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Director Lee Daniels Discusses Growing Up Gay, Homophobia in the Black Community: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 5.22.38 PM

Lee Daniels, director of 2009's Precious, sat down with Larry King to discuss, among other things, his new movie The Butler and how his perspective as a gay, black man influenced the film's focus on the civil rights movement. Later, Daniels shared his own story of growing up gay and the continued stigma attached to homosexuality within the black community.

Says Daniels:

"Black men can't come out. Why? Because you simply can't do it. Your family says it. Your church says it. Your teachers say it. Your parents say it. Your friends say it. Your work says it. So you're living on this 'DL' thing and you're infecting black women. And its killing us. The black culture and the hispanic culture have a thing about [homosexuality]"

Watch a clip of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Butler is out now in theaters and stars Forrest Whitaker, Oprah, Robin Williams, and many others. You can check out the trailer here.

   

You can check out the full interview here

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Comments

  1. They have a "thing" about it because of the church. Dump the religion, that would be a good start.

    Posted by: ChrisQ | Aug 19, 2013 6:29:39 AM


  2. I found Lee Daniels' comments very homophobic and very anti-male. He seems to promote the idea that gay men spread diseases because of their sexuality and because of their gender. I'm surprised Towleroad let his comments stand without criticism.

    Down-low is about cheating and not being gay. Cheating, cheating, cheating. Moreover, since when are black women always innocent? Black women are known to cheat and to spread STD's.

    Lee Daniels and Larry King are your typical liberals who appear to promote the idea that male homosexuality needs to be segregated from women in case it 'infects' them.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 19, 2013 6:58:59 AM


  3. But God has a plan for Blacks. Even though it might not make a lot of sense, at least it allows them to just accept their lot in life. Literally, like Lot.

    Same with Gays. And Jews, and Baptists, and Catholics, et al. The problem is that with so many choices, it makes it harder to claim being the Chosen.

    Better to accept we're all in this together and the only plan is the one we make.

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | Aug 19, 2013 7:06:25 AM


  4. I would have added Muslim, but i don't want a jihad

    Posted by: Steve Talbert | Aug 19, 2013 7:07:57 AM


  5. Black men can't come out...says the out black man.

    Posted by: Gigi | Aug 19, 2013 8:29:51 AM


  6. "The black culture and the hispanic culture have a thing about [homosexuality]"

    Really? then why do studies show that greater percentages of the Hispanic and Black populations support Marriage Equality than the percentage of White people in America who support it? This guy is buying into a false narrative meant to paint racial minorities as less-enlightened than white people. He may buy it, but I don't.

    Posted by: Kieran | Aug 19, 2013 8:59:07 AM


  7. Hmmm. Was taking the subway home the other day a bunch of obviously [read flaming] gay black guys got on at a stop located near a large housing project. They were loud and made a scene. Train was packed with people, mostly 'minority', no one batted an eyelash. I would agree from my experience living in minority majority neighborhoods growing up, and frequently being in them, and having 'people of color' friends, that there is in general an additional level of disrespect for homosexual males. I do think religion plays a major role, but there are other historical and psychological reasons, I think. I know when I was a kid, many black folks around me really thought only white 'boys' were gay. That it was something like a white disease. White guys were thought of as being more effete than black and Hispanic guys. But I think things have changed a lot over the past 25-30 years. And you can't make a blanket statement regarding a wide range of people, ethnicities and cultures found among American 'minority' groups and communities. In general, it's safe to say foreign born 'minority' folks tend to be on average more antigay and homophobic than American born and raised, and IMO foreign born black folks [from Africa, and the Caribbean], are by and large VERY antigay, Hispanics tend to be less so. Asians [foreign born] also tend to be antigay, they just usually are more quiet about it.

