Spotlight on: African Diaspora LGBTQ+ Films from AVON

In February we highlighted the Banyon Archive collection on AVON (Academic Films Online). This Pride Month we are showcasing a set of films from AVON that center Black/African/African diaspora LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. These titles are among AVON’s more than 800 videos in LGTBQ+ studies.

A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde

A portrait of the Black, lesbian, poet, mother, teacher and activist, Audre Lorde, whose writings — spanning five decades — articulated some of the most important social and political visions of the century. From Lorde’s childhood roots in NYC’s Harlem to her battle with breast cancer, this moving film explores a life and a body of work that embodied the connections between the Civil Rights movement, the Women’s movement, and the struggle for lesbian and gay rights. At the heart of this documentary is Lorde’s own challenge to “envision what has not been and work with every fiber of who we are to make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.”

Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was a revolutionary trans activist, Stonewall instigator, Andy Warhol model, drag queen, prostitute, and Saint, as well as a downtown New York City fixture. From the 1960s through her too-soon demise in 1992, Johnson persevered through a life embodied by her middle initial P, which stood for “Pay It No Mind.”

T’aint Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness presents the facts concerning the alternative sexualities of famous blues singers in a way that is unsensational yet entertaining. Many people will be surprised at how developed and robust alternative sexualities were 90 years ago. Although some of these women strove to hide and deny their same-sex activities in later years, especially if they turned to religion, their lesbian and bisexual proclivities contributed to the sexual and social freedom they championed for women both in their careers and in their personal lives.

Woubi Cheri

Woubi Cheri is the first film to give African homosexuals a chance to describe their world in their own words. Often funny, sometimes ribald, but always real, this documentary introduces us to gender pioneers demanding their right to construct a distinct African homosexuality.

For more, check out the LGBT Studies in Video channel.