Must Watch: Powerful Documentaries That Show How Pivotal Black People Were In LGBTQ Activism

Must Watch: Powerful Documentaries That Show How Pivotal Black People Were In LGBTQ Activism

The history of LGBTQ+ rights has been colored with Black activists that played an integral role in defining and defending the culture. These are few documentaries that shed a light on the real lives of Black LGBTQ+ individuals.

It has been 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising that took place in 1969. It was the result of the authorities forcing a police raid of New York City's Stonewall Inn. LGBTQ patrons rioted the raid, marking the beginning of a renewed gusto of LGBTQ activism. Over time, the Stonewall Uprising has been a benchmark for the immense era of activism that has followed, shedding more light on the rights and recognition of the LGBTQIA+ community. But the truth is that the history of LGBTQ+ rights has been colored with Black activists that played a pivotal role in defining and defending the culture. 

While there have been dramatized descriptions of Black-centered queer life, there are many documentaries that shed a light on the real lives of Black LGBTQIA people. Here are some stunning documentaries you have to watch:

1. Paris Is Burning



 

This 1990 American documentary chronicles the ball culture of New York City, which was a prominent part of African-American transgender communities. It shed much-needed light on the drag queen 'house' culture, which started as a way to support flamboyant and often socially shunned performers.

2. The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

Source: Netflix

Transgender activist and drag performer Marsha P. Johnson's body was found in the Hudson River which shocked her fellow activists and friends. This documentary explores her little-investigated death, as well as the crucial role that Johnson played in the LGBTQ+ movement

3. Kiki

Source: Amazon Prime

Kiki is a modern-day retelling of the Paris Is Burning story. It highlights the lives of present-day drag ball scenes in New Your City, presenting the drag community as a competitive dance world which is a safe haven for LGBTQ+ youth.  

4. Jewel’s Catch One

Source: Jewel's Catch One

Jewel Thais-Williams was denied entry into gay clubs because of 2 reasons: she was Black and female. This documentary explores the humble beginnings of Catch One, one of the first Black discos in the community, till the time of its eventual shutting down in 2015. 

5. Free CeCe

Source: IMDB

Chrishaun Reed "CeCe" McDonald was brutally attacked while she was on her way to the store with her friends. A man was killed as a result of CeCe defending herself and following a coercive interrogation, CeCe, who is a Black trans woman, was incarcerated in a men's prison in Minnesota. 

6. The New Black

Source: YouTube

This documentary follows the extraordinary lives of Black activists, families, and clergy that are fighting for and against gay marriage as well as civil rights. 'The New Black' sheds deeper insights into homophobia that's rampantly present in the Black church community. 

7. Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church

Source: BET

The documentary's description explains that 'Holler If You Hear Me' "puts the narrative in the hands of Black LGBT people who are struggling with the intersections of sexuality, faith, and race." 

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