BY TANIA HAMMIDI
Stud masculinity hit the silver screen with a vengeance in “Stud Life,” a new feature-length lesbian project from the award-winning British filmmaker Campbell X. The film, which played to sold-out audiences in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Trinidad, tells the story of a young black stud, JJ, played by T’Nia Miller, who’s faced with the “mates before muff” question when she falls in love with Elle, the film’s hot femme lead, played by Robyn Kerr. Kyle Treslove portrays JJ’s best friend, Seb, a gay white man who struggles with his femininity before finding his own true love. While the romantic comedy strikes a lighthearted tone as Seb and Elle wrestle for JJ’s attentions, what’s really exciting about Campbell’s film is her decision to feature a black, masculine-of-center protagonist, which attracted a whole new audience demographic. Stud, aggressive, tomboi, butch and masculine-of-center queers of color flocked to the LGBT film festival screenings of “Stud Life“, eager to see themselves on the big screen.
By rejecting a myopic mainstream view of lesbian characters, Campbell knew she would face funding issues, so she took matters into her own hands, creating the full-length feature on a near-zero budget. “Masculine-of-center females do not represent the idealized ‘saleable’ woman–who can be packaged to mainstream audiences of any sexual orientation. She is being erased from our dominant media–LGBT and straight. I am interested in putting anyone who is forced to the margins right back into the center of the frame.”
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