Independent Lens: The New Black

Independent Lens: The New Black

Monday, June 16 at 10:00 p.m.

Maryland's African American community grapples with marriage equality.

"The New Black" documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar — the black church — while exploring ways this phenomenon may have been exploited by political conservatives.

Yoruba Richen’s film takes us from New York to California to Maryland to document the multiple players in this debate, including gay gospel singer Tonex (who now goes by the stage name B.Slade), who shocks the host of Word Network’s “Lexi Show” as he describes his attraction to men.

The film also features Sharon Lettman-Hicks, the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, as well as both a number of black ministers who are challenging homophobia in the black church, and some of the leading anti-gay black ministers as they fight efforts to advance gay rights, working to pass a ballot initiative in Maryland that would reverse the recently won right for gay couples to marry. Maryland has a 30% African-American population and both sides vie to win the black vote in the battle over the Question 6 ballot initiative.