The Black Gay & Lesbian Archive’s Film and Book series - Ordinary People presents
A Marlon Riggs Retrospective - Screening and Panel Discussion
Affirmations, Anthem and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)
On Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Marlon Riggs (1957-1994) was a gay African-American filmmaker, educator, essayist, and human rights activist. Riggs 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 modern representations of race, gender and sexuality in the US.
We asked our panelists to talk about what excites them about Marlon Riggs’s work. Here’s what they had to say:
“He was a fiercely intelligent person who was also very down-to-earth and regular… a sweeter person you couldn’t find, except when it had to do with business. He was quite matter-of-fact about what he wanted, what he would and wouldn’t do. And that came through in the quality and universality of his work, the fact that it stands the test of time.”—Al Cunningham
“25 years after he created Tongues Untied, the film is still relevant. There are areas where we can see the conversation has grown and expanded in terms of black masculinity and sexual identity, but there are still people who haven’t seen the film but who watch it for the first time and have a similar reaction to the work as people did during the height of the culture wars of the late 80s and 90s.” —Rhea Combs
“I find Marlon’s work exciting because as Alice Walker said years ago, he was “undaunted by anticipated criticism,” which means he was fearless. I also liked that he dug into sensitive areas around race, gender and sexuality for everyone, but that he particularly wanted to communicate with Black folks about these issues. He challenged us to examine issues with the hope that – in the end - we would be stronger.”—Cornelius Moore