Aging in the Black Gay Community
Multimedia presentation by Ocean Morisset
Anthony Jenkins- Fashion Designer, Father and Grandfather. Harlem NYC Age 65 (Photographed Jan. 2006. Coat and hat made by Mr. Jenkins.)
MUKURU is a portrait based project that takes a look at the lives of elder black gay men and their experiences with aging in a community driven by youth and beauty.
Respect for the wisdom of elders is a legacy of black culture. We are taught to respect our elders, yet we as a community do not honor them. Africans are traditionally renowned for their admiration, respect and reverence for their elders. The term "elder" is known to have a variety of connotations including the common one of a person who is in a higher age hierarchy. "Elder" can also mean one who is in a position of higher authority or responsibility or one who has masterful expertise in a field. Aging or becoming elderly in the black gay community is often viewed as an affliction rather than a stage of life that deserves to be celebrated.
Many people when they think about gay men, they think about the representations they see in pop culture: young-to-middle aged, urban, and white. They don't think of older men, and certainly not older black men. This project aims to represent elder black gay men as dignified, beautiful and a vital part of the black gay community.
Project participants will be photographed and (voice) reflections about their lives and the black gay community will be recorded. Together, these will form the backbone for what I hope will eventually be a multimedia piece that will inform, enlighten and inspire people of all races and ages.
Some topics that I plan to cover during the interview/conversation are: ageism, homophobia, race, health, love, loss, relationships, family, aging “in” or “out” of the black gay community, and dreams either fulfilled or unfulfilled.
If you are interested in participating in this important project or know someone who might be, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace & Light,