#WHYWEMAD: #BLACKBOYJOY and Keith Powers’ Bi Erasure

By: Steven Underwood

Okay, first off: Bisexual Boys exist. I’m not sure why that’s such a hard concept. Why it’s a complexity, you know, because sexuality is a spectrum: people shift and shape across it through their lives and some people identify with this flexibility and choose to allow themselves the freedom to bend through it.

Yesterday, the timeline was met with Keith Powers’ recent interviews with HOLLYWOOD UNLOCKED. In the interview, the NEW EDITION actor discussed the rumors of his sexuality. Set to clear the air of his apparent heterosexuality, he proceeded to drag bisexual men everywhere down the drain and drown them.

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The moment it happened, Bi-Twitter released a collective aggravated sigh of despair. Attacks on Polysexual identities isn’t new, Bisexuals have suffered from ruthless disparaging comments from homophobic, ally and LGBTQA communities for various reasons. This has occurred so much that sociological groups have coined terms like “biphobia” and “bisexual erasure” to explain the phenomena of othering this specific group of Queer identities.

So, most Bisexuals knew what was coming next. Within the hour, the timeline was flooded with people – gay and straight – slamming Bisexuals into the mud. Gays declaring that people can “only be gay or straight, no in-between,” straights declaring “any nigga who sleeps with a guy is gay. There’s no in-between.” The attacks came just a few days following a specific conversation on whether or not closeted gays should use the Bisexual identity as a stepping stone to coming out: using it to “soften” the blow of the coming out process. Fairly, many bisexuals viewed this as aggressive, because it invalidated the identity which already suffers disapproval from the LGBTQA Community.

That’s an issue for another day, however, because to explain to the LGBTQA why bisexuals are being octstravized, you need to explain to Queer identities that sexuality doesn’t make you immune to bigoted behavior. (See Also: White Gays and Racism/Transphobia).

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Today, we’re discussing why Keith Power’s behavior is shocking. Anyone who follows Keith Powers understands that he is a rep of the #BLACKBOYJOY movement, a trend of allowing Black boys the right of expression and freedom. Black men have barred from being free and expected to fit into a stagnant box of expectations.

Much like footballer and all-around clown, Odell Beckham Jr, this has caused Keith Powers to suffer some ridicule for his sexuality – despite their very apparent and long rap sheet of female sexual conquest. (Keith Powers has even taken to Snapchat to check the men on his Instagram coming at him because their girlfriends are In his comments). Instead of being like OBJ, who just swerves past the comments in a defiant act of self-security, Keith Powers is always “clearing the air.” This time, it ended in comments that damaged a movement he seems to dedicate his career to – and his social media.

What the FAKING IT actor doesn’t understand is that you cannot be all around about #BlackBoyJoy and #CarefreeBlackBoys without allowing Black boys to be sexually multifaceted. Black men today are not allowed to sexually explore without being labeled or criticized. Whether it is with a man or a woman, black men are always subjected to limiting stereotypes that forces us down. Even the idea that it is “Different for women” is supported by a misogynistic standard that women sexually perform at all times for the consumption of men – rather than an expression of individual identity. A double standard of limits, checks and oppressive chains.

If we are going to be all about #BlackBoyJoy, and I do want us to be, this must come with loving every boy who chooses to express their multifaceted personality. That includes not deeming gay black men as weaker by sexual categorization; that includes not deeming “feminine” black men as gay because of their aesthetic; that includes not barring black men from specific careers, goals and artforms because that would deem that on this outlier of the “Hard Black man” trope; and that certainly includes allowing black men to reject heteronormativity and embracing sexual fluidity at their own will and loving all of them NOT in spite of this, but because of this.
Keith Powers, there was a bar set for you that wasn’t met. I know you apologized, but apologies only go so far as they’re put into action. I’m very much against Cancel culture and Woke activist who use it as a punishment for those who just didn’t know better, but you do need to understand that there is now a watch on you to meet the standards of the Black Platform you stand on.

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