The screening of Tongues Untied was very fascinating to me, because I feel as though I have not been exposed to any form of media similar to this film, which I even have a hard time classifying into a genre. In the film, I was particularly arrested by Riggs’ ability to weave his personal experiences being both black and gay into a larger and more general depiction of black gay men. Riggs was able to speak to the shared experience of being a black gay man, while also emphasizing the fact that there is no one unified story of a black gay man, every experience is different, every experience is valid.
I was taken by the scene in which Riggs passes by another black gay man in the Castro, but both men were too embarrassed, or too proud to make eye contact with one another. I think that this scene speaks to a level of embodied oppression that is so complicated and layered, that viewers from outside of this specific community cannot possibly comprehend its complexities, even after it is explained relatively clearly. This film made me realize how internalized racism and hatred can deeply affect individuals by changing the way they look at themselves, and furthermore other members of their communities.
I also really enjoyed watching the student responses to Riggs, to me This Is How I Love You was refreshingly honest. I think watching response videos made by students that have critical acclaim is particularly inspiring to me because it projects activist media through a more attainable lens. It also reminds the viewer that documenting personal experience is important, and can make a difference to people who are facing similar struggles.