Tongues Untied

Marlon Riggs, US, 1989, 55 min.

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The seminal documentary on Black gay life, Emmy Award-winning director Marlon T. Riggs’ 1989 Tongues Untied uses poetry, personal testimony, rap and performance (featuring poet Essex Hemphill and others), to describe the homophobia and racism that confront Black gay men. The stories are fierce examples: the man refused entry to a gay bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a gay-bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen. Yet they also affirm the black gay male experience: protest marches, smoky bars, “snap diva,” humorous “musicology” and Vogue dancers.

Preceded by:

Marlon Riggs, US, 1991, 9 min.
Marlon Riggs’ experimental music video politicizes the homoeroticism of African-American men. With sensual, sexual, and defiant images and words intended to provoke, Anthem reasserts the “self-evident right” to life and liberty in an era of pervasive anti-gay and anti-Black backlash and hysterical cultural repression.