Showtime's Black Filmmaker Showcase is fast becoming a daily must-TiVo. Two nights ago was the premiere of Jumpin’ the Broom: The New Covenant. The 30 minute documentary shares the stories of four black gay and lesbian couples—two male, two female—and analyzes their views on love, commitment, relationships, marriage and religion. Strong documentaries are very difficult to produce—especially those without narration. However, Jumpin’ the Broom manages to deliver engaging characters, poignant images and, above all, convey hope. "Valerie means to me that it's possible," says the Rev. Deborah Johnson, who has been with her partner for seven years. "Growing up gay, nobody ever thought that it was possible to find someone that you could live your life with. Valerie is my very best friend. It's wonderful to have someone. We write music together, we do ministry."
Particularly fascinating was the fact that most of the interview subjects apparently resided in Northern California—home to a distinct political and social aesthetic for many black lgbt, which was reflected in some of the stories. Of the two gay couples, one had been together for three years and married for the past year, having made the trip to San Francisco and getting hitched at City Hall. The second couple, Derrick and Alvin, had been partnered for 30. The former says that laws could never codify what they have. "I know he loves me, just like I know the sun will come up in the morning. He makes me proud to be called his partner. That's my wealth, that's my treasure."
Jumpin’ the Broom: The New Covenant makes it point without being didactic: Despite the social and cultural pressures, long term relationships are thriving in our community. As a balance to the raw emotion of the interviews, Michael Eric Dyson offers some historical perspective and political context for black same-sex relationships. The overall direction and pacing of the film is tight. It's an enjoyable, relaxing thirty minutes, and thankfully, the doc wasn't extended just for the sake of vanity.
Jumpin’ the Broom: The New Covenant was directed by Debra A. Wilson, whose other film, Butch Mystique, is in heavy rotation on Logo. The film was was co-produced by Jasmyne Cannick and Tracie Lewis. Additional broadcast airdates here.
Black Filmmaker Showcase:Jumpin’ the Broom (Showtime)