a short film by Michael Mayson
1991 | 27 mins | US
›› Billy Turner's Secret
the pain of prejudice, African-American style.
Billy Turner's Secret by Michael Mayson Shooting from both the hip and the heart, this urban short from director and star Michael Mayson bravely shone the spotlight on homophobia within the African-American community, at a time when few works of its like existed.

Casting himself as Rufus; Mayson plays a man with such a hostile disposition to life, that it's wonder that he's got a girlfriend, let alone anyone willing to hang out with him. Like his best friend Billy and a man more than ill-at-ease to let Rufus in on his secret and we all know what that is. As too does Evelyn, the sister of "his girl Natasha" and a woman who having accidentally caught Billy in an act of man-sex, fully intends to take advantage of the situation, if only to get Billy to finally be open with his sexual self. Only when things spiral out of control and homophobe Rufus finds himself in need of a friend, is he set to realise the error of his bigoted ways?

Billy Turner's Secret by Michael Mayson Complete with Harrison White of Venice the Series fame stealing the show as anything but out and proud Skyler, here we find Mayson play Rufus with all of the insensitive, misogynistic and sexual animosity not only central to his character, but of the mindset of others who seemingly spoke the same, thought the same and perhaps still do. For this is a short film that preached the "it's okay to be gay" message at a period in which such works as the like of Brother to Brother and the wondrous Noah's Arc series were still years in the making. That of a 1991 cinematic outing that spoke both of the pain of prejudice and of attitudes in dire need of a learning curve. All of which beckons the question of - has it dated? And here I dare say that the answer lies when the need for films of this nature, is no longer required. And of that, we sadly know the answer.

A commendable short for sure and one that like the recent features by Roger S Omeus Jr, Finding Me: Truth included, detail the difficulties that many African-Americans feel in being able to be at ease with their homosexual heart, coupled with the bitter home truths that often go alongside it. Check it out below "freeview fashion," thanks again to the good folk at FrameLine.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
FREEVIEW screening courtesy of the FrameLine VOICES program:
a new digital initiative dedicated to showcasing diverse LGBT stories online.
starring: Mark D Kennerly / Billy, Tanya Solar / Evelyn, Michael Mayson / Rufus, Khea Williams / Natasha,
Harrison White / Skyler, Scott Evans / Gregory, Jeremy Rogers / Alfredo, Roderick Garr / Bob,
Kevin Coughlin / David and with Claudia Montoya, Kevin Bray, Victor Littlejohn and
Alex Garbuio as The Party People and Linda Baco as The Voice of Natasha.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #415
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