Written by Cate Brinkley
Listen, there is nothing more heart wrenching than waking up each morning to the uncertainty of whether a non-profit organization in your local community is going to get the money to help the disadvantaged. Have you ever considered whether that organization is comprised of members of the LGBTQ community?
This all occurred to me while watching “Tampa Baes,” Amazon Prime’s new spin-off to “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which is scheduled to premiere on June 12. “Tampa Baes” (TBT, which stands for “Tampa Bay Baes”) is an outlandish “Queer Eye” spin-off, and I might add something that you don’t typically see on reality television. Think trash reality show, that’s what it is.
“What’s really nice about working on that show is that it was a welcoming environment for the queer community,” said Kennedy Hodge, the lifestyle expert for the show. “I just think we served up some great food, some great wine, and we kind of just rolled out of bed and some of us crashed on the bed and all of us used really fancy makeup and that’s just not something we see every day. And then just getting to know the people in the community gave us a chance to understand how important it is for us to uplift the gay community.”
Hodge is the lifestyle expert for the show. You can see the preview of the season here:
There were some members of the gay community that thought that the show may be homophobic because some of the staffers are straight, but there was nothing homophobic about the work environment. The show was going to be taping right down the street from LGBT youth center, SoSay! They were also the proud sponsor of the event. So a lot of people involved in the project really wanted to give back to the LGBT community.
“We’re still three men who live together. We still do as much together as we do away from here,” said Hodge, who is always on call and would go wherever the action was.
The realty show followed the trio as they explored the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and prepared for their new home in St. Petersburg. They were all there for great service, from where they got to work out to the best comfort food restaurants.
“The LGBTQ community needs a product that’s more than just talk and action, and I think “Tampa Baes” really brought to light for the world that we can be real professionals, just like every other professional group,” said host Jared Hudson.
The cameramen had a difficult time keeping up with the “Queer Eye” food scene, which was everywhere. “I saw subpar Jamaican food,” Hodge said. “And not just subpar Jamaican food but luau food that you would never eat at home.”