Southern Pride Movie Review from @kleffnotes

Malcom Ingram created Southern Pride as a companion work to his 2006 award winning documentary Small Town Gay Bar. This first piece explored gay bars in rural Mississippi and in this new work he returns to document what it is like running a gay bar in Mississippi following the election of Trump. This new piece also includes a profile of lesbian bar owners in both Biloxi and Hattiesburg. Ingram loves to tell stories of everyday heroes who are creating communities in unlikely places and his choice to make Southern Pride evolved from an opinion piece he drafted for CNN after the PULSE shooting in Orlando. This work led him to think about the work he had done in his original documentary and 24 hours after the election results were announced he had a plan to return to the South and document what was happening there in the wake of this new tide of politics. In his own word, “Southern Pride is the story of strong, queer women and their allies who answered the call to make their community better, in a time when the world is being torn apart.”

When initially crafting Southern Pride Ingram had planned to focus on Lynn Koval, who has spent more than 25 years of her life ensuring that the Just Us Lounge remained a local gay drinking hole/community center in Biloxi, Mississippi. She wanted to take this pride to a larger scale and create the first ever Pride event on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While this was going on Shawn Perryon, Sr., the black owner of the younger Club Xclusive, was working to create the first Unapologetic Black Gay Pride in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. With the heightened level of fear rising out of the new political environment, Koval felt a need to show that their community is out and proud. In Hattiesburg, Perryone is also seen as a powerhouse for the community and she knew that she needed to do something different. Club Xclusive is in the Bible Belt and what Perryon wants to do is benefit the LGBTQ+ community while also bringing together people regardless of race. Both of these women do a tremendous amount of work to benefit the community in their area and want to be able to highlight this through Pride events.

Southern Pride is not just an examination of gay bars, but is instead a discussion of the importance of community and how physical locations are important for establishing a place for a community to feel supported and strong. Lynn Koval has worked to improve the city around Just Us and to make the lives of the people connected to her bar feel safe and supported. The community she has worked to build not only benefits those in the LGBTQ+ community, but Just Us has worked to show the larger community in Biloxi that they are a powerful force for good. There is also a discussion of violence and the tragedy that can happen for trans women, especially trans women of color, in the South. Through Club Xclusive Ingram is able to show racial tensions within the South and how the current political environment has increased the danger and violence that exists in the area. Southern Pride is a documentary that highlights the power of perseverance and the strength that two powerful women can lend to their individual communities as well as the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. You can watch Southern Pride on a number of VOD sources, including iTunes, Amazon, and GooglePlay, today.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, and on my kleffnotes YouTube channel.

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