I just received this email about the “black v gay” “debate.” I admire what they’re trying to do…but who, outside of the people of color, will really do this?

*please forward*

Dear Teachers, Colleagues, Cultural Programmers, Activist, and Friends,

I’d like to make a suggestion to teachers, activists, students, cultural programmers who are frustrated with (or just plain going nuts over!) the post Prop8 discussions around race and sexuality.

Revisit the 1996 documentary Black Nations/Queer Nations? about the 1995 conference in New York which directly addresses the trappings of such an impossible framing of “black vs. gay” for social justice organizing, critical scholarship, and a whole sense of identity – both as individuals and communities). It’s a film with lots of style, fun to watch, only 56 minutes, and gives insight into discussions amongst scholars, academics, activists that need to be brought back now! Full description is below and info on how to get the film is below.

Black Nations/Queer Nations?
This is an experimental documentary chronicling the March 1995 groundbreaking conference on lesbian and gay sexualities in the African diaspora. The conference brought together an array of dynamic scholars, activists and cultural workers including Essex Hemphill, Kobena Mercer, Barbara Smith, Urvashi Vaid and Jacqui Alexander to interrogate the economic, political and social situations of diasporic lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered peoples. The video brings together the highlights of the conference and draws connections between popular culture and contemporary black gay media production. The participants discuss various topics: Black and queer identity, the shortcomings of Black nationalism, and homophobia in Black communities. Drawing upon works such as Isaac Julien’s “The Attendant” and Jocelyn Taylor’s “Bodily Functions”, this documentary illuminates the importance of this historic conference for Black lesbians and gays. By Shari Frilot.

Third World Newsreel distributes the film. The contact person is Roselly A. Torres Rojas, and her email is: distribution@twn.org, phone number: 212 947 9277 ext. 308.

In order to make the film more accessible to teachers, students, community organizations, activists, and individuals, they’ve worked out a new pricing system, which is $20-30 (I think sliding scale, but you should just write them and let them know what you need it for) for lower income folks, and $60 for Higher Ed rentals…and of course, if you can get your library to buy it (I think the institutional price is $250 which is standard for independent distributors).

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