Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS

NOTHING WITHOUT US tells the inspiring story of the vital role that women have played - and continue to play - in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Combining archival footage and interviews with female activists, scientists and scholars in the US and Africa, Nothing Without Us reveals how women not only shaped grassroots groups like ACT-UP in the U.S., but have also played an essential part in HIV prevention and treatment access throughout sub-Saharan Africa. From beauty parlors in Baton Rouge to the first HIV clinic in Burundi, this film looks boldly at the unaddressed dynamics that keep women around the world at high-risk for HIV, while introducing the remarkable women who have the answers to ending this 30-year old pandemic. As the history of AIDS activism is being written, women, particularly women of color, are being written out of it. This documentary will be a step in restoring women's crucial role in the history and present-day activism around HIV as well as bolstering the work of women everywhere still fighting for their lives.
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There Goes the Neighborhood

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD intimately follows an extended Black family of View Park-Windsor Hills, California as they experience changes due to gentrification and reflect on their shifting community. View Park-Windsor Hills is the largest Black middle-class neighborhood in the country. Adele Cadres is a longtime resident and mother of three who gives us insight into the history of the neighborhood. Her eldest daughter Ayana Cadres raises her biracial children with the hopes that they foster the utmost respect and reverence for the Black community she grew up in. Adele’s youngest daughter, Aida, struggles to find an affordable home in the neighborhood due to increasing property value. As the family and other residents reflect on the history and culture of their neighborhood, they debate the issues of maintaining a changing community. As the national conversation about the housing crisis continues and more and more people are being priced out of the market, THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD provides intimate access to the families most affected by this growing issue.
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Black Girl in Suburbia

For many Black girls raised in the suburbs, the experiences of going to school, playing on the playground, and living day-to-day life can be uniquely alienating. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA looks at the suburbs of America from the perspective of women of color. Filmmaker Melissa Lowery shares her own childhood memories of navigating racial expectations both subtle and overt-including questions like, "Hey, I just saw a Black guy walking down the street; is that your cousin?" Through conversations with her own daughters, with teachers and scholars who are experts in the personal impacts of growing up a person of color in a predominately white place, this film explores the conflicts that many Black girls in homogeneous hometowns have in relating to both white and Black communities. BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA is a great discussion starter for Freshman orientation week and can be used in a wide variety of educational settings including classes in sociology, race relations, African American Studies, Women's Studies, and American Studies.
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The Revival: Women and the Word

THE REVIVAL: WOMEN AND THE WORD chronicles the US tour of a group of Black lesbian poets and musicians, who become present-day stewards of a historical movement to build community among queer women of color. Their journey to strengthen their community is enriched by insightful interviews with leading Black feminist thinkers and historians, including Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Nikki Finney, and Alexis Deveaux. As the group tours the country, the film reveals their aspirations and triumphs, as well as the unique identity challenges they face encompassing gender, race, and sexuality. This is a rarely seen look into a special sisterhood - one where marginalized voices are both heard and respected.
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PROFILED

Profiled knits the stories of mothers of Black and Latino youth murdered by the NYPD into a powerful indictment of racial profiling and police brutality, and places them within a historical context of the roots of racism in the U.S. Some of the victims—Eric Garner, Michael Brown—are now familiar the world over. Others, like Shantel Davis and Kimani Gray, are remembered mostly by family and friends in their New York neighborhoods. Ranging from the routine harassment of minority students in an affluent Brooklyn neighborhood to the killings and protests in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri, PROFILED bears witness to the racist violence that remains an everyday reality for Black and Latino people in this country. Moving interviews with victims’ family members are juxtaposed with sharply etched analyses by evolutionary biologist, Joseph L.Graves, Jr, (The Race Myth) and civil rights lawyer, Chauniqua D. Young, (Center for Constitutional Rights, Stop and Frisk lawsuit). PROFILED gives us a window on one of the burning issues of our time.
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The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen

An inspiring film by award winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Abod, PhD (THE EDGE OF EACH OTHER’S BATTLES: THE VISION OF AUDRE LORDE). THE PASSIONATE PURSUITS provides a window into the life of Angela Bowen who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era, and went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist organizer, writer and professor. For six decades Bowen has influenced and inspired untold numbers, speaking out as strongly for the Arts, and Black and Women’s Rights as she has for LGBTQI Rights. Candid, compelling, and inspiring, PASSIONATE PURSUITS depicts Bowen's life across the decades, with archival footage, timeless musical selections, photographs and interviews. Bowen’s stories reveal how the challenges of race, class, gender, age, and sexuality played into her decisions and strategies for survival. PASSIONATE PURSUITS is important to anyone who wants to know more about the experiences and complexities of black women’s lives and the emergence of Black Feminism.
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Southern Rites

