Billy Turner’s Secret

1990 | Black/African American / Coming Out / Homophobia / Relationships / Sexuality | 26m | USA
Directors: Michael Mayson

An early short film on the gay black experience, the 1990 film Billy Turner’s Secret follows a young man figuring out just how to come out.

Billy and Rufus live together and share everything, except Billy's secret— he’s gay. Rufus just isn’t ready to deal with it: the only thing he hates more than a “faggot” is a “pushy woman.” But when the cousin of Rufus’s girlfriend drops by unexpectedly, it looks like Billy's secret might be out of the bag. Billy Turner’s Secret provides a look at the connection between misogyny and homophobia, and is among the first African-American films to deal with these subjects.

Reviews and Awards

“Provocative, nervy, and sassy … the film’s inventive camera angles, bounding energy, and street dialogue … recall the work of Spike Lee, while the frank, flip and funny treatment of sexual themes adds a touch of Pedro Almodovar.” —Variety