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. The Founding Board of BAFF was successful in fulfilling their original 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."
Since its inception in 2013, BAFF has worked 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.
The founding mission, "to identify and present the stories that portray the variety of gender and sexual expressions of the Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) community through the art of film," has sustained the organization for several years.
In 2019, the realization that there was a lack of visibility of other forms of creative artistic expression of the Black LGBT+ community, prompted the Current Board to develop a new vision, a new mission, a new brand, and a refined name.
Known simply as Black Alphabet, the organization now focuses on advocating for social equity by creating and spreading awareness of issues adversely or disproportionately impacting the black LGBT+ community. Social equity is a concept that speaks to the fair and equitable identification, provision, implementation, and impact of services, programs, and policies.
The new Vision and Mission reflects our desire to use media and the creative arts to promote healthy and whole lifestyles to the Black LGBT+ community.
Since our change in mission and vision, Black Alphabet has expanded to include other events, such as an ongoing in-person film festival in Cincinnati, collaborative virtual festivals and drive-in events in Seattle, Washington, and Covington, Kentucky, as well as virtual events throughout the year which address current issues facing our community.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, much of our work focused on mental health awareness and wellness strategies, as well as dealing with isolation as a Black LGBTQ+ person.
As the world opens, Black Alphabet has plans to broaden our reach to include more cities across the country and taking our message and methods to other countries where there is a need for advocacy and education.
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