"They don't think about what we have together as love. How can you hate someone for loving someone else? It's ridiculous. It doesn't matter what sense it's in, it's still love. And that's all I have to say to everyone. What we have is love and we are sharing it."
So declare Denise, a young Jamaican lesbian who remains defiant in the face of a notoriously violent, homophobic society that threatens her safety and condemns the way she chooses to love. Songs of Freedom takes us inside Denise's world and that of other Jamaican gays and lesbians. It tells compelling stories of individuals courageously carving out meaningful lives, despite the taboo against their sexual identity. Instilled with an often contradictory sense of humour and anguish, these stories are about growing up, going to school, dating, and "coming out" in a country where one's individuality often collides with the dictates of family, community and religion. Still, Songs of Freedom does more than capture the conflict inherent in the lives of Jamaican lesbians and gays. Evoking the emancipative philosophy of the late Bob Marley, the documentary also conveys the unflinching sense of hope, love and camaraderie used by the people in front of the camera to compose their personal songs of freedom and redemption. We see them as whole persons, full of beauty, complexity and contradictions, always deserving of love and respect. In this sense, Songs of Freedom breaks new ground as the first documentary about gay life in Jamaica, even as it reflects the universal quest for human dignity in the face of oppression. Songs of Freedom features exclusive footage of a drag queen beauty contest. It also features a kick-ass soundtrack with original music composed by Toronto musician Quammie.