Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



Patrik-Ian Polk on 'Noah's Arc,' representation that resonates
by Angelique Smith

This article shared 1409 times since Thu Mar 11, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Director, screenwriter and producer Patrik-Ian Polk brought us Noah's Arc: The 'Rona Chronicles last year—which felt like a comforting and comfortable Zoom call with old friends during a time when the world was everything but. The show also brought attention to various non-profit organizations—including Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative and LGBT Detroit—through a donation link associated with watching the 15th anniversary virtual reunion special.

Polk spoke with Windy City Times after being a special guest at GLAAD's virtual HIV Stigma & Faith Summit and reflected on the legacy of Noah's Arc and what it was like growing up gay in the South.

Windy City Times: What made you decide to do Noah's Arc: The 'Rona Chronicles?

Patrik-Ian Polk: A former executive at Logo who had worked on the show reached out to me and said, "Oh, hey. I've been seeing all these sort of COVID reunions—like people getting together on Zoom and either reading old episodes or reuniting. What do you think about doing something like that with Noah's Arc?" Very quickly I thought, "Let's just do a full-on special episode set in the time of COVID." I put some feelers out, got some corporate sponsors—and then I was off and running.

WCT: So, the 'Rona Chronicles had an intro to the director's cut by Lena Waithe, a lot of impressive cameos and a Janet Jackson song at the end. What was that like?

P-IP: It's a reminder of how beloved this show is and the fact that people still stand for Noah's Arc. The fact that it took very little effort to get Lena to come on board, to get Janet to give us a thumbs-up … especially because this was a labor of love, raising money for some really great Black LGBTQ charities across the country—you know, some of the not-so-obvious ones. It's just a reminder that the show still means a lot to a lot of people.

WCT: Did you find it hard to think of what they'd be doing so many years later?

P-IP: It wasn't that difficult because I've revisited the show in more recent years in terms of thinking about rebooting. I had a good idea of what I wanted them to do, but it was just about sitting down and thinking, "Okay, who are these characters, where would they be seven years later and then almost 10 years later?" And they're still the same guys, you know?

WCT: Are we going to see them again?

P-IP: I would love for you to; [I'm] waiting to see what Paramount+ is talking about. The show is a Viacom property, so it stands to reason that if they were going to reboot it, they'd reboot it for their new, big streamer. So, fingers crossed.

WCT: Recently, in a piece in the Chicago Reader focused on HIV-positive character representation on TV and film, a lot of the interviewees mentioned Noah's Arc as a show that did a great job. What are your thoughts on why Noah's Arc and its characters still resonate so deeply this many years later?

P-IP: The show was novel then and it's still novel, unfortunately. There still hasn't been anything like it: a show that really centers around Black, gay characters. We've had Pose, which has come the closest, thankfully shining a bright light on transgender people of color. And even that, it's just been announced that that's getting cancelled. It's, like, "Why is this important, groundbreaking show only getting three seasons?" Anything else Ryan Murphy does at least gets four or five.

WCT: In the GLAAD HIV Stigma & Faith Summit, during the panel you introduced, a theme that came up was showing up for yourself authentically. And it was similar to what you've said was why you created Noah's Arc—your hunger for representation. You created what you wanted to see, which was yourself and your friends on screen.

P-IP: Again, in terms of seeing myself, there still hasn't been anything like a Noah's Arc. But, every once in a while, I'll see myself in something that is not intended to be an LGBTQ kind of situation. When I saw the Broadway musical Passing Strange, I heavily identified with the main character. Certainly, I saw myself in Justin Simien's Dear White People or in Lena Waithe's Twenties. You find it in other ways, but it's also like, "Here we are in the 21st century and we have so many outlets for entertainment. Why isn't there more progress?"

WCT: The summit panel also touched on the varied experiences of being Black and gay in the South. As someone born in Mississippi, do you have any thoughts to share in terms of your own experiences?

P-IP: Growing up in Mississippi, I kind of inherently knew that homosexuality was not something I could be could be open about. Or perhaps I just didn't get to the point where I learned how to be open about it. I think I was still kind of figuring it out, as most people are, when I left to go to college. But I knew enough to literally say to myself as I flew on the airplane, watching the ground in Mississippi get smaller and smaller, "When I step off this plane, every person that I meet from now on will know that I'm gay."

WCT: Wow.

P-IP: I wasn't entirely met with resistance or anything like that as a child, but I also kind of knew enough to sort of keep it quiet. And then I went off and found myself and was out from that point.

WCT: What are you working on now?

P-IP: I'm co-executive producing season four of the Showtime series The Chi, and I'm co-executive producing season two of P-Valley on Starz. Both shows are in production this year.

WCT: What was it about those shows that made you want to be involved?

