Actors Nicholas Ashe And Justice Smith Are A Hollywood Black Gay Couple—Yep, It Matters
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Living Out Loud 2.0 intentionally unplugs during the weekend, especially after the week we've all experienced in the aftermath of George Floyd and nationwide protests. But we couldn't ignore the text messages, e-mails and social media messages about the newest Hollywood Black gay couple to go public with their relationship.
Nicholas Ashe (Queen Sugar, Choir Boy),25, and Justice Smith (Jurassic World, The Get Down),24, revealed their couple status to the world via Instagram late Friday evening following their participation in a Black Lives Matter protest in New Orleans. In the post, Smith commented on the silence from many in the crowd when the chanting became inclusive of Black trans lives.
"@nckash and I protested today in New Orleans. We chanted ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ ‘Black Queer Lives Matter’ ‘All Black Lives Matter’. As a black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added. I want to reiterate this sentiment: if your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black."
Smith makes it plain for those who advocate for Black lives, but fail to advocate for those along the Black LGBTQ spectrum that their activism is lazy, and yes, homo/transphobic and antithetical to the cause; as in the case of Tony McDade, a trans man who was shot and killed by Tallahassee police. McDade's killing has lacked the media attention received by other Black victims of police violence.
"If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like#TonyMcDadeslip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black. You are trying to push yourself through the door of a system designed against you, and then shut the door behind you. It is in our conditioning to get as close to whiteness, straightness, maleness as we can because that’s where the power is. And if we appeal to it, maybe it’ll give us a slice. But the revolution is not about appeal. It is about demanding what should have been given to us from the beginning. What should have been given to black, queer, and trans individuals from the beginning. Which is the right to exist. To live and prosper in public. Without fear of persecution or threat of violence."
Smith wrote that "there is so much tragedy on the timeline these last couple of days so I added some photos of me and Nic to show some#blackboyjoy#blacklove#blackqueerlove❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 You’ve been my rock and guiding light through all of this and I love you so much. I know that on the other side of this Is change, though the fight is far from over."
This is a moment. And while they are public figures, we hope that Ashe and Smith will be able to navigate the ups and downs of being in a relationship privately. But collectively, I hope that the Black LGBTQ community can be a source of support for them and for other couples who are building together oftentimes in the absence of familial support. Black LGBTQ couples have not been given a road map and often lack possibility models of what can be achieved, so Smith and Ashe's decision to love each other openly without an ounce of fear or shame is life-changing for many people and shouldn't be underestimated as another Hollywood romance. Their love is theirs, but it's also political. It's affirming. It's visible. And for that, we say thank you.