Event Recap - How We Tell Stories: Black Feminisms, Film and Resistance
On Sunday 30th August, TOS hosted a discussion with Black feminist filmmakers and creatives in the United States and Nigeria. Moderated by Melaine Ferdinand-King, the conversation included filmmakers, Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim and Kiersten White.
Despite being based on opposite sides of the world, Kiersten and Uyaiedu were able to relate to many of the same obstacles to their art as black womxn in the film industry. Uyaiedu asked a question that resonated many of the viewers, ' How long must I smile at men, just so that I can get the funding?' And with this point, it opened up an all too real side of the industry. Without a seat at the table, it is often difficult for filmmakers such as Kiersten and Uyaiedu to even get their art from their minds onto the screen.
How We Tell Stories wasn't a conversation focused on the problems that the filmmakers faced, it was an insightful and powerful discussion that gave hope and inspiration to creatives and those of us who also consume art. Although it is hard to ignore the marginalisation of black womxn's voices in the industry, Uyaiedu and Kiersten discussed why it is important to use this as a catalyst and not an excuse.
Both Kiersten and Uyaiedu shared how they have used the spaces that they are in to create their own art. Whereas Kiersten is committed to using her art to create pockets of joy for her audience who are often consumed with trauma on a daily basis, be it in real life or in the media, Uyaiedu is focused on telling the stories of everyday women, the types of stories that men and most of society don't want to tell, because as Melaine stated, 'There are going to be a lot of people who don't think our stories are important.'
There were many points to take away from the evening's discussion, most of all, the fact that "We are here NOW" so we should be allowed to tell stories about our feelings in the present, unfiltered and without asking for permission or approval for our voices to be heard. So for any reluctant artists, filmmakers, or creatives of any kind, the time to start is now, no matter what...
If anything, this conversation showed why these conversations are necessary. Although their experiences of racism, colourism and sexism differed across the borders, it showed the need for the formation of collectives and communities, especially for black and brown womxn, so that they can gain the funding and means to produce and distribute their work without having to smile for funding.
TOS would like to say a massive thank you to our moderator and panelists for making our first event as amazing as it was. Be sure to follow and support these amazing creatives and get in touch with them if you have any questions.
For those of you who missed the event, please find the film recording below.