Luke James joined the Showtime drama series The Chi as a series regular in the show's third season. James stars as Trig, the elder and estranged brother of Jake, who returns to try and get custody of him. Trig is a street cat looking to change his life once and for all. He lives with his partner, Imani, who actively tries to help Trig win back custody of Jake.
Trig and Imani’s relationship is one of the most solid on the show. The love and support between the two are clear, and Imani even acts as a liaison between Trig and the social workers. During one episode, it’s revealed that Imani is a transgender woman. Trig is aware of Imani’s story and does not allow such to interfere with his love for her.
Imani’s story registers with a lot of viewers of the show. Many also applaud James for portraying the character with such conviction, seemingly unafraid of what viewers’ perception may be.
James portrayal is also appreciated by members of the LGBTQ+ community as there were rumors that Barton Fitzpatrick, who played the role of Reggie who is also a brother of Jake and Trig, left the show because of the inclusion of a trans love interest. Fitzpatrick has denied those rumors.
In a new interview with Bevy Smith’s podcast Bevalations, James opens up about the importance of Imani’s character on such a successful series.
“I think that we somehow separate – or people try to separate themselves from the LGBTQ community as if these people don’t feel, don’t have the same feelings and wants, don’t have the same goals and the desires of love and freedom just as we all do,” James says.
James continues: “And, we’ve made it some type of taboo thing where people feel the need to hide themselves and my character has a lot to work on,” he says. “It’s good to be able to see that this is a real person and see the beauty of him loving her and trying to love her completely, and at the same time to love her completely. – there’s beauty in her trying to help him love himself.”
James is returning to The Chi for its fourth season, which is set for next year.