Broadcast nationally on HBO, SOUTHERN RITES is a powerful portrayal of how perceptions and politics have divided two towns in southeast Georgia along racial lines for years. In 2009, The New York Times Magazine published filmmaker and acclaimed photographer Gillian Laub’s controversial images of Montgomery County High School’s racially segregated proms. A media furor ensued and under extreme pressure, the Georgian town was forced to finally integrate the proms in 2010. Laub returned camera in hand to document the changes, only to stumble upon a series of events far more indicative of race relations in the Deep South: old wounds are reopened following the murder of an unarmed young black man by an elderly white town patriarch. Against the backdrop of an historic campaign to elect its first African-American sheriff, the case divides locals along well-worn racial lines and threatens to drag the town back to darker days. SOUTHERN RITES documents one town's painful struggle to progress while confronting longstanding issues of race, equality and justice. Through her hauntingly intimate portrait, Laub reveals the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives, a chronicle of their courage in the face of injustice. Laub’s film captures a world caught between eras and values with extraordinary candor and immediacy— and ultimately asks whether a new generation can make a different future for itself from a difficult past.
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Wilhemina's War

In much of America, progress in HIV/AIDS treatment suggests the worst is behind us, but every year 50,000 Americans are still diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS. Astonishingly, it’s one of the leading causes of death of African American women. And nearly half of the Americans with HIV live in the South, where the AIDS epidemic has taken root in rural communities. WILHEMINA’S WAR is an intimate, personal narrative that tells the story of one family’s struggle with HIV over the course of five years. Despite facing institutional and personal obstacles every step of the way, 62-year-old Wilhemina Dixon works tirelessly to combat the stigma and care for her daughter and granddaughter, both HIV-positive. Emmy award winning journalist and Professor June Cross finds Wilhemina, a one woman army fighting against a systemic dehumanization that’s the result of centuries of racism, and lack of access to drugs and treatment. Her story touches upon many of the structural issues that contribute to the alarming rising trend of HIV-positive women in the South: lack of education, lack of access to quality healthcare, lack of transportation, and silence and stigma in the local church congregations. This urgent documentary lays bare the intersection of poverty, race and politics with women’s health and security in the rural south, while showing determination in the face of adversity, and the triumph of the human spirit. Essential viewing for African-American Studies and Public Health courses.
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The Same Difference

THE SAME DIFFERENCE is a compelling documentary about lesbians who discriminate against other lesbians based on gender roles. Director Nneka Onuorah takes an in-depth look at the internalized hetero-normative gender roles that have become all too familiar within the African American lesbian and bisexual community. Onuorah shows how these behaviors reproduce the homophobic oppression and masculine privilege of the straight world, while looking for solutions in compelling discussions with community members. Self-identified studs—and the women who love them—discuss hypocrisy in terms of gender roles, performative expectations, and the silent disciplining that occurs between community members. This film features many queer celebrities, including actress Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from the critically acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, and Lea DeLaria from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, living daily with opinions about how identity should be portrayed. Onuorah's engaging documentary shines a light on the relationships and experiences within the queer black female community, intersecting race, gender and sexuality. Required viewing for Women’s, Gender and Queer Studies.
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Old South

OLD SOUTH, through a quiet unfolding story, provides a window into the underlying dynamics of race relations that influence so many American communities. In Athens, Georgia, a college fraternity traditionally known to fly the Confederate flag moves to a historically black neighborhood and establishes their presence by staging an antebellum style parade. What starts with a neighborhood struggle over cultural legacies in the South, the opening of a community garden becomes a grounds for understanding, as well as a physical and emotional space for healing, offering a sense of possibility and hope for the future.
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Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman. Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple. Her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of profound social and political changes in North American history during the Civil Rights Movement. Mixing powerful archival footage with moving testimonials from friends and colleagues such as Howard Zinn, Angela Y. Davis, Gloria Steinem, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Quincy Jones, Steven Spielberg and Danny Glover, ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH offers audiences a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, intellectual, self-confessed renegade and human rights activist.
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Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower

LIVING THINKERS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE IVORY TOWER examines the intersection of race, class and gender for Black women professors and administrators working in U.S. colleges and universities today. Through their diverse narratives, from girlhood to the present, Black women from different disciplines share experiences that have shaped them, including segregated schooling as children, and the trials, disappointments and triumphs encountered in Academia. Though more than 100 years have passed since the doors to higher education opened for Black women, their numbers as faculty members are woefully low and for many still, the image of Black women as intellectuals is incomprehensible. And while overtly expressed racism, sexism and discrimination have declined, their presence is often still often unacknowledged. Through frank and sometimes humorous conversations, this documentary interrogates notions of education for girls and women and the stereotypes and traditions that affect the status of Black women both in and out of the Academy. A perfect companion film for any classroom discussion on the intersection of racism, sexism and/or feminism.
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Mountains that Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama

