It’s no secret that queer Black people have had limited representation on screens in history. Co-creators Mekhi Lee and Ellis Dawson have tapped into this experience and developed a story that resonates with the audience regardless of whether they themselves identify as queer. “For The Boys” follows three best friends, Anthony (Chandler Bryant), Jamal (Drew Colman) and Syed (Lamont Walker II) throughout this experience, chronicling the ups and downs while living their lives as queer Black men. Set in Brooklyn, New York, the series captures the essence of city life and trying to find your way as a 20-something in today’s day and age.
At the core, our trio is on a journey to find love…platonic love, self-love, romantic love, all of the above. In a world that teaches them to hide some of the truest parts of themselves, the characters do their best attempt at asserting their best selves (however flawed) regardless of the odds set against them. They don’t have all of the answers, they make plenty of mistakes, but what is most special about these characters is the fact that they lead with their hearts. The actors tell these stories with such conviction and authenticity that you can’t help but fall in love with each of them. An added layer of complexity is introduced as the friends find themselves in intragroup conflict, failing to see eye-to-eye as they do their best to support each other while juggling their own individual situations. Where For the Boys shines is in the details, the nuanced storytelling that highlights the authentic lens the series’ creators offer behind the scenes. From body image, finding career success, to redefining masculinity the story touches on many parts of queer life. Think if Insecure and Noah’s Arc joined forces to start a breakthrough youtube series: this is it.
Jamal, the budding photographer finding his confidence in the industry while being involved romantically with a white man, learns what it means to listen to his own voice. Anthony, who has learned to walk the beat to his own drum, faces the vulnerability required to let someone else in. And Syed, the spontaneous one who is on the journey to find his passion, grapples with his sense of self as he gives his best to his friends. We also meet their hilariously relatable extended friend group who come along on the ride as the family our three boys have chosen.
Hosted on the SLAY TV Youtube channel and the episodes are about 20 minutes each (with the exception of the gorgeous 37-minute finale), just enough to constantly leave you wanting more and wondering what fate lies ahead for the characters. The story will have you yelling at your screen, clutching your pearls, and shedding a thug tear all at the same time.
The hundreds of notes of appreciation and in-depth conversations in the comment section of each video show the cast and crew got this one right. If you’re looking for a bingeworthy series that will help you see the world a little clearer, check out For the Boys.