Why I Fell Back in Love with Tariq and Kal


Tariq says goodbye to Kal. Screenshot courtesy of “The L.A. Complex.”

“Goodbye Kal.”

When Tariq Mohammad abruptly utters these words after down-low millionaire rapper Kaldrick “King of Cali” King tracks his estranged lover down to Montreal I was heartbroken.

You could see they still loved each other. It was there. In their eyes. In the way Kal moved toward Tariq like he wanted to take him into his arms. And the way Tariq’s mouth said one thing but his expressions said another.

But I have to credit the writers on the CW’s groundbreaking series “The L.A. Complex,” which had its season finale last week. The writing was honest. It was real. Things happened the way they should have.

Kal went too far when he viciously beat his lover Tariq after producers discover the two kissing in Dynasty’s studio. That Kal would do that to cover his homosexuality was cowardly and unforgivable.

Kal tries to reconcile with Tariq in Montreal. Screenshot courtesy of “The L.A Complex.”

It was so jarring I wrote the original blog on why that scene upset me so much and turned me off to the series, although I later became an avid watcher again (to read my earlier blog entry click here).

Yeah, I know a lot of fans wished they would get back together, including yours truly. The spark between actors Andra Fuller and Benjamin Charles Watson was palpable. You wanted  the relationship to work. Badly.

But The L.A. Complex never played like a soap opera. It played true to life. Right down to the end when Kal, after the death of  father, writes a coming-out letter to his Dad that he posts online for millions of fans to see.

Yeah, some of my friends criticized his move, saying it bit off of true-life Hip Hop artist Frank Ocean’s public letter released last summer that confessed he had been attracted to a man. I disagree. “The L.A. Complex” started the Kaldrick King storyline months before Ocean’s revelation.

The series was prescient. Fiction became reality and then fiction borrowed from reality.

Kal and Tariq. Photo courtesy of AfterElton.com.

I love the “DL Chronicles” but “The L.A. Complex” will probably be the best depiction on primetime television of what gay black men experience — the self-hate, the isolation, the depression, and for some the soul-searching and painful process of coming out of the closet.

Kaldrick’s actions in the final episodes were inspirational. They inspired me to come further out of the closet, something I am still struggling to do with long-term friends and family members.

Photo courtesy of Zap2It.com.

And the fact Kal and Tariq and Kal’s new love attorney Christopher Taylor (actor Jarod Joseph) were successful, smart and masculine made me like them even more.I get so tired of black gay men on reality and other TV shows playing the effeminate, sexless sidekick — it was refreshing to see characters of such depth.

“The L.A. Complex” attracted a rabid fan base but the ratings were low. It is unlikely there will be a third season.

However, I have to congratulate the writers, producers and especially actors Fuller and Watson for creating characters that will resonate with viewers for years to come.

If you want to see edited versions of “The L.A. Complex” that feature the Kal and Tariq storyline you can watch them on Youtube, thanks to subscriber SuperGoodTV101. To visit his page and see the clips click here. And to sign a petition to keep the show going go here!