Full interview at Splice Today
When we first met Jonathan Plummer he was a straight woman’s fairytale, the real-life Taye Diggs from How Stella Got Her Groove Back. When we saw him last, he was their nightmare: the closeted husband who lied and broke the heart of writer Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Disappearing Acts).
Or at least that’s how the media told it five years ago. As we all know, sexuality is a complicated matter, and Plummer was least partially a victim as well.
Now 34, Plummer has accepted himself and reconciled with McMillan, with whom he reappeared on Oprah a couple weeks ago.
Plummer is currently living single in Los Angeles, starting a pet grooming business and hosting a new web series, No More Down Low, a lifestyle show aimed at embracing the diversity within the black gay community.
“I wasn’t seeing any positive images of African American gays and lesbians in the media, as always hearing about the down low, the down low, the down low,” No More Down Low’s creator Earnest Winbourne said. “Why are these nameless, faceless people who don’t proclaim to be gay or lesbian, getting more media attention to the people who are open and honest?”
Plummer spoke to me about how he made up with his ex-wife, growing up gay in Jamaica, and why his new show is important.
Aymar Jean Christian: How did you come to host No More Downlow?
Jonathan Plummer: It’s all about empowerment right now, so I think it’s appropriate. We’re trying to change to whole stigma about the down low. It’s a struggle with your identity, and once you’ve overcome that and you embrace your sexual identity and sexuality, it’s very liberating.
AJC: But the show is obviously not just about down low, at least according to your first episode.
JP: It’s going to highlight all the positive aspects of being black and other ethnic groups who are doing amazing and empowering things in the community but whose stories cannot reach mainstream media. There’s one episode where we’re going to talk about a lesbian couple who’ve lived together forever. They are in a committed relationship. We highlight those things that you don’t really see in the community.
AJC: I saw that you interviewed Wanda Sykes on the first show. That must have been exciting!
JP: She’s amazing. An amazing, amazing woman! I was nervous actually to meet her. It’s Wanda Sykes. I definitely commend her for coming forward to speak her truth. And I wish that more people would come forward to stand on the forefront and let people know: “This is who I am. Do not judge. I’m just like you. I live a normal lifestyle. I do the same things. I put my pants on one leg at a time.”
AJC: A lot of people have connected the lack of openly gay public figures to the recent spate of bullying, teen suicides, even the controversy over Bishop Eddie Long.
JP: We need to let people know it’s okay to be gay. Whether your gay, straight, lesbian, transgender or bisexual, whatever orientation you identify as, we need to address those issues more often. Thank goodness we have shows like Glee, Modern Family, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, it portrays those relationships in a positive light. If we address that issue, that we don’t need to hide anymore, we can definitely progress and move forward. It’s normal. It’s not a chosen lifestyle.
AJC: What was it like growing up in Jamaica? The country has a reputation, deserved or not, for being homophobic.
For Jonathan Plummer’s answer and the rest of the interview, click HERE.