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Friday, July 22, 2016

Meet Ta’von Vinson

Written by  Jacob Pierce
Writer amd director Ta’von Vinson Writer amd director Ta’von Vinson

Re-imagining black & gay

Ta’von Vinson, an African-American gay playwright and Baltimore native, decides to take a break from writing and hops over to The Drinkery for a much needed stress reliever. One can find him frequently at the Bun Shop or in passing with a friendly demeanor and colorful locks in the community. An outreach specialist with Johns Hopkins, he has many accomplishments, including his book Positively Me (about his experiences with HIV/AIDS) and being producer / director of the play What We’re Taught at the Arena Players under his company, Theater Coven Productions. He personifies through his writing the celebration of diversity with black gay characters in real life. Baltimore OUTloud caught up with Ta’von briefly to ask him some questions about his character choices, works in the future and the imagery of black gay men on television.

Jacob Pierce:Tell me what inspires your characters to be so versatile and different in the black community.

Ta’Von Vinson: I personally don’t care for one-dimensional characters because we all have multiple layers that make us who we are. One of my biggest goals is always to have the audience identify and relate with one of my characters or be reminded of someone they know.

JP: What are you working on at the moment?

TV: My first web series, titled “Prophecy.” I’m really excited about this project because it is so different from my last one. I don’t want to give too much away until it’s actually released but I can say there will be powers, demons, and fighting.

JP: How did you get started writing?

TV: I’ve always been an imaginative child. It wasn’t until I was in the third grade at William Paca Elementary School that my teacher took notice of my writing. We had to write a story using the title “The day the music died.” After the stories were collected, she entered it in the fifth grade writing contest and it placed third.

JP: How do you think black gay men are viewed on TV and how do you feel about the argument that the “effeminzation of black men ruins the black family or it holds them back?”

TV: I do think it’s important to show different areas of homosexuality. Some are more masculine energies and some are feminine. Growing up, I didn’t identify with any characters so I would always pick the female because that’s who I identified with. When I would see a gay character, it would be more of a satire or the joke instead of something believable. This is not to say these characters do not exist or that there is anything wrong with it but I would like to see something more tangible.

JP: Why do you think that some black gay men tend to relate more to black women?

TV: I do think some women are quicker to relate to us. I’ve never gone looking for females as friends but I can definitely say some females meet me and want to stick around. My best friend for instance is a straight man whom I’ve known since college. I think some women like being around us so much because there is a certain air to us. Especially the more feminine male, I can’t really say what that is but they kind of get the best of both worlds.

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