Katina Parker is the Creator/Director for Truth. Be. Told. - see bio details below.
The basic premise of Truth. Be. Told.: in order to become all of whom we were sent to be, as Queer Black people, we have been pushed to question everything about our multiple layers of identity - race, gender, sexuality, class, vocation - and then reconcile who we know ourselves to be with the identities our families and society-at-large have constructed for us. Some of us face rejection from our parents, children, spouses, and other family; some of us experience job loss, religious persecution, personal attacks and violence; some of us are more afraid of who we might become than our loved ones who have been waiting for us to speak our own truth. By virtue of being Queer, we do this work in spite of the risks, in order to live more fully.
MONEY RAISED TO DATE:
Within the last year we raised $9,000, which was $1,000 short of our funding goal. The $10,000 was needed to create a pilot episode of Truth. Be. Told., to be screened at festivals and pitched to networks. Even though we didn't reach our goal, we made the money stretch really far! We filmed interviews in New York; Charlotte; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles with Staceyann Chin - Jamaican-born, Tony award-winning playwright, poet, and mother; Kai M. Green - transgender filmmaker, writer, and activist; Ryann McKenzie, co-founder of brklyn boihood; Phill Wilson, Executive Director for the Black AIDS Institute; Baron Artist aka B. Dot, OUTmusic award-winning musician, poet, and visual artist; Manchild Black, Recording artist, DJ, owner of Hype Life Music & 1/2 of The Illustrious Blacks; and Darnell Moore - writer, activist, and social commentator for Huffington Post, Feminist Wire, and several other publications.
The seed money gifted to us by our generous supporters gave us an opportunity to refine our production process and to explore ways of telling each person's story from their unique perspective. We want each episode to feel lived in, not like we came and did an interview, then dropped in some B-roll. We want each image, each word, to captivate and inspire.
In order to debut full episodes this winter, we need to raise $24,000 by Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 11:59pm. We are asking each you to (re)invest in Truth. Be. Told and to invite 3 friends to do the same.
The break-down of how the money will be spent is as follows:
$2750 Complete editing for Staceyann Chin's episode
$5000 Complete interview process and editing for Kai M. Green's episode
$5000 Complete interview process and editing for Darnell Moore's episode
$10000 Shoot and edit Miss Major's episode
The 4 Truth. Be. Told. episodes that we produce will be used to:
• Secure digital platform distribution via Vimeo on Demand, HuluPlus, Netflix, iTunes, and/or AmazonVideo on Demand;
• Secure network distribution via either Logo, Showtime, BET or TVOne;
• Screen at pride festivals, film festivals and LGBT events throughout Fall 2014;
• Attract investors, foundation money, press attention, and other needed resources.
Stretch Goal: For every add'l $10,000 that we raise, we will shoot and edit 1 episode.
ABOUT KATINA PARKER
My name is Katina Parker. Some of you may know me from my years as a communications strategist for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), and Southerners on New Ground (SONG). My background is filmmaking, photography, design, writing, and activism. As a part of my communications training, I also have an expertise in social media campaigns, messaging, and traditional media strategies. Present-day, I am an instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; I am the writer/producer/ director for a film called Peace Process, which airs regularly on The Documentary Channel; and I am working on a touring exhibit and book called One Million Strong, which features my photos from the Million Man, Million Women, and Million Youth Marches.
During the three years that I worked at GLAAD, my primary objective was creating visibility for Black LGBT issues in mainstream media. In conjunction with my colleagues, I was responsible for placing with the New York Times and The Associated Press, the stories of Saundra Toby-Heath and Alicia Heath-Toby, a couple from Unity Fellowship Church Newark who were plaintiffs in the 2006 New Jersey marriage lawsuit.
I helped the very brilliant, Tony-Award winning Staceyann Chin publish a preview of hermemoir THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE with New York Times magazine and also pitched her for the courageous appearance that she made on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
I successfully advocated for Patti LaBelle to receive a GLAAD Media Award for her outstanding commitment to LGBT people. I photographed and designed visibility ad campaigns, which I placed with The Amsterdam News, the Los Angeles Sentinel, The Chicago Defender, and several other Black newspapers. I brokered a deal with Black Voices/Huffington Post to feature weekly editorials from Black LGBT activists, including the work of Krys Freeman and former Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Villarosa. Over a period of years, I held editorial board meetings with Johnson Publications, home to Ebony and Jet magazine, which laid the groundwork for them to begin featuring the wedding announcements of same-sex couples.
I did this work to create safety for my community. I also did this work to create safety for myself. There was a time when I felt so isolated that I considered taking my life, when it was easier to be a drug addict than it was to be me. I was clueless about how to be an out, queer Black woman. I saw no one in the world who looked like me, who thought like me, or who had healed enough to serve as a living example of the possibilities that were ahead of me.
I understand the value of community. I understand how media placement fills in the gaps when community is not readily accessible.
When I began at GLAAD, there were only a handful of Black LGBT people who were willing to speak publicly - and intelligently - about our issues. Over the years, I logged thousands of miles spokesperson-training more than 500 Black LGBT issue experts in New York; Washington, DC; Atlanta; etc. In the process, I came to know intimately the network of courageous pioneers who have chosen authenticity over fear, and met many of the bold young people who are poised to take us into the future.
We have only scratched the surface when it comes to visibility for Black LGBT people. While our stories are told more frequently than they used to be, our lives are shared in sound bites, book-ended by the editorializing of journalists. We don't get enough prime time real estate (in media or in formal community spaces) to engage in full dialogues about who we are and what we stand for.
Personally, I can't possibly sit on or sit through another panel, over-crowded by LGBT issue experts of every persuasion, who have been given the task of summarizing all of our collective issues in 90 minutes or less, i.e., coming out, homophobia in black churches, transphobia, Black LGBT images in media, the impact of HIV/AIDS on Black gay men, bullying, gay as the new black, etc. I'm tired of Black communities being blanketly characterized as homophobic. The nuanced and explorative conversations that so many of us have with our loved ones deserve elevated visibility so that others who don't have immediate access to our circles of influence can be included. And we deserve to be strengthened by a show that captures our resilience as well as our commitment to change.
Truth. Be. Told. is a success that we build together. If you fund it, I will make it. And what I make will do us proud. Together, we will create the most comprehensive exploration of Queer Black identity, to date.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
• Recruit your friends to donate;
• Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo;
• Post our promotional videos, fundraising pitches, and other materials to your listserve, networks, blog, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc.;
• Recommend people to be profiled. In your communication, include their bio/photo/video along with a personal testimony on why you think their story should be shared;
• Recommend resources/introduce us to people/organizations that can help.