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The New Black Premiere on Independent Lens

The New Black Premiere on Independent Lens

Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm (EST) on PBS

Race and Religion Intersect in

the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage

On Sunday, June 15The New Black will be shown to a national audience on PBS. Don't miss this incredible film that tells the story of marriage equality through a Black family perspective. From church pews to the streets to kitchen tables, The New Black follows the African-American community as it grapples with the gay rights issue in light of the recent same-sex marriage movement. The film follows the struggle over marriage equality in the state of Maryland, where the battle for the hearts and minds of black voters – almost a third of the electorate – is fought from the pulpit.

Through the stories of activists, families, and clergy on both sides of the debate, the film charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community. Directed by Yoruba Richen, The New Black premieres on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Sunday, June 15, 10:30-11:30 PM ET on PBS (check local listings). As a member of both the African American and LGBT communities,filmmaker Yoruba Richen is fascinated with the overlaps and tensions between the gay rights and the civil rights movements. She explores how the two struggles intertwine and propel each other forward – and, in an unmissable argument, she dispels a myth about their points of conflict. A powerful reminder that we all have a stake in equality.

In February 2012, after much discussion, the Maryland legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Immediately, opponents of the law geared up to put the issue before the voters through a ballot referendum – a strategy that had defeated same-sex marriage in other states. On one side, supporters of same-sex marriage included a number of black ministers who were challenging homophobia in the black church. Opposing them were other ministers who believed that gay marriage violated religious principles and who disagreed with placing the issue in the context of civil rights. Against this backdrop, the film traces the historical importance of the church to the black community and explores the personal stories of African-Americans who, although raised in the church, felt unwelcome when they identified themselves as gay.

The New Black highlights the work of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) during the marriage equality fight in Maryland during the 2012 election. Our Executive Director and CEO, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, is a featured character of the film. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to see NBJC's mission in action! 

To learn more about this groundbreaking documentary, visitThe New Black companion website which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film's subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.


Watch special video extras HERE.

To learn more about the national premiere on PBS and to check local listings CLICK HERE.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.