Contribute Now
Independent Lens | The New Black | History & Documentary | WMHT
  • Click to contribute to WMHT
  • Click to make/update a sustaining contribution to WMHT
  • Click to join the WMHT e-news mailing list

Independent Lens | The New Black

Posted by WMHT Web Editor on

Preview for The New Black

Watch Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 7pm on WORLD.

From church pews to the streets to kitchen tables, The New Black follows the African-American community as it grapples with the gay rights issue in light of the recent same-sex marriage movement. The film follows the struggle over marriage equality in the state of Maryland, where the battle for the hearts and minds of black voters — almost a third of the electorate — is fought from the pulpit. Through the stories of activists, families, and clergy on both sides of the debate, the film charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community. Directed by Yoruba Richen,

In February 2012, after much discussion, the Maryland legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Immediately, opponents of the law geared up to put the issue before the voters through a ballot referendum — a strategy that had defeated same-sex marriage in other states. On one side, supporters of same-sex marriage included a number of black ministers who were challenging homophobia in the black church. Opposing them were other ministers who believed that gay marriage violated religious principles and who disagreed with placing the issue in the context of civil rights. Against this backdrop the film traces the historical importance of the church to the black community, and explores the personal stories of African-Americans who, although raised in the church, felt unwelcome when they identified themselves as gay.

“For over three years I followed how this issue was being debated and understood in the African-American community,” said director Yoruba Richen. “I came to realize that the issue of gay rights in the black community is in many ways a fight over the African- American family, which has been a contested space since the time of slavery. Marriage is not just about marriage for black people — it’s also about how blacks have become accepted as legitimate participants in American society. The gay marriage question has forced a conversation in the black community, which is taking place in our churches, our houses, our neighborhoods, and at the ballot box.”

Learn the story of how Theodore Roosevelt became our nation’s 26th president.

New York NOW: Education & History

Education Commissioner disagrees with federal attempt to punish opt out schools

The state’s education commissioner, Mary Ellen Elia says she’s fighting a proposal by her predecessor, now the federal education secretary, John King, to punish...

POV Documentary Blog

Doc Memo: 21st Century's Top Films (So Far), HBO to Premiere Charlie Hebdo Doc

POV's daily list of essential reading for the documentary and independent filmmaking community.