P-IP: The Chi is created by Lena Waithe and it's a very Black show set in the Black community in Chicago. They're telling a nice myriad of interesting stories with interesting characters, including some LGBTQ lead characters. With P-Valley, it's a very unique kind of show set in Mississippi, where I'm from. It's very unapologetically Black and it has some wonderful, interesting LGBTQ characters and storylines. So, both of these shows are really right in my wheelhouse.

WCT: What's next?

P-IP: I have a comedy series in development at Showtime with Gabrielle Union's production company called New Money. It was announced recently in the papers. Hopefully, we'll be seeing that somewhere on our TV screens next year.

Watch the GLAAD HIV Stigma & Faith Summit panel, "At the Intersections of Blackness and Queerness in the South," with an introduction by director Patrik-Ian Polk, here: .

To donate to the Noah's Arc Virtual Reunion Charity Fundraiser, visit .

This article shared 1409 times since Thu Mar 11, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

WORLD Cameraman dies, order for Russia, French priest, 'Benedetta' 2021-07-18
- A Georgian TV cameraman who was among dozens of journalists attacked by a right-wing mob during chaos aimed at pro-LGBTQ campaigners has died, reported. Co-workers of Lekso Lashkarava, 37, said July 11 that he had ...

Gay News

TELEVISION Joe Exotic to be resentenced 2021-07-15
- The U.S. 10th District Court of Appeals ordered Tiger King star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, be resentenced following his conviction in the murder-for-hire plot of Big Cat Rescue's Carole Baskin, reported. According to court ...

Gay News

'Pose' makes history with Emmy nominations 2021-07-13
- On July 13, the Emmy-winning father-daughter duo Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (#FreeRayshawn) unveiled the nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards—and the FX show Pose made history. Not only is Pose ...

Gay News

'Tig Notaro: Drawn' airing July 24 on HBO 2021-07-01
- Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian, writer, actor and director Tig Notaro will return to HBO for a one-of-a-kind, genre-spanning experience in this first-ever fully animated stand-up special, Tig Notaro: Drawn, debuting ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes on TV, trans jazz musician, book award, 'Red Table Talk' 2021-06-27
- Wanda Sykes has been tapped for a recurring role in the upcoming fifth season of Robert and Michelle King's legal drama The Good Fight, on Paramount+, Deadline noted. She will play Allegra Durado—a brilliant, strategic attorney ...

Gay News

'Queer As Folk' reunion on 'Stars in the House' June 22 2021-06-22
- Hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley announced, on June 22, two very special episodes of "Stars in the House" that will celebrate and honor Pride Month and the LGBTQ community. On June 22, the cast of ...

Gay News

Emmys allow actors/actresses to be recognized as 'performers' 2021-06-21
- The Television Academy's Board of Governors approved a pair of rules changes for the Emmy Awards—including one that neutralizes gender, Deadline reported. One change will allow anyone nominated in the actor or actress category the option ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Pride anthems, celebrities come out, PBS, Diana Ross, Mark Wahlberg 2021-06-20
- Billboard listed 20 Pride anthems by LGBTQ artists in a feature. Among some of the songs are Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," Tegan and Sara's "Closer," George Michael's "Freedom! '90," Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani's ...

Gay News

Filicia reunites with the 'Fab Five' 2021-06-17
- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted on television in 2003 on Bravo. It starred the "Fab Five," each with a different specialty. Ted Allen was the expert on food, Kyan Douglas was in charge of ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Our America,' Randy Rainbow, Melissa Etheridge, 'Drag Race,' VINCINT 2021-06-13
- ABC Owned Television Stations announced that the first two-episodes of the Our America: Who I'm Meant to Be docuseries are now available on its 32 connected TV apps across streaming platforms Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, ...

Gay News

TELEVISION 'Love, Victor' activation coming to Chicago 2021-06-12
- Marking the second season premiere of its show Love, Victor as well as Pride month, Hulu is "honoring and amplifying the many different shades of love and self-expression that the LGBTQ+ community embodies," according to a ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Todrick Hall, LGBTQIA+ podcast, Pride TV programs, '80s music 2021-06-06
- Todrick Hall is celebrating Pride with the release of his new album, Femuline, on June 8, a press release noted. The album's lead single, "Boys In The Ocean," is described as "an irresistible funk jam." Femuline ...

Gay News

NBC Out releases annual #Pride30 list 2021-06-05
--From a press release - NBC Out, part of, has released its annual #Pride30 list, recognizing members of the LGBTQ community around the world who are making a difference. This year's list honors 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...

Gay News

WTTW celebrates LGBTQ Pride Month with special content 2021-06-05
--From a press release - WTTW recently released its schedule of special programming in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. Highlights include: Stonewall Uprising: American Experience Sunday, June 13 from 10:00 pm-12:00 am In an era when homosexuality was illegal, ...

Gay News

New queer comedy series revisits the women's bathroom 2021-06-02
- Gal Pal Presents recently premiered a new comedy web series, titled Stalled, which aims to capture the gay nightclub women's restroom scene that you may have experienced, but may have flushed out of memory. The five-episode ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.