‘Noah’s Arc’ trailblazed being black and gay in Hollywood
In 2005, the Logo cable network launched a series called Noah’s Arc. Many of the incredibly loyal fans of the show referred to it as the black & gay Sex and the City – the four main characters loosely mirror the archetypes featured on HBO’s classic comedy.
I played Noah, the hopeless romantic writer who spent the series (which amounted to two seasons and a feature film) in an on-again/off-again romance with Wade, the man of everybody’s dreams. The Carrie-Mr. Big similarities weren’t difficult to discern there. Noah’s three best friends were also not unlike Carrie’s crew of cosmo-connoisseurs. Ricky was the promiscuous party boy, Chance the uptight intellectual, and Alex a little too obsessed with his boyfriend.
Granted, the black men on Noah’s Arc were grounded in very different realities than the well-to-do white women on Sex and the City. Alex performed in drag once, but he wouldn’t have been caught dead in Charlotte’s pearls or pink Chanel. Ricky’s HIV scare was resolved with much less drama than Samantha’s battle with cancer. And while Chance did drive his mini-van into someone’s living room to catch his husband cheating, he was far too proud to eat chocolate cake out of the trashcan like Miranda.
In the ways Carrie and her friends gave women everywhere permission to talk about their sex lives and be fabulous on girls’ night out, Noah and his friends offered gay black men a new model of friendship & family we had never before seen on television.
Sure, we had Queer As Folk, Will & Grace, and David & Keith on Six Feet Under. But Hollywood had never presented as amiable a group of unapologetically gay black men living full lives and balancing love & career, doing it all in bold, bright colors.
Since Noah’s Arc ended in 2008, we’ve seen a shift in programs featuring gay characters. With the exception of HBO’s Looking (which also encompassed two seasons and a feature film), there hasn’t been another Hollywood-backed series dedicated to a group of gay friends.
Gay characters have instead been integrated into stories ostensibly aimed at more mainstream audiences, with supporting roles on hit cable dramas like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and notable leads on network sitcoms like Modern Family and The Real O’Neals. It can certainly be argued that an increased presence in shows that appeal to broader populations serves to normalize the gay experience for more people, but fans of shows like Noah’s Arc are missing the camaraderie and coded cultural references that truly affirmed their own experience.
The Sex and the City cast is reportedly getting back together for a third film. While Sarah Jessica Parker insists on not being called a feminist, the current political climate could easily be countered by another film featuring independent women calling the shots.
While I don’t see Noah’s Arc making a comeback any time soon, I do believe stories featuring unapologetic queer folks of color in lead roles will offer solace and support to many who are fearful about some recent, sharp changes in the West’s sociopolitical climate.
Honestly! Noah’s Arc changed my life growing up as a Gay Black Man! I was in high school and was constantly looking for someone that can relate to me and let me know that I’m not alone on my self-discovery. Then that’s when I discovered Logo TV. It was great don’t get me wrong but I couldn’t relate to any of the shows they aired. It was great to watch the movies and see the talk shows that resonated with my sexuality but I still had that feeling of. “Who am I as a Gay Black Man?” And that’s when I seen Noah’s Arc. It was as if my prayers have been answered! I automatically connected with the show because it became something the only positive look I’ve seen growing up about my sexuality. Hearing that it’s been cancelled not only throw me off but I was back a square one, looking for another show that I can connect with. But I haven’t and I feel like if I was struggling with accepting myself, think about the other Black Gay men in the world that feels the way I feel. We needed Noah’s Arc growing up and we need more gay black shows that represents us the way we should be represented.February 28, 2017
I couldnt agree with you more it changed my life completelyMarch 1, 2017
I feel like today society should be more open to programming like Noah’s Arc. The show shed SOME light on gay black culture. I agree that the sense of family the is displayed is without parallel. The show did so much for me during its run and I think we need more shows like it.February 28, 2017
Ive never seen a series like noahs arc i still watch it from time to time and i really felt like i personally knew all the characters if they can create another show like that or just make another movie i loved jumping the broom also i can go on and on about noahs arc lolFebruary 28, 2017
Noah’s Arc inspired a lot of individuals to be themselves. We need another season of Noah’s Arc to help our gay black men survive and not only black but for all gay men. It told a real story that I know just about everyone can relate to. Nothing like it and I HATE the season ever ended. Please start another series or a new season of Noah’s Arc.February 28, 2017
I am a straight black woman and I loved Noah’s Arc for all the same reason I loved Sex in the City. I LOVED Carrie’s wardrobe…I loved Noah’s wardrobe lol. I loved Alex most of all and that’s what you guys had that Sex in the City didnt. While Noah was the voice of the generation Alex was the nuturer. While Alex had his share of messiness at the end of the day he would love and scold you if needed. Noah’s arc helped me to realize love and life and laughter is the same regardless of who it’s between. I stopped seeing gay men as men who hated or wanted to be women and started seeing them as men who were just men who like men. How arrogant of me to think it had anything to do with anything else. It made me realize it’s all the same at the base.February 28, 2017
I just want to say I loved the show and I wish y’all would come back… I’m a white guy but love my blk men lol…I loved the show and was a big fan from the start!!! Thank you for two great season and a great movie!!! Love y’allFebruary 28, 2017
Noah’s Arc needs to be continued to handle these modern times and give me a starring roleFebruary 28, 2017
I still binge watch episodes of Noah’s Arc to this day. We all could relate to characters on that show, we each know a Rick, a Chance, a Alex and a Noah. The black gay community definitely need a show like this back on TV.February 28, 2017
They should bring it back to see how the married life is going and everyone elseMarch 1, 2017
I have always loved every detail of the show and the movieMarch 1, 2017
I love this showMarch 1, 2017
I’m a Hetero black woman, and I LOVE the show. I purchased both seasons and the feature film. It was really special, and helped many of my friends be comfortable in their own skin.March 1, 2017
I love it i have the first season on dvd and watch it a lot.March 2, 2017
Please bring the show back. With all the changes I’m sure the show would have alot to offer to this generation.March 2, 2017