QUEER HARLEM RENAISSANCE
A MULTIMEDIA SERIES
PRODUCED BY SHOGA FILMS,
IN ASSOCIATION WITH AFRONAUT MEDIA
NARRATED BY DAVEED DIGGS
WATCH OUR FEATURED SHORT FILM,
“Congo Cabaret” is an adaptation of an episode from gay writer Claude McKay’s then-bestselling novel, Home to Harlem. Set in a small nightclub, this scene presents the little-known figure of a “wolf” (a masculine gay man) and features the performance of a Bessie Smith song, “Foolish Man Blues,” which refers in a joking manner to “a mannish acting woman and a skippin’ twistin’ woman-acting man.”
"Harlem Spotlight (short)", Harlem Int'l Film Festival, 2018 Closing film, Black Queer Film Festival, 2018
Best Cinematography, Black Queer Film Festival, 2018
Best Short Film, California Music Video and Film Awards, 2018
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HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW
Shoga Films has produced and developed a series of short films and documentaries about the unsung, yet influential LGBTQ+ community of the Harlem Renaissance - one of the most revered movements of Black art & culture in America.
While the emphasis on racial transformation has been celebrated over the years, not many people are aware of the queer contributions of artists like, Ma Rainey, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gladys Bentley, & Claude McKay - all of whom greatly influenced black art & culture in the 1920s.
Even the works of well known figures (such as, Langston Hughes & Bessie Smith) have had their complex sexuality de-emphasized over time, or in some cases, left out entirely.
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LEARN MORE ABOUT
Queer Blues Divas
Bessie Smith + Ma Rainey + Ethel Waters + Alberta Hunter + MORE
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MEET THE DIRECTORS
ABOUT THE GOSSFIELDS
Congo Cabaret (2018)
Smoke, Lilies, & Jade (2020)
Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett are the creators of the award-winning cable anthology series, THE DL CHRONICLES, a series about men of color who lead double lives, which premiered internationally on the cable network Here! TV in 2007. A recipient of the 2008 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Television Anthology, it earned the added distinction of being the first African American television series to be nominated and win the coveted award.
The Gossfields began working with Shoga Films in 2018 with the production of CONGO CABARET, which received acclaim and appeared in multiple film festivals. Following up on the success of their first collaboration with Shoga, they returned to direct and produce the upcoming, Richard Bruce Nugent adaption, SMOKE, LILIES & JADE.
The creative team of LeNear and Gossett have also developed/produced TV series such as The Zane Chronicles (HBO/Cinemax), Face Off (Syfy), Family Dance Off (ABC), Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew (MTV), The Sing Off (NBC), Make Your Mark Shake It Up Dance Off (The Disney Channel), and The Laugh Factor (The CW).
DIRECTORS AVAILABLE FOR PRESS UPON REQUEST
OTHER NOTABLE CONTRIBUTORS
Narrator, Mood Lavender: A Prospectus
An Oakland native & early collaborator of Shoga Films, the actor/musician rose to fame in 2015 as an original cast member in the Broadway smash hit musical, HAMILTON for which he won both a Grammy Award and Tony Award. He is also the vocalist of the experimental hip hop group, Clipping.
Narrator, Smoke, Lilies & Jade
A multi-talented performer from Pittsburgh, he won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots. He currently stars in the television series, Pose for which he won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first openly gay black man to win in any lead acting category.
An American author, poet, critic and playwright whose writing centers on women's experiences, particularly those of LGBTQ women of color. She is best known for her lesbian vampire novel -- the first of its kind -- The Gilda Stories. Her latest play, Leaving the Blues, is based on the life of the lesbian blues singer Alberta Hunter.
MEET THE PRODUCERS
Dr. Robert Philipson
A former academic professor of African-American studies with a passion for Jazz & African art. A published author and Harlem Renaissance historian, he has produced multiple films about the intersectionality of Race, Music, & Sexuality.
Marcus Cinque Harris
Digital Media Manager
Harlem native & Afrofuturistic Hip Hop artist specializing in digital media campaigns & design. As creative director of the production collective, Afronaut Media, he manages artists & brands through collaborative media focused on art & activism.
Lead singer of the Oakland-based ensemble, MAD NOISE, whose latest album “For My Mother” was released in 2018 and guitarist for the SF-based punk rock band, The Truants. He’s currently developing a musical about experience of Black lives at the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo, NY.
A multi-award winning director, producer, and executive producer. Focused on powerful social-issue filmmaking in documentary and narrative genres. Amongst his better-known features are The Watermelon Woman, The Weather Underground, and most recently House of Cardin.
A songwriter and content producer. She has released 2 albums independently and an instructional web series called, GUITAR BASICS. Currently, she's producing the digital series, SECTION8 which uses pop music to address socio-economical issues, sexuality, and equality for women of color.
PRODUCERS AVAILABLE FOR PRESS UPON REQUEST
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