HRC Blog

Screening of Pariah

This post comes from HRC Diversity Student Assistant Lauren Waters and HRC Media Production Manager Ben Shallenberger:

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Reel Affirmations collaborated with Focus Features and sponsored a special screening of 2011 Sundance film festival favorite Pariah. Pariah is the coming-out story of, 17-year-old Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay) who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse). Alike feels trapped between the straight world, and the butch lesbian scene in Brooklyn. The film chronicles her silent journey to embrace her identity.

This screening of Pariah was especially significant as it included a panel discussion with Writer/Director Dee Rees, Producer Nekisa Cooper and from the film, actors Kim Wayans and Adepero Oduye -- moderated by NBJC’s Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks. The screening was very well attended with almost every seat of the theatre occupied. Kim Wayans talked openly about her niece being a lesbian, and the responsibility she feels to share the message of equality, even as she plays the un-accepting mother in the film. Dee Rees said the film was well received in places like DC with marriage equality, but wonders how the reactions will fare in neighboring states like Maryland, where it will be an opportunity to open up dialogue about the intersections of race and sexuality.

Attendees also had the opportunity to sign postcards to support the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign.

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