While there are certainly an array of issues facing the LGBTQ community, there’s no question that marriage equality is at a tipping point–and that black folks are playing a major role in that. Last month alone, three more states (Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota) enacted laws extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Just eight months ago, Maryland – where black voters are a key constituency – took up the issue in an election that made history. And soon, in June, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two historic gay marriage cases that could re-shape the debate.

In the timely documentary THE NEW BLACK, award-winning filmmaker and journalist Yoruba Richen challenges the assumptions about homophobia in the African-American community, setting off an impassioned conversation about gay rights, family history, the role of the Church and the legacy of the civil rights movement. The film recently made its world premiere  at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is set to debut in New York City on June 19 (7PM at the IFC Center) and June 20 (6:30PM at the Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center).

We meet activists, families, and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, a state with a 30 percent African-American population. Through this story, the film examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church—and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. THE NEW BLACK takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.

Learn more about the film here.

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