I can remember the first time I was introduced to the gay community. I was 16 years old. It was a group of beautiful young Black men. They were friendly, kind and funny. They introduced me to the gay nighliife scene–The Clubhouse in Washington DC and The Garage in New York City– and can I say, I’ve never partied so hard in my life! What a moment in time. It was at The Garage that I saw Grace Jones rocking out on top of a speaker, completely naked.
For as great as these experiences were, I was heartbroken to hear over and over again as most of my gay friends had the same unnerving story about being ostracized for being who they were made to be. Some of them had families rejecting them, others were simply not accepting of themselves. That made those clubs their safe haven. I found out that I had a lot in common with them, despite my own gender and sexual orientation, I was a plus-sized Black woman who knew what it was to be ostracized and rejected by both my own family and society because of my size.
When my husband, Sidney and I received the script for Blackbird from Isaiah Washington through our attorney Ricky Anderson, we knew we wanted to be a part of this necessary and amazing film. Blackbird is our love letter not only to the gay community, but to the church community as well. We all want to be loved.
Our hope is with this movie people can start living the life that they were given and not the one someone thinks they should live.
As a little girl, I had an uncle named Donald. My family treated him different and I didn’t understand why until I got older and understood that he was gay. Uncle Donald never really seemed to be too happy, and the only time I really saw him laughing was when he was drunk. "What a way to live," I would always think to myself. Not being accepted for simply being how you were made to be. With this campaign #ThisIsLuv, maybe we can truly understand the meaning of the word 'love.' We believe the moment we practice the meaning of love, people can stop 'coming out' and simply just be who they are. Imagine having to make an announcement that you’re heterosexual. Imagine one day that to be considered normal, you must stop being heterosexual based on someone’s belief and go against everything you feel inside of you–just to survive, to be accepted!. Sounds silly, right? It is.bird
Blackbird is a movie that allows you to come inside and see the journey that one family has to take on the road to acceptance. Julian Walker, who plays Randy, is fearless and brave to tell this story through his eyes and own personal journey. For the parents who may be struggling to accept their baby for who they were made to be, this film is for you. For the parents who are full of acceptance, this film is for you. For every LGBT person who has ever faced resistance for living their truth, this film is for you. With this film and this campaign, we are truly trying to make a difference. We hope not just the Black community, but all communities will come to a place of acceptance so people can really live their truth.
Check out Blackbird which releases in theaters April 24, 2015. Visit the film's official website for more info.