The Black History Year and the Queer London Research Forum at the University of Westminster held a screening of the film Chocolate Babies and a Q&A with filmmaker, programmer, curator, and DJ Rabz Lansiquot.
Chocolate Babies was released in 1997 and was Stephen Winter’s debut film. It is a vibrant, political, funny and heart-breaking film about activism and the AIDS epidemic. In the film, a group of Black queers take on a group of conservative New York politicians in a battle for AIDS treatment.
The event, which was part of ‘Gender and Sexuality in Black People’ month and hosted by senior lecturer in English Literature Dr Kate M. Graham, saw Rabz Lansiquot introduce the film, sharing what makes it such an important piece of work and what it means to them. After the screening, there was a discussion of the film and Lansiquot answered some questions.
In their introduction, Lansiquot said: “One of the things that I am interested in researching and programming is Black liberatory cinema and I use that term as distinct from representation. I'm interested in films that do some kind of activist work in the world, films that are doing something to further the cause of the Black liberation, and this is one of those films.”
Talking about the event, Kate said: “It was a pleasure to watch Stephen Winter’s moving and energetic piece of cinematic AIDS activism and to discuss it with Rabz Lansiquot afterwards! The screening was a brilliant opportunity to introduce the audience to this criminally under considered film. Rabz gave attendees an introduction to this activist-centred piece of work, setting up for us the important ways that Chocolate Babies offers complex and unapologetic Black queer characters who spend the film doing joyful and painful political work.”