Inside The Fantasy Space of Black & Latino Club Kids
While going out to the club is just a fun time for most, for some people, it’s the only place they feel free.
In Adomako Aman’s documentary “Dancing in the Dark,” he explores how clubs function as a fantasy safe space for gay black and latino men and how the LGBT community isn’t as accepting as straight people sometimes imagine.
What made you want to make this documentary?
When I first decided to do this project I was just exiting a very awkward experience. I was just talking to a guy that I was involved with and it kind of went in a direction that kind of left confused and I was really upset, so I said, “I want to take the time to learn from this” so I just started doing research and I said, “what does it mean to be a gay man?”
And that went deeper and I said, “What does it mean to be a brown skin gay man?” and I started just seeing the complexity in the community.
A central message away from your doc is that the clubs function as this fairytale safe space for gay culture where you can just be as like loud as you want and no ones going to say anything to you. Do you think that as mainstream society continues to become a safer place for gay culture that the nightlife scene will still play such a significant role?
Absolutely. I think what it is, is that people just don’t really gravitate to change.
No matter how mainstream or how underground the scene is, its just about finding a space to have a good time and meet new people. You know when you come to a city of 10 million people and you feel alone you are like why do I feel alone, how do I meet new people? So, uh, I don’t think there will be like a necessary change, you know um, there’s just a growth.
How much harder, and this a generalization, is it to grow up gay as a black or latino kid?
I feel like its really hard. I think it’s one struggle to be a gay man, and then another struggle to be a brown skinned man then to put those two struggles together is just even a bigger struggle.
I feel that some brown skin people don’t really want to accept the idea of loving gay people or transgender people or whatever sexual identity you identify with because there’s already this struggle of being brown.
Like the whole Black Lives Matter movement, people are really supportive of that but then if you’re a Black Lives Matter man and you’re gay [people are] kind of like, OK let the gay people take the gay people and we focus on the black people and I think some people forget yeah, I’m gay but I’m also black and I am part of that struggle just as I’m part of the gay struggle.
Could you then go on to say that since clubs sometimes as a safe space, do you think they’re even more important to black and latino homosexuals?
I have a very interesting story, um, when I was 19 I went to a bar in Chelsea, I walked in and I wasn’t even trying to flirt with him, I just tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around and looked at me and said ‘I’m not into black guys’ and this was a black guy that told me this.
And so it was kind of like, wow you’re here for white guys, you know, and when you go on grinder and you go on there’s like a few things you’ll see a gay man post and one of them will be like “PNP,” which means party and play and then the guys will be like no femmes, no fats, no blacks. So I think even though there’s this big idea that when it comes to the LGBT community that because we face the same struggle that everyone is in unison, but we still face the issues of discrimination in our community because of the systematic oppression.
So when it comes to the safe place, I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with that because I think we need to be taught to see the beauty in our community if you’re latino, if you’re gay, whatever the case may be because then our narratives are not really told and so we don’t really value our narrative.
Check out “Dancing in the Dark” below.