New York, NY
Documentary film short, Merman, will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival on June 11, 2023, in New York. Directed by Sterling Hampton IV, Merman chronicles the unconventional life of André Chambers as part of Shorts: Say it Loud, a program that explores the freedom of Black expression.
Using interviews, animation, and an off-beat 1970’s blaxploitation motif, the film explores how Chambers’ graceful fluidity, defiance of stereotype, scandalous attire, and love of superhero culture helped him overcome the adversities he experienced growing up as a Black, queer man in the volatile 1960’s and 1970’s.
Merman delves into how Chambers’ persona was shaped by the societal clashes he experienced growing up in a Southern California beach town that was part surf haven, part Mexican-migrant worked farmland, and part “White Flight” suburbia. The film highlights not only his struggle being Black in a White- dominated society — but also being a sexually active queer man at the height of the AIDS crisis.
“We were the only Black family in our neighborhood. When I was a kid my neighbors told me I couldn’t swim in their pool because I would leave a ring of scum. I grew up thinking that somehow I was dirty or bad. It’s taken most of my life to realize that doing things my own way is good. It frees me to be creative. Now I tell others to just be themselves and let people accept you — or not,” said Chambers.
Today, Chambers channels his empathy for those hurting or marginalized through his work as a registered nurse in an emergency room. He spreads his message of acceptance though his daily presence on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms, promoting a message of positivity and hope — paired with a bit of beefcake vibe.
Chambers currently resides in Palm Springs, California with his husband, connecting with the local community through a variety of charitable events and non-profit groups. Chambers also enjoys capturing the beauty of the surrounding desert and mountain landscapes through photography. For more information about André Chambers, visit his social platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Or learn about his professional photography.