Être soi-même (Be Yourself)

The video will soon be available with English subtitles.

Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique:

Our mandate is to promote the well-being and the development of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) black people in Montreal and Québec.  

The story of Be Yourself:

There are very little documents that refer to the realities of black homosexuals, which means that questioning black youth are cruelly missing role-models that resemble them in visual gay representations in Québec. For this reason, the organisation Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique (African Rainbow) wanted to create a visual or written product that would tell the stories of black LGBT people. So, as the Youth Committee Representative at Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique, I decided to write the documentary’s scenario. Through this movie, we wanted to show different people from LGBT black communities; African and Caribbean, that had projects and dreams and who are successful in their life while at the same time expressing their homosexuality.

So I started interviewing gays and lesbians in my circle, who are also a part of Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique. We created a document and we tried to find a director and producer, but it was amounting to nothing concrete. The project was on pause until Carlos Idibouo, the vice president, talked to us about the CCR’s Speak Up! project. We saw in this program the opportunity for us to carry through our project, which corresponded well to the CCR’s objectives.
So I volunteered to direct the documentary.  I structured the scenario according to the interviews that we had already made. I wanted to shift the focus of the documentary on identity conflicts, and show how gay men and women can overcome homophobic and racist prejudice and dare be themselves. The three participants, Steve of Haitian origins, Moustapha of Cameroonian origins, and Luzi of Guadeloupian origins, recall their youth very well, the discovery of their sexual orientation, and the ways in which they succeed in being “out.”

We shot the movie during Gay Pride week. The coordinator of Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique, Sabrina Paillé, who is studying at UQAM, helped us get an editing room there. Alexis, the Director, Sabrina and a friend participated in reviewing the clips during the editing and helped to create a final product that is satisfying and that respects the original theme.
The launch, which took place on 30 September 2011, went very well and the people who were present showed their satisfaction with the project. Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique now plans to add French and English subtitles to the movie. Then, we plan on presenting the movie in different youth centres, community organizations, high schools and colleges, and to create discussion workshops around the subject. We’re also following steps to be able to show the movie during the LGBT film festival Image+nation and our own festival, Massimadi.

Laurent Maurice Lafontant, Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique