Pariah: A New Film Challenging Homophobia in the Black Community

Pariah: A New Film Challenging Homophobia in the Black Community

Here's a film I can't wait to see.

Its been getting rave  reviews and it focuses on a 17-year-old Brooklyn girl named Alike (Adepero Oduye) who has realized that she is a lesbian but doesn't know what to do with a newfound identity that's still unknown to her family. Coming home on the bus after a night at a lesbian nightclub, she changes her shirt to a more traditionally feminine one and puts on earrings — the better to pretend, to her critical mother, Audrey (Kim Wayans), that she's been having a very different kind of evening.

Unable to share the truth, she's carrying a visibly heavy burden, wondering what will happen, it's not an easy journey for her, and "Pariah" has no textbook happy endings for us: Audrey, who thinks Alike's just going through a phase (referred to as "the whole tomboy thing she's been doing"), undergoes no magical transformation. But the joy of "Pariah" is watching both Alike's tentative, heartfelt emergence as an independent woman, and Oduye's performance, understated yet deeply moving. 

In 2007, Dee Ree's debuted her short film, also called “Pariah” and also starring the mesmerizing Adepero Oduye as Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay and meaning “girl who drives out beautiful women” in West African). Four years later, a full-length version of the film, shot in 18 days and now with the pedigree of Spike Lee as executive producer, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and scored an Excellence in Cinematography Award. “Pariah” is inspired by Rees’ own coming out as a lesbian in her 20s, but said her experience wasn’t quite as traumatic as Alike’s tug-of-war with her parents.

This film outlines what most African American males and females still go through when confronting their sexuality to their families. Finally, there's a film that really discusses this and brings this to our. 

Near the film's end, Alike's finally able to quote one of her own poems: "I'm not running. I'm choosing." 

Enough said, I'm checking out this film this weekend and you should, too.



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  • As a 62yo Black Gay man I don't encounter Black homophobia too often, since I live in a mostly White very far Western suburb - and I stay out of that damm shyt-hole effin' city as much as I possibly can.

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