So I finally got around to watching The DL Chronicles and boy was it more than I expected. The first season of the Here! TV show features the stories of 4 different men living on the down low. It is written, produced and directed by Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett, it appears as if at least one was on the DL at some point in time. Although I would argue that two episodes feature gay men who are in the closet as opposed to men on the DL, it is an interesting perspetive on men on the DL.
By far the most horrifying episode is that of Boo. Boo is the DL man that we are taught to be afraid of. He is attractiv, he is promiscious and he is HIV+. Yikes. In the episode he lives with his girlfriend until she kicks him out, this seems to be a regular occurance. When she kicks him out, he goes and lives with his God fearing mother. He hangs with his boys on the stoop and makes fun of the flamboyant Jesse. Boo’s mother knows her son is promiscious and accepts that, as his father was the same way. She is just grateful that he’s not an embarrassment to her like Jesse is to his mother. The uneasiness in his face explains part of the reason why he never talks to his friends about his sexuality. In fact, the only people he seems to discuss this with are the other men he sleeps with. At one point Boo explains “I’m not gay!” to which a naked man simply laughs. It’s painful and frustrating.
There’s a really telling scene (clip 2) where Boo is smoking with Jesse and Boo says “I don’t know how you do it dude.” Jesse simply replies, “Honey, it ain’t easy being me. But it beats being somebody else.” Understatement of the year.
Of course, you know how it ends. A man Boo has slept with repeatedly (without a condom) ends up in the hospital and is diagnosed with HIV. Boo refuses to believe this but eventually accepts it. It’s assumed he is positive, but we never see Boo get tested, nor do we see him tell any of his many sexual partners that they should get tested as well.
The purpose of the show is not to scare women even more than they already are. I think the writers are trying to create some empathy for the DL but to also be realistic with what is going on. I definitely recommend checking it out.