Aug 29, 2015

What Happened to the Black Beefcake?

During the 1960s, there were only a few Black actors working on television, and they never, ever displayed their physiques, not even in teen magazines.

In the 1970s, I liked Mike Evans of The Jeffersons (1975-82) and John Amos of Good Times (1974-79) plus The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Roots -- not the obnoxious stand-out star, Jimmie Walker -- but they were fully clothed in every episode.

Even in the 1980s, The Cosby Show (1984-1992) kept both Malcolm Jamal Warner and Geoffrey Owens (left) under wraps.

What's Happening Now! (1985-88) displayed bodybuilder Haywood Nelson (center) only in a single "accidental male stripper" episode.

The 1990s wasn't much better. Silver Spoons (1982-87) never displayed muscular hunk Alfonso Ribeiro, and  The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996) only twice -- once in a swimsuit, and again in another "accidental male stripper" episode. 

Family Matters (1989-99) gave Darius McCrary and "Urkel" Jaleel White one shirtless episode apiece.

Must be Hollywood racism:
1. The presumption that only white bodies are appropriate objects of desire.
2. Or that Black bodies are by definition undesirable.

Whatever the motive, Black beefcake is still rare on television.  And Asian beefcake, rarer still.

See also: The Top 10 Hunks of The Cosby Show.; The Truth about the Black Penis.

Aug 28, 2015

"I'm a Try Something, Aight?": Picked Up by the Boy and His Dog

In Upstate New York, I used to run 4 miles from home to Wilbur Park, then down East Street to Maple, and home again.

One afternoon I was about halfway through the run, when I saw a young kid, a teenager at most, walking a pit bull nearly as big as he was.

I don't like running past dogs -- they sometimes get spooked and start barking.  But the kid was black, and I was afraid to cross the street for fear of being tagged racist.  So I persevered.

I heard growling, then "Janell, heel!  Stop that!"  Then the dog lunged forward and bit me on the butt.

"Janell, Janell, stop that!" the boy yelled, jerking the leash.

Grudgingly, growling, Janell the Pit Bull sat.

"Your monster dog just but me on the butt!" I exclaimed.

"I'm sorry, Mister. Janell's really a sweetheart. She just thought your behind was candy, and she want a taste."  He grinned at me with that unmistakable appreciation that sets off your gaydar.  I was in no mood for cruising, but I did notice that he was a twink, not a kid -- short, light skinned, solidly built, with dark brown eyes, a broad nose, and sensual lips.

  "You can pet her if you want.  My name's Malik."

I leaned down to pet Janell.  She growled softly.  "I'm Boomer.  And sweetheart or not, my butt hurts."

The rest of the story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

John Wayne was a Sissy

During the 1950s and 1960s,, John Wayne was the symbol for an all-American frontier masculinity that never really existed, but many people longed for: tough, surly, taciturn, quick with his fists and a gun.  He starred in war movies, dramas, and comedies -- he even played Genghis Khan, but he was most famous as a cowboy hero or antihero in movies with gutsy one- or two-word titles: Hondo, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, True Grit, Big Jake, The Shootist. 

But the "epitome of masculinity" was actually rather gender-transgressive:
1. His real name was the gender-bending Marion.
2. Watch him walk.  He sashays like RuPaul.
3. He had small, delicate hands.
4. He was slim and svelte, nothing like a muscleman.
5. He got his start as a "Sandy Saunders, the Singing Cowboy."
6. In His Private Secretary (1933), his character is a feminine-coded bon vivant who wants to marry a minister's granddaughter, but he's too "debauched."

And he had his share of gay subtexts, surly, taciturn guys with no particular interest in ladies who buddy-bond with the hunkiest star du jour that studios could cram into a cowboy suit.  Just to name a few:

1. The Searchers (1956).  Ethan (John Wayne), who has no particular interest in ladies, buddy-bonds with Martin (screen hunk Jeffrey Hunter) en route to saving a girl from savage Indians.

2. Rio Bravo (1959).  Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) teams up with Colorado Ryan (contemporary teen idol Ricky Nelson).

3. The Comancheros (1961). Texas ranger Jake Cutter (John Wayne) arrests Paul Regret (screen hunk Stuart Whitman), but then needs his help to fight the Comancheros.

4. The Undefeated (1969): former Union and Confederate officers (John Wayne, screen hunk Rock Hudson) must work together to guide a group through war-torn Mexico.

The Duke was notoriously homophobic, even in the days when homophobia was rampant, though he and Rock Hudson managed to work together on the set of The Undefeated.

And racist: in an infamous Playboy interview in 1971, he stated that he believed in white supremacy until "the blacks are educated to the point of responsibility."

Why was he trying so hard to maintain white heterosexual male privilege?  Was it that big a problem for him to share the world with people who were gay, or black, or female?

Sounds like a sissy to me.

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