A few months ago, I watched a film called Rag Tag that had been in my Amazon wish list for literally years. I hadn’t made a point of watching it because I hadn’t been given any particular recommendations to do so. But thank goodness for Netflix.
I apologize for the sparseness of this review. I had really, really intended to write a review within a week of watching it. Then life happened. Oops.
So Rag Tag is essentially a gay black love story set in the UK. Basic premise: two boys who are best friends are separated in their adolescence and reunited in their early to mid 20s. Both have lived their lives trying to conform to heteronormativity, but have failed because they were essentially in search of one another.
The bad news is that this is a low-budget film which often looks like it. But isn’t that the case with so many pieces of art that emerge in support of the black gay aesthetic? Drawing on my own experience, I know that my first novel Lazarus was not a masterpiece, but it remains a sentimental favorite for many of the readers who knew me way back when.
Similarly, Rag Tag is not perfect, but it is necessary. There is a dearth of black gay romance on television and in film, so this movie fills the void (somewhat). It feels authentic. It feels right.
As a bonus, the viewer will also get to see this story unfold on two continents, neither of which includes the Americas. The portion of the story centering on Africa drags at times, but it so important in deepening the story of Rag and Tag.
Rag Tag didn’t win any Academy Awards, but it did remind me that it will have a special place in the hearts of every black gay boy who needed to see themselves depicted in a positive and realistic way.