Living in New York, I've often thought about the times before 9/11, before we had all the security provisions that we have now. But the biggest thing that struck me was the fact that many of the kids in New York, have grown up not knowing the city any other way than it is now. They may think nothing about the See something, Say something ads. Or the frequent bag searches or even the occasional armed military security on the streets. This is the world they've always known.
I felt sad about that for a time, but then I realized they can't mourn what they don't know they've lost. So exploring this theme intrigued me a great deal.
There was also something else on my mind. Everyone tells his or her coming out story. I always found it funny that everyone tells it like that was the only time they've ever had to come out. Like after that first "I'm gay" moment, everything else has been easy ever since. But the truth is we all have to come out over and over again. If we change jobs, move into a different apartment building, go to a party with people we don't know. And for most of us, coming out to people can still be just as hard as it was the first time. That was what I wanted to explore with Vivian.
Of course the gay community isn't the only group facing issues of insecurity. And that's how Archibald came into the picture. He's a young man trying to be true to who he is. But he feels pressured from his friends and society to conform to the role of "young black male." We can only hope that these stereotypes start to fall away with our new President and the image he puts forth. But it's a tall order for one man to take on.
Vivian and Archibald both feel like outsiders and this puts them at ease with one another. We can only hope that with that safety of each other's company, they can come to understand they can't be anyone but who they are. No matter the thoughts, insecurities and fears I can't be Anyone But Me, and that's more than OK.
Tina Cesa Ward
For a sneak peek at Anyone But Me, click on the image above of Vivian and Archibald. And, don't forget to tune in when we launch tomorrow on Strike.TV!