BY MICHAEL HITCH
The non-profit organisation for queer migrant women, SheQu, put representation to the forefront after holding a protest screening of “The Revival: Women and the Word” (2016), an award-winning documentary directed by Sekiya Dorsett about a US tour group of black lesbian artists.
Screened for the first time at the Red Rattler Theatre last week, the documentary followed five poets and musicians who shared their stories across the US and Canada on “The Revival Poetry Tour,” a movement to strengthen community connections among queer women of colour.
The documentary also featured interviews from black feminist and queer speakers, including Alexis De Veux and Nikki Finney, who shared insights about the culture of queer women of colour and the importance of reinvigorating a slowly stagnating art scene.
Among fold-out chairs and battered couches, SheQu community members watched as the black female artists battled through sleepless nights, stage fright, family drug abuse and ceaseless racism in the name of strengthening their dispersed queer community.
Founder of SheQu and organiser of the protest-screening Kamalika Dasgupta said that the event was meant to bring queer women of colour to the front of the show, while also disrupting the stereotypes and traditional roles that women of colour have on the big screen.
“We wanted to promote queer women of colour and talent. I haven’t seen a specific space that honours queer women of colour. Instead of just having the side roles of loud, obnoxious people, which you see in a lot of Hollywood movies – we wanted to show unique women of colour.
“We wanted to show women of colour who have talents, especially women of colour from ethnic backgrounds, so we decided to change the status quo and show that representation matters. If you see yourself in a movie or a documentary you can think ‘hey, I relate to that’ or ‘hey, I can do that’.
“For example, Hollywood took so long to recognise a woman of colour with Halle Berry winning the Best Actress Award, a huge thing, right? But imagine what the conditions are still like for a queer woman of colour.
Turkey baster talent
“That’s why we wanted to bring these talents together to share with our community.”
The documentary shows the highs and lows of the journey, from the group’s encounters with a racist cop-calling neighbour to the tedium of grocery shopping on the road – including one scene where Jade Foster, founder of ‘The Revival Poetry Tour,’ picks up a turkey baster as she searches the isles.
“If anyone wants a baby – Imma make it happen,” she said grinning to the camera.
Event attendee, Amy Liu described how such scenes were reassuring of her own experiences in life.
“I deal with that sort of hard-racism. I’ve also made a fair few turkey baster jokes in my day. It’s just so good, so comforting to see your own experiences being lived out by other people.”
SheQu holds Quarterly events and workshops. If you’re interested in joining the community then check out its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/SheQuGroup/