For my final 31 Films of Halloween: Women in Horror Edition post, I decided to show appreciation for the Black women in horror! The first Black women who began appearing in horror films were in the 1930’s, and they held roles that strongly represented the social values of America at the time. Films like Chloe, Love is Calling You (1934) and Ouanga (1936) showed Black women as the villain White people (mostly White women) had convinced themselves that they were- thieves of their babies and their men. As the film industry progressed and the horror genre pressed on making more films, the role of Black women in these films didn’t increase in number nor in value. They were pigeon-holed into roles that further stigmatized the ideas around Black people and their culture. They were voodoo priestess’s, gyrating natives, and loyal mammies who served the only purpose of furthering a plot or storyline.
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 just started I May Destroy You yesterday. I also just got caught up with I May Destroy You yesterday. Written by and starring Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You is a new, HBO show that chronicles a young writer named Arabella (Coel) as she deals with the aftermath of being sexually assaulted at a bar one night. I May Destroy You explores the “perfect victim,” linear healing, and different forms of sexual abuse all in one. One line that really stuck out to me was, “The problem is when people don’t know what is a crime and what isn’t a crime, they don’t report it and people get away with it.”
Black is King feels like something new. As a longtime fan, it feels like a transcendental step in Beyoncé’s career. From her early albums and early acting projects, to “Beychella”, Lemonade, and now Black is King, Beyoncé has continuously stepped more into herself, more into her own creativity and vision in a way that shows her growth, the growth of her fans, and Black pride overall. She steeps herself and her art in Black culture. She has always been a standout, an idol, for many in the Black community.
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!
Starring Nicole Beharie, Alexis Chikaeze, and Kendrick Sampson, Miss Juneteenth is a generational story of Black motherhood and womanhood. It is also a film about liberation in one of its most intimate forms. Turquoise “Turq” Jones (played by Beharie) is a dedicated mother who is preparing her daughter, Kai (Chikaeze), for the Miss Juneteenth pageant- a pageant that she won back in her own time. The film follows them through this journey, but it is also follows Turq through her own.
I want to take my website and use it to further amplify mine and the voices of my people. I love to educate and learn, but I also love my culture. Going forward, I will be doing a quarterly issue/theme on my blog that centers around loving my culture and others loving their own. This theme will be for amplifying Black voices, but in the future, I hope that I can help amplify the voices of so many more. I hope you guys enjoy!
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.
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.