Gay African-American filmmaker Marlon Riggs was no stranger to controversy: His 1989 documentary TONGUES UNTIED kindled a firestorm of protest over public funding of controversial art. Begun before his death from AIDS (at the age of 37) and completed posthumously from his notes, BLACK
IS... BLACK AIN'T is the filmmaker's last look at the "Black Experience," which he deconstructs with wit, incisive intelligence and much grace. It includes interviews with writers bell hooks and Cornel West, activist Angela Davis, dancer Bill T. Jones and, most movingly, Riggs himself. In the end,
he suggests, the closest metaphor for Black identity is his grandma's gumbo, a delicious...