Black Past Meets Black Future.
Have you ever experienced a piece of media that drastically alters your world and sets your imagination alight? Does the very ideation of the concept destruct and reconstruct everything you’ve attached to your identity? What happens when the words or images themselves have been seared inextricably onto that special place in your heart? Well, you can either recreate that same unbridled joy for another with all of your resources or swoon as I’ve done and sing the praises of the latest music video by dodie entitled If I’m Being Honest.
With the directorial collaboration of Dom Fera, production design of Katie Theel, director of photography Auden Bui, producers Timothy Hautekiet, Nishad Chaughule, and Sammy Paul, plus the incredible VFX work by Austin Piedra…the entire past meets future world of a beautiful Black girl collides into a short film that is both visually arresting and poignant. The actors involved: Arrows, Rayven Taylor, and Roxann Taylor star as future, past, and Mother respectively. The last time I applauded science fiction mediums that envision Black Women in the past and the future was in my analyses of Captain Michael Burnham and Janelle Monae.
If I’m Being Honest begins with life’s mundane and suburban, but quickly reveals that its foundation is centered in and out of time. The future literally jettisons into the past — and for it — both are never the same. Seeing the unbridled joy and innocence of youth coupled with the assuredness of mature adulthood was captured so beautifully, but also radically because the faces and bodies that we see in this world are Black, bountiful, and beautiful. Too often are the real and imagined worlds of Black people stuck in the quagmire of oppression and depression, never taking time to explore the fullness of our lives and loves. There’s always space and a place to explore the depths of Blackness as it intertwines with global racial politics, but this isn’t that story and this makes sure to let you know that by hyper-focusing its narrative on an adult ‘super-hero’ and her younger self’s starry-eyed admiration.
Besides a few cuts and bruises from an ill-timed crash landing and a zap from a time hunter, our protagonists survive this journey relatively unscathed but forever changed by their experiences in the woods and the quiet of nature. Speaking of, the pairing of nature and technology was so enthralling that I hope more mediums tap into more of that balance and its precariousness within our very delicate ecosystem. As an environmental, science-fiction, comic book, film, animation, and pop culture nerd of the highest order, the story and visuals on display here ticked every single box that I didn’t know I needed. My hands still hurt from the uproarious applause I gave this short-film and my cheeks still ache from all the perpetual smiling I’ve undergone. If I’m being honest, my childhood self was there too — drying my tears — while cradling my head and my heart.