I just got back from the Cheikh Anta Diop International Conference in Philly. It was dope! We heard from some of the leading scholars in Black Studies, (including three future Blackademics interview-ees, Dr. Molefi Asante, Dr. Na’im Akbar and Ron Karenga!). But one issue that was not addressed at the conference – actually an issue that I have yet to see addressed at any conference or gathering of Black scholars – was the issue of Black sexuality. It occurred to me that sexuality might be considered inappropriate or even taboo for a Black intellectual forum, but it was not even awarded the luxury of consideration-it was simply non-existent.
What does this absence mean? Maybe nothing. But I think we all have friends or family who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. I think we are all aware of the so called, “down low” brothers and sisters in our communities. I think that the strait Black women who sleep with other women because “they’ve given up on Black men,” or the men who sleep with other men, but still consider themselves to be heterosexual, merit some discourse in our community!
I’ve heard arguments from peers and colleagues that Black people are too homophobic to engage in such discourse. That’s why we only see glimpses – when Oprah brings J.L. King onto her show, when Koramo comes out of the closet on “The Real World,” or when Cam’ron drops a mixtape called “no homo.” These instances might spark a conversation or two but generally, sexuality remains the huge pink (no pun intended) elephant in the room that Black people don’t want to acknowledge. And we here at Blackademics are guilty of this exclusion as well. We’ve talked about everything from politics and racism to popular culture and Black Jesus. But Imma take it back 1991 real quick (shouts to Salt N’ Pepa), Let’s talk about sex.