'Insecure' Star Jean Elie Apologizes for 'Misuse of Masculine and Feminine' in Recent Interview
The last 24 hours has undoubtedly been a teachable moment for "Insecure" actor Jean Elie, who has now issued an apology via Twitter for recent comments in Essence Magazine and reported here on Living out Loud 2.0 about his portrayal of Ahmal, a gay character on the hit HBO show by creator Issa Rae.
"Referring to the article I apologize for my miss use of masculine and feminine in explaining my take on Ahmal. It's been brought to my attention that masculine feminine are poor choices in explaining gay men because we're all multifaceted and any generalization is offensive," wrote Elie on Twitter.
Elie's quote to Essence about common misconceptions of Black gay men and representing a "different type of Black gay man" on television sparked intense dialogue across social media following our report on Thursday.
"Some common misconceptions [are] that they’re all feminine and sassy, maybe more like a caricature—not the person I wanted to portray. Representation matters, and the [gay] people in my circle don’t behave [like that.]," said Elie.
The reaction from Black gay men across social media was swift and unrelenting.
There were also quite a few Black gay men who agreed with Elie's quote, and appreciated what they viewed as a more masculine and less stereotypical representation of Black gay men on television.
Atlanta based writer Ryan Lee took a more nuanced approach in a comment posted on Facebook.
"With reverence for the fems and sissies who have and continue to carry the burden for our community's advancement: A major struggle for young men who are attracted to men is figuring out how they can express that without losing their understanding of themselves, without being consumed into the stereotype of what "being gay" means, and without being severed from the broader community to which they belong. I empathize with that perspective, and I believe I am far from an assimilationist or conformist. I am militantly and flamboyantly homosexual and still not perceived as others as the "typical gay." It took me decades to cultivate my spirit for this expression, and representations like the one he speaks of might have been appreciated and useful along the way."
Living Out Loud 2.0 believes that language is important. And It appears Elie is open to being held accountable and learning more about the struggles of a community that he is not directly a part of, but represents on television. To whom much is given, much is required. Being a Black gay man in life or on television is no cake walk. We hope that Elie understands this a little better after this experience.