black./womyn.:conversations… is a feature-length documentary focusing on the lives and views of lesbians of African descent from various backgrounds. The documentary is structured by interviews-”conversations”-the director had with each of the women. It features candid interviews with black lesbian women discussing coming out, sexuality and religion, love and relationships, marriage, patriarchy, visibility in media, discrimination and homophobia, activism, gender identity, Black lesbian youth and elders, balancing gender/race/sexuality, and, finally, what it means to call oneself a Black lesbian today. black./womyn.:conversations… is a piece that provokes honest, progressive dialogue and critical thinking among people in general-and Black lesbians in particular-about how Black lesbians are viewed and affected by society. black./womyn.:conversations… features interviews with close to 50 out, Black lesbians including Poet/Author Cheryl Clarke, Filmmaker/Activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Poet/Author Staceyann Chin, Filmmaker Michelle Parkerson, Artist Hanifah Walidah, Hip-Hop Duo KIN, and Author Fiona Zedde.
This film encourages progressive dialogue about images of Black lesbians and the stereotypes resulting from their portrayal in media and society at large. The director hopes to create conversation among Black lesbians of differing ages, backgrounds about the lack of communication among these groups and how this affects the overall unity of Black lesbians as a group.
black./womyn.:conversations…also facilitates social change by presenting a well-rounded view of Black lesbian women. The women in the film vary in age, gender identities/expressions, and professions. Thus, the project impacts black lesbian women nationally and internationally, especially in remote areas where visibility is minimal. The film also impacts non-LGBTQ communities by deconstructing monolithic understandings of Black lesbians in the media and society as a whole. The film portrays black lesbians at all levels and stages discussing their lives as they relate to relevant topics.
black./womyn.:conversations… came as a result of the personal experiences faced by its Director/Producer tiona.m. and the complex issues she faced growing up as a Black lesbian. Every topic discussed in the film comes from a personal experience in the director’s life. The film was conceived in 2001 and the first “official” interview was conducted in late 2002. With the encouragement of mentor Larry Steele and friends, tiona.m. fully realized the potential for progressive dialogued by the topics she chose and pushed forward with the project as a feature-length film, despite of a lack of production funds. She began investing her own money into the production.
In 2007 she was awarded a Leeway Art & Change $2500 grant to assist with the completion of black./womyn.:conversations…