This loving film biography provides a fitting memorial to Marlon Riggs, the gifted, gay, black filmmaker who died from AIDS in 1994. It traces his development from a precocious childhood in the close-knit African American community of Fort Worth, Texas, through his political awakening at Harvard, to his final years as a courageous advocate for stigmatized people everywhere. Clips from all eight of Marlon's films show how he evolved a unique experimental documentary style, mixing poetry and criticism, the personal and the political.
It recounts the 'Culture War' which erupted around his autobiographical Tongues Untied and reached the Senate floor and nightly news, turning Marlon into an articulate and courageous spokesman for free expression. It also documents his long, harrowing battle against AIDS, sustained by his desire to complete his legacy to the African American community, Black Is...Black Ain't. Family, friends, students and co-workers discuss Marlon's profound impact on their lives and work. As his U.C. Berkeley colleague, Dr. Barbara Christian, observes: "Marlon opened a space in which black people in America can be represented."