Between screening Black and Cuba andworking on my new multi-platform project 9 GRAMS, I’ve spent some time this summer thinking about the Black woman’s image.Of course in one way or another I’ve been thinking about it my entire life by looking in the mirror and beholding the relentless glamour of my mother and grandmother while I was growing up. In creating films that center Black women’s perspectives and – frankly- a lifetime of struggling to valorize my own, I’ve come to realize the most empowering and aesthetically beautiful representations of Black women are the ones we create ourselves.
In memory of Korryn Gaines, who was killed today in front of her 5 year old son by Baltimore police, please take a moment and look at The Counted.Published by The Guardian, The Counted is an online database of people killed by police in the U.S. It appears Korryn Gaines will be number 631 in 2016.
The police officers involved attempted to arrest Korryn for failing to appear in court to answer nonviolent traffic charges.
I identify as a woman, but I move through the world not only as a woman, but also as a white woman, a woman from a middle-class family, an American woman, an able-bodied woman, and a young woman (I could go on). These identities, many of them granting me daily privileges in society, make my experience as a woman vastly different from the experiences of other women.
Black women around the world and throughout history have fought for their freedom and inclusion in society. In the United States, we are most familiar with the likes of Rosa Parks, Ella Baker and Claudette Colvin – African American women leaders that fought for Civil Rights throughout the 1960s. The struggle for freedom in the Americas actually started much earlier than that. Today marks the anniversary of a Cuban revolution that began nearly a century before Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s July 26th Movement. Carlota, who predates both Guevara and Castro, was one of several female Africans responsible for leading a string of successful slave uprisings in Cuba from 1843-44. The freedom of her compatriots would eventually cost Carlota her life.