Tyler James Williams got plenty of attention for his portrayal of gay college student Lionel in the breakout hit Dear White People. While most of it was positive, the character's intimate scenes did also elicit some unwanted backlash.
Now, Williams is calling out those who expressed discomfort with the film's LGBT themes, and hopes that the stereotyping of gay characters in the media will soon end.
"Whether we like to address it or not, the African-American community is notoriously homophobic," Williams says to HuffPo Live. "We have been coming up on this rough side of the mountain, as far as civil rights issues go, but we haven’t necessarily addressed the fact that there is a whole other side to that civil rights coin, which are gay rights."
He adds, "I feel like the new stereotypical characters are gay characters, where you can’t just have a regular everyday guy who just happens to be gay, just like many people that I know."
Williams says that the pressure of "staying real" prevents many in the Black community from embracing LGBT issues. "It’s hard to please everybody and stay Black and proud."
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(Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)