Award-winning queer climate activist and documentary filmmaker Angelo Louw has released his ironically titled debut book The Problem with Black People for free download in celebration of Youth Month and Pride Month.
The Problem with Black People is a selection of writings spanning his ten-year career as a columnist and three-time magazine editor. It unpacks the intricacies of race and race relations in contemporary South Africa through an intersectional lens.
One of Louw’s focus areas, which is quite prominent in the book, is queer rights. Not only does Louw write about his experiences as a gay man, but often reflects on the LGBTQIA2S+ community at large.
“I know a fine line that exists between my rights as a queer person and my rights as a person of colour. A transgression against either shakes the foundation of the other, and that is why I want people to understand how important it is that we protect the human rights of all,” Louw says.
Louw, who experienced a homophobic attack at the movies last year, recently released his second documentary CRUDE: Wentworth Community vs Big Oil and hosted a panel discussion at the United Nations Right Here, Right Now Climate Summit.
He says, however, that publishing this book tops any of the opportunities that have come his way in recent months. “It’s my own voice and thoughts. It’s my life’s work, all in one place.”
Louw comments on the title of the book: “The title is ironic. Often the plight of Black and Brown people is met with this type of rhetoric and gaslighting when, in fact, the problems Black people face are systemically imposed.”
This anthology advances an agenda seeking to reclaim narratives of people of colour which are systemically destructive and stifling to their communities; turning the cliché on its head.
By setting the record straight, Louw aims to enlighten, as well as empower. This is why he partnered with nonprofit publisher AfroStory app to make the book available for free on mobile devices.
Louw says: “I want this book to be accessible to everyone. It is my contribution to the discussion. I hope to make it available in libraries across the country. But, as a first step, it is free for download on the AfroStory application.”
Human rights advocate Steve Letsike commented on the release of Louw’s book: “Angelo has created and displayed a wealth of positive queer narrative that seeks to improve the lives of others, particularly Queer people. Angelo’s ability to interpret and critique the toxicity of structures that are homophobic and transphobic, and bring about change including addressing the intersections of it.”
The Problem With Black People explores themes of climate justice, socio-economic rights, public policy, youth, sex and sexuality, and HIV. The AfroStory app is available on all app stores.