One young filmmaker is hoping to break down the barriers that encourage discrimination in the black lesbian community.
BET Associate Producer Nneka Onuorah is shedding light on a little known problem among gay people with her documentary, The Same Difference. She shared with Elixher.com that the project was inspired by conversations she’s had with friends about the expectations that people place on each other to fit into their definitions of what it is to be a lesbian.
Nneka recalled that she would often hear people say “you should cut off your hair, you should be more butch” and “you should dress more baggy” while she was growing up. As a former professional dancer that was never into wearing masculine attire, Nneka never understood why it was so important to other people for her to look the part, so to speak.
“It’s almost like a gang,” Nneka said. “’This is the criteria. This is what you have to do or you’re not a part of it. You’re not in it, or you’re not real.’ I thought that was ridiculous. Why do I have to look like you, and you look like me, for everything to be okay?”
She aims to undo this mindset in The Same Difference, where she talks women that have resisted the pressue to fit into what others see as the norm. For example, she’s sharing the story of a pregnant woman that identities herself as a stud. Her decision to have a child has come at a great social cost because her friends have shunned her for keeping the baby. In their minds, studs shouldn’t have babies.
Through her connections at BET, Nneka was also able to wrangle some black star power for her documentary. Crissle West of The Read, Po Johnson of “La La’s Full Court Life,” Azmarie of “America’s Next Top Model,” and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from “The Wire” all appear in the film as it stands.
While Nneka’s Kick Starter campaign seems to have a trailer for a final product, she still wants to flesh out more stories. “I used all i saved to put together what i have so far but there is much more to be done,” Nneka wrote.
“I am raising funds to continue shooting some dynamic stories of young women who are effected by discrimination from their own people,” she explained, “they live on the other side of the United States and those stories need to be told as well.”
Nneka is seeking $15,000 to finish her project. With just 65 hours left in her campaign, she’s only managed to raise $1,936. If you’d like to donate, click here.