I like the movies that embrace the complexity of the human condition.
I am more than a black guy. I am a person, I'm storyteller, I'm a son, I'm a friend, so I am all those things, so it is frustrating, to a degree, to be limited by other people's perceptions of me, but at the same time, it is true that I am a black guy, and, you know, it's like I'm rooted in but not bound by.
For whatever reason, gay characters, or characters that deal with sexuality issues, who are black, in 'black films'... are typically not dealt with with any sort of complexity. They're exoticized: their being gay is sort of the point.
That is just the reality of being a marginalized person in this country: you have to deal with the psychological impact of your oppressor - whether that's being a woman dealing with men or gay people dealing with straight people or trans people dealing with everybody else.
I'm not a big fan of shooting something that looks like it could belong in any movie. I'm not a fan of, okay, 'wide shot, wide shot, medium shot, close-up, close-up - we'll figure it out in post.' I hate that.
I remember the first time that I realized that being black meant that I wasn't allowed certain things. It was in the fourth grade, and it was who I thought was my best friend not inviting me to his birthday party because I would be the only black kid there. It was the first time I ever felt restricted, and it certainly wasn't the last time.
I often have to play a role to get what I want in my life. At the same time, I can't do that without also nourishing who I really am and being aware of my true self and the ways in which I'm not bound by my race or sexual orientation or class or country or whatever.
Shows like 'Empire'... one of the most profound powerful things is that there's a gay male character who is loved. That character is going to save a lot of people's lives. Black families are confronting the idea that a gay black character can be human.