Are LGBT People ‘The New Black’?
After she was already well into filming The New Black, documentary director Yoruba Richen thought she might visit the home of National Black Justice Coalition's Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks for a family BBQ. Yoruba Richen wanted to see a private side of Lettman-Hicks, away from her work as a vocal civil-rights advocate for all groups, including the fight for same-sex marriage in the LGBT community.
"Sharon had told me there are varying opinions on [that] issue within her own family," says Richen, whose film premieres at the Los Angeles Film Festival the week of June 13. "I didn't realize quite the extent of their varying opinions until I got there."
The black community, to quote one pastor who appears in the film, 'isn't monolithic,' nor is the LGBT community.
The fiery debate inside the house was hot enough to fuel up the grill.
The diversity of opinions around homosexuality within one African-American family confirmed that Richen was on to something with her documentary about Maryland's 2012 vote on Question 6. The ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage in the state was the first where African-Americans had a sizable enough constituency to have a major say in determining the matter.
Another election initially inspired Richen to make the film. In California for the 2008 election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, the New York-based filmmaker observed commentators linking the strong turnout of the African-American vote with the passing of the state's anti-marriage equality Proposition 8.