Thirteen years, two radical activist all-stars-one conversation. Internationally renowned scholar, professor and writer Angela Davis and 89-year-old grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama spent over a decade conversing intimately about personal histories and influences that shaped them and their overlapping experiences. MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING offers the gift of these two remarkable women’s lives, sharing the pair’s recorded exchanges in 1996 and 2008. The film’s unique format honors the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Intercut with compelling period footage, Davis and Kochiyama’s cogent observations, keen analyses, and steadfast resolve to create a more equitable, humane world offer inspiring lessons in empowerment and community building for current and future generations.
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Say My Name

In a hip hop and R&B world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of SAY MY NAME speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on a vibrant tour of urban culture and musical movement, from hip hop’s birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside, to Philly, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and L.A., and points in between. Featuring interviews and musical performances from a diverse cast of women that includes Remy Ma, Rah Digga, Jean Grae, Erykah Badu, Estelle, as well as newcomers Chocolate Thai, Invincible and Miz Korona, this powerful documentary delves into the amazing personal stories of women balancing professional dreams with the stark realities of poor urban communities, race, sexism, and motherhood. The more than 18 artists featured in SAY MY NAME battle for a place in a society that creates few chances for women. From emerging artists filled with new creativity, to true pioneers like MC Lyte, Roxxanne Shante, and Monie Love, these are women turning adversity into art.
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The Noble Struggle of Amina Wadud

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud shocked the Islamic world by leading a mixed-gender Friday prayer congregation in New York. THE NOBLE STRUGGLE OF AMINA WADUD is a fascinating and powerful portrait of this African-American Muslim woman who soon found herself the subject of much debate and Muslim juristic discourse. In defying 1400 years of Islamic tradition, her action caused global awareness of the struggle for women’s rights within Islam but also brought violence and death threats against her. Filmmaker Safari follows this women’s rights activist and scholar around the world as she quietly but with utter conviction explains her analysis of Islam in the classroom, at conferences, in her home, and in the hair dresser’s shop. Wadud explains how Islam, with its promise of justice, appeals to the African American community. And she links the struggle for racial justice with the need for gender equality in Islam. Deeply engaging, this film offers rare insights into the powerful connections between Islam, women’s rights, and racial justice.
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Far From Home

While busing may be a rapidly fading memory in most American schools, it continues to be a reality for more than 3,000 Boston students every year. FAR FROM HOME spotlights Kandice, an insightful, precocious African-American teenager participating in METCO, a voluntary Boston school integration program. Since kindergarten, she has risen before dawn each day to be bused to Weston, an affluent, predominantly white suburb. Now in her last two years of high school, she takes us inside her personal triumphs and daily negotiations: serving as the first black class president, playing the college admissions game, defying stereotypes she feels from white society, living up to her family’s tradition of activism. Kandice’s grandfather, a civil rights activist murdered in 1968, helped found the busing program and her mother was among the first black students bused to the suburbs in the late 1960s. Through cinema verité and interviews, the film weaves together Kandice’s current school life with a family history that has been profoundly shaped by racially integrated educational experiences. With more than fifty years separating Kandice’s story from the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, this compelling film illustrates the ways in which a truly desegregated education system is still an unachieved goal in this country.
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Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Following Chisholm from her own announcement of her candidacy through her historic speech in Miami at the Democratic National Convention, the story is a fight for inclusion. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Period footage and music, interviews with supporters, opponents, observers, and Chisholm's own commentary all illuminate her groundbreaking initiative, as well as political and social currents still very much alive today.
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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS, the directorial debut of actress LisaGay Hamilton, celebrates the life of legendary African American actress, poet and political activist Beah Richards, best known for her Oscar nominated role in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. While Richards’ struggled to overcome racial stereotypes throughout her long career onstage and onscreen in Hollywood and New York, she also had an influential role in the fight for Civil Rights, working alongside the likes of Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois and Louise Patterson. After performing with Richards in Jonathan Demme's Beloved, Hamilton was compelled to get her inspiring story on film, and began the project with Demme as co-producer. Hamilton’s intimate interviews capture Richards’ feisty passion and enduring elegance, and are woven together with a cache of archival material of her work as an actress and activist, including riveting performances of some of her most famous poems. Enlightening and moving, the film is a fitting tribute to Richard’s life of integrity, leadership and service to the two cultures she loved so deeply—the arts and the African American community.
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Sisters of the Screen

