written by Kagendo Murungi
One of the things I love about GREGORY (Invisible Men) is how director/editor Angela Tucker presents both the film’s subject, Gregory and the issue of homelessness in a humanizing and visually pleasing way. This was a refreshing change from mainstream news’ once or twice a year profile of ‘the homeless’ as a blight to be cleared from the streets and warehoused in unknown places far away from our increasingly gentrified neighborhoods and militarized public spaces.
Aside from the choice of Super 8 mm film as her visual medium, Angela describes a relationship of trust with cinematographer Angshuman Ghosh who captured the beautiful visual sequences that she needed to accompany her raw interviews with the formerly homeless man.
Angela’s desire to produce a sensitive depiction of homelessness for the Masculinity Projectand subsequent collaboration with Common Ground led her to Gregory whose gentle introspection allows us this transformative snapshot of an everyday New York reality, the substance of which sadly remains distorted and widely stigmatized.
This video blog also features excerpts from a conversation between community organizers Kim Gittens (Common Ground) and Doyin Ola (Right Rides) about some current challenges for pro-homeless advocacy and service delivery in New York given the deepening national crises in unemployment, housing and homelessness, and the shifting demographics of these populations.
Having been an organizer and co-researcher over the past two years with the *Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative, a team of primarily low income LGBTGNC** people experiencing varying degrees of homelessness and/or negotiating access to different types of public assistance with deep analyses of their own lived circumstances, I have tremendous respect for anyone who is or has been homeless or a shelter client and manages to persevere and find the support they need to get back on their feet.
* The Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative is a project of Queers for Economic Justice
** LGBTGNC: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming