Critical Writing Index

Dark and Lovely too: Black gay men in Independent Cinema

by Kobena Mercer

cineACTION, Fall 1993, no. 32, pp. 51-62

Kobena Mercer discusses black queer identity politics reflected in the publicly-funded but independently made films Tongues Untied and Looking for Langston. Mercer states that both films successfully transcend the traditional discourse of "violent [stereotypical] reductionism" used to represent blackness and homosexuality. Instead, both Isaac Julien and Marlon Riggs offer a diversity of black gay representations without acting as the sole voicepiece of the entire sub group. Mercer regards Looking to Langston as a theme for appropriation of diaspora culture and deliberation of the proper (nominal and interpellating) modes of addressing minority audiences and marginalized representations.

Citing the photographic work of Robert Mapplethorpe and Fani-Kayode as entry points to subaltern sexual discourse, Mercer states that the provocative nature of these two films operate to upturn social hegemony and conventional representational reception.

ITEM 1993.141 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Looking for LangstonIsaac Julien

Tongues UntiedMarlon Riggs