Lee Daniels

Director Lee Daniels Discusses Growing Up Gay in the Ghetto: VIDEO

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In an interview on Arsenio Hall’s new talk show, director Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) again shared how his experience growing up as a gay, black man continues to influence his films and his perspective.

Daniels also discussed in the interview why he thinks his late father never truly accepted him for being gay.

Said Daniels:

"He was embarrassed, I think.  And I didn’t understand why he was so hard on me about being gay. And I didn’t realize until after I did The Butler that at that time he was a second-class citizen. And that he was called a n***** . He wasn’t a man.  And so when he saw I was gay, he thought that was even ‘Oh my God this kid, what is this kid going to encounter? It’s bad enough.' So after doing The Butler and doing so much research, I understood where his headset was at and I forgave him and I love him."

Watch the full clip, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Nice to see someone realize their parents did the best they could and learn to forgive them. I also respect the difficulty of not following your parent's methods when dealing with your child.

    It is very hard going from physical and emotional abuse to appropriate parenting. It is doable, I know, but it isn't easy.

    Posted by: YSOSERIOUS | Jan 8, 2014 1:35:21 PM

  2. He should be happy his father was even around at all. 85% of all African Americans kids are born out of wedlock. It's the epitome of single mother culture.

    Posted by: jazzy | Jan 8, 2014 2:03:42 PM

  3. wonderfully done, Mr. Daniels. when we share our stories we make people feel less alone.

    I wonder if he'll ever work on a film adaptation of any of E. Lynn Harris' novels - also dealing with the gay black male perspective. They're rather wonderful.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 8, 2014 2:12:14 PM

  4. @ "85% of all African Americans kids are born out of wedlock. It's the epitome of single mother culture"

    Yes, and 5% of Gay men are born mentally defective. You are proof.

    Of course, I adore Lee Daniels and his achievements. But I know the neighborhood he grew up in West Philadelphia. I don't think it was really "ghetto" ghetto. His father was a Philadelphia police officer.

    Like I said, I love Lee Daniels.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 8, 2014 2:19:31 PM

  5. Why is Lee sweating like a pig...while Arsenio is comletely dry?

    Posted by: pedro | Jan 8, 2014 2:23:21 PM

  6. @pedro Because some how Arsenio managed to get to a point of having absolutely no body fat and heat from those stage lights no longer affects him.

    Posted by: Ian | Jan 8, 2014 2:51:53 PM

  7. @Derrick
    Don't know how you find the energy to deal with our in house
    'inclusive-challenged' troll but I'm glad you do.

    Lee Daniels just hit the tip of the iceberg here. More. Please.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Jan 8, 2014 3:54:12 PM

  8. I respect Lee Daniels too.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Jan 8, 2014 4:22:48 PM

  9. I saw this entire segment when it aired. Despite my overall misgivings about this new launch of the Arsenio Hall show, I continue to watch, and I've been noticing he's been asking the kinds of questions that will hopefully get discussions started among his viewers at home.

    He discussed Dan Bucatinsky's book "Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?" when he had him on, and talked about Andre Braugher's character on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine.' He had Magic Johson on (again) and they discussed both his health and his son's coming out. Very cool.

    Posted by: antisaint | Jan 8, 2014 10:14:59 PM

  10. Oh, he seemed to sweat less when this particular line of questioning was over.

    Posted by: antisaint | Jan 8, 2014 11:02:51 PM

  11. He is an extremely impressive man. And damned talented.

    Posted by: John Mulholland | Jan 9, 2014 3:01:53 AM

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