The DL Chronicles: The Complete First Season
by Bambi Weavil
“I want to be with you, but I don’t know how.” The DL Chronicles, a series regularly played on here!, focuses on the story from a African-American male perspective of being gay, kissing and not telling, but on the down low. Being on the down low involves being in the closet, sometimes among male peers and sometimes while in relationships with women. The first season focuses on four different stories in the African American community, and I view this first season as a teaser to something more developed. I believe in a second season, all these characters can be explored more in-depth and I think that is what the series needs.
We are introduced to Wes (Darren Schnase), torn between his public identity as a married, straight African American male man to discover he’s really gay and must make a choice. Out of all the characters, I connected to Wes the best and would love to see a series focused on him. The next episode/character is about Robert Hall (Terrell Tilford), a talent agent, who is on the DL and explores his sexuality online. Robert starts falling for a health store manager, Austin (Kareem Ferguson), and even has him around his college-aged daughter with them, at what is best described as a dinner table of awkwardness when the ‘do you have a girlfriend?’ question comes up. His daughter sees Robert kiss Austin after the dinner, and a potent issue of truth and honesty comes up between them. The third episode, we are introduced to Boo (Oneil Cespedes), a young rebellious man reckless with both men and women, gets a dose of reality where he has to consider the consequences to his sexual relationships. Finally in the last episode of the season, we are witnessing a live in-boyfriend scenario where the live in-boyfriend is asked to pretend to be straight in front of his family. Maybe because the episode was so specifically placed, I had a tough time connecting with it as much as I connected with the three previous and again, I do wish this was a series of characters instead of each individual story episode by episode.
One of the strongest strengths of this series is the soundtrack of each episode. It really adds to the story, and what makes The DL Chronicles captivating is the sensitivity within each episode to each character’s complex situation. In most cases, the characters are paralyzed by either family complications, self-hatred or society complications within the African American community and within their own identity. I hope this series opens up some dialogue to help get rid of the DL and spark some discussions on how African American and gay men in general, can not be on the DL and repair the stigma within the African American community. The DL Chronicles can be viewed on here! and purchased on DVD at http://www.tlavideo.com/.
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