Our Origin

What began as a conversation about the lack of exposure of films that explore the Black LGBTQ experience birthed the Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF), Chicago’s first Black LGBTQ film festival. Since its inception in 2013, BAFF works to encourage storytelling, cultivate new dialogues and educate communities about the cultural and social contributions that Black LGBTQ-identified people have made upon the world. BAFF is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization.

Our Mission

Black Alphabet symbolizes the unity and affirming of diversity in gender and sexual expression within the Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) community. Our mission is to empower our community by promoting, nurturing and celebrating the stories of Black LGBTQ-identified people through the art of film.

Our Vision

To empower Black LGBTQ communities from around the world to share their stories thus creating a legacy that honors our past, highlights our present, and nurtures our future.

Our Board

Langstan Smith

President / Director of Marketing

An Indianapolis native, Langstan has lived in Chicago for 22 years and is proud to call the Windy City home. He is currently Vice Chair of Black Alphabet Film Festival and resident graphic designer responsible for the creation of the BAFF logos and most promotional materials. Langstan is also an accomplished actor and stage performer.

Adam Mcmath

Vice President / Director of Programming

Adam L. McMath is a filmmaker, activist, and political consultant that debuted his first feature length documentary at Black Alphabet Film Festival. He is currently working on his first fictional book and a new documentary series. Mr. McMath is a lover of Presidential and Black History.

David Dodd

Treasurer / Director of Communications

A Washington, DC native, David Dodd serves as Treasurer for Black Alphabet Film Festival. Known for his ability to balance his business expertise with creative flair, Dodd is also responsible for BAFF’s communications strategy as well as its community approach. David is also Chairman of Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus.

Tim'm West

At-Large Board / National Outreach / Founding Member

Tim’m T. West, is an educator, performance artist, author, hip hop recording artist, poet, activist and youth advocate. He has been featured in many documentaries about hip hop culture. In addition to his books, he is widely anthologized, and has produced nine hip hop albums. West has been interviewed by an array of media outlets from Newsweek to the New York Times.


Our Founders

Janelle Allen / Founding Member
Janelle Allen is Founder & CEO of Learnwise, an online connective learning solution specializing in in online courses, e-learning and education consulting. Prior to starting Learnwise, she worked as a trainer andInstructional Designer for over 10 years. In addition, her background as an online entrepreneur gives her a creative perspective on the possibilities of online learning.

Sanford Gaylord / Founding Member
Sanford E. Gaylord, who is an actor, creative activist and writer based in Chicago. He was a co-founding member of the 2007 Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame inductee, A Real Read, an African American LGBT Performance Ensemble. He contributed both on stage and behind the scenes for most of ensemble's local and national tours, 1996-2002.

L. Michael Gipson / Founding Member
L. Michael Gipson is a critically acclaimed writer, award-winning youth advocate and burgeoning songwriter. His feature articles and cultural criticism essays have regularly appeared in national publications. On the music scene, he has written music artist profiles and created his own indie music column before becoming Music Editor for SoulTracks.com.

Brenikki Floyd / Founding Member
Brenikki Floyd, Board Chair, has been involved with Black Alphabet since its inception. Her background in education and the humanities have laid the foundation for the work she contributes to Black Alphabet. In her spare time, Brenikki enjoys seeing wherever Art is being made, studied, or preserved..

Carol Harris / Founding Member
Carol Harris is founder of Class 'C' Entertainment, an event planning service company that provides a classy alternative to the mainstream entertainment outlets for LGBT peers. Carol’s objective is to create new channels of activity through planning of wider varieties of events. Class 'C' Entertainment is best known for its "Dinner & a Movie" event.


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    Black Alphabet NFP
    3712 N. Broadway, Suite 288
    Chicago, IL 60613
    872-256-BAFF (2233)