(Originally written on April 11, 2016, I forgot to press publish)
In 2007 Isaiah Washington was fired by Shonda Rhimes from Greys Anatomy when he used a homophobic slur during an argument with his openly gay cast mate T.R. Knight. But in 1996 he played a self-conscious gay man in the movie Get On The Bus. I find this entirely ironic. Yes, actors are just playing characters in Tv shows, plays, and movies, but to play a gay man in a film and actually be a homophobe is crazy to me.(I also find it insane that Shondra let him reprise his role in Grey’s Anatomy years after his exit) But I do find it interesting that the character (Kyle) in Get On The Bus is so reticent about sharing his sexuality as opposed to his partner played by Harry Lennix. I guess in a way the role mirrors his sentiments on sexuality. It’s also interesting to note that Harry Lennix is also a straight actor.
In one of Kyle’s moments of pride over his sexual identity, he says, “I’m a black man, my sexual prefence doesn’t change that” (44mins)
I may be wrong, but this is the first Spike Lee movie (at least that I’ve seen) that has openly discussed black sexuality in a positive way. All of the other romantic pairings that we’ve seen have been heterosexual. Even in Chi-raq, a film that pivots on human sexuality, gay relationships are not explored. What does this say about Lee’s feelings towards homosexuality?