Lee Daniels’ directorial career has certainly grown in the past few years thanks to Precious, The Paperboy and his recent hit, The Butler. He’s one of the few African-American directors currently having success in Hollywood and has also never made a secret of the fact he’s gay.
Now he’s been talking about the difficulties he faced growing up gay and black, not least his father’s violent reaction to finding out his son liked boys.
In an interview with US radio station KCRW, he says, “I ran from that for such a long time – my identity – because I was beaten for it, and then my dad died and I was sort of happy that he did because I dunno that I would have been alive, he’d just kept beating me for being gay. So my mom didn’t want me around cause then… in the African American community we don’t embrace that [being gay]. You know, we simply don’t because men have to be strong and being gay is not a good thing. And so my mom took me to an all-white school… at that point I went from being ‘gay, gay, gay’ to ‘n—er, n—er, n—er.’ …It’s a very, very, very painful experience to live and I try to show that in all of my work, you know, the personal atrocities that I’ve lived.”
You can listen to the interview with Daniels below.