Her Business, or Ours? Outing Lorraine at the Schomburg Center


On Thursday May 22, 2014, the Schomburg Center’s In the Life Archive series, Ordinary People, will feature the program Outing Lorraine, an engaging panel discussion about imposing gay and lesbian labels on public figures who never publicly identified as such. This conversation centers on playwright, activist and intellectual, Lorraine Hansberry. Panelists include Joi GreshamDirector of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, Alexis de Veauxwriter, Steven G. Fullwood, curator, and moderatorShawn(ta) Smith, librarian and writer.

One panelist, Ms. Gresham, along with the moderator Shawn(ta) Smith, share their insights about their personal and professional connections to Hansberry’s work, and if the playwright’s sexuality matters, and if so, to whom and why.

Joi Gresham


I am connected to Lorraine through the blended family that she created in her life and that she left behind when she died.  My father, Robert Nemiroff, before meeting and marrying my mother, formed a close partnership with Lorraine in a marriage that lasted ten years and a deep friendship and creative collaboration that is actually still evolving as we look at and learn to appreciate its scope.  An only child, I grew up as part of that family — a direct beneficiary and guardian of her legacy.  I was trained in the theater from a very early age—benefitting from a close affinity with Lorraine and drawn to her artistry.  My primary career has been in dance.  I would say that Lorraine has deeply influenced and informed my work and creativity. I would also say that growing up inside of Lorraine’s creative realm has profoundly affected multiple and all aspects of my identity as an individual and as an artist. Lorraine was dedicated to art as a weapon in the struggle for human liberation and greater human understanding. She saw this as her fundamental calling as an artist. Her personal identity was factored into this as was her commitment to human service and an unreserved opposition to narcissism and vanity. In this regard, she was vehement.

As we think about Lorraine’s sexuality and its importance I would say that to her, in general — someone’s status doesn’t matter — as much as how they construct their identity.  It is part of a larger continuum of personal and social liberation.  Lorraine was a person who carried multiple identities. Inside of any of those identities she steadily challenged the like-minded to bring a political examination to their engagement, to think about the broader human agency in their actions and encouraged all to focus on contributing to the larger movement of social transformation and civil rights.

Shawn(ta) Smith


Librarians are engaged in the information life-cycle, and I enjoy the work of disseminating information to students and researchers. As an archivist and scholar, however, I am challenged with the notion of “content creation.” In essence, we all have the power to re-interpret, create, and sometimes even, manipulate what others deem as information.

There has been an erasure in our encyclopedias and history books on the African American experience and the contributions that African Americans have made in US History. The erasure of peoples of LGBT experience from history stems from this same act. We – black people, black LGBT people, black librarians, archivists, women, activists, scholars, and queer – are finally in a place of power and access to not only (re)write our histories, (re)claim our rich narratives, but ultimately, to right the wrongs bestowed upon us for generations. It is time to fill in the blanks of these systemic erasures.

 In respect to the conversation of “Outing Lorraine,” this concept of “outing” assumes the existence of shaming those who choose to bring to light a more complete and true Lorraine Hansberry. Being silent when information is clearly laid out before us is a worse crime than erasure. We know that Hansberry was married to a Communist. We know that Hansberry had an FBI file years before Raisin in the Sun was debuted. We also know that Hansberry was involved in lesbian feminist social networks. As responsible scholars and researchers, it is our duty to make connections to these, until recently, disparate points of Hansberry’s life. None of these facets are unrelated; Hansberry’s alliance and social networks with white lesbian feminists provides an added layer of complexity to any implied intentions for her work. Deepening the understanding of Hansberry’s life in mid-twentieth century McCarthy era, by using the analytical tools and access of African American and LGBT scholars and archivists today, the more lessons we as a global nation may receive from Hansberry’s work tomorrow. 


