A Podcast Hosted by Darnell L. Moore Explores Black Queer and Gay Identifies
by Hank Trout
Unveiled on October 6, 2020, Being Seen, a new ten-episode podcast produced by Harley & Co and award-winning writer, activist, organizer, and author Darnell L. Moore, in conjunction with ViiV Healthcare, explores “our ability to change bias and perception using the power of storytelling,” according to the podcast’s Fact Sheet. The focus of the first season of the podcast is to advocate for “a more diverse representation of Black queer and gay identities and experiences in fashion, entertainment and the arts.” New episodes of the podcast will be released weekly on Tuesdays through December 1, 2020. The October 6 release included the first three episodes of the podcast.
In an email, Marc Meachem, Head of North America Affairs for ViiV, told A&U: “We believe stories shared in Being Seen can have impact and resonance for a wide range of people. The task of ensuring a more inclusive representation in every aspect our of society is critical to our progress in HIV and beyond. In terms of biases and perceptions we are looking to affect both those who consume culture and media and those who craft and control it.”
Each week’s podcast will present conversations among noted guests, including Harper’s Bazaar Editor in Chief Samira Nasr, fashion designer Jerome Lamaar, fashion editor and stylist Yashua Simmons, acclaimed photographer Texas Isaiah, Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels, and actor and musician Luke James, among many others. Being Seen shared a summary of Episode 01 of the podcast — “A Strange Loop, making it in Hollywood, getting to Broadway, Billie Holiday. What is the story behind culture firsts that break down barriers, push back against invisibility and refute stereotypes? How does the creation impact the creator? Why are we still fighting to get these firsts made?”—featuring playwright Michael Jackson, New York Times critic Wesley Morris, writer and actor Jordan Cooper, and the aforementioned Lee Daniels.
Each episode of Being Seen is visually enhanced with licensed or original artwork by noted artists such as Kara Walker, Diedrick Brackens, and Ronald Jackson. Photography for each episode has been curated by Texas Isaiah and Gioncarlo Valentine from their own personal archives and from photographers Shan Wallace, Erik Carter, Jah Grey, Clifford Prince King, and others. “Being Seen is about the need for more complex portrayals of identity and experience in mass media, so we selected artists and photographers that represent diverse gender expressions and sexualities. We don’t believe in the telling of one singular or a monolithic story, and our choices in who we partnered with on this project reflect that.”
Regarding the issue of the disproportionate effects of HIV/AIDS on Black communities, Mr. Meacham told A&U, “You can’t have an authentic conversation between Black gay and queer men without talking about HIV/AIDS.” He continued, “The enduring disparities that result in potentially one out of two Black men who have sex with men getting HIV in their lifetime cast a long shadow across the lives of all Black queer and gay men and their families. At the same time, their lives are so much more complex and intricate than any one issue or expression. The fullness of their human experience is what we are exploring in Being Seen.”
Darnell L. Moore, the host and narrator of Being Seen, is an award-winning writer, activist, organizer, and author of No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America. He is Director of Inclusion Strategy for Content & Marketing at Netflix, editor-at-large at CASSIUS, and co-managing editor at The Feminist Wire. He received the Humanitarian Award from the American Conference on Diversity for his LGBTQ advocacy. He produces Being Seen in tandem with Harley & Co., an award-winning New York-based creative studio that specializes in identity design, narrative content, and community and partnership development. ViiV Healthcare, co-producer of the podcast, is the only pharmaceutical company focused solely on combating, preventing, and ultimately curing HIV/AIDS. The company works with communities and leaders to address persistent disparities in HIV/AIDS healthcare and outcomes.
Because the producers want to ensure there is no barrier to accessing the content of the podcast, Being Seen is free. You can listen to the podcast on the website www.beingseenpodcast.com, on Apple podcasts, on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
For more information on ViiV Healthcare, log on to: https://viivhealthcare.com/en-us.
Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.