Friday, May 21, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Tongues Untied

I WAS going to feature an episode of All in the Family but then I got a special request for this afternoon's feature, Tongues Untied (1989).

And as luck would have it, I'm glad I received this request because Tongues Untied will be one of the movies at tomorrow night's lgbt of color film festival which will be held at the University of South Carolina tomorrow night as a part of the SC Black Pride Young, (Gay) Gifted, and Black Mini Film Festival.

Tongues Untied is an excellent film by the late Marlon Riggs, an African-American gay man and filmmaker. From Wikipedia:

 . . . Tongues Untied seeks, in its author's words to, "...shatter the nation's brutalising silence on matters of sexual and racial difference." The film blends documentary footage with personal account and fiction in an attempt to depict the specificity of black gay identity. The "silence" referred to throughout the film is that of black gay men, who are unable to express themselves because of the prejudices of white and black heterosexual society.

The narrative structure of Tongues Untied is both interesting and unconventional. Besides including documentary footage detailing North American black gay culture,  (Marlon) Riggs also tells of his own experiences as a gay man. These include the realising of his sexual identity and of coping with the deaths of many of his friends to AIDS. Other elements within the film include footage of the civil rights movement and clips of Eddie Murphy performing a homophobic stand-up routine.

At the time of its release, the film was considered controversial because of its frank portrayal of gay sexuality. Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan cited Tongues Untied as an example of how President Bush was using taxpayer's money to fund "pornographic art". In his defense, Riggs stated that, "Implicit in the much overworked rhetoric of community standards is the assumption of only one central community (patriarchal, heterosexual and usually white) and only one overarching cultural standard ditto."

In all honesty, it's a damn good film. As an lgbt of color, I know how difficult it is to see images of myself on television and the silver screen. I don't like it when lgbts of color are either ignored or made into a one-dimensional caricatures.

Tongues United and Postwoman will be featured tomorrow night (Saturday) at the University of South Carolina campus, 911 Pickens Street, 112 Sloan College.

The event starts at 7 p.m.

Admission is free but donations are accepted.

The Young, (Gay) Gifted, and Black Mini Film Festival is sponsored by South Carolina Black Pride.

SC Black Pride will be hosting our fifth annual celebration on June 24 - 27. For more information, go here.

Past Know Your LGBT History postings

Know Your LGBT History - The Celluloid Closet

Know Your LGBT History - Querelle

Know Your LGBT History - Theatre of Blood

Know Your LGBT History - Strange Fruit

Know Your LGBT History - Designing Women

Know Your LGBT History - The Children's Hour

Know Your LGBT History - Sylvester

Know Your LGBT History - Once Bitten

Know Your LGBT History - The Boys in the Band

Know Your LGBT History - Christopher Morley, the crossdressing assassin

Know Your LGBT History - Midnight Cowboy

Know Your LGBT History - Dracula's Daughter

Know Your LGBT History - Blacula

Know Your LGBT History - 3 Strikes

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

Know your LGBT History - Soul Plane

Know Your LGBT History - The Player's Club

Special Know Your LGBT History - Fame

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community    

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Bill S said...

When it was originally released, it came under fire by a lot of conservative groups. No surprise there, but what is suprising is that, to a person, they consistantly read the title wrong, and kept referring to it as "Tongues UNITED". Apparantly homophobia not only makes people stupider, it makes them more illiterate.
Which "AITF" ep were you going to do-"Judging a Book By Its Cover", from season one?

BlackTsunami said...

That's the one, Bill. That's the episode of All in the Family which got President Nixon upset. LOL

MR Bill said...

I got to watch this on Georgia Public Television (sometime in the late '90s). It was an eye opener for a closeted white guy, and I was proud of the state for letting it air. Intelligent, passionate, and damned sexy. And it aired late, perhaps after midnight.
Of course, it would not be shown in today's republican climates...

Inspector13 said...

is the all in the family the episode where meathead has a buddy that is a photographer and archie thinks he's gay and then finds out that the former baseball player down at the bar is the gay one? kiss me. if i like it you'll know and if you like it then i'll know why you asked.

BlackTsunami said...

that's the one. The photographer is played by pre-General Hospital Anthony Geary.

Inspector13 said...

i saw tongues untied on pbs out of chicago when it aired. my local pbs station for elkhart/south bend, indiana never ran this series of gay programing.

i only saw that episode of all in the family the original time it aired when i was a kid. it stuck with me. i must have been around 13 or 14.