Friday, March 04, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - Black Shampoo

To paraphrase Jane Fonda, there are a lot of things to say about the happenings of this week. But this isn't the time to say them.

What it's time for another segment of my Know Your LGBT History posts.

I apologize for today's post because it's as bad as last week's. However, again I reiterate how important it is for the lgbt community to understand how far we have come concerning images of ourselves on television and movies.

Today's post is about a little-seen blaxploitation movie entitled Black Shampoo (1976). Like many other blaxploitation movies (i.e. Blackenstein, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, Blacula) Black Shampoo is supposed to be a black version of a more widely seen movie.

In this case, it is Warren Beatty's movie Shampoo.

However this version has less to do with angst and relationships and more to do with violence and the glorification of the stereotype of the "big black buck."

John Daniels (who never had a starring role after this one because his acting was abominable) stars as the owner of a hair salon whose touch makes women so crazy that he generally ends up doing more than their hair, if you get my drift.

The conflict comes when he is trying to rescue his receptionist from the mob.

For the purposes of this blog, let's focus on one of his assistants, Artie. Artie is a stereotypical gay man - weak, flighty, and subject to all sort of abuse.

Naturally he also a living version of "Chekov's gun," in that you just know that he is only in the movie for something awful to happen to him. And it does at 1:14 of this trailer.

My gosh, we have come a looooong way:

Past Know Your LGBT History Postings:

Religious right group stoops to tacky images and other Friday midday news briefs

CWA: Obama the "Despot" is Discriminating Against Americans by Not Defending DOMA - It's so hard to take the religious right group Concerned Women for America seriously when they push drivel like this with pictures like the following:

And in other news:

Liz Hurley to play bisexual villainess in Wonder Woman reboot - That ought to be interesting.

Clashes Pit Parents vs. Gay-Friendly Curriculums in Schools - Cause lgbts don't have children attending America's schools. Yes that was sarcasm.

Harding University Attempts To Silence Gay Students’ Voices - Hot mess happenings at Harding University.

Gingrich Secured $200,000 For Iowa Judge Recall Campaign - These were the judges who overruled Iowa's law against gay marriage. I wonder how Gringrich would have felt if those judges supported adultery. Probably would have thrown them a fundraiser.

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Lgbt community hit with betrayal in Maryland?

MAJOR UPDATE - Arora will grudgingly support the gay marriage bil. Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin. Meanwhile, Maggie Gallagher continues to tackily push the "race card."

This is Sam Arora, a Maryland delegate who campaigned on the fact that he would vote for gay marriage.

He knocked on doors, sat down with same-sex families, and accepted donations (a list is here) while expressly saying that he supports marriage equality.

And now after he is in office, he is planning on changing his vote.

Naturally the members of the lgbt community who supported him, who introduced him to their families, who told him their life stories and why this piece of legislation is important are furious.

And some are asking for their donations back.

Now Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage is claiming that lgbt anger is strictly racism because, according to her, the lgbt community is ignoring another delegate who may switch votes.

She also claims that Arora is changing his vote because of, as she puts it, IMMENSE pressure from folks opposed to bringing gay marriage to Maine.

Arora has not given a reason why he is changing his mind. And based on NOM's past actions and statements, folks should take what Gallagher says with a grain of salt - i.e. every word dripping from her mouth is a lie including the words "and" and "the."

However, if the situation with Arora is true, this is a huge setback and betrayal.

Seems to me that if you campaign specifically on an issue and folks - along with their families - sit down and talk with you about how important the issue is, and they get a promise of support from you, then you should follow through with that promise.

It's just basic decency.

Now if Gallagher and company want to mark basic decency as one of the qualities they are willing to step over in pursuit of their goals, that is their prerogative.

However, Mr. Arora should aspire to something better.

This issue is not about racism. It's about lies, broken promises, and betrayals of constituents and their families.

Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post said it best:

The outrage directed at Arora is understandable. As is the sense of betrayal. He raised money from gays and lesbians based on his support for marriage equality. He secured the endorsements of Progressive Maryland and of Equality Maryland because of it. In fact, get a load of what he wrote as an addendum to his questionnaire for Equality Maryland:
I am a former law clerk to Attorney General Doug Gansler. I publicly supported his decision to recognize out-of-state marriage licenses for same-sex couples and immediately put out a release praising his findings. For me, it's simply a matter of equal rights under the law.

If this situation turns out the way it's trending, then NOM and Maggie Gallagher will have a lot to crow about. No doubt the spin will be how Arora "fought with himself" and "fought the slings and arrows of the radical homosexual movement to protect marriage."

I don't think that spin will work this time. There are some situations so ugly, so starkly monstrous that all of the spin in the world can't clean them up.

This looks like one of those times.

Folks, if you are going to write to Arora, Gallagher, or even vent, please be aware that this is one of those situations where Gallagher and company stalk pro-lgbt blogs looking for the ugliest comments they can pull to use against us. Don't let your anger allow you to be played.

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