Civil Service

When The Advocate published the 2008 article “Gay Is the New Black,” they “pissed off a lot of people because of this feeling that it was saying that the civil-rights movement is over and done, and now it’s the gay-rights movement that’s ascendant,” says Yoruba Richen, director of The New Black, a documentary that examines “how the African-American community grapples with the gay-rights issue, the marriage-equality movement, and the hype over the meaning of the civil-rights legacy.”

As it chronicles the stories of activists fighting for marriage equality in Maryland, “the film examines larger issues around homophobia in the black church, how the Christian right has worked with powerful black-church figures to promote the anti-gay agenda, and also the issue of looking at how these greater politics are affecting the people personally in the film,” Richen explains.

Despite the fact that many conservative black preachers have joined the white Christian right’s fight against LGBT marriage equality, Richen says, “the black church is not homogenous,” and the activists working to reform church policy prove it.

Rocky Mountain PBS presents a free screening of The New Black tonight at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. For more information, go to or call 303-620-5715.
Tue., May 20, 7 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris