In celebration of Black History Month, Phillip Alexander Downie commemorates the Black LGBTQ pioneers who have exceeded the expectations placed upon them, and surmounted hurdles some called ‘impossible’ to overcome. In this two-part special we celebrate the remarkable people that have changed our path in history, and made the world a better place. Fighting for a voice in their time that sent cultural and artistic shockwaves, and inspiring the voices of the next generation with their actions and ideas—they have fought not to garner acclaim, but to promote love and equality.
Still only representing a small segment of the many voices, both heard and unheard, of the Black LGBTQ community, these pioneers have made great strides across decades, and even centuries—fighting for equality, a voice, a place, and one another. The Black LGBTQ pioneers we explore in these segments include James Baldwin, Marsha P. Johnson, Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley, Alvin Ailey, Lori Lightfoot, Richmond ‘Jimmie’ Barthé, Willi Ninja, Gladys Bentley, Bayard Rustin, Stormé DeLarverie, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Audrey Geraldine Lorde, Phill Wilson, Laverne Cox, Ernestine Eckstein, Barbara Jordan, Ron Oden, Billy Porter, Andrea Jenkins, Essex Hemphill, Janet Mock, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, MJ Rodriguez, Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar, Billy Strayhorn, Lorraine Hansberry, and RuPaul Andre Charles.
While these short summaries can do little to contain the wonderful nuances, struggles, triumphs, and persevering steps taken to create these amazing lives—we hope they do well to encourage the further exploration of the lessons that these pioneers offer. That being said, it is our responsibility to make sure their lives and lessons are not lost or silenced with time, but documented clearly for all to study, cherish, and remember.
We hope that the paths through adversity that their lives took, or the roads that they continue to walk, inspire those who face the same struggles today—and offer understanding, to those who don’t.
Remember to love yourselves and love each other!
The air schedule for this two-part special on MMC Channel 16 in Montgomery County, MD on Comcast, Verizon and RCN is as follows:
Premiere- Wednesday, February 24 at 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 25 at 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 26-28 at 9:00 p.m.
Part II will premiere Friday February 26 after Part I and will air again following Part I on Saturday and Sunday