Austin Chronicle: Reviews You Can Use

October 11, 2013

In the age of agitprop like 8: The Mormon Proposition, it’s rare for a queer documentary to take on nuance. Rarer still is a film that gets past the boo-hiss of perceived villainy to search for the truth outside of media narratives. Framed around the battle for marriage equality in Maryland, The New Black might not provide any easy answers, but it argues that easy answers sometimes do little but wallow in muck.
The title to director Yoruba Richen’s tangled documentary is a bit tongue-in-cheek, rejecting the false equivalency that the LGBT and African-American civil rights movements are two sides of the same coin. Instead, Richen invites the viewer to examine the more subtle ways the two communities intersect, and how Christianity affects them both.
To do so, Richen lets the subjects weave the narrative, never nudging the interviewees to a predetermined end. Homophobic African-American churchgoers are certainly allowed to express ugliness, but not at the expense of degrading the entire church. Interview subjects make clear the vital role the church continues to have in African-American communities.

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The New Black

The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. Continue Reading

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