For Dekkoo viewers who have not yet watched Single Record, watch out! There are some minor spoilers ahead.
Single Record is a six-episode documentary-style series that follows an up-and-coming rapper named Aaron Hunter as he navigates the rocky road of the New York music industry. Along with a killer soundtrack, the show’s cast puts on a spectacularly engaging performance that will keep viewers engrossed as they watch Aaron teeter between the brink of stardom and tragedy.
Watching Single Record was refreshing for many reasons. For one, this great show features a nearly all-black cast. This is monumental for queer kids of color who don’t often get to see people who look like them on the screen. It’s no secret that when it comes to queer film and TV, there’s usually a focus on thin, white gays or twinks. But the queer community is so much more diverse than that, and Single Record is a great reminder of the importance of representation.
The other reason Single Record stood out for me was its approach to its queer content. The mainstream media has only recently given queer people room to strut their stuff, but their roles in these stories can sometimes come off as forced or cliché. Often, we see queer people playing the token gay best friend or forced into a role where it seems as if the writers all gathered together and said, “You know what would be fun? A gay person!” While roles like these are still important and no doubt make a difference in the fight for representation, they can feel a bit contrived. When this happens, we are given some pretty flat characters that seem less like real people and more like stereotypes. What these characters often lack is an authenticity that seems reserved only for the straight characters. Why is that? Because the straight characters aren’t being constrained to a pre-conceptualized storyline determined by their sexuality.
Just like straight people, queer individuals are multifaceted and have a lot more to them than just being queer. But when it comes to roles in mainstream media, it seems like the only screen time queer people get feature the same old story arcs over and over again to the point where it all feels recycled. Single Record, however, is a great antithesis to this vicious circle of tired tropes. In the show, we are first introduced to Aaron as the talented rapper that he is. His queerness doesn’t even come into play until the second episode when he and Harmon share a kiss late night at the studio. And even long after that kiss, the show doesn’t rely on Aaron’s sexuality. Rather, it allows a queer character to navigate the ups and downs of his life as any normal person would.