Oops moment~ ni kuya na nakacap

Kanina ~ papauwi na ako galing sa school, ang saya kasi may natapos kami sa social anthro namin~ so nagabang na ako ng sasakyan ko pauwi…swerte naman nakasakay ako agad:) lagay ng earphones sa tenga saby play ng edsheraan songs~ emo sa gilid haha… isa isa ng may sumakay, ang last na sumakay e si kuya na nakacap at yung kasama nyang kuyang mukhang adik na nakahairband haha~ (weird ko magbgay ng description haha) ~ ang weird din ni kuya na nakacap kasi tingn sya ng tingn sakn d ko alam kung ano sapi nya ako dedma lang magnda pwesto ko sa gilid sa tabi ng pintuan kaya emo emo lang kaht medyo nakakatakot na haha… hndi ko narinig na nagpara si kuya na nakacap bigla nalang nagstop ung jeep, so naantala ang pageemote ko-.- unang bumaba si kuyang mukhang adik na nakahairband, nung sya na yung bababa tumingn bgla sya sakin ng biglang napatid sa pangalawang hagdan ng jeep at bgla syang napahga sa labas.. hndi ko naring kung ano nangyari pero nakita ko.hahaha d ko alam kung ano magiging reaction ko kasi kaming lahat ng nasa loob nakatingin lang sakanya hahaha walang tumawa ang plain lang ng reaction nila… si kuyang naka cap pulang pula sa hiya at ang seryoso pa ng mukha nya kaya natatawa ako kanina, piniglan ko lang dahil si lola nakatingn sakin kaya nginitian ko nalang sya hay kuya kung alam m lang kung gano ka kapula… wag kasi ako ang tgnan mo.hahaha XD

Lesson: tumingn sa dinadaanan para d mapatid… haha

Tiona M., Executive Producer/Director of Harriet’s Gun Media, is an award winning multi-media artist whose mission is to make the invisible, visible and to humanize her subjects. She (along with Lisa C. Moore) is currently in production with the Untitled Black Lesbian Elder Project, and shared some information about the current phase of the project.

"We finished round one of filming last fall and we are preparing for the next round of filming and fundraising.  We are currently creating a field research campaign to secure about 4-5 field researchers in different regions throughout the nation that can join us in illuminating black lesbian elder history on a regional scale as well as assist us with locating potential interview subjects for the film. The goal is to present a brief cut/extended trailer of the film early next year that will showcase the general aesthetic that we are striving to reach for the film as well as address the content that we will be exploring within the film. I want to present a high quality film at the end of the day and we also want the various communities that have supported us in financing the film to understand where they funds are going and how they have been used thus far. Events such as the one with the BGLA at the Schomberg allow us to have a check in with the community and hopefully will encourage more folks to join us in spreading the word about the film."

I still get butterflies everytime I see him.

Proven na to. Hahahaha kagaya nung nagpunta kong Sm nung isang araw before nung anniv. namin. Hindi ako mapakali, di ko alam kung makkita nya ba ko o hindi. Alam mo yung feeling na bgla mo makkta mo yung crush mo? Hahahaha! Nakita ko sya eh, kaya patay malisya nalang ako, tapos nung ngbbyad nako sa may counter bgla syang lumapit. Tapos pag alis ko na sabi nya “Hi ang ganda mo naman “ HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 

Hiiii haaaaay hehe
goodmorning really am trying to be okay uhm pano ba…. Gantooo wala… naisip ko lang bgla last month nung nagbreak si gel at edward kase snasabe ni Edward na di na nya mahal si gel, tas si gel di daw sya naniniwala na hndi na nga sya mahal, tas naiinis ako sa knya kase ayaw nya pang maniwala eh snasabe na nga sa knyang ganun kase daw nararamdaman nyang mahal pa sya ganun.. tas nakakainis kase ako din ngayon ganun, hndi ako naniniwala kase hndi naman yun yung pinaparamdam nya saken kapag magkasama kame, hndi ako naniniwala, ayokong maniwala.. kaso pano kung yun talaga yung totoo tas ako umaasa parin. I mean… uuuuuughhhh


