Docuseries 'Other Boys NYC' gives 50 LGBTQ New Yorkers of color space to tell their stories

Our Black History Month Creative Excellence Series Guest Editor Abdool Corlette shares a seminal project in his career as a filmmaker

Published On
Feb 14, 2022
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Editor's Pick

Abdool Corlette is creative director of GLAAD, which for more than three decades, has worked hard—and very creatively—to promote acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community across a range of content, initiatives and partnerships. An award-winning filmmaker and SVA film grad, he is also co-founder of GLAAD’s content platform NEON, whose projects include the fascinating mini-documentary series “Changemakers,” about Black LGBTQ entrepreneurs, created alongside Ally. 

In 2021, our then-guest editor Walton Isaacson and Co-Founder and CEO Aaron Walton had highlighted Corlette as part of last year’s Creative Excellence series. This year, the GLAAD leader returns as guest editor himself, and starts the week off with the project that helped to kick off his career, “Other Boys NYC,” an expansive film series that explored the lives, struggles and joys of 50 queer and transgender men of color in New York City.

Abdool Corlette

One thing I learned very early on about myself is that it is very hard for me to separate who I am from what I do. My work is personal. It is an extension of how I see the world, how I experience it, but most importantly, who I am. When asked to reflect on one project that brings me pride, I knew that I had to go back to the very beginning and look at the project that instilled all of the core values that guide me as a creative to this day—“Other Boys NYC.”

 

In 2015, I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of representation and erasure of LGBTQ people of color in the mainstream media. And with racism and transphobia running rampant within the LGBTQ community, I knew I needed to use my voice and skills as a storyteller to make a difference. With the help of my co-producer, Adam Vazquez, I raised the funds and worked with other creatives of color within my network to bring a passion project to life.

Launched in February 2017, “Other Boys NYC” is a 50-part docuseries that explores the diverse experiences of queer and transgender men of color in New York City. The series ran over the course of one year and covered topics such as race, family, coming out, religion and gender identity. It was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people across the world and spawned deep, nuanced discussions in the comments section, the press, and in people’s homes. “Other Boys” taught me one invaluable lesson—if you don’t see it, create it. 

 

 

What I learned from creating “Other Boys” is that the most valuable part of a project is not rooted in aesthetics; it’s rooted in the project’s ability to connect with people authentically and make them feel seen and validated. Even as my career has evolved and I’ve been able to work on larger campaigns for companies such as GLAAD, Kelloggs, Mastercard, and Ally Financial, “Other Boys NYC” serves as a reminder of my origin story and how important it is to lead with authenticity. I am so incredibly proud to have started my career working on something that served as a vehicle for change in both my life and the lives of the 50 individuals who shared their stories with me and the world. 

 

Credits

Date
Feb 14, 2022

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