'Friends Of Essex' Highlights Black Gay Men's Plight, Paying Homage To Essex Hemphill And Marlon Riggs

Amir Dixon’s new documentary “Friends of Essex” touches on how black gay men grapple with masculinity, identity, sexuality and race.

Mirroring the work of Essex Hemphill and Marlon Riggs, the film explores the idea that young black gay men have been failed, paying homage to to both artists and activists.

Hemphill was a Chicago-born poet and and gay men's advocate. A Texas native, Riggs was a filmmaker, educator, poet and activist whose work focused on black gay men. Both died from AIDS-related complications in the mid-1990s.

“Friends of Essex” w in Boston at the beginning of the year and will be screening in other cities soon. Dixon also plans to take the film across the globe to Uganda at the end of April. Because of Uganda’s pending “Kill the Gays” legislation, Dixon will host an invite-only private screening in that country.

Dixon hopes that his film will inspire the voiceless to tell their stories.

“I want that little kid that lives in Small Town, U.S.A. and doesn’t encounter anyone that looks like them to know that I do this for them. I fight every day for them,” Dixon is quoted by The Advocate as saying.

Visit Dixon’s website for a full listing of screenings.



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