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'Chasing: Atlanta' and 'Chasing: Dallas' Are The Gay Black Dramas You Will Soon Be Living For

Faux apology here for my shameless book club, but if you have read I Can’t Date Jesus (and if you haven’t, fuck wrong with you?), you know my friend Chris likes to recommend things for me to try.

His recommendations would include “the apps” because “your dick is dry,” various wing spots to “boost my chicken levels,” and old ho anthems of the 1970s and 1980s. The results of these recommendations have ranged from potentially permanent scars to bops that will follow me to the grave. And while this may say more about me than him, when he suggested I watch the digital series Chasing: Atlanta, I assumed the results would resemble the time fleas and/or bed bugs ended up in my apartment and turned me into their personal turkey leg.

Chasing: Atlanta follows a gaggle of gay Black men pursuing their dreams in the big city. Most of these men are out of their damn minds. I have never met someone who purposely introduced themselves as a “socialite” without being sarcastic, but thanks to this show, I am reminded that the folks on Instagram who list themselves as “socialites” in their Instagram bios truly mean that shit. Naturally, the other jobs (both real and imagined) were the typical careers gays with big dreams of stardom claim to hold: chef, model, designer, actor, and so on. It’s no shade, I assure you — I write for a living so who am to judge anyone else for being a cliché?

Self-awareness is key, though that’s not always the best for an entertaining reality series, so thankfully, there’s an equal balance of maturity and pure mess in the cast of this show.

You have to see this show to believe it. It’s basically a Bravo show on a public access budget. Does that make it WeTV? Please advise.

When I say smaller budget, I mean when the cast meets up at a hotel room in the premiere episode, the hotel is a Howard Johnson. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying! Another example is that when the cast goes on a camping trip, if you squint, you can probably see a few Walgreens plastic bags in the background where they got their materials to make s’mores.

To be fair, for a show shot with a presumably small budget, there are many reasons to be impressed with the production. The music supervisor is on point. As is the graphics person. Shout out to their MacBooks for doing the most with what they were given.

But of course, the biggest applause goes to the cast for being so entertaining both intentionally and unintentionally. So many of the cast members remind me of folks I’ve met across my beloved south. So many of these beefs would drive me absolutely nuts in person, but I can definitely cackle at them from a Firestick.

So, for much of Season One of Chasing: Atlanta, Jaylon is beefing with Devon over the fact that Jaylon felt Devon doesn’t look like his picture on one of the apps. Seriously, ol’ boy not looking like the trade (as the kids say) is the main beef for the whole season.

They stop beefing on the next season, but folks are still coming for Jaylon and his inches on the second season. He’s like the Joseline Hernandez of the show, but with a 1099 and business plan. And frankly, while he hasn’t been a big favorite of his castmates, Jaylon is sensational for this show. I have never heard someone say “boss” so many times in my life. If you told him and the rest of these folks that they couldn’t say “boss” for a month, it would be a silent film.

By the way, they will tell you that they are all bosses. I’m not sure what everyone from one of the most marginalized groups in society has against a steady gig at an office, but everyone on here wants you to know they are a boss ass bitch, ya hear? I love watching most of the delusional women I see across basic cable, so it’s sincerely nice to see I have queer Black men to now roll my eyes and/or laugh at.

It’s why the show has amassed upwards of 200k+ views on select episodes and gotten the likes of TS Madison to host its reunion. It’s also why Chasing: Atlanta has since given way to Chasing: Dallas, which just wrapped its inaugural season and will air a reunion show on Thursday.

It contains similar themes as Chasing: Atlanta. Someone introduced himself as “a socialite, fashionista, and everybody knows my name.” One guy is a “stylist to the elite.” Another guy is a makeup artist,  or as he put it, “The RuPaul of faces.” I’m still not sure what that means, but it does make you pause and reflect on what you’ve heard, so good for him.

One guy is a trainer who specifically trains folks to have small waists and fat asses. As legend has it, his man told him he got too big so he got IG fine. That man is apparently now gone. Men ain’t shit, but his ass is quite nice. Salute to the cheeks shaped by shame that now sit high in self-confidence.

Another cast member is married but doesn’t want that to stop anyone from sliding into his DMs. It’s fascinating to know of a young Black gay married couple (although the husband does not appear), but what is most intriguing is the manner in which he confidently explains their lifestyle and how it works for them.

Here are some notable quotables from Chasing: Dallas:

“Since he don’t have any furniture in his apartment…”

“I don’t fuck with punks. I hang with straight people.” (This is noteworthy because the guy who said it could be on homosexuality’s welcoming committee.)

“Where is your platform?”

“Do I give fish?”

“I was giving Beychella realness.”

“We apologize for the audio in this scene.”

They also say “secure the bag” a whole lot. I imagine both shows will feature cast members saying “PERIOD” every seven seconds.

Meanwhile, I love that in noting the apparent rift between the gay and straight communities, one of the Chasing: Dallas cast members hosted a unifying event featured Hennessy and fried chicken. They do go together like a majority of white women and a political betrayal.

But this show does touch on more serious themes, albeit briefly — notably one person’s addiction to methamphetamines. He recanted a bit on the use of the descriptor “addicted” not long after, but nonetheless noted that he has been in recovery for a year though he has had relapses. He stopped doing confessionals on the show because he left for rehab. All jokes aside, I am only now realizing that Black queer men are doing meth, so even if the show is more about spectacle and superficial arguments, Chasing: Dallas does lend itself to more serious matters like this drug problem along with someone else’s sex addiction.

As someone with a habit of complaining about the lack of programming led by and centered on the experiences of queer Black men, I want to be better about highlighting what I find. This ain’t Moonlight, but it’s entertaining as shit like The Real Housewives of…Ridiculous Colored Queer Folk (look, I tried). And seriously, it should be on WeTV. They ain’t got shit else on besides Braxton Family Values and Marriage Boot Camp.

See for yourself when Chasing: Dallas, The Reunion!, hosted by Terry Thierry, airs Thursday at 8:00 EST on YouTube. You’re welcome in advance. I already know you will go from “WTF” to “Thank you.”


Michael Arceneaux

Michael Arceneaux writes the “Dearly Beloved” advice column at INTO. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the newly released I Can't Date Jesus from 37 Ink/Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.