Scary. Sexy. Angry. Crazy. Ghetto. Strong. Exotic. Nubian. Sistah.
Prescribed to me over the years by people on different continents, from different backgrounds, who knew me well or barely at all, these are the descriptions that have landed in my lap. Unwelcome and often unheard, I learned to break off bits of myself, twist myself into distorted shapes, push myself into places not made for me to fit, all to shed a skin that wasn’t my own to begin with.
Perception. According to Merriam Webster, to perceive is
a: to attain awareness or understanding of
b: to regard as being…
When I was a little girl in Virginia Beach, I was laying on the grass in the front yard with my brother and a few of his friends. He was standing on the curb, bouncing a basketball. A police officer riding by stopped his car and told my brother not to bounce the ball, because the area of gutter right next to our curb was public property. After a few smirks and scowls, he rode away.
We were lucky.
When George Floyd died, I was tired. Years and years of death and violence had worn me weary. I wanted to…
Six or seven years ago, my dad and I were chatting and he asked me what my goals were. My answer was instant. “I want to be rich and famous”. He laughed at me. “Sweetheart”, he said, “If you’re going to be successful, you’re going to need something a little more… meaningful.” As usual, he was right.
I’ve always wanted to change the world, I just wanted a gold star for doing it. Recognition and wealth were, to me, signs that I was making an impact. Now, I feel almost exactly the opposite. Impact is wealth. …
This letter is for those seeking guidance in our ever darkening war against injustice. If you do not wish to learn how to fight injustice, please, put down this letter and read something more pleasant. Like this comical article which will teach you 13 differences between dogs and cats or a history book which will teach you very little. Anything would be better than the letter in front of you. For those who will or must continue, I am sorry to say the remainder of this letter will be harrowing, a word which here means “anything but pleasant”. Danger…
The stars in the sky sparkled like diamonds, and the water around her was filled with blood. She smiled up at the stars, fingers grazing the sticky surface of the waters. Thirsty. No one had ever been as thirsty as she was now.
“I can help you find water,” said the snake in the boat.
She laughed a coarse, thirsty laugh. “My mother warned me about gifts from snakes.”
“Die thirsty if you please,” said the snake. “It’s all the same to me.”
She looked over the snake, with its shiny green scales, and its wet slithering tongue. …
A behind the scenes look at bias in film.
Chemistry is a powerful short written by Charlotte Martin. Shot from the perspective of an audition test camera, the film explores a casting director and producer caught discussing the benefits and drawbacks of casting a mixed-race actress. Exposing subtly the biases that creep into film production, Chemistry gets to the heart of the problem quickly and organically, without a need for preaching or pedestals. Shot intimately by director Cynthia Silver, this is a short film worth keeping on your radar.
A musical exploration of life and love.
When the first chords of Someone Like Me’s titular song start, one thought crosses your mind that stays with you until the last moment of the film. “I need more of this”. A proof of concept for a musical series, the compelling score by Andy Roninson moves through the lives of a diverse group of urbanites fighting to find love, binding them together seamlessly with every bend of the melody.
A short thriller about the lasting effects of gun violence.
The fifth of November is a compelling short film about the emotional scars gun violence leaves behind on its survivors. Through the eyes of Jane, played with a stoic severity by writer and producer Qurrat Ann Kadwani, we flash through timelines before and after the tragedy to see who Jane was and who she has become. The stark, distant feel of the cinematography adds to the eerie feeling of loss that drives the film.
Two years after her fiance is killed in a mass shooting, Jane decides to celebrate her birthday in a new, unconventional way. The director Javier Augusto Nunez masterfully paints Jane’s descent into madness through the use of darkness and mirrors, showcasing the thin line between the presence and the past, victim and villain.
A Visual Poem by Eva Depoorter
The Widow dives into themes of love and longing with a dark and colorful visual style that sets itself apart with a chaotic, kinetic vision. Eva Depoorter combines a series of vivid emotional vignettes to tunnel into the core of being in love, being alone, and simply being.
With a haunting score by Giovanni Spinelli, the film combines powerful imagery with poetic narration to pull the audience into a trance. Sensual and strange, the film’s low-fi camera work adds to an overall feeling of peeking behind closed doors at the raw emotions we all hide. Evocative and enigmatic, widow is a short glimpse into a sad, beautiful world.
A short film about coping with a new world.
Introvert’s Guide to Activism is a short, warm-hearted comedy about three roommates dealing with life after election day. Blending the perspectives of Jane, a mousy hermit with a kind heart; Amir, a no-nonsense reporter; and Lilly a sometimes overzealous rebel against the system, the film showcases three unique outlooks on advocacy and the tensions caused by combining different personalities. Funny and at times moving, it is the performances that carry the film most. …
Writer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn.