Long Live Lawrence: The “Single, Straight, Smashing” Theory

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

As has been announced recently, Insecure season 3 will not have Jay Ellis’s character Lawrence return and the show will focus more on Issa’s life without him.  This is not a problem, however, I think the people cheering that Lawrence was going fail to understood why so many people, particularly black men rode so hard for him.  It wasn’t necessarily that he was cheated on but rather that he was a black male character type that you typically do not see much of anymore and sadly, how he was treated is why we likely do not see such characters anymore and why there is a silent yet loud demand for more like him.

Lawrence was a straight, single, sexually active black man that for all accounts was highly intelligent and lost in what he wanted to do with his life.  The problem wasn’t really that Issa cheated on him, but rather that people treated Issa like she was the victim when he did eventually get back on his feet and left her after finding out that he was cheated on.  Lawrence turned down a VERY attractive woman who was pumping up his ego and yet watched as Issa eventually cheated on him essentially out of boredom.  Am I making a moral judgement on Issa?  No, but I will say that there is a bit of a double standard here.

This goes the a point made on the podcast “Champagne Sharks” that you never really see black male characters that are single, straight and sexually active.  And there is truth to this as whenever we see a single male character they either are gay, bisexual or portrayed as essentially asexual.  If they’re straight, they’re almost never single and the ones that typically are tend to be framed as the bad guys on some level.  And if they are sexually active, it’s rarely seen with women or not seen as some sort of moral failing.  This is not to say that characters like Nola Darling, Issa and Molly are bad characters, but it is to say that as a man, one can only look at women being sexually free and cheered while wondering why the same media treats men in the same role as the bad guy?

Seriously, look around, you never see guys on TV anymore that have a lot of sex with women and aren’t painted with a broad brush of trash, but yet entire series are built around black women doing the same.  Seriously, no amount of “male tears” memes can justify such a clear double standard.  When black men are told to “not be trash” we always see a terrible future for us, we see…William from Girlfriends.  Girlfriends had a male character that for most of the series was a single man that was moral support, but was henpecked, seemingly sexually inactive, and by the end of the series was married to a woman that regularly kept a foot in his ass.  Yet William is seen as a wholesome hero for black women which is why so many men are reluctant to change.  Reluctant because as it seems, being considered a good man also means basically being an asexual man.  For all the talk about stopping toxic masculinity and fragile masculinity, the only times any man seems to see any changes towards masculinity is by telling men that being pure of heart towards black women is by being being a sexually frustrated buffer class.

There’s nothing wrong with seeing more LGBT characters on TV, especially not men, but from what can be seen cisgendered heterosexual men, especially black ones are portrayed either as “do nothing” men in the fight against discrimination or as the perpetrators of it themselves.  The average black man doesn’t have a hate for gay people, and I’d stand to reason that a decent amount might even have gay friends.  The problem is that there’s no room for simply being around gay characters as a straight man and not have the entire relationship built around ones sexuality.  Yes, such and such character is gay, but what else is there to him?  Does he like sports?  What music does he listen to?  Hell, what does he do for a living?  Hell, Insecure showed that even black women themselves aren’t fans of bisexual men, so why does anytime we get a gay male character, that’s the whole point of their motivation most of the time?

My overall point is simply this:  a lot of men are tired of trying to find black entertainment that has black men in it that are like most of us.  Heterosexual men who are single and like to have sex, but aren’t labeled fuck boys or in the closet or written as the guy who women love but wont fuck.  No amount of GIFs or #MaleTears memes will change the fact that both sexually progressive women and men who have casual sex can simultaneously exist.  If not, then one can’t help but to think that either the women for this imbalance are like Issa in the first season and are in love with the dream of a bad boy with a heart of gold or that the women writing these shows either have a bad opinion of straight men or really like when men are more complicit in their ideals due to blue balls.

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