Exploring the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora, Beti Ellerson’s engaging debut intersperses interviews with such acclaimed women directors as Safi Faye, Sarah Maldoror, Anne Mungai, Fanta Régina Nacro and Ngozi Onwurah with footage from their seminal work. With power and nuance, Ellerson also confronts the thorny question of cultural authenticity by revisiting the legendary 1991 FESPACO (Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou), in which diasporian women were asked to leave a meeting intended for African woman only. This film is both a valuable anthology and a fitting homage to the pioneers and new talents of African cinema.
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The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde

This powerful documentary is a moving tribute to legendary black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992). One of the most celebrated icons of feminism's second wave, Lorde inspired several generations of activists with her riveting poetry, serving as a catalyst for change and uniting the communities of which she was a part: black arts and black liberation, women's liberation and lesbian and gay liberation. Nowhere was this more apparent than the groundbreaking I AM YOUR SISTER CONFERENCE which brought together 1200 activists from 23 countries, including thrilling footage of the inimitable Lorde herself, and candid interviews with conference organizers. THE EDGE OF EACH OTHER'S BATTLES powerfully brings Lorde's legacy of poetry and politics to life and conveys the spirit, passion and intensity that remains her trademark.
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Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders

In 1965, when three women walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C., they had come a very long way. Neither lawyers nor politicians, they were ordinary women from Mississippi,and descendants of African slaves. They had come to their country’s capital seeking civil rights, the first black women to be allowed in the senate chambers in nearly 100 years. A missing chapter in our nation’s record of the Civil Rights movement, this powerful documentary reveals the movement in Mississippi in the 1950’s and 60’s from the point of view of the courageous women who lived it – and emerged as its grassroots leaders. Their living testimony offers a window into a unique moment when the founders’ promise of freedom and justice passed from rhetoric to reality for all Americans. Through moving interviews and powerful archival footage, STANDING ON MY SISTERS' SHOULDERS weaves a story of commitment, passion and perseverance and tells the story of the women fought for change in Mississippi and altered the course of American history forever.
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Love & Diane

Jennifer Dworkin’s groundbreaking documentary LOVE & DIANE presents a searingly honest and moving examination of poverty, welfare and drug rehabilitation in the United States today. Filmed in New York City over a five-year period, Dworkin documents the struggles of three generations of the Hazzard family as they face a myriad of emotional, financial and personal challenges. LOVE & DIANE is at its heart a highly charged story about a mother and daughter searching for love, redemption and hope for a new future. While caught in a devastating cycle of teen pregnancy and the bureaucracy of an over burdened welfare system, they demonstrate an inspiring resiliency and ability to find strength during the most desperate times. Without falling into stereotypes of welfare and poverty, LOVE & DIANE casts a fair, non-judgmental eye on the Hazzard’s and presents a forgotten, but very real, side of the American experience. This film is a presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
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Women Organize!

WOMEN ORGANIZE! is an inspirational, half hour film that portrays women organizers across the U.S. who are involved in the global struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. In this film, we meet five women organizers of various backgrounds, peek at the campaigns they wage, and watch as they begin to pick up the tools to document their own transformative work. From working with high schools girls in a low-income neighborhood in Oregon to speaking out for Black lesbians and gays against homophobia or working with Asian immigrant women factory workers in California for decent working conditions, WOMEN ORGANIZE is an important film that should be used in women’s and ethnic studies classes and community based organizations.
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Compensation

COMPENSATION the first feature by award-winning filmmaker Zeinabu irene Davis (CYCLES and A POWERFUL THANG), presents two unique African-American love stories between a deaf woman and a hearing man. Inspired by a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, this moving narrative shares their struggle to overcome racism, disability and discrimination. An important film on African-American deaf culture, Davis innovatively incorporates silent film techniques (such as title cards and vintage photos) to make the piece accessible to hearing and deaf viewers alike, and to share the vast possibilities of language and communication.
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Nobody Knows My Name

NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME tells the story of women who are connected by their love for hip-hop music. Despite the fact that these talented female artists exist within a culture that revolves around self-expression, the subjects of Raimist’s documentary must struggle to be heard. Asia One has found a niche as an organizer of the B-Boy Summit, but longs for a sense of female community. DJ Symphony is the sole female member of the The World Famous Beat Junkies. Leaschea lives a turbulent life, even though she has been signed by a major label. Lisa married in the hip-hop lifestyle, and now raises a hip-hop family. Medusa is the successful queen of the L.A. hip-hop underground. T-Love, an ex-Cripette, hopes her creative talents will help her change her lifestyle. Through the candid study of these women, documentarian Raimist explores a fascinating and diverse feminist community, which yearns to find a place in a male-dominated subculture that is, in itself, marginalized. Ultimately, Raimist succeeds in empowering these self-actualized women by giving them the voice for which they struggle.
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Black Women On: The Light, Dark Thang

