In honor of Pride Month, the Brooklyn Museum is dedicating their First Saturday to queer artists.
As sections of the LGBTQ population become a viable market, there’s a very real anxiety about Pride becoming a whitewashed/pinkwashed spectacle. Pride becomes an opportunity for politicians, major corporations, and even banks to express solidarity with some LGBTQ causes, while further erasing the experiences of the most vulnerable members of the queer community (homeless youth, queer and trans people of color, trans and gender nonconforming people, low-income queer people, sex workers, most often intersections of all these groups).
The most recent example of this was Celebrate Brooklyn’s Paris is Burning debacle. As part of their summer programming, BRIC booked a screening of the documentary, which highlights 1980’s drag ball culture in New York, driven chiefly by low-income trans/queer people of color. But instead of reaching out to any of the living members of the current ball community, BRIC curated the screening alongside a talk by director Jennie Livingston and a performance by JD Samson (Le Tigre, Men). After explosive backlash on the Facebook page decrying the event as exploitative, whitewashed, and gentrification-baiting, JD Samson dropped off of the show and BRIC apologized and booked a revised lineup featuring members of the Houses presented in the film (but not before scrubbing the event page of all dissenting opinions).
Unlike all that, the Brooklyn Museum event is refreshingly on point. All the programming is QPOC-centric and pulls from diverse scenes and cultures around New York City. There’s music from Aye Nako, Junglepussy, DJ Joey Labeija, DJ Ilsa (of Azucar!), and poetry by DarkMatter.
Other programming includes the short documentary Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles, which documents the vigil for a transgender woman of color killed in 2013, performances by DapperQ (style website for masculine presenting women and transmasculine people), Visual AIDS (arts organization that facilitates projects by artists living with HIV/AIDS), and Harriet’s Apothecary (an intergenerational healing village), a workshop by brooklyn boihood, and more.
The event is presented by Target, as with all First Saturdays, though as far as corporations go, Target has been taking steps to be more LGBTQ-friendly. Everything is free, all-ages, and open to the public.
Full schedule below and on the site:
New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performs works that are lighthearted as well as ones that address serious issues.
Jess Wilcox, Program Coordinator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, explores the exhibition Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence.
Lively ten-minute talks about the exhibition Diverse Works: Director’s Choice, 1997–2015.
Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles (Seyi Adebanjo, 2013, 6 min.) documents the vigil for a transgender woman of color killed in 2013. A talkback with the director follows. Free tickets (25) at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.
Target First Saturdays have been guided by the vision of Arnold Lehman, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Museum. On the eve of his retirement, we honor him through reflections and performances by Brooklyn-based artists including DapperQ, Visual Aids, Harriett’s Apothecary, Haiti Cultural Exchange, CaribBEING, Afrika 21/Harriet’s Alter Ego, and Balmir Latin Dance. Free tickets (310) at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.
Design and create a flag that expresses your identity and culture. Free tickets (330) available at the visitor center at 5:30 p.m.
Brooklyn-based band Aye Nako plays queercore, punk, and non-college rock.
Activist and musician DJ Lynnee Denise plays her signature blend of kwaito (a traditional South African rhythm) and house dance music.
Mala Mala (Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, 2014, 89 min.) follows Puerto Rico’s trans community. Talkback with the filmmakers and cast members Paxx and Joyce Puty follows. Presented in partnership with CaribBEING’s Heritage Film Series. Free tickets (310) at the Visitor Center at 7 p.m.
DarkMatter, a trans South Asian performance art duo composed of Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian, perform poetry.
bklyn boihood leads a workshop exploring queer, black, and brown masculinity through images, video, and storytelling. Includes a reading from the group’s forthcoming anthology, Outside the XY. Free tickets (25) at the Visitor Center at 7:30 p.m.
DJ Ilsa, founder of Brooklyn’s queer Latin dance party Azucar!, plays her unique mix of digital cumbia, Mexican beats, and vogue music.
West Indian Brooklyn-raised rapper Junglepussy presents a tropical feminist performance with DJ Joey Labeija.