Meet the Steve Buscemi-Approved LGBT Gang Taking on D.C.
Buscemi is burning. Steve Buscemi, the cult favorite actor who looks like our crazy uncle but has a heart of gold, stepped off his Boardwalk Empire a few years ago and stepped into the streets of Washington, D.C. to help bring a documentary to life. Now, the work he’s been doing on the project has finally been revealed and it’s exactly what we never knew we needed. Check It, directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer, follows an LGBTQ gang in the nation’s capital, called The Check It, over a three-year span. Beaten down emotionally and physically while growing up in impoverished communities of color, the kids of The Check It banded together to become the most badass gang since The Warriors fought their way back to Coney Island—if The Warriors had been about a thousand times more queer.
The groundbreaking look inside one of the only gay gangs in the United States has been in development for over four years as the directors and, later, Buscemi and Stanley Tucci worked to bring their story to the screen.
It’s all part of an effort by the five youth featured in the film to escape from the criminal records and broken bones that had been their reality before they united into a single force. Most of them have rap sheets that include charges like assault, armed robbery, and drug dealing. Even more of them have suffered from some of the most vicious antigay hate crimes in recent history—including rape, shootings, and stabbings. Now, they’ve got brass knuckles and mace in one hand and a Louis Vuitton bag in the other as they work the runway, host fashion shows, and strut down the streets of some of the toughest neighborhoods in D.C.
“It’s happening in D.C. just a couple miles from the White House, and I don’t think these kids or their problems are really known,” Buscemi explained to IndieWire. “When people are not exposed to gay and transgender people they can form an opinion that’s not really based on anything real, that’s just based on fear.” We’ll have to hold off on calling this the next Paris is Burning, but considering this documentary does showcase a gay gang supported by Steve Buscemi, the odds of this being a new classic are looking pretty good.
Stay tuned to Milk for more stories of LGBTQ youth.
Images via Check It.