RSVP early to watch this electrifying new film about a rising Democratic leader: a charismatic black, gay, progressive young man from North Philly whose compelling story and policies will inspire and energize voters all across Pennsylvania as we approach the 2024 election.
Kenyatta won his first general election to the PA state legislature in 2018 with 95.3% of the vote. In 2022, he became the first openly gay, married, African American man to run for the nomination for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, a critical contest for Democrats. Ultimately the nomination was won by John Fetterman, but the race was lively, high-profile and cast Kenyatta into a national spotlight.
After John Fetterman won the nomination, Rep. Kenyatta hit the campaign trail for him and other Democratic candidates, helping to create a blue wave in Pennsylvania – winning the Governor’s House, Senate seat as well as critical State offices. PA will be critical once again in 2024, and Kenyatta is already on the ground campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination for State Auditor General – a vital fiscal role as he can eloquently explain!
Recently, President Biden appointed Kenyatta chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans and to the Biden-Harris Campaign National Advisory Board for the 2024 Election.
When PA’s rogue state Republicans threatened to not certify our votes – specifically absentee and mail ballots, our ballots – Kenyatta fought forcefully and publicly until all the votes were properly counted. As a result, just 5 years into his professional political life, he is emerging as a powerful presence across Pennsylvania.
Book your tickets here. Please note that we calculate ticket prices so that we can (only) cover the cost of the Film Night – the venue costs and the film license. And costs for this Film Night are high, so please consider a Sponsor ticket.
Venue: Wolfson Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building(formerly New Academic Building), London School of Economics, 54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3LJ
LSE campus map
- 6:00 Doors Open
- 6:25 Welcome
- 6:30 Screening starts
- 6:30 Screening starts
- 9:00 Evening ends
Who is Malcolm Kenyatta? A groundbreaking activist, campaigner, representative and legislator
Since the US Senate was first convened in 1789, Pennsylvania has had 53 senators. They have all been white men. Kenyatta’s primary run was a historical moment.
This documentary charts Malcolm Kenyatta’s personal story of community activism, his progressive aims and ambitions, and his effort to become the first openly gay person of color to hold a seat in the United States Senate. He hoped to mirror what he had achieved in 2018 when he was elected to the PA House of Representatives for District 181 in Philadelphia – at 28 years old – and as the first openly gay person of color to be elected to a PA state office. He was re-elected for a second term in 2022.
He was born in Philadelphia and has been engaged in community activism and politics since he was eleven years old, serving as the junior block captain with the Philadelphia Streets program. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple University, completed public policy training at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and holds an MS from Drexel University. He served as a coordinator for the Graduate Medical Education Department at Hahnemann University Hospital and as the diversity and inclusion engagement coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. For his full biography and support on key issues and legislation, see his Wikipedia entry..
Kenyatta is married to Dr. Matthew Miller Kenyatta, a first-generation graduate of Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and most recently the University of Southern California – all in urban studies and planning. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of justice and belonging at the university’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design. The Kenyattas’ relationship, whether campaigning together or stealing away for a date night, is a prominent and heartwarming feature at the center of Do Not Wait Your Turn.
Some Key messages
Addressing poverty: Kenyatta always forefronts the urgency of dealing with deep poverty: “I consistently call it the moral and economic issue of our generation.”
On representation: “I’m not just a representative of the LGBTQ community; I’m also a person of color, a young person, and I grew up poor as hell.”
In the film, he suggests: “How about we let people who are closest to the pain be closest to the power?”
Kenyatta consistently stresses that different voices need to be heard and calls upon people to step up and get involved in politics.
On engaging in politics: “It’s powerful that so many people are no longer listening to conventional wisdom. You no longer have to wait your turn. The time for turns is over, and people have to step up and run. I recognized that being an activist wasn’t enough, so I quit my job and used all of my savings and said, “I hope this works out.” I’m lucky I was able to win.”
Interview with Philadelphia Magazine March 23, 2019
About the film:
The documentary is receiving rave reviews and awards as it moves through the film festival circuit. Exceptionally well-produced, it captures Kenyatta’s inspiring story, his humanity, his values, and deep political commitment. Kenyatta is an amazing communicator, and the film shares vivid and powerful moments as he speaks to different audiences across Pennsylvania.
The film’s world premiere was at the London BFI Flare Festival in March, which highlighted the best new LGBTQIA+ cinema from around the world.
Some DAUK and DA members were lucky enough to attend that screening and an after-screening reception with Malcom and Matthew Kenyatta and the film director and producer Tim Harris. That was such an exciting and inspiring evening, we were determined to share it more widely, and worked with our DA colleagues from the DA Pennslyvania State Team, DA Black Caucus and DA Germany to pull this together.
On its premiere, Wema Mumma, British Film Institute wrote:
“ In this gripping narrative, 31-year-old Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta takes us along on his race to become the first openly gay person of colour with a seat in the United States Senate. As the campaign progresses, we learn more about Malcolm – his political aspirations, what he means to his community and his personal life with his husband Matthew. This skilfully produced and timely film draws us into the ranks of Kenyatta’s enthusiastic army of supporters. By the final lap you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat, with bated breath, hoping against hope that this inspiring politician will win.” (Wema Mumma, British Film Institute)
The documentary was produced and is distributed by Seven Knots Film and Media and Tim Harris, the Director, Editor and Producer, will join our online Q&A.
A love letter to Philadelphia
In a very interesting (and recommended) June interview with Kenyatta, Tim Harris and Al Roker (Executive Producer) entitled Malcolm Kenyatta Documentary is a Love Letter to Philly, Kenyatta says:
“This is a love story to Philly and to Pennsylvania.” … “Folks in my district are people who are frustrated, but they’re never talking about giving up. They still have hope that tomorrow can be a little better than today was and that’s really special.”
Go here to see the list of festivals at which it has appeard and awards it has received
It has recently won a Special Jury Prize from the Roxbury International festival which is is the largest festival in New England that celebrates people of color.
The evening will feature a full in-person screening of the film and a live, online Q&A session with State Rep. Kenyatta and the filmmaker. Attendees will have a chance to submit questions directly to State Rep. Kenyatta.
Don;’t miss it! Book now!