Aubrey “Choc” Muldrow grew up in a religious family on the Southside of Chicago. Knowing he was gay from an early age, he experienced taunts, threats, and violence from his family, his church, and his neighborhood. Fearing he was cursed, and would never be perceived as “normal,” he did everything he could to deny his truth and live a straight life. This documentary explores the trials and ultimate triumph of one man who was courageous enough to tell his story.
Choc is directed by Brian Zahm and produced by Yabrielle Johnson.
The film played at: Roze Filmdagen; Amsterdam LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Katra Film Series (Won: Best Documentary), Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, Taos Pride Film Festival, Chain NYC Film Festival, Culture Cinema 2022
This film was created thanks to a crew of three 16-18 year old BIPOC females participating in DePaul University’s “Become a Filmmaker" Program and its partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority. Yabrielle Johnson pitched an idea deeply personal to her and her community: the pervasive prejudice towards queer congregants in churches and the psychological effects thereof. We chose to explore the intersection of race, class, and sexual orientation through the unique story of Yabi's cousin, Aubrey “Choc” Muldrow. Choc, who had been persecuted in church and in life for his sexual orientation, wanted to channel his painful experiences into a film that could help uplift others.
This project for me will always be special for the simple fact that I had the honor to work with an all-female crew to tell a very important account of sometimes oppressive institutions inflicting emotional pain on people and their families. Plainly stated, this film can help audiences experience a story not often told, hear a voice not often heard, truly see a person who spent too much of his life hiding who he is. For those like Choc, who have at some point felt that their life is not worth living, I hope this film will help them find strength within themselves to live their truth. And because of Choc himself, our fun mix of filmmakers, and using media for social change, I couldn’t have been prouder to help bring this film to life.