Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Props to a Gay Hero: Duane Boutte Talks about Bringing the Harlem Renaissance to Life in the Person of out Poet Bruce Nugent

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Props to a Gay Hero: Duane Boutte Talks about Bringing the Harlem Renaissance to Life in the Person of out Poet Bruce Nugent

Article excerpt

"Both of the films I've done have been set in the past--yet they're both about right now," says out actor Duane Boutte. "It's pretty fascinating." His first film was Stonewall (1995), in which Boutte played the sassy drag queen Bostonia. Now, nine years later, comes Brother to Brother, in which Boutte appears as the equally sassy poet Richard Bruce Nugent in his flaming (in every sense of the term) youth.

"I think [Brother to Brother] will be very controversial," says Boutte, "because in the histories of that period a lot about gays and lesbians has been left out. To this day there are people who just won't believe that there were people like Brace Nugent and writer Wallace Thurman and that homosexuality was so central to the life of Langston Hughes."

Brother to Brother navigates these waters by focusing on Nugent, Thurman, Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston in 1926 as they brainstorm together on Fire!!--the literary, magazine that they hoped would make their names. Ironically, Fire!! may have denied Nugent the fame it helped bring to his collaborators--in part because Nugent was the only one among them who was gay and refused to hide it. ("There was a huge network of 'protection'" for Hughes, Boutte notes, while Thurman, also gay, stayed in the closet and eventually took his own life. …

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