Marlon T. Riggs, was a gay African-American filmmaker, educator, poet, and gay rights activist. He produced, wrote, and directed several television documentaries, including Ethnic Notions,Tongues Untied, Color Adjustment, and Black is… Black Ain’t.
Below is the performance of Riggs’ poem “Tongues Untied”. In this poem, Riggs recounts his experiences of racism and homophobia, and his struggle to reconcile his sometimes conflicting gay and black identities. The poem concludes with an acceptance of the integration of his race and sexuality, liberating him from the silencing and invisibility that comes with treating his intersecting identities as separate.