From MUSED Magazine Online 

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013


Contrary to popular knowledge, there exists an exhaustive (albeit, untapped) list of great literature that captures the lives of black gay men. But looking through the scarcity of responses underneath the “Books” section on Jack’d, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Usually, this section makes one laugh or cringe with the usual responses ranging from an honest “I don’t read,” to our disheartening favorite, “fuck reading I am NOT in class!” Granted, a lot of queer men of color have active reading lives. But for black gay men, reading is not only fundamental; it is crucial to shaping positive images of our identities, especially since we seldom (if ever) see truthful depictions of ourselves in other forms of media. To that end, we offer our list of the top ten books we think all black gay men should read.

10) Pozitively Beautiful – Guy Anthony

Guy Anthony’s debut book, “Pozitively Beautiful,” is a sobering reminder that young black gay men bear the brunt of HIV. Threaded with beautiful graphics, photography and tear jerking interviews, it compels you to ask yourself how you fit into the eradication of this virus. Indeed, the book awakens the activist in all of us.

9) Down for Whatever – Frederick Smith

“Down for Whatever” is a sexy, fun novel told from the vantage point of a group of Los Angeles friends looking for Mr. Right. The novel fits into the cliché gay “Sex in the City”-esque friend genre, but is told with a literary craftsmanship that places it in a league of its own. “Down for Whatever”reintroduces us to the men who broke our hearts, the men whose hearts we’ve broken, and the stubborn friendships we hold with the men who keep us sane.

9781936833153_p0_v1_s260x4208) For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home – Keith Boykin

If you want a bird’s eye view of some of the pertinent issues facing black gay men, you need not look further than “For Colored Boys…” The premier anthology of our time, “For Colored Boys…” is a collection of essays and poems that touch on the contemporary issues affecting black gay men.  The book boasts an impressive roster of recognizable literary figures, community leaders and activists.

7) Blackbird – Larry Duplechan

“Blackbird” is arguably the first coming of age story with a black gay lead. Set in Southern California in the mid-1970s, the book follows a 17 year-old aspiring actor as he comes to terms with his adolescent sexuality, all the while trying to maintain his standing as a perfect Christian. An underrated gem, it’s the black gay community’s own “Running with Scissors.” To one’s delight, the movie will be making it to the big screen in the Patrik-Ian Polk adaptation.


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