I found the Tongues Re-Tied reading really powerful, especially after watching the film tonight.
One quote that stood out to me is as follows: “Defining imagery and language as either “acceptable” or “impermissible” then becomes a critical social tool of cultural domination: the charge of “obscenity” or of being “grossly offensive” offers the perfect pretext for silencing a minority’s attempt at ending its subjugation and challenging the majority’s social control. Tongues untied are retied. The suppression of the culturally (and politically) disenfranchised thus continues without compunction. How convenient.” (187)
Riggs is very aware of the hegemonic and ideological structures in place in our society that allow those in power to oppress people on the margins. Challenging the dominant narrative is difficult to do in the mainstream and I think Marlon was very aware of this when setting out to make Tongues Untied.
“But there is another alternative, and this for many is the real outrage of Tongues Untied, and for many, many more, its principle virtue: its refusal to present a historically disparaged community begging on bended knee for tidbits of mainstream tolerance. What Tongues instead affirms and demands is a frank, uncensored, uncompromising articulation of an autonomously defined self and social identity. (SNAP!)” (188)
I definitely got this feeling while watching the film. It was so blatantly a “Fuck You! This is who I am” message being sent in the film. I loved the last line that said something along the lines of Black men loving Black men is a revolutionary act. And I totally agree and I think that Marlon Riggs’ film really is revolutionary the way he uses images, sounds, poetry, and the self.
Also, I watched Color Adjustment for History of American Broadcasting class and it is really interesting to see the difference in style and intention between the two films. It is almost hard to imagine that they were made by the same person because of the vast difference in approach. But I think that it made me respect Riggs more as a filmmaker because he is so aware of intent and audience.