Organization | Inducted 2023
Black Alphabet, now in its 10th year, is the world’s oldest and largest Black LGBTQ+ focused arts organization. What began as a conversation about the lack of exposure of films that explore the Black LGBTQ experience birthed the Black Alphabet Film Festival, Chicago’s first Black LGBTQ film festival, and has expanded to Black Alphabet’s new mission: to promote social equity awareness and education in all aspects of life for the Black LGBTQ+ community using media and the creative arts to promote healthy and whole lifestyles within the Black LGBTQ+ community.
The Founding Board of BAFF included Janelle S. Allen, Brenikki Floyd, Sanford E. Gaylord, and Tim’m West. 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 to the world. The founding mission, “to identify and present the stories that portray the variety of gender and sexual expressions of the Black 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 LGBTQ+ 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 the fair and equitable identification, provision, implementation, and impact of services, programs, and policies, also known as “social equity,” by creating and spreading awareness of issues adversely or disproportionately impacting the Black LGBTQ+ community.
The vision: Have spaces that empower the community to develop content that increases the visibility of Black LGBTQ+ stories and artists. Black Alphabet’s new mission: to promote social equity awareness and education in all aspects of life for the Black LGBTQ+ community using media and the creative arts to promote healthy and whole lifestyles within the Black LGBTQ+ community.