Black Enterprise Interviews 'Pariah' Writer/Director Dee Rees

Black Enterprise, the leading business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans, profiled out filmmaker Dee Rees for National Coming Out Day. The writer and director of the feature film Pariah talked about the “coming out” process, the film’s main character, and how spirituality helped with her own journey.

Pariah is a coming-of-age story about an African-American teen named Alike, who is embracing her identity as a lesbian. It is a feature-length expansion of Rees’ award-winning short film that was screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film opens in select movie theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on December 28 and nationwide in January 2012.

When Rees began writing the script six years ago, she was going through her own “coming out” experience.

“I started to become comfortable with who I was. But I didn’t know how to express that,” the 34-year-old tells Black Enterprise. 

Rees has found self-acceptance and peace of mind in her faith. “If anything, it’s my spirituality that got me through the past six years. My spirituality and spiritual practice have actually gotten stronger than they were before going through this.”