To honor Marlon Riggs’ important cultural legacy as well as to facilitate the appreciation for and use of his work, we have created a Marlon Riggs Critical Resource page featuring articles, guides, transcripts and media. We are streaming for free the 58 minute personal and artistic biography of Marlon Riggs, I SHALL NOT BE REMOVED by filmmaker Karen Everett.
Pioneering filmmaker Marlon Riggs (1957-1994) was known for making groundbreaking and insightful documentaries confronting racism and homophobia. Although his life was regrettably short, fortunately he left a celebrated body of work which engages, provokes, encourages discussion and retains power and relevancy into the 21st century.
Marlon Riggs: The Complete Edition marks the first time that his entire oeuvre is available for local streaming licensing. To honor Marlon Riggs’ important cultural legacy as well as to facilitate the appreciation for and use of his work, we have created a Marlon Riggs Critical Resource page featuring articles, guides, transcripts and media.
Ethnic Notions, scrutinizes 150 years of deeply rooted anti-black stereotypes which have implanted themselves in U.S. culture. It remains one of the most widely used texts in college courses. Riggs followed up with Color Adjustment, an award-winning documentary on the representation of African Americans in over 40 years of American network television. Both films remain vital resources for interrogating American popular culture.
It was Riggs’ experimental and controversial Tongues Untied, a moving, highly personal, poignant expression of the black gay experience which attracted the most attention. One only needs to follow the present national debates around gay rights to recognize how it remains current along with Riggs’ subsequent works on black gay identity with Anthem, Affirmations, and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)
Completed after his death, Riggs final film, Black Is…Black Ain’t courageously jumps into explosive debates over African American identity. Presenting a variety of black folk across the country, it mixes interviews, performance, music and history while examining how sexism, homophobia, class bias and colorism damages communities. It critiques rigid and restrictive definitions of blackness and advocates a more inclusive vision.
To honor Marlon Riggs' important cultural legacy, two of this country's most prestigious institutions, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Museum of Modern Art, both located in New York City, organized screenings of and discussions around Riggs'work at the end of February 2013. A panel discussion at the Schomburg was streamed live and is archived here.
Riggs became the youngest ever tenured professor at the University of California-Berkeley School of Journalism while making his landmark work, Tongues Untied. The school is now raising funds for documentary fellowships in his honor to match a $100,000 gift from Signifyin’ Works, the non-profit organization which Riggs founded.
BLACK IS...BLACK AIN'T 87 minutes, 1995 Marlon Riggs's final film debates Black identity, white critiques, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, colorism and cultural nationalism.
COLOR ADJUSTMENT 88 minutes, 1991 Marlon Riggs' study of how network television absorbed deep-seated racial conflict into the non-threatening formats of primetime television. Clips from Amos 'n' Andy, Good Times, Roots and The Cosby Show among others are intercut with interviews with producers, cultural critics and actors.
ETHNIC NOTIONS 56 minutes, 1987 Scholars shed light on the origins and consequences of anti-Black stereotypes in popular culture from the Antebellum period to the Civil Rights era.
TONGUES UNTIED 55 minutes, 1989 A landmark and controversial personal documentary essay on experiences of black gay men and the search for identity. It has been critically acclaimed as one of the most important documentaries of the 20th century.