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The New Black

Directed by Yoruba Richen2013USA80 mins

When California’s Prop 8 passed in 2008, many disappointed supporters of marriage equality immediately blamed the state’s African American church leaders for failing to embrace same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue. The finger-pointing drove a wedge between Black and LGBT communities, and over-simplified the complex history of African American attitudes toward gay rights, particularly in the Black church.

The New Black is a much-needed fresh take on how those attitudes might be changing. It gives us an inside look at efforts within African American communities and churches across the country to address — and then do something about — same-sex equality.

Taking us to backyard barbecues, church meetings, and campaign offices, the film introduces us to a surprisingly diverse cast of citizen activists. We meet gospel singer Tonéx, whose coming out made him an outcast, and Rev. Delman Coates, a Baptist minister who champions same-sex marriage rights. Most memorably, we follow the indefatigable and inspiring Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the straight leader of the National Black Justice Coalition, as she helps lead Maryland’s 2012 campaign to secure LGBT marriage equality — part of what she terms “the unfinished business of Black people being free.” Showing respect for opposing perspectives, The New Black charts a new map of the disputed territory where church teachings, long-held traditions, civil rights, and social conscience intersect and often clash.

Expected Guests

Yoruba Richen
Yvonne Welbon
Quick links
Yoruba Richen
Running Time
80 mins
Frameline Completion Fund, Audience Award Winners, Documentary Features
Program Note Writer
Peter L. Stein
Community Partners

Independent Television Service

Active Voice

NIA Collective

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