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How 'The Wire' stomped on LGBT stereotypes

While shows like "Glee" and "The New Normal" take a different look at the LGBT community in television roles, "The Wire" turned the topic on its heels by making sexual identity an afterthought instead of the main attraction. And it worked.

Actors Michael Kenneth Williams and Sonja Sohn attend the HBO premiere of 'The Wire' on January 4, 2008 in New York City.
Actors Michael Kenneth Williams and Sonja Sohn attend the HBO premiere of 'The Wire' on January 4, 2008 in New York City.
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

With strong characters like Detective Shakima 'Kima' Greggs (played by Sonja Sohn) and Omar Little (played by Michael K. Williams), "The Wire" viewers knew they were getting it in. There was never a dull day in their love lives, especially Kima who went through women like water, but their lives outside of their homes were just as important, if not more.

"Omar was just the kind of dude that, he didn't make any apologies for who he was," Williams said on a recent episode of "The Arsenio Hall Show."

"He accepted his reality. David Simon and I, we always toyed with the idea," Williams continued. "Was he always homosexual? Was he, as we stay in the streets, 'jail gay'? It didn't matter. That was the life he chose for himself, and he made no apologies. He was always honest. And he had a code that he lived by. You could set your clock by what he would and would not do."

And one thing Omar would not do is back down from anyone, including kingpins Avon Barksdale, Russell "Stringer" Bell, Joseph 'Proposition Joe' Stewart and Marlo Stanfield.

"The Wire" writer David Simmon incorporated slick comments about Omar's sexuality into the scripts, but people rarely said these comments to Omar's face. They were more concerned with his presence and his indifferent attitude towards fearing the most powerful. And quite honestly who can really argue with someone who's robbing those tearing up a community with the drug trade? He was a Robin Hood, emphasis on the "hood" part.

Although detectives, such as Detective William 'Bunk' Moreland and Sgt. Jay Landsman, may have enjoyed watching Kima walk away, they knew she was one cop to not be played with. She was short and small, but she was big on police business and easy to count on.

And when both of them were on the move, look out for everyone to move out of their way.

Shamontiel is the Scandal Examiner and the National African American Entertainment Examiner, too.

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