Silence is my shield; it crushes
Silence is my cloack; it smothers
Silence is my sword; it cuts all ways

Something I found very profound about the way that Marlon Riggs designed and directed Tongues Untied is the way he incorporated poetry and made it very personal to have an effect of empathy and relay his message to his audiences. I think having music, spoken word, dance, and chants makes his message accessible in different avenues, all through the camera in which we gaze.

The most significant moment to me was the discussion of being black as well as gay—as if identity must be labeled and prioritized, as if you must select one identity or the other. Intersectionality is still an issue that remains prevalent today; when some voices grow louder, others are marginalized, another act of violence. Something we talked about today in class was 2 Live Crew, and the censorship of art and music in a black group. Although I wholeheartedly disagree with censorship, there is still something to be said about the violence against women and women of color that 2 Live Crew’s music promotes. Why is it that when one group begins to advance, they must put down another to succeed? This is an underlying question that remains when discussing intersectionality and ways to grow and promote one another, together.

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4 responses »

  1. nlredmond says:

    I like the way you talk about the access that Marlon Riggs created through incorporating different art forms and methods of expression – that is not something I thought about. I also really love the way the inclusion of the poetry, voguing, aspects specific to black LGBTQ culture (snaps), etc. and his personal monologues of his thoughts and experiences surrounding his identity very clearly outline the audience that this film is meant for. He is talking about his own community and his own life, and the movie was evidently created for black gay men, not a mere observation of that community for outsiders to consume. The overall massages of black men loving black men being revolutionary is a radical in so many ways, and Riggs, pulling from his own experiences with anti-blackness, knew how important that message was for his community.

  2. lagray700 says:

    Your question, “Why is it that when one group begins to advance, they must put down another to succeed?” is really something interesting to think about. I wonder if it is even possible to succeed without putting down another group…it seems that the only way for one group to look better is to make another group look worse…

    • sonyajendoubi says:

      I have to agree, often the way to connect to the majority is by siding with them on other aspects. Often these other aspects become the critic of other marginalized groups. They believe that the only way to succeed is finding a way to make themselves look better and more acceptable, by making another group seem “worse than them.”

  3. hannahginsberg says:

    I think the point you bring up of “Why is it that when one group begins to advance, they must put down another to succeed?” is a really interesting point that needs to continue to be addressed. I feel like people think it is okay to put other people down in order to seem more superior but the truth is that is never okay. Yet it happens all the time in micro and macro settings and I wonder how it can be stopped. Can it be stopped? Will people give up feeling superior in order to be equal and try acceptance?

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