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Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities 2022-23: Black & Queer Event and Readings

Black & Queer Event

Black and Queer: Revisiting Intersectionality with Marlon Riggs's Black Is...Black Ain’t
Conversations inspired by Barbara Smith, 2023 Hess Scholar-in-Residence
A National Coming Out Day Event
Wednesday, Oct. 12th, 4:00 to 5:30 PM (Online Event)
The event will center around National Coming Out Day. The event will serve as an exploration of Barbara Smith's work on intersectionality, identity, sexuality, politics and community.  The panel of speakers will use clips from the Marlon Riggs film to comment on the theme's highlighted above and how they intersect with Barbara Smith’s work (Smith herself is featured in the film). After the panelists' discussion, students, staff and faculty present at the event will be asked to join the conversation. 
Kiara St. James, Founder and Executive Director, New York Transgender Advocacy Group
Stephen Winter, award-winning filmmaker, writer, artist, Film Department, Brooklyn College
Joseph Baez, American Studies, George Washington University; Brooklyn College Alumni Class of 2018
Kaneita Marcelin, artist and activist, current Brooklyn College student
Moderator: B. Aultman, Women and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College


TO VIEW THE FILM IN-PERSON: There will be an in-person screening of Black is...Black Ain’t on Thursday October 6 from 12:30-2PM at the Women’s Center, 227 New Ingersoll. 


TO ATTEND AN IN-PERSON LIVE STREAMING OF THE EVENT: The Women’s Center will host an in-person live streaming of the Thursday October 12 panel event. Light refreshments will be served. Women's Center, 227 New Ingersoll  

Stephen Winter (he, him) is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. His 2015 feature film Jason and Shirley premiered at BAMCinemaFest, was called “one of the year’s finest” by The New Yorker. His debut Chocolate Babies premiered 1996 at the Berlin Film Festival. Both Chocolate Babies and Jason and Shirley premiered on the Criterion Channel in Fall, 2021. His Webby nominated fiction podcast series Adventures in New America, an afrofuturistic polyglot sci-fi political satire, premiered Fall 2018 and was compared by The New York Times to Jordan Peele and Boots Riley. Stephen’s next fiction podcast will be The Space Within on Audible, starring Jessica Chastain in Spring 2023. Stephen teaches for Brooklyn College’s Film Department.
Kiara St. James (she, her) has been a community organizer and public speaker. She has used her intersectional identities as a platform to highlight and bring tactile and systemic change. She has been instrumental in changing shelter policies that were discriminatory towards the Trans community, and presented workshops concerning marginalized communities at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria and the United Nations, as well as at other conferences and academic institutions. Kiara coordinated meetings with legislators to discuss the importance of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. The  bill was passed in 2019 and enriched the lives of all New Yorkers through creating culturally affirming spaces.  Kiara is the Founder and current Executive director of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG Inc), a grassroots  501c-3 non-profit organization, that is Trans-led and intent on creating new opportunities for the Trans community.
Joe Baez (he/him, she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of American Studies at George Washington University. In her dissertation research, Joe looks at how queer, trans, fat women and femmes of color represent themselves in the arts and in media, with chapters focusing on Laura Aguilar, Mark Aguhar, and TS Madison Hinton. In 2018, Joe received his Bachelor of Arts in Women’s & Gender Studies and Political Science from Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College, Joe was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, a CUNY Pipeline Fellow, and an alumnus of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) summer internship program. As a scholar, Joe dreams of radically transforming the way we love ourselves, our bodies, and each other.
Kaneïta Marcelin (they, them) is an artist and activist. Their work focuses on intersectional feminism across various mediums.  As a panelist/artist at the Patti Pace Performance Festival, Kaneïta created a short film centering on Haitian womanhood. In efforts to enact an inclusive and anti-racist future with works engaging Black womanhood and identity. As a Black queer activist and scholar, Kaneïta is committed to empowering the BIPOC/LGBTQ+ community and achieving social justice. They are the co-founder of Lakay Nou Organization, an organization providing aid to migrants at the Mexican borders.
B Lee-Harrison Aultman, Ph.D. (or B, for short; they, them) is a political theorist, educator, and trans activist. They received their doctorate from The Graduate Center, CUNY, but has been teaching at CUNY since 2008. Their teaching philosophy is that the classroom is about conversation and interdependent thinking. Their research is situated where the borders of Trans Studies, Critical Theory, and Black Feminist Thought converge. B’s current book manuscript, The Trans Ordinary, is under contract with SUNY Press. Their work has appeared in various peer-reviewed journals such as TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Wagadu: A Journal for Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies and Writing from Below. They have also contributed peer-reviewed chapters to LGBTQ Studies: A Critical Reader (NYU), The Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Politics and Policy, and The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. Their forthcoming research on trans masculinity will appear in the Routledge Handbook of Men, Masculinities and Organizations: Theories, Practices and Futures of Organizing. They’re also excited about contributing a chapter to the anthology Futures of Cartoons Past: The Cultural Politics of X-Men: The Animated Series (Mississippi).
The event is co-sponsored by:
Africana Studies Department; American Studies Program; Anthropology Department; Caribbean Studies Program; Brooklyn College Office of Diversity and Equity Program; Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders Department; Dominican Student Movement; Film Department; GLBTQ Advocacy in Research and Education (GLARE); History Department; Honors Academy; Judaic Studies Department; the LGBTQ+ Center; Mexican Heritage Student Association; Modern Language and Literatures Department; Philosophy Department; Political Science Department; Puerto Rican Alliance; Puerto Rican and Latinx Studies Department; Sociology Department; Television, Radio and Emerging Media Department; We Stand Against Hate; Women of Color Association; Women’s and Gender Studies Program; the Women’s Center