BLACK WOMEN ON: THE LIGHT, DARK THANG explores the politics of color within the African-American community. Women representing a variety of hues--from honey-vanilla to brown-sugar chocolate--speak candidly about the longstanding "caste system" that permeates black society. These women share provocative, heart-wrenching personal stories about how being too light or too dark has profoundly influenced their life and relationships--from childhood on and throughout their adult years. Originating in a culture of slavery, the "light, dark thang" still persists. Even today it haunts black women's individual and collective memories. Both entertaining and transformative viewing, BLACK WOMEN ON: THE LIGHT, DARK THANG combines personal interviews and historical footage with literary and dramatic vignettes.
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Black, Bold and Beautiful: Black Women's Hair

Afros, braids or corn rows--hairstyles have always carried a social message, and few issues cause as many battles between black parents and their daughters. To "relax" one's hair into straight tresses or to leave it "natural" inevitably raises questions of conformity and rebellion, pride and identity. Today, trend-setting teens happily reinvent themselves on a daily basis, while career women strive for the right "professional" image, and other women go "natural" as a symbol of comfort in their Blackness. Filmmaker Nadine Valcin meets a diverse group of black women who reveal how their hairstyles relate to their lives and life choices. BLACK, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL celebrates the bonds formed as women attend to each other's hair while exploring how everyday grooming matters tap into lively debates about self-determination and society's perceptions of beauty.
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Lip

It is Hollywood’s favorite role for black women: the maid. Sassy or sweet, snickeringly attentive or flippantly dismissive, the performers who play them steal every scene they are in, and Tracy Moffatt’s entertaining video collage reveals the narrow margin Hollywood has allowed black actresses to shine in. But shine they do. Giving lip is proven an art form in these scenes from 1930’s cinema to present-day movies featuring a remarkable roster of undervalued actresses and their more celebrated white costars. Moffatt and Hillberg’s rough, no-budget assembly effectively highlights with familiarity and humor the disturbing realization of how black characters and white characters still interact on screen, under Hollywood’s eternally backwards eye.
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Tree Shade

Shame and embarrassment propel Savannah, a gifted high school student, to embark on a journey through space and time to witness the prison convictions of her great-grandmother Etta Mae, her grand-aunt Olive, and her aunt Denise. The fanciful and chilling tales of a delightfully vain maid in the 1920s, a hopelessly depressed nanny in the 1950s, and a mother frustrated during the holiday season in the 1980s, help Savannah reconcile her feelings about her own past in this touching coming-of-age story. An imaginative, thoroughly engaging drama that speaks volumes about identity and self-worth, TREE SHADE will have special appeal to teenage viewers and delight audiences of all ages.
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Lockin’ Up

When Jamaican-born filmmaker T. Nicole Atkinson threw away her comb to let her hair coil into dreadlocks, she was forced to challenge both society’s and her own conflicted notions of beauty. Her story and those of other African Americans who have chosen to ‘lock up’ are wittily chronicled in this award-winning, entertaining film. Anecdotes, historical data, groit performances, and hair tips mingle in a survey of the origins and cultural significance of dreadlocks, including the stereotypes which mirror the racism inherent in Western standards of beauty. T. Nicole Atkinson is the co-producer of the late Marlon Riggs’ acclaimed documentary, BLACK IS...BLACK AINT.
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Conjure Women

CONJURE WOMEN is an exciting performance-based documentary exploring the artistry and philosophy of four African American female artists. Celebrated choreographer and dancer Anita Gonzalez was a founding member of and performer with Urban Bush Women and is now Artistic Director of Bandana Women. Robbie McCauley is a critically-acclaimed performance artist and theater director whose personal vision has consistently explored the 'herstory' of Black women. The stunning photography of Carrie Mae Weems captures a variety of images of African Americans. Vocalist and composer Cassandra Wilson (Grammy award winner for Best Jazz Vocalist) has released nine recordings of her work and was acclaimed in the New York Times as "the most important singer to come along in jazz in the last ten years." These four artists use their disciplines to reclaim their 'africanisms', an intuitive experience of what their foreparents had to deny if they were to survive. CONJURE WOMEN is a moving and entertaining record of the work of these remarkable women. It is also, as filmmaker Demetria Royals notes, "telling the story of African Americans in our own distinct and self-defined voices."
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Mother of the River

In this poignant story set in the 1850s, a young slave girl befriends a magical woman in the woods called Mother of the River. Through their friendship the young girl learns about independence, honor, humility and respect for others. MOTHER OF THE RIVER is a rare portrayal of slavery from a young woman's perspective. MOTHER OF THE RIVER was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. "Academics will find the film especially useful in courses such as Women's Studies, African American Studies and History." -Jacqueline Bobo, Film and Television Studies, University of NC, Chapel Hill
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The Body of a Poet

An imaginary biopic, THE BODY OF A POET centers on the efforts of a group of young lesbians of color to devise a fitting tribute to one of this century's great visionaries. Its genre-bending celebration of the life and work of Audre Lorde, black lesbian poet and political activist, daringly meshes diverse media conventions and techniques as it explores Lorde's trajectory from birth to death. Refreshing and visually stunning, this brave film features assured acting by a dedicated cast and a taut script comprising the work of contemporary African American lesbian poets.
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Remembering Wei Yi-fang, Remembering Myself

REMEMBERING WEI YI-FANG, REMEMEBERING MYSELF: An Autobiography charts the influence of the filmmaker’s six-year experience as an African American woman in Taiwan after college graduation. The highly original film recounts Welbon’s discovery, through another language and culture, of being respected for who she is, without the constant of American racism, and how it helped her achieve self-knowledge. Linking this story with that of earlier women in Welbon’s family, the richly textured memoir blends dramatic sequences with documentary footage.
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Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice

Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American woman who lived in Harlem for more than 40 years and had a long history of activism on a wide range of issues. Through extensive interviews with family and friends, archival footage, music and photographs, YURI KOCHIYAMA chronicles this remarkable woman’s contribution to social change through some of the most significant events of the 20th century, including the Black Liberation movement, the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, and the Japanese American Redress movement. In an era of divided communities and racial conflict, Kochiyama offered an outstanding example of an equitable and compassionate multiculturalist vision.
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And Still I Rise

Inspired by a poem by Maya Angelou, this powerful film explores images of Black women in the media, focusing on the myths surrounding Black women's sexuality. Like COLOR ADJUSTMENT, in which Marlon Riggs looked at images of Black people on television, AND STILL I RISE uses images from popular culture to reveal the way the media misrepresents Black women's sexuality. A combination of fear and fascination produces a stereotypical representation which in turn impacts on the real lives of Black women. AND STILL I RISE intercuts historical and media images with hard-hitting contemporary views of women of African heritage as they struggle to create a new and empowered perspective. Both a celebration and a critique, AND STILL I RISE is essential viewing for those interested in African American studies, women's studies, media studies and popular culture. From the director of THE BODY BEAUTIFUL and COFFEE COLORED CHILDREN.
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The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash

From her innovative short works to her critically acclaimed feature debut DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, the films of Julie Dash have broken new cinematic ground and redefined black women's images on screen. In this wide-ranging interview, Dash talks about her background, development and approach to movie making, as well as the struggles, victories and interdependence of African American women filmmakers. Excerpts from early films and DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, the dramatic feature about different generations of South Carolina sea islanders which has thrilled audiences across the nation, underscore the originality of this immensely gifted artist.
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A Place of Rage

This exuberant celebration of African American women and their achievements features interviews with Angela Davis, June Jordan and Alice Walker. Within the context of the civil rights, Black power and feminist movements, the trio reassess how women such as Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer revolutionized American society. A stirring chapter in African American history, highlighted by music from Prince, Janet Jackson, the Neville Brothers and the Staple Singers.
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As I Remember It

This intimate portrait of writer Dorothy West explores the forgotten role of women in the Harlem Renaissance. From the perspective of her 83 years, the still active writer relates her memories of growing up African American, privileged and enthralled by literature. Archival footage and photographs, interviews and excerpts from her autobiographical novel, THE LIVING IS EASY, capture West's fascinating story.
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Praise House

PRAISE HOUSE combines elements of theater, dance and music based on the rhythms and rituals of Africa. Julie Dash, director of DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, collaborated with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder and choreographer of Urban Bush Women, to explore the source of creativity and its effect on three generations of African American women. PRAISE HOUSE shows the emotional prison so many people live in, even as it celebrates the persistence of belief and creativity, and the splendid legacies African Americans have preserved against all odds. Produced for ALIVE TV, KTCA.
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A Powerful Thang

This innovative drama, set in Ohio, traces an African American couple's search for intimacy and friendship. The spirited, African-identified Yasmine Allen is a writer and single mother who has been dating saxophone teacher Craig Watkins for a month. Wishing to end her self-imposed celibacy following her son's birth, Yasmine has reached a turning point in the relationship-but Craig, the Big Lug, wants to take it slow. Sage advice from friends and family members remind them, "sex is a powerful thang." Like her highly acclaimed CYCLES, Davis's film incorporates animation as well as Afro-Haitian dance in a rich exploration of the lives of African Americans.
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Mary Lou Williams

