Although Yoruba Richen‘s documentary focuses on the American Black Diaspora, it sends shock waves all the Canadian Shield. The New Black challenges the taken for granted belief that Black communities inherently carry more prejudice against LGBT as a result of religious affiliation. Further, she argues that framing the fight for LGBT rights as a civil and equality fight did not specially speak to the American black community.
In The New Black she notes how the Black community leader role of preacher/ minister role was distorted by conservative and new right infiltration. Specifically, she notes how Mormon and Catholic leaders donated money, power and by extension influence. When a black spiritual leader speaks about discrimination it is taken as gospel. She traces the historical significance of the role of ‘The Church’ as a social institution where Black voices were heard. The Church was the base of the Black Civil Rights Movement and gave individuals space and place.
The fight for equality for this work centres on a few fighters and their goal to reach the public on a referendum in Maryland, USA. Their fight in 2012 was successful as a result of their campaign and fearless fighters like Karess Taylor-Hughes.
Central themes of this documentary speak to the sociological concept of intersectionality or how multiple systems of oppression work together. While the mechanisms of control differ, the end result is the same. It is a frequent concept in Black Feminist Thought.
While I already knew the outcome of the 2012 battle for rights, Ms. Richen’s had my heart pacing until the end. Although clearly influenced by a liberal and activist perspectives, the documentary presents a balanced viewpoint and interviews the opposing side to present both sides of the conflict.