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"The New Black" screens in Cambridge

The New Black Theatrical Poster
The New Black Theatrical PosterPromised Land Film, Inc..

Bars and clubs throughout Central Square in Cambridge were packed Sunday night, mainly with fans that came to watch the U.S. battle it out with Portugal at the World Cup in Brazil.

But at Moksa a crowd gathered to watch the battle over marriage equality unfold in Maryland with a special screening of the documentaryThe New Black.”

The film, directed by Yoruba Richen, focuses on Ballot Question 6 which legalized gay marriage in Maryland in 2012. “The New Black” highlights the debate in the Black community, particularly in Black churches.

Jhanea “Jha D” Williams and her group, 'if you can Feel it, you can Speak it' organized the screening with the Lesbians Of Color Symposium Collective, Inc., and New England Professional Queer Women of Color.

“There was not yet an official screening in Boston or in Cambridge,” says Williams “so we thought that it was important to do the screening here and to bring our communities that we already serve into this space.”

Even though the documentary focused on Maryland, Williams says the film is still relatable to a local audience.

“The film is essentially about the black queer communities” says Williams “Your experiences through your identity are universal.”
After the screening there was a Q & A where people discussed topics featured in the film, including the attitudes of Black churches and the alliances formed between Conservative White Evangelicals and Black pastors to fight Gay Marriage.

Among those taking part in the discussion was Shelita Hayes, an Army veteran from Dorchester.

“I thought it was an excellent movie,” says Hayes “I feel like they accomplished their goal.”

For Hayes the issue highlighted in the film was a very personal one.

“Being in the military and seeing my heterosexual counterparts being able to get married and I couldn’t I feel like that’s why it’s one of my causes because I feel I deserve the same rights as everyone. “

Williams says the organizers have a copy of “The New Black” available and are willing to help anyone who is interested in setting up a screening of their own, saying they want as many as possible to see it.

“It’s important to keep telling stories and listening to stories being told," says Williams. "It’s very important to us that voices are heard and heard loudly.”