Pioneering Black American composer-arranger-pianist Mary Lou Williams is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of jazz. In this authoritative film, lively interviews with Williams, Dizzy Gillepsie and Buddy Tate interweave the musical and personal elements of her dramatic life. At the height of her career, she dropped out of music to help drug-addicted musicians in Harlem, making a triumphant comeback fifteen years later. A spirited tribute to Williams’ indelible contribution to American culture, narrated by Roberta Flack.
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DiAna's Hair Ego: AIDS Info Up Front

Realizing the extreme inadequacy of local information on AIDS prevention, cosmetologist DiAna DiAna, with her partner Dr. Bambi Sumpter, took on the task of educating the Black community in Columbia, South Carolina. This provocative, funny and informative film documents the growth of the South Carolina AIDS Education Network which operates out of DiAna's Hair Ego, the beauty salon where a condom display is as common as a basket of curlers! DiANA'S HAIR EGO has been used by hundreds of educational and community organizations as a model for making a difference.
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Visions of the Spirit

This intimate and inspiring portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker explores the compassion, insight and strength that have made her one of the most admired women in the United States. Filmed at Walker’s California home, in her Georgia hometown, and on location with the film crew of THE COLOR PURPLE, VISIONS OF THE SPIRIT shows us Walker as mother, daughter, philosopher, activist and of course, writer. Featherston’s film explores the roots of Walker’s southern African American feminist consciousness through in-depth conversations with the writer and members of her family. African American feminist literary scholar Barbara Christian places Walker in the history of African American literature, archival footage of the civil rights movement provides background for Walker’s political vision. A perfect introduction to the writer for literature, African American and women’s studies classes, libraries and general audiences.
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Cycles

Rasheeda Allen is waiting for her period, a state of anticipation familiar to all women. Drawing on Caribbean folklore, this exuberant experimental drama uses animation and live action to discover a film language unique to African American women. The multilayered soundtrack combines a chorus of women's voices with the music of Africa and the diaspora-including Miriam Makeba, acappella singers from Haiti and trumpetiste Clora Bryant.
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With a Vengeance

This urgent and timely film is a history of the struggle for reproductive freedom since the 1960s, reflecting the wider history of the contemporary women's movement. WITH A VENGEANCE is an empowering look at the strength and breadth of the current women's movement which asks why current battles resemble those of the 60s. Rare archival footage and interviews with early abortion rights activists, including members of Redstockings and the JANE Collective, are intercut with young women who testify to the need for multi-racial grassroots coalitions. Flo Kennedy and Byllye Avery exemplify African American women's roles as leaders, making connections between racism, reproductive freedom and healthcare for the poor.
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Picking Tribes

“In a heartfelt, and often hilarious, attempt to be more than ‘ordinary,’ a girl growing up in the 1940s tries to choose between her African-American and Native-American heritages. It is only when her beloved grandfather dies that she is able to reconcile the power of both her heritages and realizes her own uniqueness." -Moving Pictures Bulletin Sharp uses vintage photographs and Carlos Spivey’s watercolor animation to create a spirited portrait of a girl’s search for identity. Now with Bonus Short Film: BACK INSIDE HERSELF 2009 Remix by S. Pearl Sharp (4min 45secs) Originally released in 1984, this lyrical visual poem featuring Barbara-O urges black women to both discover and invent their own identities. The 2009 remix includes updated audio with vocals by Sharp and Dwight Trible.
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Perfect Image?

Bright and imaginative in its approach to its subject, PERFECT IMAGE? exposes stereotypical images of Black women and explores women's own ideas of self worth. Using two actresses who constantly change their personae, the film poses questions about how Black women see themselves and each other and the pitfalls that await those who internalize the search for the "perfect image"!
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Storme

“It ain’t easy…being green” is the favorite expression of Storme DeLarverie, a woman whose life flouted prescriptions of gender and race. During the 1950’s and 60’s she toured the black theater circuit as a mistress of ceremonies and the sole male impersonator of the legendary Jewel Box Revue, America’s first integrated female impersonation show and forerunner of La Cage aux Folles. The multiracial revue was a favorite act of the Black theater circuit and attracted mixed mainstream audiences from the 1940s through the 1960s, a time marked by the violence of segregation. Parkerson finds Storme in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, now working as a bodyguard at a women’s bar and still singing in her deep silky voice with an “all girl” band. Through archival clips from the past, STORME looks back on the grandeur of the Jewel Box Revue and its celebration of pure entertainment in the face of homophobia and segregation. Storme herself emerges as a remarkable woman, who came up during hard times but always “kept a touch of class.”
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On Becoming a Woman

