ve got to keep ask­ing ques­tions and chal­lenge things. If you don’t think some­thing is be­ing rep­re­sented in the right way, say it. Have a voice.

Michael: And re­alise there’s more than one rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Stereo­types, more times than not, are based on some truth, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is. A black gay man, some­one might pic­ture Ru­Paul in drag, not out. There’s vary­ing de­grees of who black peo­ple are, and who they are as gay men and women.

A mes­sage to young LGBTQ teens of colour want­ing to move into the arts...

Syrus: It’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing time to cre­ate at the mo­ment. There are so many plat­forms avail­able. You can make a film on your iPhone and you’ve got YouTube... go out there and start it. Start it.

Michael: It’s a very DIY gen­er­a­tion. Again, you get to a point where you just have to do this your­self, and that’s what you have to do. That’s what I see; peo­ple com­ing up with their own stuff. I have friends who are writ­ing more, cre­at­ing the­atre groups and find­ing ways to get their voices heard. Amongst ac­tors of colour – and not just gay or straight, but ac­tors of colour – in this coun­try es­pe­cially... we need to see more. We’re not as sur­prised to see a black per­son or Asian in a BBC drama. It’s not a one-off, it’s the norm. We should be at that point now; it’s 2018. There’s no rea­son why we aren’t there yet.

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