Picture this. Two African American men on a talk-radio show covering a variety of topics affecting the black community. Nothing unusual about that, except one is a noted daytime talk-show host and the other is an attorney — and just to make it interesting one is gay and one is straight, respectively. Together, Art Sims and Mark Lewis have developed a blog talk-show platform and a meaningful friendship. Let’s talk to them about it. –tony binns
How and why did you guys come together?
Mark Lewis: Well, Art and I have been neighbors for a number of years. And we’ve always had conversations in passing … some would be as light as the weather [and] some would be as deep as world issues. I think what really brought about the genesis of the show is, maybe within the last seven or eight months we were talking about life-changing issues.
Art Sims: I went through a personal crisis and he came to my rescue. And in him coming to my rescue, our friendship developed even better. This man and I found genuine friendship in each other, a friendship that was supportive. We also had great dialogue and that is why we decided to create a radio show.
How did you come up with the format for this talk show?
AS: Well, we did a little research and found out that there are no gay-straight male radio hosts [who are] open, honest, public and African American. There are none whatsoever in any major market.
ML: I think when Art and I were contemplating how we would get the message out, or basically draw people into this format, we were really looking at our personal experiences. I know in my personal experience I’ve seen a number of straight men have a lot of trepidation about developing any type of friendship or relationship of any kind with gay men in the African American community.
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