South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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BELOW HER MOUTH is a bold, uninhibited drama that begins with a passionate weekend affair between two women. Dallas, who works installing roofs, and Jasmine, a fashion editor, share a powerful
and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives. The film stars Canadian actress, Natalie Krill and Swedish model, Erika Linder. Made entirely by women,
BELOW HER MOUTH is written by Stephanie Fabrizi and directed by April Mullen and produced by Melissa Coghlan
The all-woman crew is led by cinematographer Maya Bankovic (THE RAINBOW KID), production designer, Faye Mullen (88), editor, Michelle Szemberg (NATASHA) and award-winning wardrobe stylist, Zeina Esmail.BHM D3 SG 198

Dallas (Linder) makes her living in a rough trade, shingling roofs for a living while turning over female lovers in her personal life—until she encounters self-assured and successful fashion editor, Jasmine (Krill). From the moment their eyes meet, the two women are inexplicably drawn to one another. Their connection is powerful and immediate, drawing them into a passionate love affair. Jasmine sees through Dallas’s charm and recognizes her philandering ways, but that creates only a small obstacle for Dallas, the bigger obstacle: Jasmine's fiancé, Rile.

BELOW HER MOUTH is about that moment when you unexpectedly meet another person and the path of your life changes completely. It thin-slices life so that all the raw emotions, the intimacy and the friendship that generate from that meeting are explored with authenticity.
The story begins with Jasmine, a woman who is happy with her life. She has built the path she wishes to walk along, and she is moving forward in the direction of her choosing. And then she meets Dallas, a woman who is the diametrical opposite – a rebel without a cause, following no prescribed path except that of impulse and urge.
“That meeting sparks a flame in Jasmine,” said Producer, Melissa Coghlan. “She thinks, ‘I can either stay on the path I was on, which is what I know and where I feel comfortable and safe or I can follow my heart and follow this passion to see where it leads me.’ That choice is a scary place and that’s the story of Dallas and Jasmine. Dallas is accustomed to repeating the same patterns over and over again. She is a modern day female Casanova who collects lovers, but does not suffer from a guilty conscience. And then you have Jasmine, who’s engaged to a great guy. Together, they make the picture perfect couple. When these two women cross paths, choices have to be made.”
BELOW HER MOUTH is not about sexuality or gender,” Coghlan continued. “It’s not a coming-out story. It is a love story. It’s about how you could meet somebody and in a blink of an eye, fall for them and forget about your entire life.” Coghlan and first-time screenwriter Stephanie Fabrizi had noticed that in many of the films they had seen representing two women in a relationship often felt like it had been shot from a male perspective, or male point of view. They wanted to correct that by offering a different, fresher and more informed viewpoint.

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By Casey Arasa


Rapper Music Bear Tony Banks describes himself as a gay, black man with the fun of Missy Elliot, the swag of LL Cool J and the dance moves of Heavy D.

Born in Brooklyn in the early 80’s, he grew up during the golden era of hip-hop. Early on in his musical journey, Music Bear dreamed of being a vocalist. He sang in church and wrote R&B songs and poetry. As he matured, he found himself gravitating towards hip-hop.DSC4617

Despite the misogyny and homophobia that exists in hip-hop, he believes that at its core, hip-hop is love. He calls it soulful, empowering, fun, beautiful and caring. It’s the music industry that prizes money and cars and labels women as hoes that he blames. “Hate is a learned behavior. No one is born homophobic but when hip-hop artists spread that message to millions of people, it catches on and after being around for a few decades, it’s hard to break away from.”

“However, not impossible,” he adds. Music Bear is hoping to inspire change in the culture by staying true to who he is as a gay man and an artist. In his upcoming album, “Yes Homo,” he tackles issues like love, lust, partying, the state of hip-hop and police brutality. It’s meant to be a full depiction of what it means to be a black, gay, male, hip-hop artist in 2017.

His first single, “Static,” is out now. We spoke to him from his New York home.

What is like to be gay and black today?
To be black and gay in hip-hop today is as hard as it was in the 80’s, but things are changing. The next generation won’t care so much about who you sleep with. The young kids in the hip-hop community today are making superstars out of gender-bending artists and it’s very exciting. Everyone has a story to tell. I’m telling mine and I’m just so glad someone is listening.

Have you experienced racism in the gay community?
You can’t escape racism in 2017. It’s just easier to be more bold about it hiding behind a keyboard like in the gay apps. I’ve been called the N-word, Monkey, and more, and I’ve seen screen grabs of others conversations. It still occurs in the bars too. We have to continue to bring these issues and discussions to light in order to grow as a community of minorities.

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