What It Means To Be A Black Woman Filmmaker At This Critical Time
Love over everything
My father was a huge Jazz fan. One night, while missing him terribly I began to listen to some of the albums he left behind. I started reading through the liner notes of a few of John Coltrane’s albums and I was moved to tears. Reading Coltrane’s articulation of love, the poetic language he used, the intellectual perspective he brought, as well as the sense of wonder and spirituality he framed everything in, struck me. Beyond being personally moved, I thought about how rarely, if ever, we get to see Black people express themselves this fully, in my chosen medium of film.
I sat with Coltrane’s words and thought to myself that if I ever get the opportunity to realize my dream and make a feature film, I’d pay careful attention to the language. The articulation of our feelings, intellect, and vulnerability would be essential to me. Soon after, I embarked on what would be the longest journey of my professional career: writing, directing, producing and distributing my debut feature film entitled
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One of the things that motivated me to make In The Morning
Above all else, I want to tell stories that help expand the lens through which we see ourselves. This is why I make films. It has not been an easy journey to take this film from script to screen. Though we shot the film in just eight days, it’s been a five-year journey bringing In The Morning to audiences. It's been full of challenges, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I will not reiterate the staggering statistics illustrating how dismal the landscape is in ‘Hollywood’ for Black Women Filmmakers (and yes, they are horrifying). What I do want to say is that I belong to an ever-expanding, mighty group of independent Black Women Filmmakers who move mountains every day to make films (and yes, there are mountains to be moved); filmmakers like Garrett Bradley, Ja’Tovia Gary, Tchaiko Omawale, Roni Nicole, Frances Bodomo, Nzinga Kadalie Kemp and many others. What keeps us going, beyond the grim statistics and the rhetoric of ‘diversity,’ beyond everything in this industry that says that our stories don’t matter, is love.
In this critical moment in our history, when we still must assert that our lives matter, telling our stories is a revolutionary act of love and moreover, a tool of resistance. This work is not always glamorous, but it is always glorious. It requires tremendous grit, patience, diligence, and fortitude. On those days that I feel exhausted and defeated, and like giving up, I think about the people that I am making films for, the ones of us who may go unnoticed under another’s gaze, the ones I refuse to let be erased.
There is a scene in
In The Morning