film

celebrate ori inu: in search of self

ori inu is a film about a young woman’s painful conflict with spirituality. written, directed and produced by chelsea odufu and her brother emann odufu, the movie explores the fractures between afro-brazilian religion and christianity.

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chelsea calls herself an art activist who challenges the boundaries of gender, beauty and individuality. after watching her short film “the love below,” i’m definitely a fan. make sure to support black women filmmakers like chesea and the magic they produce.

what happened miss simone? out on netflix

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1950:  Photo of Nina Simone  Photo by Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Imageswith people around the world uniting for the black lives matter movement, this summer is the perfect time to celebrate one of the greatest musicians and revolutionaries of the 20th century. what happened, miss simone? was released on netflix friday and is an intimate view into the nina simone’s life.  using previously unreleased footage, letters and interviews with close family and friends, the singer-songwriter’s words and life are just as relevant now as they were the day dr. martin luther king jr. was murdered.

at 93, iris apfel is styled for the gawds

“you will never be pretty, but you have something much more important. style.”

revolutionary style icon and interior designer iris apfel remembers these words from a friend in the documentary iris, coming to dc this friday. at 93, she’s remarkable and irreverent, a true artist who uses accessories as her medium.  just catching a sneak peek of her style in the trailer below made me sick with anticipation!

5 things i learned from ava duvernay’s sxsw speech

sometimes i get tired of public speaking. TIHHED. as an attorney and activist, i’m given the opportunity often, and each time i’m as nervous as the first. what gets me through? whether i’m preparing to argue in court or speak to a group of young people, i constantly ask God to speak through me. i feel God did just that with ava duvernay’s sxsw speech — her words spoke to so many parts of my life.  here’s what ava taught me:

1.  “if your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” how will you serve others? we all have a piece of sand to add to the scale of humanity.

2.  “when the light is on you, what do you do to take it in and be nourished by it?” humility has its place, but when it’s your opportunity to shine enjoy it, dwell in it. let your soul be cleansed by the benefits of hard work.

3.  “give your attention to your intention.” set a purpose and work at it unapologetically, giving it all of your attention.

4.  “we don’t see things how they are. we see things how we are.” our perceptions are our realities and if we perceive ourselves as small, we’ll never achieve our intended greatness.

5.  “don’t limit your dream with the small stuff. go beyond external motivation.” ava described the external motivators that were behind her first two feature films.  when writing and directing king, her sole focus was on serving the story; she believes that intention shaped its huge success. again, if your dream only includes you, it’s too small.

watch the video. be empowered.

crush of the week: ava duvernay

in case you didn’t know, one of the best movies of 2015 was directed by a black woman.  the film: selma. the director: ava duvernay. a vision with long locks, impeccable style and black consciousness, she just might be politics & fashion’s crush of the year. 

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selma’s been nominated for a golden globe for best director, making ava the first black woman to be nominated for this award.  take a look at this great new york time’s article written about the struggles she and other women directors have faced in hollywood.ava4

girlhood

girlhood is a french film that debuted at this year’s cannes film festival.  the film depicts the lives of black teenage girls coming of age in a paris housing project, and unlike american films that seem to fetishize black women’s suffering, this film takes a more holistic look at the girls’ lives.

 

girlhood is scheduled to debut in the us next year.

crush of the week: black icons

hazel scott and lena hornethis week’s crush of the week pays homage to black women’s legacy of breathtaking beauty. i admire hazel scott, lena horne, pearl bailey, dorothy dandridge, eartha kitt, nina simone and diana ross for winning the fight to be recognized despite all odds.lena hornepearl

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