“GIANTS” tackles a number of sensitive issues, but Malachi’s ‘inventive ways of paying rent’ have made for some interesting plot twists, plot twists that Bland says are actually not far from the truth.
“I’m currently an escort,” Bland jokes to BOSSIP. “That’s how I get by. How you think I survive? Laughs… Nah i’ve met a few people in LA who were actually very honest about being escorts. I’ll meet guys who drive really nice cars and they’ll spend about four hours in the gym and they’re aspiring actors and models and they don’t work day jobs but they live very comfortable and sometimes affluent lives so I’m always like ‘Yo so what do you do?’ SoI’vee learned that escorting is a common profession in Los Angeles, particularly in West Hollywood. I’m always getting hit on and sh** in West Hollywood. I’ve had a few situations where I could have had a come up if I chose to walk that road.”
All jokes aside, Bland says his real life has definitely informed the show, but he also likes to change things up to create deeper dynamics.
“I have a frat brother who literally would f*** white women and their men would pay for it,” Bland recalls to BOSSIP. “It was a thing, a fetish, so I combined that concept in Season One and I wanted to add a deeper layer with the man in the wheelchair where you think about love being this sacrifice where you realize you can’t be your partner’s everything all the time, where you will sacrifice for your partner’s needs to be satisfied.”
While all of Malachi’s sexual partners in “GIANTS” that we’ve seen thus far have been female, Malachi’s relationship with Ade has caused a number of YouTube commenters to question whether they might someday end up messing around. Bland says he’s been very purposeful about keeping Malachi’s sexuality up in the air and says that aspect of his character was also drawn, to some extent, from his own experiences.
“I’m somewhat of an enigma,” Bland tells BOSSIP. “People always want to clock me or figure me out. I’ve gotten to the point now where sometimes I do it on purpose because I feel as if black men don’t have the freedom to be sexually ambiguous or be bisexual or be fluid… You either have to be gay or straight and people put certain expectations on you because of where they feel you fall on the sexual spectrum. I’ve definitely dealt with that in my real life and that’s why I’ve given Malachi those attributes. I was very intentional about not revealing what his sexuality was, and it’s a definite question. It was the number one question in the writers room and even my writers wanted to know ‘Yo is Malachi gay or straight?’ and I’m always arguing ‘Why does he have to be one or the other?’ and they were like ‘For us as writers we have to know so we know what direction to take him. So I kinda caved in and decided, okay Malachi is…a sexuality. We write in that direction.”
“GIANTS” tackles a very diverse range of issues, and as the characters navigate their struggles with finances, mental illness, sexuality, relationships and more — God is never far from the conversation either. Bland says that while he didn’t set out to make “GIANTS” a faith-based project, because his spirituality is such a big part of him, he always knew it would be part of the series as well.
“I’ve realized it’s just in me.,” Bland tells BOSSIP. “When we’re on panels it just comes through that I’m deeply spiritual. Even when I’m being ratchet or just in general. There was an intent, because even with the show being called “GIANTS,” I knew I wanted to tackle the whole issues of having to tackle our Giants, which is spiritual because often our Giants are not things that we can see. But yes it comes out because it’s deeply embedded in me.”
The third episode of Season 2 just dropped this week, and like many previous episodes, the 28-minute clip is packed with a plethora of complex issues. We asked the makers of “GIANTS” to tell us what they each gleaned most from the show overall.
“For me, I take the mental health aspect,” Takara Joseph told BOSSIP. “I really started going to therapy the first season that Giants went into production, so I saw my journey through Journee’s journey. For me, it was really the self-care side of it. I worked my 9-5 Monday through Friday and we shoot Giants Thursday – Sunday so I had no days off and I had to learn to get those pockets of time whether that be meditating or turning my phone off. But I can identify with every storyline except for the sexual identity one.
“It’s interesting because even within it, with Ade, sexual identity is his storyline, but acceptance and shame are really the Giants he’s trying to overcome,” James Bland told BOSSIP. “Wanting to make our parents proud is such a big thing and even at 32 I’m really wondering and worrying about my mom being upset about something I posted on Instagram. For me, the thing I take away from the show is, it reminds me of the cost of greatness, of course, in collectively producing the show, but even for these characters the cost of greatness is having to rise to the occasion to meet the hurdles that life throws at you.”
A new episode of Season 2 of “GIANTS” is on YouTube every week. Follow @giantstheseries on social media!