BY Greg Archer
June 23 2009 12:00 AM ET
Why do you feel a story like this is important to tell? It's important because visually, speaking as an African-American, I don't see enough people of color on television or screen, whether it's black, Asian, Latino. For me, it felt good telling a story I could relate to. The comments I've been gettingâ€¦ a lot of 'thank yous.' One guy from Kenya -- I don't know how he even heard about the film before it came out -- wrote and asked me how he could get a copy of the film. I just couldn't believe I reached Africa. But I think people feel connected when they see themselves, especially young kids who, in this day and age, are directionless. I think the film is important because finding yourself is something everybody can relate to -- gay, straight, male, female. I was surprised that heterosexual women, actually, said they could relate to the Faybien character. Somebody told me, "I know what it's like to be lost."
We see many stories about coming out, but there are fewer stories that depict people of diversity. How do you think that can change? It's a good question. I watch television and so does everybody else, and I don't know why the powers that be feel they shouldn't represent all the demographics watching television. It gets a little tiring sometimes. Honestly, I watch reruns -- Living Single , old shows. I am not impressed by television now. And I can't stand reality TV because it's not real.
True. And you know, shows and sitcoms in the '90s, '80s, and especially the '70s tackled issues that you don't see today on television. I know. All in the Family -- that was groundbreaking in terms of how smart the comedy was and how they were tackling the issues of racism in the '70s. They were throwing it in your face and not apologizing for it. That's the kind of thing we need more of now. We're trying to cover up what's really in front of us. We need those kinds of stories to be told. And that's why I wanted to write the story about a Caribbean homosexual [in this film], which I had never seen before on-screen. And I hope [the film] gets to the Caribbean islands. Some [Caribbeans] are really so far back in terms of how they feel about homosexuals. Hate crimes are still going on and it's legal in some of these countries.
What was growing up like for you? I am Haitian American. My family is from Haiti. And for me it's weird. My father passed away when I was 19. I was not out at that point. When I did come out, my older brother â€¦ he found out by accident and I was nervous. He was like, "Why didn't you feel you could tell me. I am your brother, your blood. I feel bad that you thought I was so narrow-minded that you felt I couldn't accept you for who you are." So I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the ones whose immediate family approves of who I am. They don't hold anything against me or my partner. It's worked out OK. But I have known others where it hasn't.