“Can’t Help Loving That Man” (October 20, 1991)

Looking at the various 90s-era Fox shows that focused on black characters, Roc was the one with the reputation for tackling social issues with the most gravitas. Early in the show’s run, Richard Roundtree — Shaft himself! — guested as the title character’s uncle, who comes bearing the news that 1) he’s gay; 2) he’s getting married; and 3) his beloved is a white man. To discuss the various layers of this Roc episode, Drew and Glen are joined by University of Iowa professor Dr. Alfred L. Martin Jr., whose field of study includes a focus on the depiction of gay black men on sitcoms. Alfred’s forthcoming book is titled The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom. Yes, we would love to interview him when his book comes out.

Read more about Alfred’s work on his faculty page.

Lisa Simpson singing “God Bless the Child” on The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

Also Glen’s favorite song, “Macho Duck.”

The book Alfred brings up is Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture, by Erica Chito Childs. It’s about the depiction of interracial couples on TV and in other media. And the book Drew brings up is Queering the Color Line, by Siobhan B. Somerville. It’s about the intersection of racial and queer identity.

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This episode’s outro theme is “Color My Love” by Fun Fun (Apple Music / Spotify / Amazon Music)

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