This extraordinary documentary provides rare insights into some important health issues for African American women. Although it was produced before AIDS was a major factor for women, ON BECOMING A WOMAN deals candidly and constructively with teen pregnancy, providing in-depth information about reproduction, birth control, self-examination and sexual activity. Filmed primarily during the National Black Women's Health Project workshop sessions, this historic film also demonstrates models for trust and communication between mothers and daughters.
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Emergence

Common themes of identity, alienation and herstory in the context of the diasporan experience emerge in this powerful film. Four Black and Third World women artists, among them African American feminist poet Audre Lorde and Palestinian performance artist Mona Hatoum, speak forcefully through their art and writing.
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The Maids

Domestic service has long been branded as demeaning work: it involves long hours, menial toil and low pay. Historically, and not coincidentally, it has been one of the only occupations open to African American women in this country. As African American women have begun to move away from domestic labor into other jobs, white-owned entrepreneurial maid services employing primarily white women have arisen. This intriguing and articulate documentary looks at the history of domestic work since slavery and the ambivalence felt by African American women towards it. Offering a sophisticated analysis of the racial and sexual division of labor in this country, THE MAIDS! is an excellent resource for women's, African American and labor studies.
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Hair Piece

An animated satire on the question of self image for African American women living in a society where beautiful hair is viewed as hair that blows in the wind and lets you be free. Lively tunes and witty narration accompany a quick-paced inventory of relaxers, gels and curlers. Such rituals are all-too familiar to African American women-and indeed to all women confronted with an unattainable ideal of beauty. This short film has become essential for discussions of racism, African American cinema and empowerment. Used by hundreds of groups as diverse as museums, churches, hospitals and hair stylists.
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Gotta Make This Journey

This vibrant and engaging film profiles the a capella activist group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. Singing to end the oppression of Black people world wide, SWEET HONEY embraces musical styles from spirituals and blues to calypso, and concerns ranging from feminism to ecology, peace and justice. This dynamic film features individual portraits, powerful concert footage and commentary by Angela Davis, Alice Walker and Holly Near.
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Illusions

The time is 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor; the place is National Studios, a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio. Mignon Duprée, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white and Ester Jeeter, an African American woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star are forced to come to grips with a society that perpetuates false images as status quo. This highly-acclaimed drama by one of the leading African American women directors follows Mignon's dilemma, Ester's struggle and the use of cinema in wartime Hollywood: three illusions in conflict with reality. From the director of the critically acclaimed DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST.
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A Different Image

A highly-acclaimed film, A DIFFERENT IMAGE is an extraordinary poetic portrait of a beautiful young African American woman attempting to escape becoming a sex object and to discover her true heritage. Through a sensitive and humorous story about her relationship with a man, the film makes provocative connections between racism and sexual stereotyping. The screenplay of A DIFFERENT IMAGE is published in Screenplays of the African American Experience, edited by Dr. Phyllis R. Klotman.
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Remembering Thelma

Guggenheim Award-winning filmmaker Kathe Sandler provides viewers with a lively profile of dance instructor and performer Thelma Hill. The film contains rare footage of original Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the New York Negro Ballet of the 1950s.
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...But Then, She's Betty Carter

This lively film is an unforgettable portrait of legendary vocalist Betty Carter, one of the greatest living exponents of jazz. Uncompromised by commercialism throughout her long career, she has forged alternative criteria for success — including founding her own recording company and raising her two sons as a single parent. Parkerson's special film captures Carter's musical genius, her paradoxical relationship with the public and her fierce dedication to personal and artistic independence.
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Killing Time/Fannie's Film

Part of the mediamaking movement that first gave centrality to the voices and experiences of African American women during the late Seventies and early Eighties, these two re-releases are no less groundbreaking today. KILLING TIME, an offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going. In FANNIE'S FILM, a 65-year-old cleaning woman for a professional dancers' exercise studio performs her job while telling us in voiceover about her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media's ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.
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Syvilla

A portrait of Syvilla Fort focusing on the beauty of her choreography, the virtuosity of her dancing, and her role as teacher of a generation of African American dancers.
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Your Children Come Back to You

Alile Sharon Larkin's first film is a contemporary allegory about values and assimilation. The film literalizes the meaning of a "mother country" by means of the story of a young girl, Tovi, torn between two surrogate mothers: one comfortably bourgeois, the other nationalist.
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A Minor Altercation

A fight between an African American and a white schoolgirl in Boston is explored in all its complexity in this fact-based drama from one of the producers of EYES ON THE PRIZE.
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