Black Is...Black Ain't

Black Is...Black Ain't
Directed by Marlon Riggs
Produced by Marlon Riggs
1995, 1 hour 27 minutes
Copyright © 1995 California Newsreel

The final film by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, Black Is...Black Ain't, jumps into the middle of explosive debates over Black identity. Black Is...Black Ain't is a film every African American should see, ponder and discuss.

White Americans have always stereotyped African Americans. But the rigid definitions of "Blackness" that African Americans impose on each other, Riggs claims, have also been devastating. Is there an essential Black identity? Is there a litmus test defining the real Black man and true Black woman?

Note: Online streaming access to the film is provided via the Brooklyn College Library's collections and requires CUNYFirst authentication. It is thus only available for streaming by members of the Brooklyn College community.


Additional Films by Marlon Riggs

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)
Directed by Marlon Riggs
Produced by Marlon Riggs
1992, 38 minutes
Copyright © 1992 California Newsreel

No, Je Ne Regrette Rien is a poetic and intimate film presenting moving testimonials and portraits of five black gay men. They each disclose their HIV+ status and how they fiercely combat the stigma around the disease. Marlon Riggs died with HIV/AIDS in 1994 and was dedicated to confronting the urgency of the AIDS epidemic in African American communities and especially among black gay men.


Color Adjustment
Directed by Marlon Riggs
Produced by Marlon Riggs
1991, 1 hour 21 minutes
Copyright © 2012 California Newsreel.

In Color Adjustment, Marlon Riggs - Emmy winning producer of Ethnic Notions - carries his landmark studies of prejudice into the Television Age. Color Adjustment traces 40 years of race relations through the lens of prime time entertainment, scrutinizing television's racial myths and stereotypes. Narrated by Ruby Dee, the 88 minute documentary allows viewers to revisit some of television's most popular stars and shows, among them Amos and Andy, The Nat King Cole Show, I Spy, Julia, Good Times, Roots, Frank's Place and The Cosby Show. But this time around, Riggs asks us to look at these familiar favorites in a new way. The result is a stunning examination of the interplay between America's racial consciousness and network primetime programming.


Directed by Marlon Riggs
Produced by Marlon Riggs
1991, 10 minutes
Copyright © 1991 California Newsreel

Affirmations explores black male dreams and desires and is framed by poetry.


Directed by Marlon Riggs
Produced by Marlon Riggs
1990, 8 minutes
Copyright © 1990 California Newsreel

Anthem is an experimental music video asserting a defiant homoeroticism of African American male sexuality.

Note: Online streaming access to all of the above films is provided via the Brooklyn College Library's collections and requires CUNYFirst authentication. These films are thus only available for streaming by members of the Brooklyn College community.

Films by Stephen Winter

Chocolate Babies (feature film)
Directed by Stephen Winter
1997, 1 hour 21 minutes
Frameline (San Francisco, CA)

Death is Lame (short feature)
Directed by Stephen Winter
2013, 20 minutes 28 seconds

Black Like Jesus (music video)
Directed by Stephen Winter
2018, 4 minutes 35 seconds

Bad Friends (music video)
Directed by Stephen Winter
2018, 4 minutes 20 seconds

Different for Girls (music video)
Directed by Stephen Winter
2016, 4 minutes 4 seconds

Speculum Orum (music video)
Directed by Stephen Winter
2013, 4 minutes 31 seconds

Black & Queer Readings and Resources

"Black Macho Revisited: Reflections of a Snap! Queen" by Marlon Riggs
in African American Review, 2017

"Tongues Untied" by Marlon Riggs
in Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men by Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beam and Dorothy Beam, 2006

"Notes of a Signifyin' Snap! Queen" by Marlon Riggs
in Art Journal, 1991

"Marlon Riggs: The Subjective Position of Documentary Video" by Philip Brian Harper
in Art Journal, 1995

"Expanding the Boundaries of Anthropology: The Cultural Criticism of Gloria Anzaldua and Marlon Riggs" by Ruth Beharin Visual Anthropology Review, 1993

"Cultural Globalization and the Soul Food Memoir: Austin Clarke, Ntozake Shange and Marlon Riggs" by Gamal Abdel-Shehid
in Journal of Historical Sociology, 2002


"When Style Becomes Substance: The Form and Function of a Rap Aesthetic in the AIDS Movie 'Chocolate Babies'" by Kylo-Patrick R. Hart
in Interdisciplinary Humanities, 2011