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.
There are many memorable moments in Spike Lee’s 2020 film Da 5 Bloods. From Delroy Lindo’s performance- hell, the entire cast’s performance- to the cinematography and the story line, the film held me awestruck, tearful, and contemplative through its entirety. But perhaps the most compelling aspect of this film for me was Lee’s incorporation of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On. It was such a minor, yet monumentally, moving choice that etched this film into my brain and sent my thoughts soaring.
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.
Anyways, now that I’m back to my computer screen, I’ve got some tea to share. Some streaming tea. Now, I’ve watched a lot of shows and movies over the past month…like a lot, but I don’t want to bore you with all the gory details, so I’ll just give you some of the highlights of the past month. Here is a list of my favorite watches for May quarantine:
The new sequel trilogy of Star Wars is over. Wow! What a crazy few decades of critiques and appraisals (and what a crazy few decades to come, amiright?) Fans and viewers will always be critical of films, especially something like Star Wars, that garners so much love and popularity. And sure, I have critiques of the films, but this franchise means something different to me. I can never leave watching a Star Wars film genuinely upset. When I leave, I’m not only giddy from the experience I just shared with dozens of other movie-goers, but I’m also excited to be able to text my dad, and ask him, “Have you seen the new Star Wars yet?”