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Monday, February 9, 2009

"Who do you become when you can't be yourself?"

Last week, a friend randomly posted a movie trailer for Pariah (2007) on my facebook wall, with nothing else said. After watching the trailer, I realized that there was in fact nothing to be said about this upcoming feature-length film about a gender-nonconforming young lesbian of color. Check out more about the film at PARIAH The Movie. I am very excited and something in me feels like I'm, again, discovering something good for us as a community. "Who do you become when you can't be yourself?" asks the film's tagline. It's an important question, one that I often grapple with myself. For those of us in the midst of trying to navigate how to be ourselves in all capacities, this movie will probably guide us through the experience, even if we aren't youth.

If you get the chance, please check it out at the Pan-African Film Festival. I'm trying to figure out when it's being released to independent theaters.
In the past, our community has witnessed images of us in the media, many of them inaccurate and some of them simple documentations of our lives and reflections of our voices as created and spoken by us (Daniel Peddle's The Aggressives and my homegirl tiona.m's black womyn: conversations with lesbians of african descent). We've seen ourselves on screen in random spaces amongst the sea of white lesbian and queer mainstream media culture (think The L-Word's Carmen, Papi, and Tasha, and the lil tastes of brown lesbians, remember the oh-so aggressive Latina that shared a jail cell (and every white lesbian's puesdo-racist jailhouse/brown girl sex fantasy) with Helena?) and throughout history we know ourselves to have been integral parts of many different histories. If we were lucky we caught hold of narratives of ourselves in complex ways (one that surprised me was the character Dill in Suzan-Lori Park's Getting Mother's Body) and currently, we are writing our own narratives to leave behind. I hope Pariah serves as an accurate, multi-facted narrative that speaks to us not only on screen but in the cores of our many beings.

Tell me, what narratives helped you become who you were even in moments when you couldn't fully be yourself?

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