Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Marlon Riggs

| No Comments
marlon_riggs.jpgBorn: 1957
Died: 1994

"America needs to realize the value of having a communicative institution designed to challenge us and upset us. There is value in doing something more than making culture answerable to the marketplace."
- Marlon Riggs

Marlon Riggs is an official honoree today for LGBT History Month 2013, which this year has several HIV-positive honorees.

Marlon Riggs was an African-American filmmaker, educator, poet and gay rights activist who produced, wrote and directed several TV documentaries on race and sexuality in the United States. His most famous films include the Emmy Award-winning Ethnic Notions, Tongues Untied, Color Adjustment and Black is...Black Ain't.

Riggs studied the history of American racism and homophobia at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1978, before moving on to pursue a master's degree in journalism with a specialization in documentary film from the University of California at Berkeley, where he later became a tenured professor of cinema studies.

While he was also teaching and advocating for African-American and LGBT causes, his films won several top festival awards and are now core audio-visual "texts" in many college history and film courses.

In 1988, Riggs spoke before a U.S. Senate Committee to create the Independent Television Service (ITVS), which supported controversial, independent voices on public television. He was later granted the Maya Daren Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute for his professional and advocacy work.

While Riggs shot his final film, Black is ... Black Ain't, in the early 1990s, HIV was affecting his body. He continued to direct despite kidney failures and other ailments that led to his hospitalization, and even appeared on camera in his hospital bed to show his own personal account of life and death with the virus. While shooting the film in 1994, Riggs died from AIDS-related complications.

Go to for more information about Riggs and the other honorees.

Oriol on:

Leave a comment



Subscribe to Blog

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on October 26, 2013 4:54 PM.

Simon Nkoli was the previous entry in this blog.

Vito Russo is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Oriol on Twitter


The opinions expressed by the bloggers and by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong and/or its employees.

Smart + Strong is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information contained in the blogs or within any comments posted to the blogs.

© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy