We all can recognize that HBO’s OZ was a compelling 90s series that had us captivated with their dramatic tales of prison life, as well as vibrant characters with their own life struggles to survive the Oswald State Correctional Facility, nicknamed “OZ.” From the interesting, yet dangerous inmates to the staff members of the prison, this show managed to be ahead of its time; giving us somewhat of an informal look inside the mind of an inmate and the politics it takes to survive without sacrificing their authentic emotions. However, let’s not ignore that OZ also gave us some excellent well-timed comedic scenes as well as some iconic unclothed lewd eye-candy scenes to break up the monotony of sadness.
As a bear, seeing pure bear representation on mainstream television is slim to nonexistent. The reasons behind this exclusionary travesty are plentiful. For starters, people in Hollywood don't know what a ‘bear community' is. Yes, they know the look and maybe a basic amount of our terms, but they don't know our strife, or humor, or our creativity. Secondly, Hollywood tends to follow a sort of basic gay aesthetic with many gay series on TV like Noah's Ark, Queer As Folk, Will & Grace, etc... Don't get me wrong. I adore all the series listed. They paved the way for the explosion of gay content today, but they represented the generic portion of the community, showing the aesthetic of twinks, toned men, and maybe a muscle stud or two. They didn't describe, or rather celebrate, me or many chubby, hairy, bearded bears watching. Which brings me to my last reason: Marketability. Even though it is 2020, the year of our bear lord, the culture and Hollywood still don't see big gay men as sex symbols, at least not well enough for them to carry their own series or narrative. They are so set in their ways of thinking that it is hard for them to take a chance on a gay bear project. However, if Hollywood wouldn’t give us an opportunity, the Internet would with web series, which was where I caught my first glimpse of a TV series catering to the gay bear subculture.
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Noir is a simple social media application catering to all LGBTQ+ men of color & lovers of diversity.
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