BLACK is a documentary about the intersection of blackness and motherhood that seeks to examine the more nuanced ways in which the identifiers "woman" and "mother" are constructed and understood differently over the course of one's life.  We interviewed 8 different Black women in order to glean from the experiences of those who are mothers to children they bore, those who are mothers to the communities of which they are a part, and those who have no desire to be a mother in either sense.

 

By using a more conventional approach, the talking heads interviews provided both grounding context and riveting testimonials that have allowed us to put each of the 8 narratives in conversation with one another. We see our work as filmmakers through the lens of the facilitator, our main goal is to create discourse and ultimately new thought. By tying in elements of our own lives as a means for narrative threading we are allowed to play more active roles in the documentary process.

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We chose documentary film for this topic because we found it important to kick off the series with an explicit execution of our main goal. The of art documentary allowed us to lead with more a point blank engagement with Black women. The motherhood theme also seemed to call for this more intimate form of story telling.

BLACK accesses the intersection of blackness and motherhood via conversations crafted around various other intersections/topics which draping hopes to narratively explore in the coming episodes.

 

 I do it for my mama

Like she did it for hers

I do it for my mama

Cause thats what I have learned

Mama taught how me to be kind 

Mama taught me how to fight, 

Mama taught me how to be a light

Mama taught me how to believe in God

She said 

let things 

roll off 

of you

The world ain’t pretty

They’ll try to

say that

you are 

not to

But you are no ones pity

She said, and she said, then she said again

She said, and Mama said again

So even when I tired from being strong

So tired of holding the weight of the world on my back for so long

She said, and she said, then she said again

She said, until I settled in

See I do it for my mama

Like she did it for hers

I do it for my mama

Cause thats what I have learned

 

 In photo: interviewee Jordan Gaines  Photo by Duke Virginia

In photo: interviewee Jordan Gaines

Photo by Duke Virginia

In a lot of ways, i feel like black motherhood represented a lot of the stereotypes that black woman in general have to combat about being strong and being independent and being like superwoman and doing for everyone first.
— Jordan Gaines
 
 Co-Creator/Director, Kennedie King  photo by her mother (probably)

Co-Creator/Director, Kennedie King

photo by her mother (probably)

 Co-Creator/Director Tiffany Ike

Co-Creator/Director Tiffany Ike

 

in this world my mother does not make me want to spit on the womb that birthed me. does not make me want to run away, or disappear, or disappear. in this world my mother loves me. all of me. i don’t need need convincing of this. she comes looking for me when i run away. especially when that running is in my silence and we are in the same room. she notices when she’s hurting me. she notices when i’m hurting me. and when she asks what’s wrong, she will listen. and hold me like it’s still 1997 and we will dance like the divorce never happened. like she never married that man. had my sisters and i of her own accord. we will dance like she didn’t give birth in pain. like she didn’t give birth to pain. and she’ll kiss both of my closed eyelids and sway to music that plays only in our heads. in this world my mother doesn’t still think it’s just a phase. and i get the girl, the 3 of us dance at our wedding. and my mother loves this girl like i love this girl. and our mother’s walked us down the aisle. and they love each other. And my sister’s love all her sisters. and there are no boys at this wedding. and we all dance and eat till our belly’s swell and laugh full laughs are in love with each other. and i can read her this poem, because she answered my phone call. in this world, my mother answers my phone calls. does not ignore me when i try to talk to her.

 

Major shout out the Studio Learning Community for allowing us to film in your Black Box Theatre space. A special thank you to Saja Abu-Hakmeh for plugging us on the regular!