african diaspora film

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Blacks, Blues, Black!

“Episode 1 of a 10-part TV series made by Dr. Maya Angelou for KQED in 1968 called Blacks, Blues, Black!, which examines the influence of African American culture on modern American society. As Dr. Angelou puts it: “What is Africa to me?” Includes scenes of Dr. Angelou in the studio discussing “positive Africanisms”: children’s games, dance, poetry, religion and the blues. She states: “The preachers and the blues singers are the poets of the black American world.” Also features views on location of children playing street games, of Rev. WR Drummer and Rev. JL Strawther preaching at the Little Zion Baptist Church in San Francisco and of B.B. King performing on-stage and being interviewed by Dr. Angelou. This episode was written by Dr. Angelou and produced by Tony Batten.”

i am beyond ecstatic to post this series written and hosted by Dr. Maya Angelou from 1968. it’s basically an introduction to African American Studies (/African diasporic studies) made for television. ever since i saw the Netflix documentary, “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”, i have been obsessed. she’s much more radical than the light she is generally caste in. this is such a gem. i hope you all watch all the episodes. 

“It’s important to share stories about the diasporic global-Black experience, because it’s so varied. It’s really refreshing to have other perspectives and to realize that we’re all connected–interconnected. Not just, actually people of color….but there’s a lot of trading of lifestyles and stories within this series–that I think affects even more than just people of color.” - @NikkiBeharie 

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I can not explain how refreshing it is to see and hear genuine thoughts being spoken about the reality we’re living.  The video above is from cecileemeke ’s series titled Strolling, episode 7. The episode is one of many, many brilliant episodes showcasing the minds of so many intellectual people discussing things we see/hear but don’t always get a chance to openly discuss them. Strolling has episodes that talk about mental health, identity, male feminism & so much more. I urge all of you to take a minute and watch at least one, I promise you will be hooked! We had a post about Strolling earlier this month, but I’ve binge watched every episode this afternoon & I had to make another post (yes, it’s that amazing!) I’ve truly fallen in love. 

As she Cecile writes: “In a dictatorship you control people by force. In a democracy you control people through what they think. Representations in all forms effect how we think. Media representations have a direct effect on how people think and treat people in reality; their are real life consequences. I don’t think huge corporate companies would spend billions on advertising every year if it didn’t work and I don’t think that all the vast media in respective countries would be so tightly controlled by a small elite if it didn’t have any bearing on the way we think, and therefore controls us to an extent. I don’t think there would be so much opposition for people like me in creating representations if it didn’t matter. I don’t think people would deliberately erase truthful representations and create negative, mythical ones if it didn’t matter. It matters. 


So strolling. Strolling is a direct rejection of the forced invisibility cloak. It is a rejection of the notion that people like myself must beg to exist and beg to have a voice. It is a rejection of the idea that there can only be one brown voice at a time. It is a rejection of the self-fulfilling prophecy that is projected on to young black people. It is a rejection of a flat, single-story and one dimensional narrative of people of the african diaspora. 

I often have strolling-esuqe conversations with friends and people I meet and often there is a feeling of "wow, I thought it was only me that felt that way”. Part of the aim of erasure is to alienate you and therefore silence you. Strolling is the complete and utter rejection of this implicit call to silence and the self-destructive assimilation required for survival. The aim is to affirm people who think similarly and to spark conversations. And ultimately it is to create reflections of us. I hope to take strolling to other cities in the world, not just cities in the UK; this is the dream. 

Strolling; Basically, we are here and we matter.

This is what we need, please support this entire project! Watch & subscribe. 

-@vohandas

BALTIMORE — I’ve long thought of Gloria Rolando simply as a Cuban storyteller. But as the most recent work of this award-winning documentary filmmaker shows, she is much more than that.

She is one of this hemisphere’s leading documentarians of the African diaspora — the community of people of African descent who were forcibly shipped, or migrated, out of Africa to the Americas.

A 2009 winner of the Medalla Federico Fellini, Rolando works mostly in Cuba, restrained in travel and access to equipment and audiences by the more than half-century old U.S. economic and political blockade of her country.

[…]

“My work is basically around storytelling and the voices of the people … that sometimes don’t appear in the official history. But it is very important that they talk because they made possible many chapters of the history” of the Africa diaspora, Rolando told me during her visit to Morgan State University — one of a dozen universities she’s visiting during her long-awaited U.S. tour. Among her stops were Indiana University, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina and Vanderbilt University.

Read the rest here by DeWayne Wickham
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Maangamizi: The Ancient One

“An American woman doctor comes to Tanzania to work at a hospital for the mentally disturbed, with her Tanzanian lover. There, she meets a sometimes catatonic patient, Samahe, who seems to be in communication with another reality. In their confrontation with their individual and collective pasts, Dr. Asira and Samehe are bound by fears and half remembered images of unbearable pain. Only through the spirit of Maangamizi, can the women resume their lives with an understanding of the ancestors and their eternal presence in a world of cruelty, hatred and death. It is a story that seeks to reclaim the connection between Africa and her Diaspora, and one that dares to represent the histories of two continents as it peels away layers upon layers of pain to bring healing of the soul.” via

This weekend at the Biennial, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? debuts a new film. The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto explores the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent.

HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera, 2014. Video, color, sound; 54 minutes. Collection of the artists. © HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?

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SHORT FILM TRAILER: “ANCESTRY”

This is the trailer for a short film by Nerissa Williams.

This is a very interesting idea for a short. The story is in the tradition of worlds created by Octavia Butler and other authors. The idea of extraterrestrial  influence in Africa’s past is one that can have lots of spinoffs in science and speculative fiction.  

Really hope this gets done. 

Here’s more about the project:

“A Short Ancestry” is a fifteen-minute science fiction short film set in the deep bush of Ethiopia, Africa in the year 1588. The film considers the nuances of Pre-Western/Colonial oral tradition with mythological reference points. The film encourages the viewer to process the beginnings of humankind as we now know it. 

“A Short Ancestry” centers on I’ma and her greatest of great granddaughters, Netta. Together they journey through story to create a bond that is immeasurable. I’ma is an alien to the planet Earth. I’ma arrived some 10,000 years before this story takes place. When I’ma arrived the planet was just able to sustain mammal life. Her first greeters to this world were a tribe of rapidly changing Homo-Sapiens breed of mammal. After breathing a “new life” into this particular tribe, the New Breed becomes something other than the normal Homo sapiens walking the Earth. I’ma creates this new breed as a way of producing off spring to start her family that she wasn’t able to begin on her home planet. This new breed of human holds the keys to not only super human powers, but a quest of I’ma to mother a super race of beings for the good and love of the universe. 

The film revolves around rich African oral traditions and cultural family structures found in many African Diaspora cinematic films. It will be shot on the Sony F3 camera in S-log to be color corrected in post-production. The setting is untouched Eastern Africans. The smell, taste and touch of dryness, which will consist of rich ambers, deep rusts and crimson colors. Many variations of greenery and shades of browns and blacks are the color palate of the imagery. Sounds of drumming and the krar, a ten-string instrument, can be heard throughout the village of the film. The Sound track to the film will reflect deep African wild life native sounds and rhythms. 

Themes of family, birth origin, communal healer, tribe protector, mother nurturer and believer runs throughout the piece to provide for a dynamic structure of creativity and lineage of one family. I’ma gives light to the notion that humans were created by aliens as she weaves and sows different uses of her body to reveal her alien nature to the viewer.