Lynne d Johnson



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12.01.04 11:38 PM

Beyond The Down Low Hits Bookstores Soon

New York, NY - Nov 30, 2004 Keith Boykin's new book, BEYOND THE DOWN LOW: SEX, LIES AND DENIAL IN BLACK AMERICA, is becoming one of the most anticipated books of 2005. As the first popular nonfiction book to separate fact from fiction in the story of black men who sleep with men but identify as straight, BEYOND THE DOWN LOW has created a buzz among booksellers and the national media. Scheduled for a February 2005 launch date, the book has already generated requests for appearances on national television shows, for interviews in major publications, and to excerpt portions of the book in major magazines.

Keith Boykin, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, is one of the nation's leading commentators on race, sexuality and politics. A former top aide to President Bill Clinton, Boykin has appeared on CNN, Fox News and NPR, and he has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. In the fall of 2004, he was a featured contestant on Showtime's reality series American Candidate. He is the author of One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America and the Lambda Literary-Award winning book, Respecting the Soul. Boykin is president of the National Black Justice Coalition. He lives in New York City.
Selected Quotes from Beyond The Down Low

On Keith's Personal Life: "There was something about Mike that I found both intriguing and terrifying. He turned me on and turned me off at the same time. Every time I looked into his eyes, I knew at some level that I was looking into my own, and the experience scared me to death."

"What was I doing in this man's house? And what would his wife think about all this if she saw us together? How do you bring home another man while your wife is at home, lock him in the bedroom and not tell her about it? I knew he was a smooth talker, but this was hard to understand."

"I met Yvonne in my first year of law school. She was almost everything I thought I wanted in a woman: attractive, intelligent, articulate, spiritual and physically fit. She didn't drink too much. And she didn't smoke cigarettes. She was a modern woman. She would have made a perfect wife. A perfect wife for someone else, that is."

On The Down Low: "America's recent obsession with the down low is not about the truth. It is about avoiding the truth. The truth is, more than a generation after the so-called sexual revolution and decades after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, we are still a nation in deep denial about sex, race and relationships."

"Quiet as it's kept, there is a dirty little secret about the down low that most of the media have not discussed. Here's the secret. The down low is not only about closeted gay men and bisexuals. Straight men and women are on the down low too. In fact, if gay men and bisexuals have now popularized the down low, then heterosexuals might have actually perfected it."

"By chance or fate, I found myself in the thick of the down low story when it first broke in the media in 2001. I had known, or come to know, all the major players involved in the story-the reporters, the advocates and the critics."

"Like many observers of the scene, I tried to stare into the soul of Dina McGreevey as her husband made his announcement. I wondered if her eyes would betray her disappointment, or if she would reveal an inner peace that suggested she had known all along."

"We may wonder where these men get off by endangering the lives of women, but we should also stop to think about the ways in which we contribute to our own oppression by participating in a culture that drives these men underground."

On AIDS: "While black America struggled to explain the heterosexual AIDS cases, far fewer people seemed concerned about the thousands of black gay and bisexual men who were already dying in cities all across the country."

"For some reason, we in the black community just can't seem to stay focused about AIDS. First we denied it affected us. Then, we ignored it because we thought it only affected a few of us. Next, we preached morality because we thought it only affected the ones we didn't like. Then, we tried to figure out which secret laboratory developed it. And, finally, we dramatized it by creating a self- destructive story line about victims and villains. At what point do we just deal with it?"

"AIDS doesn't care if you are the biggest slut on the street or a virgin on a first date. It only takes one time to be infected. You can sleep with a different person every night of the year and never get infected, or you can sleep with only one person one time in your life and be infected the same day."

On J.L. King: "'This is J.L. King,' the voice replied. I had heard of J.L. King before, and he surely must have known that I knew him. In fact, I knew a lot more about him than I could say on the phone call."

"He had called with a purpose and a proposal. Then he told me the purpose. He wanted me to help him write his book."

"As the conversation ended, it seemed to me that money was the primary, if not the sole, motivation behind the book, the media appearances, and the lucrative speaking engagements he was doing. It was as if money was everything to him."

"After a life spent deceiving everyone around him, King may now feel the need to make amends for the lies of his past, but that has not stopped him from sensationalizing serious issues into dramatic parody."

"As the only one who was talking publicly about this secret lifestyle, anything he said was taken as fact because no one could repudiate it. He had constructed quite a clever ploy without any other evidence to back up his claims, King skillfully turned his individual life stories into a public, and soon to be profitable, truth."

On Racism: "The down low fit perfectly into larger cultural dynamics because it confirmed stereotypical values that many of us already believed. For some whites, it confirmed their hypersexualized perception of black people, and for some blacks it confirmed their hypersexualized perception of gay men."

On Black Women: "Before we consider who is married, incarcerated or gay, we have to remember that there were 2.7 million more black women in the population than black men. That is a big part of the problem. Even if every black man in America was single, straight and not in jail, there would still not be enough for all the black women in the population."

On Black Men: "Most black men are not in jail and not on the down low. Millions of black men are hard-working, law- abiding, tax-paying citizens. We are not all saints, but we are certainly not all criminals either. The mass media have constructed an image of us that reduces black manhood to a cultural commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace. But we are more than XXXL T-shirts, oversized jeans and basketball jerseys."

On Sports: "From my experience, I can think of no place in America that is as homophobic and as homoerotic as the sports team locker room."

On Hip Hop: "Privately, everyone in the industry knows there are gay and bisexual men in the hip hop world, but publicly the industry seems unwilling to admit the presence of homosexuality, except in stereotypical expressions. Several of the most powerful men in hip hop are gay or bisexual. Some have arranged marriages. Some date women and sleep with men. Some have never really tried to hide. And some just don't talk about it."

"The rap artist 50 Cent becomes a legend for being shot nine times as a drug dealer. The rapper Shyne goes to prison on gun charges and ends up with a record deal behind bars. And R. Kelly's album sales soar after he is busted for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a minor. We can forgive all that, but we can't forgive an artist for being gay?"

On The Church and Religion: "In fact, if you want one explanation as to why men are on the down low, look no further than our local churches."

On The Need For Love: "As long as we focus our energy primarily on what someone else has done to us, we limit the energy we have left to do for ourselves. If we turn our attention outside, we lose sight of all that we can do inside. Most important, we have to love ourselves before we can love anyone else."

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