16:09, February 21 136 0

2018-02-21 16:09:06


Before Moonlight: 10 films that celebrate the African American LGBT experience

The Watermelon Woman streams on YouTube and Vudu.

Moonlight streams on YouTube, Vudu and Amazon.

Pariah streams on YouTube, Amazon and Vudu.

Tongues United streams on Kanopy.

Bessie streams on YouTube, HBO GO, Vudu and Amazon.

6. Saturday Church

Director Damon Cardasis helmed this ironic musical about a gay and gender-questioning teen who discovers the New York drag ball scene. Featuring a vibrant cast (which includes transgender icon Kate Bornstein) of cis and transgender performers, the film plays like the love child of Moonlight and LaLa Land.

Saturday Church streams on YouTube.

7. Brother to Brother

Marvel fans will marvel at a young Anthony Mackie in Brother to Brother, a film about a 21st century gay artist pining for the Harlem Renaissance, even though little has changed for black, queer men since. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, though it remains a little-seen gem.

Brother to Brother streams on YouTube and Amazon.

8. Looking for Langston

This short film uses another hybridization of documentary and scripted scenes to pay homage to the plight of black, gay poet Langston Hughes, and the plight of queer men within the African-American community. Looking for Langston caused a sensation on release for its near-pornographic depiction of sex, and for use of Hughes’ estate blocking the use of his poetry in scenes of graphic sexuality.

Looking for Langston is available on DVD.

9. Tangerine

Breaking down barriers of low-budget filmmaking, director Sean Baker film Tangerine on three iPhones. The story of a transgender hooker, her cheating boyfriend/pimp and the other woman (a cisgender woman), Tangerine takes a humorous look at the life of transgender hookers, and scored raves upon its 2015 debut.

Tangerine streams on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and Vudu.

10. Naz and Maalik 

Talk about heady…Naz and Maalik tells the story of two young, black, gay Muslim men as they fall in love in New York. Not only to the have to leap the usual obstacles of coming to terms with their sexuality and falling in love, they also must deal with the FBI investigating them for terrorism. Largely improvised, Naz and Maalik earned wide praise for its unaffected performances and near-voyeuristic qualities.

Naz and Maalik streams on YouTube, Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.

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