“I doubt that Americans will ever be able to face the fact that the word ‘homosexual’ is not a noun. The root of this word, as Americans use it — or, as this word uses Americans — simply involves a terror of any human touch, since any human touch can change you.” – James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket
In a recent article for Vanity Fair, actor Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler — who worked together on the critically acclaimed films Fruitvale Station and Creed — posed for a glamour shot that disturbed a number of people. The shot portrays a kind of intimacy between the two men — the two black men — that seemingly betrays the rules of patriarchal masculinity.
In an attempt to open a dialogue about this, and explore the anxiety; I posted the image on social media. It didn’t take very long for the comments to pour in. The majority of the comments were positive. As expected, there were a range of opinions, but one thing seemed almost unanimous among them: As long as Jordan and Coogler were not gay, as long as the photo conveyed a brotherly vibe rather than a homoerotic one, then there was nothing wrong with it.
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