Black Stories Matter

A Compilation of Queer & Trans Films That Center The Queer & Trans Black Experience

As an organization, Outfest has a responsibility and commitment to provide space for and uplift the voices of Queer filmmakers of color. It is crucial to further elevate the stories of Black Queer & Trans filmmakers who have paved the way to put Black Queer & Trans characters front and center. This list highlights a collection of films that uplifts and centers Black Queer & Trans voices, emphasizing that without hesitation, #BlackStoriesMatter.

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Behind Every Good Man

Streaming on YouTube

Produced several years before the historic Stonewall uprising for LGBTQ rights in 1969, director Nikolai Ursin’s gently-activist short Behind Every Good Man (c. 1967) provides an illuminating glimpse into the life of an African-American trans woman.

Directed by Nikolai Ursin

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Blackbird

Available for rent/purchase on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube

Randy, a devout high school choir boy, struggles with his sexuality while living in his conservative Mississippi town. His mother blames him for his sister’s disappearance as his father guides him into manhood.

Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk

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Brother to Brother

Available for rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube

Perry (Anthony Mackie) is a would-be painter struggling to find his voice as an artist and his identity as a black gay man. When his disapproving father kicks him out, he winds up in a homeless shelter where he meets a sympathetic gay poet named Bruce (Roger Robinson). As they get to know each other, Perry learns that Bruce was at the center of the 1920s and ’30s Harlem Renaissance and faced many of the same prejudices and challenges in his day that Perry faces now.

Directed by Rodney Evans

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Cheryl Dunye Collection

Streaming on Criterion

The inventive, self-reflexive films of independent trailblazer Cheryl Dunye offer multilayered, sharply funny commentaries on the intersections of black and queer identity.

An Untitled Portrait
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Greetings from Africa
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Janine
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She Don't Fade
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The Owls
the owls
The Potluck and the Passion
the potluck and the passion
The Watermelon Woman
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Vanilla Sex
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D.E.B.S

Streaming on Amazon Prime

The star (Sara Foster) of a team of teenage crimefighters falls for the alluring villainess (Jordana Brewster) she must bring to justice.

Directed by Angela Robinson

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If She Grows Up Gay

Streaming on YouTube

A blue collar African-American mother talks about her pregnancy and raising her daughter with her lesbian lover.

Directed by Karen Sloe Goodman

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I’m Not Your Negro

Streaming on Amazon Prime, iTunes

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.

Directed by Raoul Peck

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Moonlight

Streaming on Netflix

A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him.

Directed by Barry Jenkins

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Naz & Maalik

Streaming on Hulu, Netflix, Tubi & Vudu 

Two closeted Muslim teens living in Brooklyn struggle to come clean about their sexuality.

Directed by Jay Dockendorf

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Pariah

Available to rent/purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Teenage Alike (Adepero Oduye) lives in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood with her parents (Charles Parnell, Kim Wayans) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse). A lesbian, Alike quietly embraces her identity and is looking for her first lover, but she wonders how much she can truly confide in her family, especially with her parents’ marriage already strained. When Alike’s mother presses her to befriend a colleague’s daughter (Aasha Davis), Alike finds the gal to be a pleasant companion.

Directed by Dee Rees

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Rafiki

Streaming on Kanopy

Two young women in Kenya risk everything for their budding romance in this remarkable debut by Wanuri Kahiu.

Directed by Wanuri Kahiu

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Shakedown

Streaming on Criterion

From 2002 to 2015, filmmaker Leilah Weinraub documents explicit performances in an underground lesbian club in Los Angeles.

Directed by Leilah Weinraub

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Strong Island

Streaming on Netflix

When filmmaker Yance Ford investigates the 1992 murder of a young black man, it becomes an achingly personal journey since the victim, 24-year-old William Ford Jr., was the filmmaker’s brother.

Directed by Yance Ford

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The Happy Sad

Streaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi

The lives of two couples in New York City — one, gay and black, and the other, heterosexual and white — intertwine when they explore sexual identity and redefine monogamy.

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Tongues Untied

Streaming on Kanopy

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs gives a voice to communities of gay black men, presenting their cultures and perspectives on the world as they confront racism, homophobia and marginalization.

Directed by Marlon Riggs

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Vision Portraits

Streaming on Apple iTunes

The creative paths of blind and visually impaired artists are chronicled. Subjects include photographer John Dugdale, dancer Kayla Hamilton, writer Ryan Knighton and the film’s director, Rodney Evans.

Directed by Rodney Evans

Although these films are not currently available on streaming platforms, we find these films equally as important to showcase.

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Looking for Langston

Fantastical reflection on the story of African-American writer and poet Langston Hughes and the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage alongside dream-like reconstructions.

Directed by Isaac Julien

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Punks

The never-ending search for Mr. Right takes a surprise detour into totally unexplored territory with “Punks.” This sparkling, rhythm-and-blues-driven romantic comedy is the story of four close-knit friends trying to find that mythical relationship that will make finally make things right. But if you think that sounds familiar, think again, because “Punks” is the first-ever comic love story set amidst the world of African-American gay men.

Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk

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Young Soul Rebels

Two disc jockeys (Valentine Nonyela, Mo Sesay) have a friend’s murder to solve in the fringe-group melting pot of 1977 London.

Directed by Isaac Julien

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