    I was eating lunch at a public location with a co-worker a few weeks ago and a young black guy and his American Puerto Rican [meaning he was obviously born and/or raised in the Boston area, judging by his accent] friend sat down near us. They were discussing video games, then got into politics. They both agreed they were unhappy with Obama, thought he was a fake, and one of them mentioned gay marriage and how he thought this was wrong. They both were polite in the language they used, but it was interesting to hear them express their views on politics.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 19, 2013 9:28:12 AM


  8. @Kieran,

    What studies? Links?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 19, 2013 9:29:13 AM


  9. Keiran, I def don't think that these cultures are as homophobic as much as their distaste is soo steeped in irrational religion and I don't know if Daniels has even read further studies BUT on a basic everyday cultural level that Daniels inhabits; there appears to be/is present SUPER homophobic attitudes/behaviors.

    I also think you can not take the cultural from the religion, as these people, inc white people from the south and mid west, also feel this way, hence their homophobic attitudes as well.

    Bravo to Daniels because the more people from these communities talk about, the less they will be met with cries of 'racism' or 'liberalism' from their community because they will listen.

    I was on a black blog about Raven coming out and the editor was being super supportive. Of course the comments were horrible w the usual religious rubbish attached-I had to leave after a while-BUT there were also some support coming through too...which I would not have seen since people like Daniels, Frank Ocean etc became visible re LGBTQ.

    A lot of these comments were talking of how they used to be homophobic but changed after meeting/spending time knowing LGBTQ people.

    This is how change happens. Some people will read up about it, whilst others will need to physically experience it. All of it matters in changing irrational and ignorant opinions about a group of people.

    Posted by: Rowan | Aug 19, 2013 10:12:11 AM


  10. Kudos to this man for giving a voice, a face, a name, an Identity to his specific struggle, and the struggles of so many others.

    This is how progress happens: you stand up to be counted, and others follow suit, and the world becomes forced to catch up. You want to help end the culture of homophobia and homo-ignorance that's still plaguing us? Come Out. to everyone.

    Thank you, Mr. Daniels.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 19, 2013 12:47:15 PM


  11. I AGREE WITH LEE AND I'M GOING TO TELL MY BROTHER I AM SORRY. I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE AND I LOVE YOU JOHN AND I AM SORRY. JUST HELP ME HELP ME.

    Posted by: Pinky | Aug 19, 2013 5:20:46 PM


  12. Bostonians are never afraid to express and defend their opinions. I wish I could take a time machine into the future, so not to have to hear any more about Black oppression. I am not a racist and was raised around Blacks all through school. I'm finding it a subject, through out my life, from which we can never seem to get past. I want to look back at Obama and see how history views him.

    Posted by: 66 | Aug 19, 2013 9:56:57 PM


  13. And doesn't Oprah deserve? I mean she is a billion dollar deserver of an Oscar. If there was anyone in this world who deserved an award it would be her. She says. she tried to buy a $40,000 purse in Switzerland and the clerk wouldn't sell it to her She's got to have that gold statue. And bless our dear President in Martha's Vineyard.

    Posted by: Ed | Aug 19, 2013 10:23:24 PM


  14. Lee Daniels is a public jewel in the LGBTQI crown: long may his genius publicly sparkle. He's a talented artist, he's well spoken, and he's, oh, so, easy on this queer man's eyes, too.

    Posted by: Koskalaka Maricón | Aug 20, 2013 5:45:51 PM


  15. The closet is the source of the oppression. Lee Daniels is correct, but he should be urging black gay men (and women) to COME OUT to their families, friends, co-workers. The whole idea behind the insane Russian law is to maintain the closet. As long as Russians don't know they have gay kids, they can continue their homophobia. Same with African-Americans, and all communities.

    Posted by: Marc aige | Aug 20, 2013 10:54:13 PM


  16. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:34 AM


  17. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:34 AM


  18. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:34 AM


  19. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:34 AM


  20. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:35 AM


  21. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:35 AM


  22. I hate it when people try to be PC about homophobia in the black community. We all know that the black and Latino communities tends to be less "enlightened" than the "mainstream" America regarding the issue of gay rights. We also know that the bowl and Latino communities --in particular the black community--tends to have a higher level of religiosity then other communities. Yes, there are a unique set of problems regarding homophobia that the black community faces; and the only way to truly combat it is information and visibility.

    Posted by: Sean N. Brown | Oct 12, 2013 10:08:39 AM


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