african storyteller


In 1991 Julie Dash premiered her first feature, Daughters of the Dust, at the Sundance Film Festival, which went on to win the award for Excellence in Cinematography. The film is set in the early 1900s and follows a Gullah family of women preparing to move from the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina to mainland America. Daughters of the Dust was the first film directed by an African American woman to receive a national release. 

The film appears to be a source of inspiration for Beyonce’s Lemonade. The visual album echoes imagery from the film with shots of young African-American women in the Southern wild and desolate beaches wearing turn of the century garments. 

Daughters of the Dust screened at the Festival again in 2012 as a part of the “From the Collection” program. The film has recently been digitally restored by Cohen Film Collection and will screen at film festivals and theaters in addition to a Blu-ray release this fall. Click here to view a trailer for Daughters of the Dust.

Film stills courtesy of Daughters of the Dust

An epic pioneer story set in post-WWII South, Dee Rees’ Mudbound pits two families against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and abroad. Devastating in its power and authenticity, Mudbound is destined to become a classic.

Rees is a long-time Sundance alum, attending the 2007 Screenwriters Lab and 2008 Directors Lab with Pariah.  She ultimately premiered both the short and feature versions of the film in 2008 and 2011, respectively and the feature was awarded the Excellence in Cinematography Award.

Rees returned to the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with Mudbound, which opens in select theatres and on Netflix Friday, November 17. 

Check out the powerful acceptance speech Dee Rees gave as the recipient of the 2017 Sundance Institute Vanguard Award.  The award celebrates innovation, originality, independent spirit, and visionary storytelling.

Film still courtesy of Mudbound

Okay, one idea I really want is the Straw Hats ending up in the Rise of the Guardians world and they all end up as spirits.

They’re all confused how they end up here, and who knows how long they’re around to influence things, but the very idea of them just existing in that kind of way is hilarious to think about.

Robin (Egypt) – sphynx, a speaker of truth yet is a mystery, talking in riddles and takes great fun in confusing people. Loves knowledge and loves people who loves it too. Shares knowledge to people if she could, loves books. Since there are so many different versions of sphynxes in different cultures and countries, she can pop up in those countries anytime she wants, haha. She never shares how she does it when most spirits can’t, and loves frustrating people by giving them cryptic answers if asked.

Usopp (Africa) – African storyteller like in the stories, tall tales, has a tendency to travel, which is unusual for his kind who is emphatic on tradition. He explores and searches for his crew actively, and on the way, collects stories as he does. Him and Robin actually are the ones who travel around the most (exempting Luffy, who none of the Straw Hats can find cause he can’t stand fucking still damn it Luffy) and keeps everyone updated on each other. Headcanon of mine is that he inspired and helped write the Anderson Fairy tales, LOL.

Zoro (Japan) – a ‘wandering samurai’. In the legends, ghosts of samurais wander in search of a purpose. Hilariously for Zoro, he does it cause he’s genuinely fucking lost, which Sanji finds incredibly amusing.

Nami (Irish) – an Irish witch, which also is hilarious. She mostly ends up in bars or inns, tricking other spirits to pay ludicrous prices or favors when they want gossip or info from her. She and Robin are kind of opposites of each other, with Robin always speaking the truth, yet twists and riddles it out so people would have to be clever enough to solve it themselves. Nami, on the other hand, just lies all the time and people would have to be clever enough to know when she is. However, she never breaks promises or deals. And she’s always lenient to children.

Chopper (Canada) – Bigfoot, which explains A LOT. Though, there are multiple Bigfoots, so he’s just one of the many. Instead, he is a DOCTOR BIGFOOT, which is even weirder and funnier. He’s like, basically that friendly monster you find in a forest that people warn off and is just misunderstood, haha. Whenever children get lost, he leads them back home and heals them if they’re injured.

Franky (American) – He’s an engineer, he embodies inventing and creating. He’s also a fixer upper and an inventor all at once. He inspires people to create new things and is so enthusiastic about all these new immigrants who come into the mixing pot. New ideas in the air! He’s ecstatic about the industrial times and its growth, but absolutely hates the conditions of the people, and rages against people who claim it was ‘progress.’ Bring in the new, sure that’s great. But to kick people down while doing so boils his blood. He and Luffy interact a lot cause America is A Hot Mess of everything, hahaha.

Brook (Austria) – He’s a fucking ghost. A genuine fucking ghost who haunts Austria’s castles and at night, people can hear a violin playing and rowdy songs that don’t fit the setting at all. People see a skeleton at the corner of their eye with a ridiculous afro prancing around the grounds and it’s really freaky. He gossips with other ghosts of old monarchs (I’m headcanoning people with strong influence over the country or has strong personalities end up lingering for a while) and Usopp visits from time to time.

Sanji (France) – he’s a Sea Cook. Kind of a minor sea god who helps sailors sail safely, makes sure to guide them to areas with lots of fish if they get hungry, and spends most of his time in the ships’ kitchens yelling at cooks to add citrus food, nonono what are you doing with that potato you’re skinning it wrong. What about the nutrients?! So basically this grumpy, neatly suited man swearing up a storm and fruitlessly kicking people’s heads when they’re acting like idiots and hovering around like a mother hen. Also, he is absolutely enraged at the old belief that having a woman onboard is bad luck. Fuck you idiots who have no manners do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve seen a woman? Stop fucking ruining this for me!

