Tongues Untied is Marlon T. Riggs’s controversial classic documentary chronicling the black gay male experience. Marlon Riggs’s portrayal of homophobia and racism caused controversy during Tongues Untied’s original 1991 airing on PBS’s P.O.V. series and contributed to the national debate about the National Endowment for the Arts funding for art with nudity, gay themes, and pointed political commentary. Riggs’s stories are fierce examples of homophobia and racism: the man refused entry to a gay bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a gay-bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen. The stories also affirm the black gay male experience: protest marches, smoky bars, “snap divas,” humorous musicology, and vogue dancing.Tongues Untied continues to speak to viewers today with the same power that provoked heated controversy during its original release. Twenty years later, Tongues Untied remains the definitive expression of the gay black male experience as well as the touchstone for the personal documentary filmmaker.The remastered DVD of Tongues Untied includes an archival interview with director Marlon Riggs, and newly produced interviews with Isaac Julien, Phill Wilson, Juba Kalanka, and Herman Gray, as well as never-before-released deleted scenes.
Awards & Quotes
“A black male warrior fighting for the right to love other black men, Marlon Riggs affirms what was nearly lost, newly found: the certainty that black male lives are utterly precious.” -Alice Walker, Author, The Color Purple
- A 1991 interview with Director Marlon T. Riggs· Interviews with Isaac Julien, Filmmaker; Phill Wilson, AIDS Activist; Juba Kalamka, Spoken Word and Rap Artist; Herman Gray, Cultural Critic· Seven minutes of Deleted Scenes and Outtakes· Closed captioning for the hearing impaired