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Bringin’ down the house

By | 2006-07-27T09:00:00-04:00 July 27th, 2006|Entertainment|

Doug Spearman wasn’t about to complain while shooting the second season of “Noah’s Arc.” After all, the director was towing a kid in her tummy.
“If this little pregnant Chinese lady can keep going … the rest of us can suck it up and go on,” Spearman says while lounging under a shade tree at a Los Angeles shopping center.
“Noah’s Arc,” a Logo television series, wrapped filming three weeks ago and debuts on Aug. 9.
Spearman is tight-lipped on the next eight episodes of the show, which follows the lives of seven black gay men. But he does give a glimpse of his character Chance after his marriage ceremony to Eddie at the end of the first season. “It’s very much about Chance’s journey as a new step daddy and a husband and living in a new house in a new household,” he says.
Although Spearman (who’s also acted in “Charmed,” “The Hughleys” and “MADtv”) and his onscreen character are both gay, their personalities are polar opposite. “I always call him my uptight younger girly brother,” Spearman says. “I make a lot more bolder choices than Chance would. Chance is afraid of a lot of stuff, including being alone. Those are things I don’t worry about.”
Like his character, who’s a college professor, Spearman taught acting in Boston and, after stepping in the shoes of his character, wouldn’t mind pursuing it again.
“I eat it up,” he says.
Just don’t plan on taking a calculus class with him.
Spearman laughs, “I was going to have to pretty much promise (my college) professor sexual favors to get a good grade in that one.”
Even if he’s not teaching high scholar students, he’s still doing his part to educate as a volunteer for Black AIDS Institute.
“It’s a battle. It’s a fight,” he says. “The fact that medical science has now got a lot of people thinking that AIDS and HIV are manage care diseases people are going, ‘If I get it I’ll just take a pill, or eleven.’ They don’t look at the cost of what it’s really gonna do and how it’s going to transform their lives. (The work) is rewarding but it’s tough.”
Spearman also feels a sense of accomplishment with “Noah’s Arc,” which helped make gay black men visible on TV, he says. “For the most part, until we came along, … there weren’t a whole lot of African-American gay men that weren’t the best friend or the secretary. You were just comic relief.”
In recent years “Oz” and “Six Feet Under” offered more depth to gay black men characters. “I think ‘Noah’s Arc’ is certainly a huge improvement, but we’re only seven gay characters in a huge universe,” Spearman says.
Spearman’s work on “Noah’s Arc” prompted Valerie, a single mom from Chicago whose teenage son had recently came out to her, to e-mail him.
It made Spearman cry.
“I hear from 21-year-olds. I hear from teenagers all the time,” he says. “I get emails everyday on MySpace cause that’s like the only fan site I’ve got right now.”
Letters like Valerie’s are a testament to the show’s power, he says. If only 10 percent of the population were gay people and 4 percent were gay and black, that’s an overwhelming number of gay black men or women “who can finally have something that they can call their own that cheers them up, that lifts them up and that gives them something to attach to.”

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.