Written by Misha Green, the television show creates an immovable life force with its story and pacing as it takes our main characters through the terrifying mazes Jim Crow-era America and a secret, witch cult called the Sons of Adam. What really elevates the show to new, heightened levels is the incorporation of symbolic references that add on to an already linguistically and thematically nuanced storyline. It makes you think. It keeps you on your toes, finding new information and Easter eggs with each re-watch.
I wanted to use For My Culture 1 this month to highlight these works, not only because they deserve it- they are amazing works of art- but because I want to support Black women. I want their films to be a part of our discourse, our top 10 lists, our reviews, and daily conversations. These are all films directed by Black women that you can stream RIGHT NOW. The future of the film industry is slowly looking brighter when it comes to opening up diversity and opportunities for Black women, as well as other minorities, but the progress is too slow. We have to do our part with support and recognition, and I for one am more than happy to do so. Watching these films over the past few years and weeks was a blast for me. They are strong pieces. They evoked so much emotion, made me laugh, and filled me in places I didn’t know were empty. I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I did!
Displaying the beautiful nuances of adult, female friendship has been a constant theme of the HBO show Insecure. Kelli and Tiffany, and most importantly, Molly and Issa have all been at the center of this story, weaving through life’s struggles together. Even the male friendships have received increasing attention, exploring the relationship between Lawrence, Chad, and Derek. Friendship is the very core of this story, and it seems to have come to a monumental head this new season.
Known as the Queen of Tejano, Selena revolutionized a genre and broke boundaries like no other, especially for the Mexican-American community. For nine years running, she won “Best Female Vocalist” at the Tejano Music Awards. She became the first Latino singer to debut at the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Top 200, and her album Amor Prohibido, was the best-selling Latin album of all time. On top of her musical success, Selena had a growing success in fashion.
Once described as the “Asian Daria,” Diane Nguyen is unlike the rest of her rag-tag counterparts. Her morbid, self-aware, and monotone nature stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of Hollywood’s A-list party. Her moral high ground is miles above the rest of her friends’, and that makes her not only the moral compass of the show much of the time, but it also gives her a condescending personality- one that she uses on others profusely, but rarely on herself. She is constantly talking down on her loved ones, simply because she expects more of them than they expect from themselves.
Atlantics (2019) was first released at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival when it competed for the Palme d’Or. The films director and co-writer, Mati Diop, made history when she became the first black woman who directed a film featured in the competition- also winning the Grand Prix award for it. After its release at Cannes and later in Senegal, the film was picked up and released on Netflix for wide viewing.
Jezebel (2019) is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age film written and directed by Numa Perrier. The story follows 19 year old Tiffany (Tenille) through the struggles of growing up and losing her mother, while she also finds work as a cam-girl.
You know the story, from Louisa M. Alcott, that has been re-adapted again and again for television and film. Little Women is a story that follows four sisters- Amy, Jo, Beth, and Meg March- through Civil War-era America and their paths to womanhood. You may think, what does a story about 19th century women have that can relate to 21st century women? Well, that’s where Greta Gerwig (writer/director of Lady Bird (2018)) comes in- to bridge that gap between two centuries of ‘little women,’ growing up in two vastly different times. And in this way, I believe Gerwig and the cast of Little Women succeed while still solidifying and celebrating the beauty of the source material.
Honey Boy (2019) is the autobiographical screenplay written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el. It’s the story of a young boy named Otis (played by Noah Jupe) as he finds himself in the spotlight of the acting world while also dealing with the turmoil and abusive relationship with his father James (played by LaBeouf himself.)
Audiences were first introduced to the live-action ‘Harley Quinn’ in 2016, when Suicide Squad hit theaters. Margot Robbie played Quinn brilliantly. With her ability to hit those comedic notes perfectly and execute those action sequences with animation and badass-ness, Robbie made the role of ‘Harley Quinn’ hers, just like Bale did with ‘Batman’ and Downey Jr. did with ‘Iron Man.’