Masculinity, femininity, individualism, and Blackness are just a few of the personal inner ideals that many in the Black community deal with on a daily basis. What does it mean for a black man to be masculine? How is toxic masculinity the one venom that seems to strike even the most open-minded people? Is there any way we as a community can change the hive mind that plagues us? Last night, episode four of Boomerang attempted to tackle a few of these questions and even dipped its toes into a pool of Barbershop Talk along the way.
Bryson’s been working his way through every eligible woman in the town like he’s Prince Charming trying Cinderella’s shoe on every girl. It makes him feel better about his breakup with Simone. But soon enough, after a rebound hookup with Simone, the other women start to lose their appeal. No one compares to Simone and his third head can definitely tell the difference. So he decides to take his mind off the entire situation by going to the barbershop. Where he gets the kind of advice he’s been needing but not wanting to ask for. On the other side of things, Ari gets a wake-up call after spending time with one of the guys he’s currently sleeping with. While he claims that he’s open to any and all things sexual wise, Ari’s quick to dismiss anything that he deems non-masculine. He won’t bottom, he barely gives head and he only wants to kiss when he needs some kind of comfort. He’s two steps away from being on the same side of nonsense that many heterosexual males live in. Whether he likes it or not.
It’s no secret that Ari is my favorite character in Boomerang. I appreciate the kind of representation he gives for black LGBT people. It’s not often we get to see a bisexual black man be himself so freely. And I’m not sure we’ve ever gotten to see one that is allowed to grapple with the fact he can be problematic too. There’s a disconnect when it comes to LGBT people and the controversial views they can hold. In a sense, LGBT people can find themselves placed on a pedestal for simply not being straight. When this happens the less than stellar things they say or do are swept under the rug and hidden with boosts of their sexuality being visible. It’s almost blasphemous to criticize someone who identifies as LGBT, but on the flip side of that when someone who is LGBT is being criticized the first insult usually thrown at them has something to do with their sexuality. It’s a double-edged sword that must be walked on and it must be acknowledged.
In thirty minutes Boomerang managed to touch on the subject of toxic masculinity and sexuality in a way that Black television doesn’t broach regularly. It’s well known that Ari is a fan fave, and even though the episode tonight shone a different light on him, he still ends the episode on a good note. Perhaps the new friend he made at the end is going to help him deal with some of the things he finds uncomfortable and unable to be curious about. I’m excited to find out. I’m even slightly hopeful that Bryson will get his act together after hearing from older men (which is what he needed) that he should fix things with Simone. The possibilities are endless.
Boomerang airs Wednesday on BET
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