Ewan ko. Naalala ko e, nakita ko kase sya kahapon tapos nagulat ako ng pagdaan ko bgla nyang sinabing, ‘ang ganda naman nun’. Wala ng feelings totoo, di ko naman pa kasi sya special someone nun eh, crush lang talaga, kakakilala palang kasi namin, sumama ko sa ‘date’ na yun para makilala ko sya, isa pa may taong espesyal sakin ngayon. Pero, ung date na yun, di ko makakalimutan, pangwattpad yung naging date namin. First time ko pang makipagdate, tapos di ko akalaing matutupad yung iniisip ko lang dati, di naman kami nagholding hands or watever, aba pang magjowa lang yun at sabi ko nga, sumama ko kasi gusto ko sya makilala saka gusto ko talaga mapanuod yung movie na yun. Alam naman yun sa bahay na lumabas ako, di nga lang alam na sa SM north haha. Kaya, wala nakakatuwa lang yung araw na’to. Sana maging friendship pa din kami. Sana wag na syang mabitter sakin. Sya naman yung nawala e, di ako. Nasaktan lang ako nung mga panahong yun, kaya napagdesisyunan kong wag na lang magkacrush. Pero eto, may special someone ako ngayon hahaha at Masaya naman ako.

Michelle Parkerson, co-director (with Ada Gay Griffin) of A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde, shares her insights and thoughts about the film, as well as expounds on the beauty of collaborative work.  

“On a very personal level, working on LITANY, at the invitation of Ada Gay Griffin, helped me get some closure around my own mother’s death from cancer 5 years prior to beginning the film.  There were as well many life-altering meetings and exchanges with the vibrant friends, followers, fellow artists and activists in Audre’s world.  It broadened my understanding, as a writer, of the transformation of words into action.

Very importantly, I discovered the beauty of a good, enduring collaboration with co-director/producer Ada Gay Griffin and the changing community of film crew members and editors.  Independent filmmaking no longer meant an individually-driven/auteur process resting on the shoulder of one person.  We were all responsible, with Audre’s input guiding us, for what LITANY became. Politically, it was frontline exposure to the essential and historical connectivity of human rights and other liberation struggles worldwide. 

I agree with Ada Gay that the 90-minute version of LITANY is truer to and more inclusive of everything the three of us had envisioned.  Many anecdotes told to us by Audre Lorde or by others about Audre I wanted to situate as reenactments in the film or as interpretive/experimental images laced throughout its structure. But early on in the making of the documentary we arrived at an agreement that kept us from going too far on cinematic tangents that would distract from Audre’s biography and work.

Images of Audre Lorde dancing (which she loved to do…) weren’t available, but fortunately she is pictured doing so, exuberantly, in Dagmar Schultz’s new documentary, AUDRE LORDE: The Berlin Years.”

On November 20 at 6:30 p.m. the Schomburg Center’s BGLA will screen A Litany for Survival. After the screening, join the filmmakers for a dialogue. Free.

Register here and spread the word!

Di ko alam anong nangyayare. Di ko alam bat ganto. Di ko alam bat ganto nararamdaman ko. Naging busy sya knina medyo tumagal pag sagot nya pero medyo okay pa nun e then after sinabi nya may kausap sya alam kong lalaki so d ko na lang tinanong kung sino un ano nya ba un pero ewan bgla na lang rn nagbago mood ko.. Tas nakitako ung post nya na kung maging… Nung nakita ko yun tae kung may unlike button lang tlga.. Pak.

Ayaw ko na may kahati sa atensyon ayaw ko na may ibang lalaking…. Nvm. Buhay niya yun di mo mapipigilan kung sino o kanino o ewan…

Di ko rin maintindihan. Hays. Nakakainis lang pag ganto yung nararamdaman di maipaliwanag kaya makakasagot ka na lang ng


BGLA Ordinary People Film Series: A Marlon Riggs' Retrospective

The Black Gay & Lesbian Archive’s Film and Book series - Ordinary People presents

A Marlon Riggs Retrospective - Screening and Panel Discussion

Affirmations, Anthem and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. 

