Masculinity, Gender Roles, and Queer Art History: The Cultural Significance of Campbell X’s Stud Life

Stud Life

Stud Life is sexy, charismatic, foreign yet familiar. The sensual combination of a hypnotic soundtrack, mesmerizing cast, and a rich storyline pulls you into a world where the accents are different but the conversations are ours – queer women of color trying to define our relationships and our future.

The story centers around JJ – a masculine of center, Black lesbian working as a wedding photographer in London – and her chance meeting with a high-femme named Elle. Beyond a love story, which is emotionally charged and erotic, the movie highlights the injustices queer women of color must overcome.
Sistah Sinema had the honor of connecting with filmmaker Campbell X, T’Nia Miller (JJ), and Robyn Kerr (Elle) via Google Hangout for a lively conversation on the challenges of making the film, their upcoming projects, and how the actors successfully used research to depict characters completely different from themselves.

The Google Hangout also discussed the work of Del Lagrace Volcano, a gender variant visual artist who accesses ‘technologies of gender’ in order to amplify rather than erase the hermaphroditic traces of queer bodies, the real-life photographer behind JJ’s work in the film. Paula Harrowing, another emerging photographer of London’s queer community, captured the iconic image which became Stud Life’s movie poster.

Robyn Kerr Stud Life JJ

When Campbell X decided to make Stud Life, their goal was to create a story about the cultural diversity of London. In addition, Campbell hoped to pay homage to the richness of queer art history – an example is a shot which includes an issue of Quim, a ninety’s magazine ‘for dykes of all sexual persuasions’ produced by Sophie Moorcock and Lulu Belliveau.

In conclusion, the Google Hangout with the cast of Stud Life allowed for a deeper exploration of the major themes of the movie and articulates the social significance of the film. It also highlights the importance of cinema for and about queer women of color as the community continues to define itself.

Watch Stud Life Director’s Google Hangout with Sistah Sinema!

About the Author

Isis AsareIsis Asare is the founder of Sistah Sinema (www.sistahsinema.com), a monthly event hosted in various cities screening queer women of color (QWOC) cinema. Asare recently launched Sistah Sinema – Online, a queer women of color (QWOC) video-on-demand channel on BuskFilms.com.View all posts by Isis Asare →

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