As part of Black History month, The Student Diversity and Inclusion Council held a viewing of the movie Blackbird in the education center.
Blackbird focuses on a black, high school choir boy, Randy. Randy is learning how to deal with complicated friendships, new experiences, and his closeted sexuality.
Randy is, much to the chagrin of himself and his devoutly Christian mother, gay. Because his faith tells him that what he feels is wrong, Randy tries to repress his attraction to men. This gets harder however as Randy meets an older, out man whom he starts a relationship with.
Randy is eventually caught by his mother and has to challenge his honest beliefs around homosexuality.
Despite having a rocky relationship with his father, it is his father who becomes his solace. His dad sees no problem with being gay and admits to Randy that he had homosexual experiences earlier in life.
Despite his father being absent from his life and seemingly representing Black toxic masculinity, it is his father who opens up his opinion on what it means to be a Black man. While the rest of his community is telling Randy that he needs to be devout, straight and hyper-masculine, his dad is showing him a more flexible way to express masculinity.
For those who are not part of the Black or Christian communities, the film did an excellent job of showing the relationship between the two.
Watching this film in the wake of the United Methodist Church’s decision to not allow same-sex marriages made the film that much more powerful. While the decision was not necessarily surprising, many still felt that our society and public perception has not made progress since marriage equality was legalized in 2013.
The film helped show the reality of being a queer, Christian, Black man and the pain that can come along with it. Hopefully, we as society will listen to this pain.
If you’re interested in themes around Black masculinity, LGBTQ issues, and religious communities relationship with the two, I recommend watching this movie. Thank you to the SDIC for hosting this event and bringing awareness to these issues.