Married In Primetime: Black Gay Couple Increases Visibility On NBCs 'Council of Dads'
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Set your DVR. Television viewers will have an opportunity to see a Black gay married couple on the upcoming episode of "Council of Dads,' the new primetime NBC drama starring recently out actor J. August Richards as Dr. Oliver Post. Kevin Daniels (AJ & The Queen, Modern Family), also an openly gay actor, plays Peter Richards, Posts' long-time husband.
The story is sparked by the death of the father of an interracial, blended family that includes a transgender child, JJ (Blue Chapman). Before he dies, the dad requests that his three friends, including Richards's character, help raise his children and advocate for them.
This shouldn't be a big deal in 2020, but it is. It's extremely rare to have two openly gay Black actors playing gay roles on television who are married to each other. The importance of this was not lost on Richards. He spoke with The Advocate about the power of being visible as an out actor and a Black man who is married to another Black man on television.
What do you believe is the power of an out Black actor portraying a Black gay role on network television?
It's so important because I think that when we see ourselves represented with love and intimacy of knowledge, it empowers us and makes us feel seen. So that's why the role was so important to me and that's why I made the choice to come out to the producers, the writers, because I needed them to know that I was an authority on this character, on this life. It was important to me that the nuances of the experience of being a Black gay man were represented on this show, because otherwise, why am I even doing it?
Can you give an example of how you've changed the character from how it was originally written?
Just certain things that I added to it. For example, we go home with Oliver a lot. And so I had meetings with the prop department, set decoration, and art direction. I said, when we come into Oliver's home, we have to feel like we are in a very specific space that these two Black men who live here. My experience of being a Black gay man is that I've generally put things on my walls and in my world that affirm me because the outside world doesn't affirm me that often. So in my home, there are things that are just very affirming of who I am and my experience. So I was like, I need that represented visually.
Then also, the way that we interact. My husband and I on the show had been together for 15 years. And I wanted that feeling of what Michael O'Neill calls "old love." There's new love, when you're all over each other. But then there's that old love that is just lived in and sat in, and I wanted to feel that. I kind of modeled it after two Black gay men that I know who are married, and their relationship is just comfy like an old couch. I wanted to bring that to the character.
Watch the second episode of Council of Dads on Thursday, April 30 at 10pm ET/PT on NBC. The pilot episode will re-air at 9pm ET/PT.