Interview with Street Behavior Creator RJ Veney
What exactly is Street Behavior? What is the concept of your show?
Street Behavior is an urban LGBT web soap opera not to be confused with a regular prime time drama. The concept was just to show urban youth and even adults that you’re not alone; showing them real issues and real solutions to those issues. I try to make sure there is a lesson in every episode whether it’s subtle or right in your face.
How did you come up with the story for Street Behavior?
I looked at LGBT representation and how it’s always over done. We are never just business men, drug dealers, or just regular people. We tend to be portrayed as the hair stylist or makeup artist. I do have those same professions on my show but they are not stereotypical. I avoid the stereotype of being feminine just because you are a hair stylist. Also, being a lesbian doesn’t mean you’ve been in a long term monogamous relationship either. Gay men and women go through the same things straight people do.
How much of your personal experiences go into the storyline for the show?
The entire first season of my story line on the show was loosely based on the relationship I was in at the time. I first wrote the pilot episode and little things here and there from my life are thrown in.
Who is your favorite character to write?
I don’t have a favorite honestly. That’s why my cast is so large. I don’t ever want to get bored as a writer. When one character is blah for me I can just make the story about another character. The first two seasons Jonathan’s story was about his struggles but now I am more concentrating on his mom’s life and his boyfriend Javonni.
How do you go about casting for this show? The eye candy for this show has increased a lot in the current season.
Through castings, referrals by current cast members, and some talented people I just know. The eye candy has always been there I just started showing it more.
How do you try to set your show apart from other predominately minority LGBT web series?
By talking about what they choose to ignore or skimp on the details. I can’t honestly say what is different because I don’t watch other web series.
Do you think that your show reinforces negative stereotypes about Black gay men?
The only stereotype that my show falls into is sexual promiscuity but if I avoided it my show would be bubble gum and unrealistic.
How has the show changed since the very first episode?
A lot! We have evolved to a better stronger cast that hopefully is well received by our fans.
What do you hope to achieve from this project?
The same thing I said in my first episode which is to possibly teach or show someone another option verses suicide or staying in a situation that isn’t working for you. Moving on is a big problem in the gay community. We tend to hold on to things for long periods of time and carry them into the next relationship. There was this young man that was hitting on me and didn’t understand why I kept telling him to be easy. Later, he came back to tell me that he watched my show. The show taught him that he has to know his worth. That got me choked up to hear that from someone who I had firsthand experience seeing the growth in the conversation.
What are your goals for the show?
To have it viewed by the world; well to more of the world so they know we exist in this world. We aren’t just sexual deviants; we are strong people who go through many things just to be ourselves.