Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black female film directors or Yes,Virginia, Ava Duvernay is not a unicorn

Before the director of Middle of Nowhere and Selma hit the public's retinas, there was Julie Dash, Kasi Lemmons and Darnell Martin. These ladies helmed some excellent films, have withstood the Hollywood trifecta of sexism, racism and cronyism (plus I'm sure they've been told to make stuff "Blacker" or asked, "I know the scene takes place at a child's birthday party but why can't the heroine be naked anyway?") and are still in the business. Probably overlooked time and again for a gig because some bigwig's nephew just graduated film school and is dying to make another buddy flick, with his grade-school friend's script no less, which includes zombies and topless dancers. You get the picture. Sad thing is, it probably is being made while I type this. Anyhoo, I love all the films by these ladies.

Look for their work on Hulu or Netflix.

Kasi Lemmons - Eve's Bayou

Julie Dash - Daughters of the Dust (a movie of such magical cinematography; plus it depicts Gullah life at the turn of the century so beautifully

Darnell Martin - I Like It Like That

Kasi Lemmons (also as an actress she played Clarice Starling's BFF in "Silence of the Lambs)

Julie Dash

Darnell Martin

Ava Duvernay


  1. I had a book about the filming of Daughters of the Dust (now with my mother's collection). Gorgeous visuals and wonderful, sensual atmosphere.

    1. It is such a dreamily filmed story. My father's family is Gullah and from those Sea Islands off the coast of the Carolinas. I believe they farmed rice and made indigo. Back breaking work. Anyhoo, they left and settled in Raleigh. But he never forgot how beautiful his birthplace was. The character of Rozina in "Kindred" is an homage to my grandmother on that side