30 Days of Queer Cinema - Day 30 | The Watermelon Woman
Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman is a fascinating piece of queer cinema history, the first film ever directed by an openly gay black woman, and a truly intersectional work that memorably explores themes of race, gender, and sexuality.
While there is no such person as the Watermelon Woman, Dunye sought to create her own queer black Hollywood history where none existed. In many ways, The Watermelon Woman is a defiant act of not just creating one's own history where actual history has been overlooked or even erased, it's a deeply personal work of yearning for kinship across time and space. Dunye grapples with ideas of identity, through interracial relationships, queer friendships, and black sisterhood, and the sometimes messy and beautiful ways those identities intersect and define who she is. It's an era-defining work, and an oft-overlooked queer cultural touchstone that feels somehow warmhearted and urgent - as confident and assured an artistic statement as any directorial debut you're likely to find.