Pariah: Could This Arty Black Lesbian Flick Go Mainstream?

The most famous African-American lesbian film we can think of is The Color Purple, but it’s not entirely a lesbian film and doesn’t exactly add a ton of color to a lesbian filmography featuring mostly lily white faces. We’re not hating, there’s a place at the table for caucasian ladies, but we love seeing some color in our queer celluloid, which is why we’re so excited about Pariah. So what’s the story?

From Focus Features:

Adepero Oduye portrays Alike (pronounced “ah-lee-kay”), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the support of her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker), she is especially eager to find a girlfriend. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

Dad seems to approve, mom’s not so excited about her daughter “turning into a man”, and Alike gets caught in the middle. A young breakout actress and comdienne Kim Wayans from In Living Color in a dramatic role? Plus, an upper middle class poet instead of a poor urban sister?!! Could this film finally mark progress in more nuanced portrayals of gay black characters? We’ll certainly watch to find out!

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #adeperooduye #african-american stories and more


  • James

    That looks like a good movie

  • Adam

    That looks really good (and not nearly as cloying as Precious.)

  • fuzzy

    That looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see it.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Adam: It would be great if it received as much attention as Precious, but since this is about a lesbian, it probably won’t happen. Oprah, Mariah, Ellen, etc. need to get behind this movie just like they did Precious, or else they are homophobic.

  • j

    @TheRealAdam: They aren’t at all. Precious was an incredible movie. If this movie is just as good and they ignore it, then yeah. But if its a poor show it would be patronizing to back it just because its gay. I really hope it is good, though.

  • ChiGuy76

    Actually, the most famous black lesbian movie is “The Watermelon Woman.” An extremely good movie as well.

  • Hotone2me

    I Can’t wait to see this film… Its looks very powerful!!!

  • Diva

    Unfortunately, white gays and lesbians will not go see this movie. You see, blacks are seen as being beautiful. Remember, white is alright and the symbol of beauty.

  • Diva

    Correction: You see, blacks aren’t seen as being beautiful by the majority white gay community.

  • IAbuseGays

    @TheRealAdam: Do you ever stop?

  • boomerangs

    I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and this one looks like it’ll subvert some stereotypes. Sounds promising. Hopefully I’ll be able to see it in Canada!

  • Alex

    I’d definitely watch this, even though I generally find that I can’t relate to lesbian movies/shows. The production values look on point, and the acting seems pretty good. I think this was funded through a kickstart project, or something similar… hopefully we’ll see more great indie gay films coming up that way.


    @Diva: Ms. Diva i really have to agree with you on this one.

  • precious

    please dont ever stop doiong what you guys are doing thier are so many kids out here with no where to turn because they struggle with coming out everyday you never no what child is going to see this and find thier answer……….this is great

Comments are closed.