Film The New Black Focuses On Gay Marriage In The Black Community
Is accurate to compare the gay struggle with the black civil rights movement in the ’60s???
According to Politico:
In 2008, the passing of California’s ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage was attributed in part to strong support from the state’s African-American voters. Five years later, a new documentary is telling a different story about African-Americans and gay marriage. “The New Black” is a new film set to be screened at Washington’s AFI Docs Festival on June 22 and June 23 and the film explores the African-American community’s history with and feelings on same-sex marriage.
“After Proposition 8 passed in 2008, a very strong narrative emerged that African Americans were more homophobic then other voting blocs,” filmmaker Yoruba Richen told POLITICO. “This was largely because of an incorrect exit poll that initially reported blacks voted for the measure by 70 percent. That these reports later proved false — and multiple researchers later showed it was around 58 percent — was not enough to counter the narrative.” Richen said making matters worse were vocal black ministers who spoke against “marriage equality and gay rights in general, and were able to command significant press attention.”
“The reality is that the African American community and the black church is diverse and opinions on this issue have reflected that. There were some black public figures who took stances very early on in support of gay rights — look at Jesse Jackson’s rainbow coalition in the 80’s — while others spoke out against it. Also in terms of polling, African American support (like other groups) has varied depending how you phrase the question and the religiosity of the respondents.” Richen, whose previous films include “Promised Land” and “Take It From Me,” says there are differences and similarities between the gay civil rights movement and the civil rights movement of the 1960s that fought on behalf of African-Americans.
“[Like] the gay community, we also weren’t allowed to marry who we wanted to, build families or have the societal legitimacy that entails. We were also denied rights based on who we were and treated as second class citizens. And of course a lot of the arguments that you hear against marriage equality are similar to ones used to justify miscegenation laws.”
The film strikes at an opportune moment, as the Supreme Court is set to rule this month on two marriage equality issues. Richen said that President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage “had a very big impact” on changing hearts and minds on this issue. “And I don’t think it was just the African-American community – it was the country as a whole,” Richen said. “President Obama made a historic announcement in support of marriage equality and helped bring the country along in its support for the issue. He then went on and put the gay rights struggle in the context of other other freedom struggles during his 2013 inaugural address, placing Stonewall and Seneca and Selma as part of a trajectory of the very American struggle to expand rights to all its citizens. It’s really quite incredible.”
Check out the trailer below and let us know your thoughts….
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