Planet of the Fakes
Yesterday, "_______" from Birmingham sent me this pic. Stunning, isn't he? The only problem: I know this guy, and he’s neither gay nor from ‘Bama. He’s a professional model, and
[Just to set the record straight, T commutes between Miami, NYC and Chicago. He was a former NCAA hoops phenom, and is signed to a top modeling agency. T can be seen in a current print ad for Nissan. Below is a pic from his portfolio. He is very straight.]
During 2001 and 2002, at least four screen names on Black Planet used this same picture. Apparently, “he” lived in Philly, DC, Atlanta and Texas; described himself as 5’9 to 6’3, sometimes straight, sometimes single, other times lookin’. The next year, in 2003, several Migente accounts featured the same pic. Gradually, the pic migrated across the cybersphere, where it is currently hosted on at least two ebonymale accounts, and on men4now.
To call pic-stealing ‘common’ would be an understatement. It’s pervasive. Phony pics and identities are par for the course with gay men over the ‘net. It’s so widespread across Black Planet that many of my friends have called BP “planet of the fakes”, and have stayed away. AOL and Migente are much the same.
It's e-z to spot the fakes. First, the perpetrators usually have only one picture. Second, they always steal over-the-top pictures . You’ll never see a regular looking brotha, or the boy next door. That would be too sensible.
Instead, the men are always supa-phine, shirtless, and look like actors, models, strippers or porn stars. In fact, they usually are actors, models, strippers or porn stars. Their admirers are so
My favorite story: Last year, one brotha in Akron downloaded pictures of his favorite papi from Latino Fan Club. One morning, he shot them over to me. “I’m black and Puerto Rican,” he IM’d me. "Here are my pics." The boy in the pictures was blatino, but he wasn’t in Ohio. He had just spent the night at my apartment. At that moment, he was probably on the E train headed home to Jamaica, Queens.
Models—regardless if their clothes are on or off—are accustomed to fans and stalkers. Most laugh off the ‘net fakes. After all, it’s just a by-product of their work. But what if you’re not a pro and had your pictures hijacked? It’s much harder to set the record straight.
Case in point: My best friend lives in Atlanta, and just experienced a messy identity theft. Some
Brothaz, please. If you don’t have pics, just say it. But this is getting out of hand. Silly