Directed by Marlon Riggs • Documentary • 1995 • 87 minutes
Having grappled with the stereotypes imposed upon black people by white America, Riggs turned his attention to another fraught issue: the definitions of “blackness” that African-Americans impose on each other. Weaving together poetry, commentary from scholars like Angela Davis and bell hooks, and direct address from Riggs (filmed from his hospital bed, dying of AIDS), Black Is…Black Ain’t powerfully confronts sexism, homophobia, and colorism as it makes a moving call for communion among black Americans.
"Like Marlon himself, Black Is...Black Ain't is brilliant, thoughtful, undaunted by anticipated criticism, and profoundly salutary to our health. It's a powerful, interesting, riveting film." —Alice Walker
"A dense, sizzling, stimulating gumbo of thought and emotion...A fascinating, challenging film." —San Francisco Chronicle