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African-American Documentary Films on DVD in the Leavey Library: Gender/Sexuality Issues

Gender/Sexuality Issues

Afraid of Dark: Exploring Black Masculinity
"Afraid of dark, is a wonderfully insightful and entertaining, yet remarkably serious, documentary about black men. This documentary, aims to destroy the misconceptions and damaging stereotypes about black men that have often cost the black man his life, by offering a genuine look at them from my eyes to the outside world, revealing the beauty in diversified strength, leadership and challenges -- a reality that has often been distorted by others. Why is the world so afraid of dark?

Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project
"This documentary tells the story of Sakia Gunn, a 15-year old African American lesbian who was fatally stabbed in gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. The Sakia Gunn Film Project depicts the hate and homophobia that caused this murder to occur and questions the lack of media coverage of the murder of a Black gay teenager... The story unfolds with the testimonies of Sakia's family and friends during the sentencing hearing of the murderer. The hearing is inter-cut with interviews of LGBT community leaders, opinions of people in the community, interviews of Sakia's best friend, Valencia, and exclusive footage of Sakia's vigil..."

Jewel's Catch One
"..celebrates the legacy of a legendary Los Angeles nightclub, Catch One, and the life-changing impact its owner, Jewel Thais-Williams, had on her community. For four decades, Jewel broke down racial and cultural barriers and built the oldest black-owned disco in America, creating one of the original safe spaces for LGBTQ, Black and Aids impacted communities."

Major!
"..is a documentary film exploring the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. At the heart of MAJOR! is a social justice framework that puts the subjects at the center of their story. Miss Major is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply 'Mama' to many in her community. If history is held within us, embodied in our loves and losses, then Miss Major is a living library, a resource for generations to come to more fully understand the rich heritage of the Queer Rights movement that is so often whitewashed and rendered invisible...."

No!
"...provides a comprehensive lens through which to examine the impact of sexual violence on black women and girls -- calling to task in particular the behaviors and attitudes of black men in reinforcing a cultural assault ... No! includes messages from violence prevention advocates as well as testimonials from survivors who defy victimization ..." -- Container

The New Black
"This award-winning documentary boldly examines the controversial and challenging issues facing African American communities on gay civil rights, campaigns for/against marriage equality and in particular the role of faith institutions. The film makes a compelling case that the fight for LGBT rights in Black communities is an extension of the Black Freedom Struggle."

On the Downlow
"Uncomfortable with being termed gay, as it doesn't correspond with their concept of Black masculinity, four men live 'on the downlow' - straddling two seemingly incompatible worlds - one life on the surface, and another that is hidden below."

A Place of Rage
"Prominent black women comment upon experiences of Afro-American women, upon racial discrimination and its effects upon the American culture and make suggestions which they hope will improve the future. Includes historical footage of civil rights movement in the 1960's."

Portrait of Jason
"The subject and constant object of this film is male prostitute Jason Holliday giving a stream-of-consciousness 'confession' of his life. He performs a pas de deux with the process of making the film: questions from the director and crew are heard, the crew laughs with him at his jokes, at times the camera runs out of film but the sound continues, with black leader replacing the picture. The film itself was shot over a twelve-hour period. Jason recounts tales from his life that define his identity. He describes how he changed his name to change his identity; work he held in the past as a houseboy to wealthy people; his homosexuality and the gay subculture in San Francisco and New York; visits to a psychiatrist; his love for alcohol; his aspiration to be a nightclub entertainer. He gives examples of his nightclub act, imitating female entertainers and movie roles such as Mae West and Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the wind. Towards the end, he is accused by an off-screen voice of being a liar. This brings him to tears, pleading to be loved. The filmmaker's voice ends the film by saying 'The end'."

The Same Difference
"...shines a light on the all-too-often ignored problem of homophobia and gender discrimination within the black lesbian community. Onuorah's fascinating and original documentary examines what happens when lesbians discriminate against each other over violations of the strict code that separates butches from femmes. The film examines how these behaviors reproduce the homophobic oppression and masculine privilege of the straight world, while looking for solutions in compelling discussions with community members."

Tongues Untied
"In an experimental amalgam of rap music, street poetry, documentary film, and dance, a gay African-American man expresses what it is like to be gay and black in the United States. Although he deals with social ostracism and fear of AIDS, he affirms the beauty and significance of the gay black man."

U People: LGBT Rockumentary
"In a Brooklyn brownstone, thirty women and trans folks of color participated in the creation of Hanifah Walidah's Make a Move music video. Cameras were left rolling. U People is an accidental documentary of discussion and dialogue among the women between shots for the music video."