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What black actor plays a gay character?

For decades, Hollywood has had a reputation for portraying homosexuality as a taboo subject, or as a caricature. However, times have changed as new stories and perspectives entered the limelight. A perfect example of this change is the emergence of African American actors playing gay characters. In recent years, more and more black actors have taken on LGBTQ+ roles in film, television, and theater. If you’re wondering what black actor plays a gay character, Taye Diggs is a prime example.

Who is Taye Diggs?

Taye Diggs is a famous American actor who is best known for his versatile roles in various films and television series. He was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 2, 1971, and raised in Rochester, New York. Diggs attended the prestigious School of the Arts in Rochester and later went on to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater from Syracuse University in 1993.

Diggs rose to fame after his appearance in the highly-popular Broadway musical, “Rent.” He played the role of Benny, a landlord who tries to evict his former friends from their rented apartment. Diggs’s talent and dedication resulted in him transitioning to Hollywood, where he has since cemented his place in the entertainment industry.

Diggs plays a gay character

In 2016, Taye Diggs played the role of “Hedwig Robinson” in the hit Broadway musical, Hedwig, and the Angry Inch. The musical tells the story of Hedwig, a transgender rock-and-roll singer, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery after undergoing a botched sex-change operation. Diggs’s character is openly gay and explores his gender identity as part of the story.

Playing a transgender or gay character is not new to Diggs, as he had previously played a closeted gay character in the television series “Private Practice.” In the show, Diggs played a character named Sam Bennett, a doctor who deals with the complexities and challenges of his secret gay identity.

Diggs unreservedly committed himself to the role of Hedwig. He underwent an intensive training regimen in vocals, make-up, and choreography to bring the character to life. His transformation was so stunning that several critics and theater-goers praised his performance.

Why is Diggs’s role significant?

Today, people of color are more comfortable acknowledging their sexual orientations and gender identities. In the past, many closeted gay people, especially black men, had to struggle with societal and cultural stigma, keeping their true selves in the shadows. However, artists like Taye Diggs have shattered stereotypes and societal norms through their willingness to take on diverse roles on the big screen or on stage.

Diggs’s role as a gay character on Broadway is significant, as it puts an openly gay black man center stage. It highlights the importance of representation and visibility in the LGBTQ+ community and challenges the stereotypes that often limit progressive storytelling in entertainment.


In a world where intersectionality is increasingly popular, it’s important to recognize African American actors who are making strides in the film and theater industry. Taye Diggs’s willingness to play a gay character in mainstream media is a representation of how much progress the entertainment industry has made. It’s a clear indication that more people are starting to accept diversity, and Hollywood is starting to acknowledge the power of representation and inclusion.