Luffy (Brazil) – He’s Freedom. Like, that’s it. If the Guardians of Childhood had been looking, they would’ve thought he would be PERFECT for the job, but the Man in the Moon is really, really amused by Luffy’s existence and leaves him be to his own devices. He’s too big even in this world, and he just ends up in countries that need people to rise up, to fight back. He’s in revolutions, protests, wars, cheering people on and fighting with them. He bolsters their strength, makes them laugh in hard times, make them invincible against things that are huge and indomitable looking. He’s just, unchangeable. No matter how bad it is, he keeps smiling.

And just, imagine everyone reacting to them? Like, Ombric meeting Robin and them talking about books and both enthusiastically sharing knowledge with each other, and Robin being all secretive the whole time.

“I want nothing but the truth.” The woman’s voice rang in the room, forthright and honest. With her masks stripped along with her sly words and subtle smiles, she looked powerful. A hungry girl who saw the world in shades of grey, hanging in the backdrop and always watching, observing, waiting.

There’s a finality to her voice, the verdict set with nothing stopping her path. This is her last ditch effort to get him to talk, a method that revealed her heart, her core.

The dark skin, mystery surrounding her like a cloak, clever words with clever answers. A familiar nose that he swore he’s seen missing from great wonders-

“You’re a sphinx!” Ombric exclaimed, shocked.

She laughed, the sound reverberating the room and just as warm as her natural climate.

“I am.” She conceded with a small smile. “I have to be something to people after all.”

Japan is an island, so Sanji ends up visiting Zoro a lot since even though the mosshead has no fucking idea from left to right, always is able to find a shoreline somehow and they constantly butt heads whenever they do.

“Feeding people your shit food? I feel sorry for them.”

“Shut up! At least I’m not called the ‘Wandering Samurai.’ Wandering my ass. More like ‘lost shitface who doesn’t know North from up.’”

“Yeah? And why do people call you Sea Cook? Should’ve been ‘swirlybrow bastard’ or ‘lovesick idiot.’”

Or Chopper the friendly Bigfoot helping lost children, sometimes in his small form to calm them down, and big when he needs to protect them from other predators or monsters. Usopp basically being their network, able to travel around the most and spread the Straw Hats adventures to others, or make up stories of his own. Luffy and Franky adventuring around America cause seriously, there’s so much weird shit going on there.

Nami abso-fucking-lutely delighted that there are maps, there are better tools, better ways to man the sea. And despite what mortals think in this world, the sea is still pretty exciting here though not as much as their old world. What withe the loch ness monster, atlantis, mermaids (Sanji was fucking delighted), and more. Sanji probably knows the sea better than any of them now.

“… Has Usopp found the others yet?”

“Yeah, the haggling witch is screwing people over back in Ireland as usual. And last I saw, Franky was ready to kill this guy building a train or something.”

“I met Chopper.” It had been difficult for the giant spirit to come near the ocean. His place was more inland. Sanji grimaced around his cigarette that looked nothing like what existed during this current time period. It was a mystery where he got his neverending supply, though he thanked every day for it. “He’s helping some kids out. Turns out people are the same no matter where we are.”

Yeah, I would really love to see someone write this.

What you are reading is a shortened version of a poem by a lovely woman:  thealgerianbrit.

The full poem: 

“Mother of the children they called her.

Fatima Al Fihri was a woman with a vision.
The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Fatima and her sister Mariam were children of the Maghreb.
The Ancient land of Numidia.Their family travelled from modern day Tunisia to Fes, Morocco.
The deserts of North Africa were not the only thing making them reach out in thirst.
These sister countries engulfed the Al Fihri sisters with passion and a thirst for knowledge.
Shoes, handbags nor celebrity gossip drove Fatima.
She smashed all stereotypes of women of the Orient.
Islam was her religion. Spouse-hood was not her goal just yet.
There was a depth in this woman.
A depth that matched the deep maroons of the Fes hats.
Her vision was allowed to grow and become cultivated because of the Islamic society Numidia fed her.
Her father her biggest fan.
Fes, one the most influential cities in the Muslim world along with Tlemcen, Algeria, was renowned for centuries as the centre for religion and culture. Fatima was a beautiful catalyst.
859 rolled around like a Maghrebi carpet being laid out for royalty.
Fatima founded the oldest academic degree-granting university existing today, the University of Qarawiyyin in Fes.
Fatima inspires to seek for change.
To seek awareness of the world you live in.
Islam gives it to women and it leaves you spell-bound.
A foremother for all Maghreb women.

Daughters of Ancient Numidia.”

I personally believe in God, but not in religion, and I find this beautiful. Fatima was a muslima and it was part of her identity as to many muslimas today. She is a true rolemodel, whether you believe or not, and a good example of women being capable of being leaders. Dear Muslima, do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise :).

Also a quick reminder that muslims are welcome on this blog:) 

-x HaouariHouse

I hope for live action Lion King they direct it like the stage musical as African storytelling through puppets and stuff and not lame ass CGI


I Ain’t Lying: Folktales from Mississippi

“1975 documentary based on fieldwork William Ferris conducted with African American storytellers and bluesmen in the communities of Leland and Rose Hill, Mississippi. The stories include include folk and religious tales, jokes, toast telling sessions, and characters from African American oral tradition." 

Review: Peres Owino's "Bound: Africans vs. African Americans" (2014)

Storytelling has always been an important practice among African and African American communities. Through storytelling, the peoples of these two groups have been able to teach and learn valuable lessons, convey their histories, and have been able to provide answers to life’s questions. Such storytelling is found in Bound: Africans vs. African Americans, an illuminating documentary by Kenyan-born Peres Owino about the rarely discussed tension that exists between Africans and African Americans. The film traces the tensions back centuries to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the crucial moment when the two groups split in the first place. Now, as the film documents, the two communities primarily know each other through stereotypes.

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