It’s a fair assumption that some LGBT people have it tougher than others. That’s because people can be discriminated against for multiple reasons at the same time.
Take the title characters in the new film, Naz & Maalik. They’re young, gay, black and Muslim, a combination that would make Archie Bunker go into cardiac arrest if he ever met them. It’s also a combo that makes them targets of racial and religious profiling and, worse still, unfounded hate.
As the two closeted boyfriends (Kerwin Johnson, Jr. and Curtiss Cook, Jr.) embark on their daily routine in Brooklyn, they go from mosque to selling lottery tickets on the streets of New York. Arousing the suspicions of an undercover FBI agent, Naz and Maalik are tracked to make sure they’re not up to something worse.Writer/director Jay Dockendorf was inspired to write this drama based on his real-life interviews with Muslims living in post-9/11 New York and at times it has an almost documentary-like quality because the struggles of these two young men feel so genuine. It’s more relevant than ever in the wake of so many unnerving interactions between the government, particularly police, and young black men.
Most of all, it’s a powerful reminder that the LGBT community is as complex and complicated as any on the planet.
We’re not all feather boas, high heels and glitter, after all.
Naz & Maalik
Starring Kerwin Johnson, Jr. and Curtiss Cook, Jr.
Written and directed by Jay Dockendorf
Available today on DVD and Video on Demand