In this post, we feature a coming of age story based in Brooklyn to a documentary that follows the life of a five Kenyan queers making sense of their environment. We hope that you can share in the lives of all these characters and that these stories affirm your existence. For more, our 'Movie' section under the explore button has more team picks of shows you can watch.
That being said, lets get onto our list:
Ifé (Nigeria, 2020)
ìfẹ́ and Adaora fall in love over a 3-day date. ìfẹ́ is looking for someone to share her life with openly but Adaora's family isn't quite accepting. Their love comes under pressure when a critical secret is revealed and the two women have to decide how much they are willing to give up to be with each other. Directed by Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim.
The Legend of the Underground (Nigeria, USA, 2021)
Exposing the punitive laws in Nigeria that have put an already beleaguered community at increased risk of extortion and violence, this documentary follows a group of a young non-conforming Nigerians who have created safe houses in Lagos and Harlem. The filmv toggles between the two cities as daily threats endanger the health and safety of a community united across continents. Directed by Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey.
The Same Difference (USA, 2015)
Nominated for the most Outstanding Documentary Award of 2016 by the GLAAD Media Awards, THE SAME DIFFERENCE is a compelling documentary about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on gender roles. Director Nneka Onuorah takes an in-depth look at the internalized hetero-normative gender roles that have become all too familiar within the African American lesbian and bisexual community. Onuorah shows how these behaviors reproduce the homophobic oppression and masculine privilege of the straight world, while looking for solutions in compelling discussions with community members. Self-identified studs—and the women who love them—discuss hypocrisy in terms of gender roles, performative expectations, and the silent disciplining that occurs between community members. This film features many queer celebrities, including actress Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from the critically acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, and Lea DeLaria from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, living daily with opinions about how identity should be portrayed. Onuorah's engaging documentary shines a light on the relationships and experiences within the queer black female community, intersecting race, gender and sexuality. Directed by Nneka Onuorah.
Stories of Our Lives (Kenya, 2014)
On June 30, 2013, we began collecting and archiving the stories of persons identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex from Kenya. We called this project 'Stories of Our Lives' (the resulting archive is contained in this book) - and we wanted to do this project for many reasons, but mostly because we wanted to tell stories that are not often heard, stories that characterize the queer experience in Kenya. Directed by Jim Chuchu.
I Am Samuel (Kenya, 2020)
Samuel grew up in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He is close to his mother but his father, a local pastor, doesn’t understand why he isn’t married yet. After moving to Kenya's capital in search of work and a new life, Samuel falls in love with Alex and finds community and belonging. Their love thrives despite the fact that Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. Despite threats of violence and rejection, Samuel and Alex move between their co-existing worlds, hoping to win acceptance in both. Directed by Peter Murimi.
KELET (Finland, 2020)
Kelet is a young Somali trans woman who dreams of becoming a Vogue model. Leaving her family in Manchester to return to her childhood home in Finland, she draws on the support of her friends in the Vogue community to immerse herself in Helsinki's glamour. Watch this shy and courageous young woman build a new life for herself, face her fears and her past, and succeed in following her dreams. Directed by Susani Mahadura.
Pariah (USA, 2011)
A rousing success at its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, this deeply felt human drama is the feature debut of writer/director Dee Rees. Adepero Oduye portrays Alike (pronounced "ah-lee-kay"), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. A gifted student, Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the support of her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker), she is especially eager to find a girlfriend. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity. Directed by Dee Rees.
Difficult Love (South Africa, 2011)
"Difficult Love" is an intimate, thought-provoking portrait of internationally celebrated South African lesbian photographer, Zanele Muholi, and her highly personal take on the challenges facing black lesbians in South Africa today. The film features interviews with Muholi as well as with her friends, colleagues and peers, and provides a compelling overview of the artist, her life and her work. This poignant documentary takes us behind the façade of art making and shares with us the highly political environment Muholi must navigate in order to bring her lush photographs to light. Directed by Zanele Muholi.
Reluctantly Queer (Ghana, 2016)
This epistolary short film invites us into the unsettling life of a young Ghanaian man struggling to reconcile his love for his mother with his love for same-sex desire amid the increased tensions incited by same-sex politics in Ghana. Focused on a letter that is ultimately filled with hesitation and uncertainty, Reluctantly Queer both disrobes and questions what it means to be queer for this man in this time and space. Directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu.
Are there any films we have not captured in this list? Add them to the comment section or share them in our ‘What are you watching’ group.