Teaching, Reflecting, Writing it Down

My mentor Renee Hobbs has been encouraging me to write about my teaching experience for about…. three years now.  

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Yesterday we met and she suggested writing informally, like in a journal or… BLOG! Okay, there’s my format! I’ll be using this blog to share some reflections on teaching moving forward. I would like to commit to building on at least ONE of them this year (2011, Nuala!) to submit to a journal.

For now I’ll post some videos from a summer program called the REEL Film Experience, “where youth/FILM/learning intersect for positive change.” Teaching there for six weeks this summer was probably the most exciting and meaningful teaching experience I have had so far.

These videos are from media literacy lessons where we explored stereotypes around gender and race through work by author Joan Morgan, rap artists Public Enemy and filmmakers Spike Lee and Byron Hurt.

Posted in Teaching and Reflection | Leave a comment

Community Engagement: Ending Street Harassment and Gender-based Violence

Last night I participated in a panel and screening with three other activists for a discussion about street harassment and gender based violence.

Despite the fact that it felt like 150 degrees outside (for real), 40 people came to the event to engage in constructive, candid and thoughtful dialogue about street harassment, self-esteem, inter-sectionality and action.

Not long ago I plugged into this movement via social media, after making the short film Walking Home. Last night this movement became even more real to me.

The event reminded me of the value in face to face interaction, collaboration, diversity and solidarity, when working towards social change.

The panel event was part of author Van Deven’s “Hey Shorty” book tour  and took place at the Wooden Shoe Bookstore in South Philadelphia. Here are links for background information about the co-presenters:

A special thanks to Hollaback! Philly research assistant Elizabeth Welsh, who live tweeted the entire event.  I’m pasting everything she tweeted below.

** Welcome to the live-tweet of our anti street harassment panel! We’ll be getting started in just a minute.

Introductions! @mandyvandeven @nualacabral @hollabackphilly and @hkearl are all here with us.

@mandyvandeven is telling us about getting involved with Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn: ggenyc.org

It quickly became clear to Mandy and to ggenyc.org that sexual harassment is rampant in kids’ lives – and seldom gets talked about.

Moving on to @hkearl talking about her street harassment experiences, starting as a 14-year-old runner

Many women end up altering the activities they choose to participate in in an effort to avoid street harassment

This is why Holly frames it as a quality of life issue. Discovering the term “street harassment” led her to begin speaking out.

32% of women choose outfits that will attract less attention on a monthly basis – planning for street harassment before leaving the house!

45% of women avoid being out after dark on a monthly basis – what does this mean we’re missing out on? Classes, socializing, campaigning…

1 in 5 women have moved to a different neighborhood; 1 in 10 have changed jobs/commute in an effort to avoid street harassment.

Street harassment negatively affects men who are not harassers – women are often wary of interacting with them.

Holly’s tips for helping to stop street harassment: Share your story, end the silence!

Sharing our stories breaks down stereotypes about who gets harassed and helps increase solidarity with other women (and men!).

Some women have had success asking harassers to repeat themselves, or repeating harassers’ words back to them, loudly, if in a crowded place

Turning it around like this often embarrasses harassers by emphasizing how stupid they sound.

If someone is harassing on the job, complaining to the parent company can lead to great results!

Bystanders can also reach out to victims, asking “Are you okay?”

The Young Women’s Action Team fought neighborhood street harassment by alerting business owners where groups of men were loitering outside.

Neighborhood business owners banded together to create respect zones and not tolerate loiterers (who were also bad for business!)

More on the Young Women’s Action Network in Chicago: http://t.co/MCl17ly They harnessed the power of data, no matter how informal.

You can see more from Holly at her website: stopstreetharassment.org

We’re up now! Hollaback! is everywhere! Because, unfortunately, street harassment is everywhere.

We encourage you to report street harassment: philly.ihollaback.org Young Women’s Action Network showed what a difference data can make.

Don’t forget, all reports submitted to our website are anonymous. Build solidarity between people who want to walk the street unharassed.

We’re also working for LGBTQ people, who also unfortunately get harassed.

Next up: Local filmmaker and activist @nualacabral. While living in Brooklyn she bumped up against street harassment on a daily basis.

Check out Nuala’s Walking Home: vimeo.com/user1897188 

When Nuala put her film on YouTube, it connected her with a movement that was even more empowering than creating the film.

Nuala: “Those moments of being street harassed feel really lonely and disempowering.”

