Marlon Riggs, with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill reciting his poetry, Riggs telling the story of his growing up, scenes of men in social intercourse and dance, and various comic riffs, including a visit to the “Institute of Snap!thology,” where men take lessons in how to snap their fingers: the sling snap, the point snap, the diva snap. The film closes with obituaries for victims of AIDS and archival footage of the civil rights movement placed next to footage of Black men marching in a gay pride parade. –IMDb
Marlon Troy Riggs (3 February 1957 – 5 April 1994) was a gay African American filmmaker, educator, poet, and gay rights activist. He produced, wrote, and directed several television documentaries, including Ethnic Notions, Tongues Untied, Color Adjustment, and Black Is. . . Black Ain’t. Riggs’ aesthetically innovative and socially provocative films examine past and present representations of race and sexuality in America.
Riggs was born in Fort Worth, Texas on February 3, 1957. He was a child of civilian employees of the military and spent a great deal of his childhood traveling. He lived in Texas and Georgia before moving to West Germany at age 11 with his family. Later in his life, Riggs remembered the ostracism and name-calling that he experienced at Hephzibah Junior High School in Hephzibah, Georgia. He stated that black and white students alike called him a “punk," a “faggot,” and “Uncle Tom.” He explains that he felt isolated from everyone at the school: “I was caught between… read more