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.
This time of year I tend to congratulate myself about what I have managed to accomplish during the summer and soothe myself with gelato about the things on my to-do list that will have to be pushed back into Fall. All of us who are doing important work – either as educators, artists, activists, students or volunteers – have more passion than money — more good ideas than time to execute them. What’s the best way to surrender to this reality dishonoring our spirit?
At the Progressive Pupil office this summer, we’ve been listening to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright” on repeat. This song, which has become the unofficial theme of #BlacklLivesMatter, is an affirmation that has long been passed down from grandmother to grandchild in African American communities. In spite of all the challenges we who believe in freedom face, and the dark truths that must be confronted in doing this work with integrity, it’s gonna be alright.
(Afro)Latino Heritage Month is an ideal time to remember and celebrate the work of a true trailblazer, Sara Gomez. During her career as a filmmaker and community advocate, Gomez captured the culture and traditions of AfroCuban life. In an industry dominated by men, Gomez’s presence was a brazen challenge to the status quo. Female directors in Cuba, especially those of African descent, were often marginalized and their films were not taken as seriously as those of male counterparts. Sara Gomez was one of the visionaries who started the movement to change this. Gomez was the first female Cuban filmmaker in the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), and her intimate portrayals of women in Cuban society sparked an important cinematic dialogue which continues to this day.
Are you AfroLatin@ and beautiful? Snap a selfie or childhood photo and email us a 100 word caption about what makes you Negr@ & Beautiful. You can be a part of our AfroLatin@ Heritage celebration on the Progressive Pupil blog this September and October. Whether you’ve grown to love your hair, work hard as a teacher in an urban school or are involved in campaigns for immigrants’ rights and against mass incarceration, we want to see you and learn about you. If you are an artist, musician or filmmaker, be sure to include information about your latest project. Our former intern Carmen Medina wrote about her journey to self-love on our blog and was later featured on AfroLatinidad. You can learn more about AfroLatino community advocacy from the afrolatin@ forum.