The New Black
Check out a pre-event discussion between Sean Powers and Jason Croft on Here and Now up above, as well as the
The New Black documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar — the black church — and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda.
Confirmed discussion panelists are Kevin Mumford, professor, University of Illinois Department of History; and Carla Hunter, assistant professor, U of I Department of Psychology.
The film takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, charting the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.
In February 2012, after much discussion, the Maryland legislature passed a law allowingsame-sex marriage. Immediately, opponents of the law geared up to put the issue before the voters through a ballot referendum — a strategy that had defeated same-sex marriage in other states. On one side, supporters of same-sex marriage included a number of black ministers who were challenging homophobia in the black church. Opposing them were other ministers who believed that gay marriage violated religious principles and who disagreed with placing the issue in the context of civil rights. Against this backdrop the film traces the historical importance of the church to the black community, and explores the personal stories of African-Americans who, although raised in the church, felt unwelcome when they identified themselves as gay.
“For over three years I followed how this issue was being debated and understood in the African-American community,” said director Yoruba Richen. “I came to realize that the issue of gay rights in the black community is in many ways a fight over the African-American family, which has been a contested space since the time of slavery. Marriage is not just about marriage for black people — it’s also about how blacks have become accepted as legitimate participants in American society. The gay marriage question has forced a conversation in the black community, which is taking place in our churches, our houses, our neighborhoods, and at the ballot box.”
Watch a preview:
Visit The New Black companion website which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.