Now we are opening up for questions. Please @ us with any questions you’d like to ask!

Question about addressing street harassment with school kids. Nuala: Too much victim-blaming from both boys and girls. Also: Responsibility.

Nuala: “If we care enough to want change, we need to think about responsibility and what we’re going to do to make change.”

International Stop Street Harassment day is the first day of spring – March 20th.

This year it will be Anti-Street Harassment Week, by popular demand!

Mandy: “Girls for Gender Equity wrote Hey Shorty! as a way for other organizations to see our growth thru failures as well as successes!”

GGE grew over 9 years. This is NOT a rule-book, but suggestions for other organizations. http://www.feministpress.org/books/girls-gender-equity-gge/hey-shorty

A question now from the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia avpphila.org

We’re saying: Queer and trans folks tend to get harassed not only sexually, but also with words involving more violence.

Holly: Street harassment of trans women tends to often be about gender policing, and is threatening to men who think they’re very masculine.

Us: Our official stance is not to differentiate between race or class – everyone harasses.

Holly: Most harassment is same-race, especially the more severe forms. There needs to be education around what constitutes harassment.

Mandy: The emphasis has been put on perception and not intent, and that’s wrong. Intent does matter – it’s racist/classist to say otherwise

Mandy has written extensively on street harassment for Bitch Magazine: http://bitchmagazine.org/profile/mandy-van-deven

Mandy advocates for street harassment to be addressed on a community level rather than by criminalizing it.

Question: A favorite activity of K-2nd graders at the recess program I ran was standing by the fence and yelling at women on the street.

Us: A lot of the time it’s about impressing other dudes more than interacting with women.

Questioner: It started with the 2nd graders, and after a couple of weeks trickled down to the kindergartners.

Mandy: In schools, a big problem is institutional support for addressing these things – Figuring out what the policies are, if they exist.

Mandy: We talk about socialization as adults, but it’s process that starts as young people. An 8-year-old boy hollering at women on the street doesn’t even know what he’s looking at.

@hkearl: I’ve actually started getting more questions from parents’ of 9- 10-year-olds. Anyone know any good resources?

Questioner: This is a cultural problem, and people should be boycotting sexist/misogynist music I’d classify as hate speech.

Questioner: I can’t understand how other males aren’t seeing this and don’t have empathy for this situation.

Questioner: We need to teach men how to talk to women. I don’t want to hear about how my outfit makes me look sexy.

Questioner 2: I think there are a lot of men out there who think that’s the way you talk to a women.

Holly: Sexualization from a young age makes this seem normal.

There’s a whole section on Holly’s website for and by men: stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/

Nuala: Guys say things like, 2 out of 25 women will respond, so I’ll still yell at the other 23.

Nuala: In order to reach men, I’ll also talk to women. We need to be clear about the distinction between a complement and harassment.

Nuala: No women wants to get harassed, but some women and girls like getting attention. Those are the girls these guys are trying to reach.

A lot of @nualacabral’s work with young girls involves building self-esteem when talking about street harassment.

Nuala: For some girls, their body is the only thing they get complemented on. We need to address that.

Nuala has gotten a lot of pushback from her video because it shows men of color. As a woman of color, she wanted to break the silence.

Nuala: We have to acknowledge that there are some complexities there. You have to be sensitive, but it’s a fine line to be neutral.

Nuala: If you look at the media, the bodies of women of color are more consistently exploited.

Nuala’s recent blog post about a NYC newsstand that illustrates the problem “All black booties, all white faces.” https://nualacabral.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/the-news-stand/

Nuala: “It’s just more acceptable for certain women to be degraded.” Questioner: “It’s not acceptable, it’s normal.” Nuala: “Normalized.”

Nuala: “I like that you also brought up the self-esteem of a man, especially for men of color. We know that oppression breeds oppression.”

Holly: “For some men it’s about oppression, for others it’s because some men feel so entitled.”

Holly: “My research has shown that black women are more likely to be approached as prostitutes. It’s this history of exploitation.”

Questioner: Men and women are taught that the only relationships we can have are sexual or more, that we can’t have friendships.

Questioner: A lot of men can’t relate to women as another human being, a person with morals and goals and a future.

Mandy: For any kind of change to happen, there has to be an education piece on the larger framework of sexual violence in our culture.

Mandy: We have this impression in our minds of how violence happens and who the victims are, but it’s completely separate from reality.

