In 2006 seven young African American lesbian identified friends where walking in the gay area of NYC, the West Village, and were were physically and verbally assailed by man because they were Queer. They fought back to protect themselves and instead of the man being arrested the women were. The NYC police and media vilified the women as a pack of lesbian wolves and FOX TV called this a hate crime against all straight men. Over charged with over a half dozen felonies by a racist and homophobic DA, in 2007 an all white jury convicted Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20) and Renata Hill (24), the 4 women that refused to plea bargain but fought to prove their innocence, for up to 11 years despite their being no serious injuries. This is yet another case of women being punished for fighting back against male violence not unlike the case being brought against domestic violence survivor Melissa Alexander and others around the U.S.
A campaign of resistance was organized by FIERCE and others progressive Queers helped to get the NJ4 out early but only after they had all served a minimum of 2 and up to 7 years. Now the new film Out in the Night explores the racism, homophobia and sexism of this case and the lives of these women and the campaign to free them. In this next interview Lisa Dettmer talks to NJ4, Renata Hill and Patreese Johnson two of the young African American lesbians who were incarcerated for fighting back after a homophobic attack, and the filmmaker Blair Dorosh-Walther who made the riveting documentary about their struggle "Out in the Night," which is playing at the Frameline Film Festival next week.
In our second interview Angela Wellman interviews Grammy award winning Beninoise singer and songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo about her new CD "Eve," her new autobiography "Spirit Rising" and her foundation for girls, Batonga. Kidjo is described as undisputed queen of African Music. Her new CD called EVE is number one on the world charts. Kidjo works on fighting poverty against women in Africa and talks about her work with the foundation she co-founded, Batonga, which supports secondary and higher education for girls in Africa and micro loans to African women. Kidjo played at the Norse Theater in SF on June 21st and in this interview she talks about growing up a woman in Africa, being a woman in the male dominated music business, the importance of speaking out about violence against women, and her new book and music.
Click here to listen to entire show. 59:50 min.