Cheryl Dunye did a monumental thing over 22 years ago — she wrote, directed, and starred in The Watermelon Woman, a groundbreaking film where Dunye played a version of herself making a documentary about an obscure black actress billed as "The Watermelon Woman."
The film, a brilliant examination of archiving as a way of finding oneself, takes viewers on her lighthearted, humorous, personable search to see herself in cinema. The film, which underlined the absence of black queer women in cinema's history, is even more relevant today, as queer women of color remain deeply underrepresented onscreen. Although we now have icons like Lena Waithe to look up to, we must show our gratitude to Dunye, who's work has paved the way for Waithe's creative excellence.
Thanks to Here TV, you can watch the 20th-anniversary DVD release of the film above or by downloading the Here TV app. Check out video below of The Advocate’s prior interviews with Dunye on how important it is to be an advocate for creating queer art in this decade.