Banjee or banjee boy is a term from the 1980s (or earlier) that describes a certain type of young "Latino or "African American "man who has sex with men and who dresses in "stereotypical masculine "urban fashion for reasons which may include expressing "masculinity, hiding his "sexual orientation and attracting male partners. The term is mostly associated with "New York City and may be "Nuyorican in origin. "Attitude, "clothing, "ethnicity, "masculinity, "physique and "youth are all elements of what has been called "banjee realness".
An African-American man writes:
Banjee. That was the identity I was given back in the summer of 1991, when I, "half out/half in approached the colored museum of the "Christopher Street piers. I was new to the life, so I had no reference for what people were talking about, but I soon gathered that "banjee" meant that I wasn't a "queen." Whatever the terms of identification, all I knew was that there was one thing that brought both the banjees and the queens (and whatever lies between) to the pier: we were men who loved men. An anxious 19 year old, I wore my banjee realness designation like a badge of honor. [...] a queen schooled me on how my masculinity was something that carried great weight, not only in the gay world, but the straight world as well.
The 1990 "documentary film "Paris Is Burning featured "banjee realness" as one of the categories in which contestants competed for "trophies. According to "The Village Voice "banjee boy categories have been a part of "vogue balls since at least the early 1980s".
The word "banjee" never entered mainstream "pop culture, but it had currency as gay slang throughout the 1990s. In 1998, a report in the "medical journal "AIDS Patient Care and "STDs regarding "safer sex practices among young Black and Latino men was entitled "Banjee Boys Are Down" ("down", in this "vernacular, meaning "supportive of it").
The 1999 play Banjee, written by playwright A.B. Lugo, presented at the Milagro Theater/Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (and in another NYC venue in 2004), is "the story of Angel (played by Indio Meléndez), a "straight homeboy, and Tony (played by Will Sierra), an admittedly "bi banjee, who've known each other since childhood."
The term banjee has also been used by several producers of "gay pornography in presenting the type of young man described herein. For example, in 1995 a company called Pleasure Productions produced a "DVD called Banjee Black Boys (and five similarly named "sequels) and c. 1999-2003 a company called Banjee Boy, Inc. produced films with taglines such as "Wanna see some of the sexiest, thugged out "gangstas that NY has to offer?" There are other examples from adult films, as well as several pornographic "websites (such as "Banjee Boy Group Slam") that still use the term.
While seeming to have peaked in popularity during the 1990s, the term banjee is still in use. For example, a 2003 web page for a "restaurant in "East Harlem describes its clientele as an "eclectic mix of patrons that range from pretty neighborhood Banjee boys to some of the wise guys that once populated the space formerly." In 2008 the band "Hercules & Love Affair has performed wearing matching shirts with the word printed on them. New York clothing label Hood By Air uses the Banjee term as a point of reference for their S/S09 collection.
Homo thug is a more recent and more popular term which is nearly-synonymous with "banjee". However, homo thug does imply that the man in question is primarily "homosexual. In contrast, a banjee might be homosexual but might also be bisexual or only have opportunistic homosexual sex with men when women are unavailable. The latter situation is a theme in many of the pornographic films mentioned above.
Gayngsta, a "portmanteau derived from ""gay" and "gangsta", is another recent coinage. It has mostly been used in relation to the "underground "LGBT "hip hop scene as shown in the documentary "Pick Up the Mic and featured in the "Homorevolution Tour 2007" with these artists. While easily discernible in writing, pronunciation is barely discernible from "gangsta".
Banjee girl is heard so rarely that it is difficult to define. In discussing a fashion show in "Paris, one reviewer wrote in 2005:
The low-rise skirt in denim is the first of its kind seen on the Paris "runways. What is now clear to me is that no self-respecting Banjee "Latina, or "ghetto-fabulous “Shamecka-girl” or high rolling white chick will be ever able to resist its urban appeal.
Several examples of the use of the term "Banjee girl" exist in the "blogosphere but it has rarely, if ever, made it into print or "mass media. An exception is the Billboard charting single ""Back to My Roots" by "RuPaul, which states the phrase in a list of hair fashions. In the film "Paris is Burning, the term itself is used in comparable frequency with its male counterpart, "banjee boy", which, coupled with the film's focus on the inextricably connected transgender and drag culture of 1980s NYC, lends itself to a contextual definition of those performers impersonating females and attempting to exhibit the ultimately judged quality of holistic visual verisimilitude—"realness".