Marlon Riggs (1957-1994) was a gay African-American filmmaker, educator, essayist, and human rights activist. Riggs produced, wrote, and directed several television documentaries, including Ethnic Notions, Tongues UntiedColor Adjustment, and Black Is… Black Ain’t. Riggs’ aesthetically innovative and socially provocative films examine past and modern representations of race, gender and sexuality in the US. 

We asked our panelists to talk about what excites them about Marlon Riggs’s work. Here’s what they had to say: 



“He was a fiercely intelligent person who was also very down-to-earth and regular… a sweeter person you couldn’t find, except when it had to do with business.  He was quite matter-of-fact about what he wanted, what he would and wouldn’t do.  And that came through in the quality and universality of his work, the fact that it stands the test of time.”—Al Cunningham


“25 years after he created Tongues Untied, the film is still relevant. There are areas where we can see the conversation has grown and expanded in terms of black masculinity and sexual identity, but there are still people who haven’t seen the film but who watch it for the first time and have a similar reaction to the work as people did during the height of the culture wars of the late 80s and 90s.” —Rhea Combs



“I find Marlon’s work exciting because as Alice Walker said years ago, he was “undaunted by anticipated criticism,” which means he was fearless.  I also liked that he dug into sensitive areas around race, gender and sexuality for everyone, but that he particularly wanted to communicate with Black folks about these issues. He challenged us to examine issues with the hope that – in the end - we would be stronger.”—Cornelius Moore


Masama ba mag assume? Lalo na kung nag bibigay sya ng motibo? Sino bang hindi mag aassume kapag sinabe nyang “Oy miss na kita”? O sino bang hindi mag aassume pag lapit sya ng lapit sayo? Okaya nasandal sya sa balikat mo? sino pabang hindi mag aassume pag inakbayan ka nya okaya pinapauwi ng maaga ? Parang sya yung tatay ko eh . Pero yung lahat ng yan nagawa na nya sayo pero hindi nya parin maamin sayo na may gusto sya sayo kailangan sa ibang tao mo pa malalaman? Tapos mag tetext lang sya pag nag gm ka na. Tapos mawawala nalang bgla. Tapos mafefeel mo nalang parang OPTION ka lang. Hindi ba masakit?


Do i desrve this kind of treatment… I know i committed mistake to you.. Pero lahat ng sakripisyo na gnawa ko ito lang pala ang kapalit… Lahat ng pagtitiis ko ito lang… I feel so alone… I feel hopeless… Pero tintibayan ko kase alam ko my mali ako… Pero d ba masakit yun ganito… Wala gusto tumabi sa iyo… Para gusto ko na sumuko… Para gusto ko umalis at ayusin ang buhay ko… Kaya mo na ba?? Siguro naman… Only god know na lang kung makakaya ko pa.. Pero sa totoo lang hnd nah.. Wala na saysay na nandto pa ako.. Hnd ko alam siguro bgla na lang ako mawawala at sasabhin sorry… Hnd ko alam kung hanggang san pa… Kase marami na dumaan na pinalagpas ko… Sana bumalik pa yun mga opportunities na yun… Haist… Mahalaga ka kase kapatid kita pero d ba kung ganito tayo para hnd na healthy yun friendship… Whatevr it takes god only knows what will happen… Kaya good luck… Sana hnd mo na lang gnwa yun ipagpilitan mo ipatabi sya sa akin at ayaw nia… Ang labas kase sa akin nabastos ako sa gnawa mo..

We Were There, Too: Black Queer Activism and the Fight Against AIDS

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

Since the epidemic first appeared in the early 1980s, black gay/bisexual men and transgender people have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Organizations, such as Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), have struggled to mount prevention campaigns to respond to the soaring infection rates, particularly among young black men—gay, bisexual and transgender. This panel will explore the factors impacting HIV/AIDS prevention and services for this community.

