By the time O'Shay graduated from Northwestern University, she was already well-versed in cinematography and film, but the leading ladies in Unapologetic — Bonsu, Bahhs and May — were already well-known in Chicago for other reasons. Bella Bahhs is a Chicago-based rapper and youth advocate, Bonsu is a writer and National Public Policy Chair of the Black Youth Project 100, and May is an activist, public speaker and cofounder of Assata's Daughters. The common thread between these four young women is their passion for social justice issues, their determination to empower young women of color, and their desire to keep their rebel spirit unapologetically lit. Unapologetic is due out next year.Janaé Bonsu. Photo: Bob Simpson Right: Bella Bahhs. Photo: Courtesy of Ashley O'Shea Left: Page May. Photo: Courtesy of Ashley O'Shay
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Ashley O'Shay didn't get involved with social justice movements to make a documentary, but after witnessing mainstream media's coverage of the peaceful protests that followed a multitude of police killings of unarmed people of color, she felt compelled to use her filmmaking skills to combat the misrepresentation she saw on the news.Ashley O'Shay. Photo: Courtesy of Ashley O'Shay
The Indianapolis-born director began studying the Black Liberation Movement in Chicago from its inception in the late 1960s to its resurgence today for the same reasons that many other black youth have. She's galvanized, informed and surrounded by others like herself — young people who understand that their involvement can make an impact on the future of race relations in this country. Her documentary follows the bittersweet journey of black women activists Janae Bonsu, Bella Bahhs and Page May as they attend protests and engage in discussions with their community, local legislatures and peers about police brutality, the worth of black and brown bodies in America, and options for moving forward from talk to action. O'Shay chronicles moments from the Let Us Breathe Collective, Assata's Daughters, and scenes from the Black Lives Matter movement in Chicago for her documentary Unapologetic, an exceptionally candid and decidedly feminine contribution to the film world.
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