We The People

In early September, I attended a special screening of the first episode of Ava DuVernay’s new TV series for the OWN network, Queen Sugar. DuVernay said her reason for the event was so that she could have the opportunity to invite “all the smart black people” she knows in New York, who she follows on Twitter, and whose opinions on art and culture and film matter to her. It was a roomful of not just smart black folks, but beautiful black folks of varying style, generation and pursuit — activists, cultural archivists, writers, and mediamakers on the come up and well established, hair laid and locked, African prints and bowties, and one now very famous blue Patagonia vest.

Both the room and the preview of Queen Sugar itself, an astonishingly nuanced, multilayered visual narrative based on the novel by Nathalie Baszile, felt like a harmonic convergence of American blackness in all its exquisite range and enduring glory. Perhaps even more impressive, though, is how exemplary the evening felt of our ability to ascend at a time when police violence against black bodies, systemic racism and white supremacy have never been more visible.

>>Preview of forthcoming piece. Stay tuned.