Do you have a specific idea in mind of what you hope to accomplish in an industry that has been predominantly white and straight?

I was just talking to my little brother about this today: I find that the most radical protest is unapologetic self-love and self-acceptance, and that there is so much leading I can do by example, by putting my face on screen so that young Black and biracial boys can see themselves represented. It’s unfortunately radical, but also, it shouldn’t be a radical thing, just my existence, but it is. And the fact that I can utilize it and be like, “Well, then I am going to represent myself, and people who look like me and people who love like me, and make them feel less alone.” That I realize is my greatest power in all of this.

I am just doing what I love; acting is what I love to do, it is what I’ve always set out to do, and I just happen to exist in a Black queer body. And while I am very invested in social issues, it’s unfair that as a Black queer person I am almost forced to speak out about social issues, when people of the majority are not necessarily inclined to do so or obligated to do so. I hope that paradigm shifts, in that white, straight, cis people are obligated to talk about social issues just as often as BIPOC or queer people have to when they exist in the public zeitgeist.

But until that happens, I’m so cool with just being like, “This is my face, this is who I love.” Like, “Kids, see yourself in me. I am here; you can do this too.”

I know that a part of that is you putting your relationship out there. I mean, that is also making a statement saying, “Well, queer love is love.” I wonder how conscious you are of making that kind of statement by making your relationship public, but also: Do you draw a line somewhere?

It’s interesting, because I have thought about this. That relationship was incredibly expansive to me. We’re no longer together, but it really opened me up as a person. I don’t wanna go into it too much, which is ironic ’cause that is exactly what we are talking about — how much I revealed about my relationship — but I think, moreover, there’s so much Black boy, Black queer joy in my life, and there is so much Black pain in the zeitgeist, and I want to make sure that people know that I am aligned with this pain, and I am feeling this pain intimately, because I am a part of this community. But moreover, I want people to see the example of Black queer joy.

I was just talking to my little brother about this too: When you surround yourself (with) images of pain and tragedy and solitude constantly, or you internalize those messages that society gives you, it starts to manifest in your life. The minute you start to surround yourself with just images of joy, specifically of people of your community experiencing joy, it also shapes your brain, and it’s like, “Oh, no, no, no, no; there is happiness for me out there. There is love out there for me, there is success out there for me, because I can see it. I see someone like me doing it.” And so that was really important to me to just be like, I have all this Black boy joy, all this Black love, this Black queer love, and I want people to see it, so that other Black queers are like, “No, in all this pain there is light. There is love. There is happiness. There is joy.”

But I do want to say, to answer your question, which I didn’t (laughs), is that I am really private about my relationships. But I think that was more of a statement to my community, just to remind them of the good in all of this.

Your single “Bed” just came out. Can you tell me a bit about the song and how it came about? Also, are we going to get a full album at some point?

Yeah, the song I wrote about three or four years ago, about a relationship I was in, and I was really just in love with this person. I realized how much a relationship exists in the framing of a bedroom. Not just in a sexual way, but how the bedroom is a place where you share intimacy, where you share conciliation, where you can be lazy with one another, where you can laugh with one another, you can sit around watching TV. You can argue, you can cry. It’s the most private, pure form of a relationship when you are with your partner in bed.

And an album — yes! I would love to make an album. I have all these songs written. So I am just so honored that we get to share (this) with the world now, because it’s something I never thought I would really do. But here I am.

You’re going to have a lot of moments in your career when you are going to say that to yourself.

Yeah, that’s true. That’s very true. But that’s always where the most growth happens: when you do the things that you thought you would never do.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.