WATCH: A Sampling From the ‘Queer Harlem Renaissance’

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Mar 03, 2020

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance and Shoga Films will spotlight the creative contributions of queer creators in the upcoming documentary short series “Queer Harlem Renaissance,” when it premieres April 10 on

The series weaves shorts and documentary films, such as “Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s;” the forthcoming “Mood Lavender,” narrated by Daveed Diggs; the short film “Congo Cabaret” and the forthcoming Billy Porter-narrated “Smoke, Lilies & Jade.”

“While the emphasis on racial transformation has been celebrated over the years, not many people are aware of the contributions of queer artists, all who greatly influenced Black art and culture in the 1920s,” according to a release. “Even the works of well-known figures (such as Langston Hughes and Bessie Smith) have had their complex sexuality de-emphasized over time, or in some cases, left out entirely." 

In the above trailer for “Blues Divas,” performers such as Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter and more are featured.