Who Said Dat?: It’s Quite Queer in Atlanta
Full disclosure, I am a RHOA stan, fo’real. No lies, no jokes, and all peaches.
I’ve watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta since the very beginning.
From the moment Nene found out her name was not on Sheree’s guest list, to Sheree’s simple tug on Kim’s wig- outside the bar with Lindsay Lohan’s Daddy.
From Kenya’s glorious proclamation, I’m Gone With The Wind Fabulous, to the homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic pajama party that predictably went south.
And don’t get me started on describing my immense love for Kandi Burress. Like, if I were not 34 years old and completely dependent on my current job, I would move to Atlanta and take a non-paid internship with the Burress Corporation- no doubt arguing and gossiping with Don Juan and Carmon over Todd’s new business venture and Mama Joyce’s gallivanting around Atlanta…
I ain’t lying.
But can we talk about something?
Can we talk about how queerness has shown up in this latest season (season 9)?
Since the beginning of the Atlanta franchise, I’ve experienced this show as homophobic and transphobic- phobic of anyone who lives outside the gender and sexuality binary.
But I made it work.
Always telling myself that there is no such thing as violent free entertainment, and violent free people. Honestly, I still watch this show til’ this day, as a proud and loud, fat, Black, queer man- whew, the dissonance.
This latest episode got me thinking.
Three proclaimed Black straight women have had a variety of experiences with other women (or other genders) throughout their lives. And some of them are still engaging these relationships, allegedly. I’m not writing this piece because I want to place labels, or reprimand anyone. However, I think it is important to critically think about the ways these Black women capitalize off of queer folk, as they continue to leverage queerness as the worse thing one could be.
Remember, “Kandi is a lesbian” is what began this entire conversation this season.
And to complicate things, some or all of these women may actually claim queerness, after taking a solid class focusing on sexuality and gender, which means some internalize hatred could be at play.
Let’s talk, Atlanta.
I’ll leave you with Miss Lawrence’s word on the matter, a former regular on RHOA:
“I left the Housewives of Atlanta for that very reason — well, that’s one of the reasons that I left. We don’t hold a lot of women accountable for culture appropriation. They love to borrow from the culture, steal intellectual property from the gay community, and most of them don’t give back. The first time an inflammatory situation arises the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “queen” or the whole f-bomb. The one episode where Kenya [Moore]’s friend got beat up at Nene’s party, no one was held accountable, there was no real apology put in place. I knew then that was not a place to occupy my time. I knew that there’s no way I can call myself a social activist and be a real activist for my community on that show. I’m not angry with them; I just think they need to be educated. At some point, we as a community have to make them respect us. It saddens me that most gay prides, especially Black gay pride, when they want to book celebrities, you look on the flyers, there’s a Porsha Williams on the flyer, Nene Leakes or Marlo Hampton. What exactly have they done for our community? We don’t hold them accountable.”
**And please miss me with the Black folk are more homophobic and transphobic rhetoric then any other racial group. This propping of queer people is a problem with the entire Housewives franchise.
This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.
the aspiring urban blogger @PhaedraParks speaks of- Cody Charles is the author of Black Joy, We Deserve It, The Night The Moonlight Caught My Eye: Not a Review but a Testimony on the Film Moonlight, 5 Tips For White Folks, As They Engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out. (No Spoilers), Radical Friendship Contract: 10 Expectations for Loving People Fully, 10 Common Things Well-Intentioned Allies Do That Are Actually Counterproductive, A Letter to Black Greeks Who Happen to be Black and Queer, and What Growing Up Black And Poor Taught Me About Resiliency. Join him for more conversation on Twitter (@_codykeith_) and Facebook (Follow Cody Charles). Please visit his blog, Reclaiming Anger, to learn more about him.