Filmmaker, activist and professor Katina Parker is launching “Truth. Be. Told.,” an episodic-documentary series aiming to tell the oft-neglected stories of the black LGBT community.
Parker describes the premise of the series as:
Truth. Be. Told. is a documentary series that seeks to reclaim the birthright of Queer Black Visionaries within our families and communities by providing a platform for out, Black LGBTQI-SGL-TS people to tell their personal stories of challenge, radical self-inquiry, transformation, and triumph.
Truth. Be. Told. tells stories of transcendence and triumph by positioning the cultivation of personal identity and transformation as a mark of innovation.
Each 30-minute episode will feature a conversation with a visionary. Some of the notable figures who’ve committed to the project are renowned-poet Staceyann Chin; former New York Times health editor, Linda Villarosa; and creator of the Black Girl Dangerous blog, Mia McKenzie. These prominent individuals and others featured will discuss how their intersectional identities have impacted and influenced their lives, loves and careers.
“Truth. Be. Told.” is still in the development phase, but Parker hopes to create 122 episodes featuring 122 queer visionaries.
“We have only scratched the surface when it comes to visibility for black LGBT people. While our stories are told more frequently than they used to be, our lives are shared in sound bites,” Parker told Black Enterprise. “We need more prime time real estate in media so that we can more fully engage in dialogues about who we are and what we stand for.”
Parker will direct the series, but the executive producers include “Noah’s Arc” producer, Carl Ann Shine and Independent Television Service’s Jennifer MacArthur.
The executives hope to raise $4,000 by June 17 to couple with the $4,000 raised during a previous Indiegogo campaign. The crew will use the funds for several purposes including attracting investors; shooting, editing and finalizing a pilot episode; submitting the pilot to film festivals; and pitching to several outlets, including Netflix, iTunes, TVOne, BET and Showtime. Only $225 has been raised thus far, but there are still 11 days to donate.
All of the perks offered to donors are named after influential LGBT figures, including Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, June Jordan and Marlon Riggs. It’s an ode to the power of telling these stories.
Parker sums this up best with this statement on the funding page:
The basic premise of Truth. Be. Told.: in order to become all of whom we were sent to be, as Queer Black people, we have been pushed to question everything about our multiple layers of identity – race, gender, sexuality, class, vocation – and then reconcile who we know ourselves to be with the identities our families and society-at-large have constructed for us. Some of us face rejection from our parents, children, spouses, and other family; some of us experience job loss, religious persecution, personal attacks and violence; some of us are more afraid of who we might become than our loved ones who have been waiting for us to speak our own truth. By virtue of being Queer, we do this work in spite of the risks, in order to live more fully.