Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye


The Watermelon Woman

San Francisco, CA USA

Who you are and how you live your life does matter. That’s the only thing that’s going to stay with you through this journey.


By Roadtrip Nation

Cheryl Dunye


My road in life has been direct.
She was born in Liberia to an African father and an African-American mother; calls herself an “African-African-American.”
Because she felt like an outsider even within her own “diaspora,” she had to carve out her own space in the world.
She went to Michigan State University to play rugby, but when she got there, she felt lost.
To try to find her path, she started taking classes in everything from filmmaking to African-American studies to yoga.
Filmmaking became a way for her to find and express who she was, and to communicate her unique self to the world.
Says that her early work documented the life that she lived, which—as an African-American lesbian—was also a life that she didn’t often see portrayed in the media.
Her first film, The Watermelon Woman, is considered the first film that was written by, directed by, and about black lesbians.
Says there’s no reason not to pursue a passion and take an adventure because “you can always go back.”
Keep following my journey



I'm a filmmaker and professor exploring the issues of race, class and gender in the lives of LGBTQ people of color.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Communicating / Sharing Stories


Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant