Other Boys NYC is a new documentary premiering February 20 that gives voice to 50 LGBTQ men of color and acts a vehicle for them to express their innate fears through personal narratives. With a shifting perspective, the film gives viewers the opportunity to hear different views on what it's like to be an LGBTQ man of color right now. We recently caught up with creator Abdool Corlette to discuss his inspiration for the documentary and more.
What was one of the main inspirations behind Other Boys NYC?
There’s a serious lack of stories about queer and transgender men of color in New York City. Growing up I almost never saw my image or my story reflected on TV or in movies or written about in magazines. Cartoon characters like Storm and Sailor Moon held bits and pieces, but never had the same narrative. I wanted to create something that accurately reflected our experience as queer men of color.
What should we expect on February 20?
Other Boys is a new 50-part series about the experiences of queer and transgender men of color in New York City. I want to inject a new point of view into the LGBTQ narrative. I want to create touchy conversations about race, gender equality, class, and education, and I also want to erase the fear of being able to discuss things like passing privilege, intersexuality and macroaggression.
What is your goal with this documentary?
I hope for this project to get people to engage in really honest conversations related to gender identity and race. I want this to disrupt the flow of sameness and put other people’s realities face-front and into your perspective.
What do you think of recent political changes and the increase of LGBTQ coverage in the media?
This project was shot before the presidential election, but with an ever-increasing amount of violence against queer and trans people, we need to create a face behind the term "LGBTQ." Now, more than ever, we need to reintroduce people to diverse stories. We need to create a frame for people who are isolated.
What do you consider the most important part of your project?
Intersection is the most important part. We unify our community by sharing our narratives.
What was the most rewarding part for you?
The most rewarding thing I got out of this project was how to meet people again. Intimacy is severely lacking within the LGBTQ culture and it feeds discrimination, harassment, body shame and more. Dating and social media apps fuels this by preventing people from talking about real issues because of their fear of discrimination.
What do you think is fueling separation inside the LGBTQ community?
Gender identity and sexuality are now household topics on public forums, which causes our community to move to an open space. This makes it an easy target for critics, internet trolls and more. If you are white, black or brown or part of a certain socio-economic group, you get clumped into separate categories. This creates sameness which in turn can create discrimination.
Do you think films like Moonlight and yours will help?
Moonlight did a good job with creating reflection for those who feel isolated. Other Boys NYC is a diverse collection of POVs that will do the same and create dialogue for everyone.
The first 25 videos of Other Boys NYC will premiere February 20 exclusively on SLAY TV. Following that, the remaining 25 videos will be released on a weekly basis. Check out the trailer here. For updates and more follow Other Boys NYC on Twitter @otherboysnyc and Abdool Corlette @akcorlette.