If you ever tried to find quality lesbian or bisexual audiovisual content you know it's not an easy task. And if you want those with black people leading, it gets even harder. The film industry still prioritizes white heterosexual narratives, but there are amazing LGBTQ+ movies with black women on the lead. Here are 7 of them!
The first Kenyan movie to be transmitted at Cannes Festival, "Rafiki" had a conturbed release in the country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Vibrant colors help soften the tense scenario of conservatism in Nairobi. Even though their families were political rivals, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) become friends and their relationship evolves into a beautiful romance. When that relationship gets public, they suffer several attacks from their families, friends, church, and people in their community. The couple needs to choose between a defiant romance and a safe, separated life.
Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a 17-year-old lesbian who's never been kissed. Internal conflicts, conservative parents, and a decaying friendship are some of the problems that the soon-to-be-outed girl finds along with the narrative. In an attempt to separate Alike from Laura (Pernell Walker) — a butch-lesbian friend — the girl is introduced to Bina (Aasha Davis) by her mother. However, she didn't expect that the new church friend would also be into girls and willing to become her first partner.
- "The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love"
The amazing 1985 movie tells the story of a romance between two teenage girls. Evie (Nicole Parker) is a rich scholar, while Randy (Laurel Holloman) is a poor, rebellious tomboy who lives in a lesbian household. The 17-year-olds go to the same school but only meet when Evie goes to Randy's aunt’s repair shop and the girls quickly develop a beautiful teen romance. Even though Evie's friends and family don't approve of their relationship, they are willing to fight for it.
- "Hearts Beat Loud"
The feel-good movie explores a father-daughter relationship and also the teen's sexuality. Frank (Nick Offerman) runs an almost bankrupt vinyl shop and wants to start a band with his only daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) before she's off to college. The girl also dates Rose (Sasha Lane). The couple — unlike many LGBTQ+ movie duos — finds no prejudice-related barriers to their relationship. However, Sam intends to attend UCLA, a cross-country university, so she has to choose between her girlfriend and medicine.
A tribute to the 1920s blues singer Bessie Smith, the movie portrays the life of a black, bisexual woman in the south. Bessie (Queen Latifah) starts her career on stages with Ma Rainey (Mo'Nique) but becomes famous by herself. Her life is surrounded by romantic affairs — with both men and women — and alcohol. The singer fights violence with violence and stands up even when Ku Klux Klan tries to shut down one of her performances. She marries Jack (Michael K. Williams) but is torn apart when her mistress Lucille (Tika Sumpter) leaves her and the artist starts drinking uncontrollably. Jack ends up leaving her too.
Even though critics point that the movie doesn't live up to the artist's career, the production is worth watching for its own narrative.
The documentary focuses on narratives of black lesbians living in the United States. It contemplates 49 interviews with women who have diverse background stories. They discuss coming out, marriage, gender expression, media visibility, religion, race, and what it means to be a Black Lesbian today. The movie is a tribute to all African-American LGBTQ+ women killed in the year before its release.
- "Difficult Love"
Being constantly criticized by South-African society, the photographer Zanele Muholi decides to make a documentary illustrating the reality of lesbians in her country. The movie contemplates interviews with the artist's acquaintances, creating a diverse set of expressions throughout the community. There's also space to explore Muholi's art and its impact on society. The “visual activist” — as she calls herself — is fundamental to understand the LGBTQ+ national and international scenario.
The article above was edited by Karen Oliveira.
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