Annie Hoffman here, Student Journalist for the libraries. In this final week of Pride month, I am honoring the incredible contributions of Black LGBT+ activists and artists. Below you’ll find five people that I admire, and a book or film by or about each individual.
James Baldwin (1924-1987)
Baldwin’s novels, plays, essays, and poetry often explore race, masculinity, and sexuality in the United States. His first novel, Go Tell It On The Mountain, is loosely autobiographical.
Alvin Ailey (1931-1989)
Ailey founded his modern dance company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, in 1958. He sought to create an environment in which “the young are not afraid to take chances and can hold onto their values and self-esteem.” Today AADT includes two prestigious performing companies and a dance school, in addition to extensive community outreach work. Alvin Ailey is a picture book about Ailey’s life by husband-and-wife team Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney.
Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)
Johnson was a gay liberation activist, self-identified drag queen, and sex worker. She was a prominent figure in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, a catalyst for the gay rights movement. The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is a Netflix documentary that follows activist Victoria Cruz as she honors Johnson’s life and examines the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
Roxane Gay (born 1974)
Gay is a professor, writer, and social commentator, with more than 743,000 followers on Twitter. She is the editor of GAY the Magazine, and her 2014 collection of essays entitled Bad Feminist was a New York Times bestseller.
adrienne maree brown (born 1978)
brown is a writer, women’s rights activist, and doula. Much of brown’s work is inspired by Octavia Butler, including the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements that she co-edited with Walidah Imarisha and Sheree Renee Thomas. Her first book, Emergent Strategy, was published in 2017.
This coming week, I will continue working to amplify Black voices and to dismantle white supremacy in my neighborhood and beyond.