“Black Is . . . Black Ain’t”

Dir. Marlon Riggs (1994) 87 min.

In celebration of Harlem Pride, the screening of the beautiful and poignant Black Is...Black Ain’t represents the last in Marlon Riggs’ oeuvre. Completed posthumously by his associates, the film, which examines the complexities of black identity in America, is considered his strongest and most moving work. Patching together interviews with black intellectuals like Angela Davis and Cornel West, footage of Riggs himself speaking from his hospital bed as he fought to survive the ravaging effects of AIDS, and clips of Louis Farrakhan and Eddie Murphy exhibiting stunning homophobia, Black Is...Black Ain’t seems to bring home the point that there is no homogenous black culture in America.  This memorial to Riggs is winner of the Sundance Film Festival Trophy Award and the International Association Documentary Distinguished Achievement Award. Thomas Holden of The New York Times writes, “For all its polemics, Black Is...Black Ain’t is embracing and at moments mystical.”

After the Movie:

Patrick McGovern, CEO and President of Harlem United Community AIDS Center, will lead a conversation about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. His innovative Upper Manhattan organization provides a unique continuum of care for clients who have faced significant barriers to care due to poverty, race, HIV status, and sexual or gender identity. Reception, hosted by Harlem United, follows.