Parallel The Documentary
Documentary, 37 minutes
Race and Sexuality has never been considered one…until now.
A moving piece on how two parallel worlds can form a beautiful identity
Parallel is a documentary by filmmaker and author, B. Danielle Watkins. Watkins documents her time as the only African American at the first ever lesbian only film festival held in Kentucky. While attending the film festival, Watkins stays at the historic Hotel Metropolitan, famous for providing safe housing to African Americans since 1906. The documentary explores the parallel in which these two worlds operate in and the intersection that Watkins finds herself at.
Parallel starts off by exploring the history of black women’s sacrifice and that of lesbian women.. She talks about how on the face of it the two worlds collide and draw similarities but when the dust settles the two worlds do in fact operate in parallel. Against this backdrop we go with Watkins to the first lesbian film festival which is held in Paducah, Kentucky. Coinciding with Watkin’s birthday, we see her excitement and readiness to embrace the adventure ahead of her. Three days in to the film festival we meet a more reflective Watkins who appreciates that her film and her presence as the first African American woman and lesbian film maker will be remembered and marked in history.
As the documentary goes on we delve deeper into aspects of African American history as well as the history of the lesbian movement. Watkins is deeply connected to both of these and while she is celebrating the work of like-minded females at the film festival, she acknowledges that the African American struggle runs deep. Light is shed on the Michigan women’s music festival and it’s place in lesbian history, as well as the history of Hotel Metropolitan with its owners being female since its existence, it’s importance as a safe haven for the African American community during the 19th century and how it housed some of the greats such as Louis Armstrong. Watkins has done a great job of weaving the two worlds throughout the documentary. The coverage of identity, race issues and lesbian rights are inspiring and the use of images of the respective movements create great visuals.
As we follow Watkins’ journey it is clear this is an emotional and defining experience for her. Understanding that Watkins crosses the parallel and has the ability to embrace entirely who she is, is profound. It is a privilege to share this part of her journey and gain further insight into the complexities of having roots in different and parallel histories. If you have not watched this, it is certainly one to put on your list.
One to watch especially in the world we live in today!
Watch the trailer
This article was written by:
TJ is a film reviewer at Lesflicks, she enjoys watching and reviewing all types of content and is passionate about helping the LGBTQ+ community move forward.