“I’d never seen two Black people in love like that. They were beautiful like that. That was brown like that.”
In this time when we are all struggling to make sense of the abusive, divisive rhetoric that is cynically being used to separate us from each other, listening to Being Seen with its host Darnell Moore, is like taking a warm bath in the mythical water of life. Being Seen is essentially about how we are seen and how we see ourselves.
The podcast is an exploration of our ability to change bias and perception using the power of storytelling. It’s about the Black male experience and how we can work to use culture to create more complex representations of identity. They are Black stories. They are American stories.
While season one shines a spotlight on what it means to be Black queer and gay in America, host Darnell Moore, together with a variety of guests from all walks of life, also strongly reinforce our shared, common human experience.
Episode One called The First is about making it in Hollywood, getting to Broadway, and Billie Holiday. It is about the story behind cultural firsts that break down barriers, push back against invisibility and refute stereotypes. It features playwright Michael R. Jackson, New York Times Critic Wesley Morris; writer; director and producer; Lee Daniels; and writer and actor Jordan E. Cooper.
To hear these exciting and innovative Black creatives gathered together by Darnell Moore in this first episode talk so intimately about their personal life experiences and their work, is inspirational and deeply moving. How often does one get the opportunity to share the inner creative process of contemporary Black writers, producers and directors?
One moment in particular struck me when Lee Daniels was speaking about one of his inspirations, the movie Lady Sings the Blues. He said, “I’d never seen two Black people in love like that. That were beautiful like that. That were brown like that.” Words carry enormous emotional weight and his awoke in me the idea that visionary change is possible to ignite through the power of entertainment and culture.
It is in fact only by experiencing moments like this, delivered by this exceptional podcast, that as a society we’ll be able to accomplish some kind of metamorphosis. A metamorphosis that will take us past our divisions of race, culture, class, sexual orientation and identification, and nationality, towards knowing we are essentially all one species, homo sapien sapien. That if we are to survive, we must find a way of living together with an understanding, an appreciation and an acceptance of the validity of all of our different lifestyles and experiences.
If you are so inclined, please follow this link to listen to the first three episodes of Being Seen.