One of the panelists, Hayat Hyatt, is a Brooklyn-based playwright and artist currently undertaking research for his next project, Villanelle. Below he shares his inspiration for the documentary and what led him there.

Hayat Hyatt:

Villanelle really began in 2011 during the final workshop for my play, A Little Bit Past 9, which focused on a pregnant man, his lover and their families from the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s to the present. After developing the play for a year and watching it with an audience, I realized I hadn’t done enough research on the time period or AIDS itself, and the text reflected my ignorance. And so did the characters.  None of the characters were black or people of color. 

There’s certainly nothing wrong with writing a play with only white characters—people do it all the time. But I felt a strong responsibility to raise awareness to the continuing AIDS crisis and epidemic within the black community.

So, rather than going back to work on a new draft of the play, I immediately asked friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends for advice (thank you MIXNYC, VisualAIDS, Union Docs, and Other Countries). I started setting up interviews and recording them with whoever showed interest in the project. Each interview led me to a new book, or a new source or a new place, and Villanelle was born - an essay film that uses poetry, found materials, and documentary to explore the diverse emotions and experiences of gay black men and the larger black community during, before, and after the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.  

What surprised me at the very beginning of this project was the strong role stigma continues to play in the crisis. It didn’t surprise me to find that such stigma existed (and obviously continues to exist today) but the extent to which shaming continues to prevent people of not only black men and women but people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds from educating and protecting themselves, surprised me.  

Since then, I’ve conducted many interviews with men and women over 40, who were of age during the early years of the crisis and have shared very powerful stories of their own experiences and also memories of friends who were either queer black artists and activists, or ordinary people doing great things.

At the moment I’m still editing, and hopefully wrapping sometime in the new year. If you’re interested in learning more about my project, or being interviewed, please email me, project.villanelle@gmail.com


Register for the program!

This program is presented by the Ordinary People series, a program series centered around black LGBTQ films, books and politics presented by In The Life Archive of the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Division.



Napakatagal co ding hindi nkapag post ..

Alam mo yung nangyari ang imposible? . Ung other girl he likes aco tlga un (^_^) sa ngaun 8 months na kami . Ambilis anu ? Pero before nging kami mrami kaming trials na npag daanan ..
1) friendzone
2) no bf allowed
3) he still like the gurl he was courting before Nging kami
4) close friend co ex niya
Pero nalampasan nmin lhat un .. Pumayag mga barkada nmin pero xempre my sumting doubts ng konti, pumayag ex nia but bgla kaming in.unfriend.
1st 5mos of our relationship we’re very happy having each other. Walang away n nganap .. Tampuhan xempre meron . Until nung nging 6 mos na kming mg on . I know he still like the girl na niligawan nya so aun .. In.ask co xa .. Khit alam co, mskit pren na khit ano plang gawin co Hindi co pla tlga maiaalis ang pgka gusto niya sa girl . And it is so unfair .. All those times na pinagdaanan nmin ? Shit ! HE STILL LIKES HER?! And after that .. Nagkaroon aco ng insecurities .. Ng dhil jan mdali acong mwalan ng gana, nki2pagtalo lagi, nawa2lan ng pasensya at ung trust umuunti .. “Ang arte ano”. Kasalanan co nman kac, aco ung pumatol sa knya eh . Kapag ngka2misunderstanding kami umaabot ng isa o dalawang araw. At minsan humahantong, na prang ayoko na . Ahay .. Kapag pumapag ibig ca nga naman 3.

Hahahahahahaha putek. Yung tawa ko e. Hays namiss ko bgla si sam hahahaha. Pero kahit sobrang nasasakal ako don, minahal ko naman sya. Tsaka sobrang pnramdam din nya skn na mahal nya ko talaga. Kahit pa nung naghiwalay kami ♥ hahahaha natawa lng tlgako sa bandang huli =))))) taenang korny.