Marlon T. Riggs’ short film Anthem is a dense media blast in a variety of forms, promoting crucial messages, accompanied by a throbbing beat. It’s essentially an activist music video juxtaposed with a visual and spoken poetry slam. Produced and directed by Riggs in 1991, the film flashes images of Black pride, traditional African tribal dances, images of Gay pride, ACT UP’s Silence=Death logo, and the familiar pink triangle.
“…an activist music video juxtaposed with a visual and spoken poetry slam.”
In one section, poets read from their own works: Essex Hemphill American Wedding, Reginald Jackson Initiation, Steve Langley Confection, Colin Robinson Epiphany, For CJ, Horizontal Stripes Are In, To Sir c Love, Unfinished Work, and Donald Woods What Do I Do About You? Blackberri sings America the Beautiful.
Riggs died of AIDS in 1994. He was aware of his impending fate, and that of all with the sickness at the time, and shows memorial candles while describing the AIDS epidemic as a holy procession of dying. Anthem is a powerful statement documenting the AIDS crisis and Riggs’ own experience with it.
"…a powerful statement documenting the AIDS crisis..."