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Found Inspiration – Marlon Riggs

Found Inspiration is a series inspired by a prompt at the start of our meetings where we invite therapists to share an unconventional not explicitly therapy-related influence on their clinical practice. We’ve found that when your experiences aren’t reflected in academic settings and literature, and when you expand your understanding of mental health care beyond a medical model to one of healing, meaning-making and connection, you have to build your own canon.

The work of Marlon Riggs, a filmmaker, educator and activist, unapologetically and provocatively invites us to explore some of the most intimate aspects of race and sexuality. He put words and moving images to the “unspeakable obscenity” of Black homosexuality in his documentary Tongues Untied. In his own words, “Tongues Untied was motivated by a singular imperative: to shatter America’s brutalizing silence around matters of sexual and racial difference.” In other works like ”Ethnic Notions” and “Black Is, Black Ain’t” he explored the multitudes of Black identities, challenging norms and putting on display various aspects of Black life.

His clear passion for complex storytelling, unrelenting search for authenticity and love for Black people are an incredible inspiration for our clinical work.