We’re very proud to have our short film on the gender-bending musician and performer Gladys Bentley on Girls United by Essence. Girls United by Essence is a great platform, which calls itself “the premier destination for young Black women who are interested in fostering a digital community of leaders.” Girls United’s website includes resources related to wellness, literacy, entrepreneurship, creativity, and more.
We’re honored to have this special short film on Gladys Bentley, who defied race and gender boundaries, to be shared with Girls United’s community. The short not only tells the complicated and fascinating story of Gladys Bentley, but also covers little-known LGBTQIA history, as well as the history and influence of under-recognized black women in American music. Bentley’s bold voice and performing persona were radical for a time when LGBTQIA individuals faced great persecution, and when black women experienced incredible racism and sexism. Bentley’s story is especially inspiring in this unique moment in history, as people around the world are fighting for the rights and safety of black lives, including black trans lives.
As Girls United states in this piece on the short, “through centuries of cruelty, gay women have continued to rise above, and make marks on the world. One of those brave women (whose courageous story needs more attention,) was Gladys Bentley, a jazz musician.”