Page 33 - Catalog 46 | 2020
P. 33

16. Langston Hughes (subject)
London: Sankofa Film and Video, 1989. Vintage original 30 x 39 1⁄4” (76 x 100 cm.) British poster. Unfolded, fine.
Director Isaac Julien’s film, which at the time was groundbreaking for its portrayal of same-sex attractions between Black men.
“It combines authentic archival newsreel footage of Harlem in the 1920s with scripted scenes to produce a non-linear impressionistic storyline celebrating black gay identity and desire during the artistic and cultural period known as the Harlem Renaissance in NewYork.
”The film is not a biography of Langston Hughes. It is a memoriam to Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance as reconstructed from a black gay perspective. Moreover, it purports to be a medita- tion on the black gay experience within a histori- cal context built around the homophobia, oppres- sion and denial faced by men of African descent within black communities alongside ’allusions and political commentary on white racism.’
”Hughes is presented as an icon and cultural metaphor for black gay men who were confronted with being ostracized if they did not conform to black bourgeoisie standards whose overriding goal concerned fuller social integration. Contest- ed are the ways the black male and his sexuality have been represented in the modernWestern world and how existing notions of race and gender figure within American and African-American culture.
”Throughout this process, the identity of Hughes as a black gay man is reclaimed and no longer denied, a process paralleled in the ever-growing academic studies of Hughes today. Moreover, adding to the historic and cinematic importance of the film in gay cinema, Looking for Langston was and continues to be one of very few films showing intra-racial affection between black gay men as revealed in the love story between the two leading black protagonists, Ben Ellison as Langston Hughes and Matthew Baidoo as Beauty.” (Wikipedia)
LOOKING FOR LANGSTON had an extremely limited theatrical release in the U.K., the country where the film was made, and there was a very small number of posters printed for it.This poster is encountered very infrequently.

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