Us: If you don’t have a smartphone, you can submit via email, or by texting to our email address, or manually uploading on the website.

Questioner: Why are women okay on the streets of certain international large cities, but not here?

Holly: My theory is that street harassment is less likely in countries with more gender equality.

Questioner: I thought in those other countries women are treated with more respect. Us: More, but it’s not perfect.

Questioner: There were a number of women in the black revolution movement who acted out strongly against sexual harassers.

Questioner: Women are getting hurt because of harassment. Are you aware of any men who have been hurt as a result of being harassers?

Mandy: I know there are a lot of women who are in prison for killing domestic abusers and rapists…

Mandy: There’s very little documentation of violence in response to street harassment, but that would be interesting.

Questioner: I struggle with the polarity between public accountability and shaming. I dreamed of putting up flyers about the same man who was harassing me all the time, but could never go through with it.

Questioner: Do you think public shaming has a place in this movement, or is that counterproductive?

Us: Even imagining what you would have said and done can be theraputic, even knowing that you never would have done it.

Us: Psychologically, it’s really helpful for women to know there are other people thinking about and struggling with the same thing.

Holly: People in DC banded together to say “Stop harassing women” to one man who was always in the same place. A lot of these harassers are repeat harassers who always stand in the same place. It’s not very many men.

Mandy: The anthology “The Revolution Starts at Home” has a lot of suggestions for community-based steps to take toward accountability without shame http://www.southendpress.org/2010/items/87941

Questioner : How does sexual harassment compare with harassment of other groups, like Muslims, especially right now.

Mandy: The way all groups are affected creates potential to reach across boundaries, but I don’t think they’re all the same.

Mandy: The manifestation, function, and social acceptability greatly vary. It’s dangerous to say that they’re the same.

Holly: Women of all backgrounds who took my survey felt harassed because they were female; men mentioned all the other factors first.

Questioner: The economic impact on women’s lives is amazing! Imagine if it were something men had to deal with. What areas are under-researched?

Holly: That’s why we need to capture that data, because then we have some idea of what we can do.

And it’s a wrap! Many thanks to @mandyvandeven @nualacabral @hkearl @hollabackphilly and of course to YOU for coming along with us!

Posted in Street Harassment Activism | 1 Comment

The NYC Newsstand: Black Womens’ Bodies For Sale

NYC Newsstand, April 30, 2011

What do you notice about this photograph of a news -stand at the 34th St Subway platform in NYC?

Have you seen this type of display before?

When I lived in NYC three years ago I walked by news stands like this on a daily basis. Recently while visiting NYC, I walked by this newsstand and  took this photograph.

The other night I showed the picture to my friends and asked what they noticed.

It was a media literacy moment, FAAN Mail style. Here’s some video of the conversation:

What do I notice?

I notice a typical NYC newsstand.   And as I point out in our discussion, I notice a discrepancy between the way white women and black women are represented. To put it bluntly, I see lots of white faces and lots of black booties.

BlackandBrownNews.com (BBN), an award-winning digital news and information distributor, did a fascinating news story  about this in 2009 titled  “New York City Newsstand Vendors: Exploiting Some, Protecting Others”:

We found shopkeepers – many of them people of color – who exploited the images of Black and Latino women while going to great lengths to protect the image of White women on like magazine covers.

This news story led to a campaign and according to the Founder, legislation is now on the table.  I’ll come back to this later.

In addition to observations around representation when looking at this photograph, my friends and I discussed the question of impact. We wondered what we learn from these images. How do we interpret these spectacles (when we do notice them)?

The little boy holding his lunch box, the teenage boys with their book bags, the grown man who is my boss, what do they think when they see this? What does this teach them?

The black girls out there… the teenage sister who is looking for validation, excited to hear someone call her sexy as if it is the only compliment that matters… and perhaps the only compliment she hears on a regular basis. What does she learn from this?

The men who shout, grab and follow…. the ones who throw epithets and glass bottles when their cat calls are ignored… Do they notice the newsstand?   What does it teach them and the men who silently look upon them?


Street harassment has often made me feel like I am on display…. humanity stripped,  objectified. I remember feeling that way and then walking passed newsstands not much different than this one.  Including a shot of a magazine display in Walking Home, my film about street harassment, was an effort to make this connection visible.

But this connection goes beyond how I personally feel. There is a connection that speaks to our history. This newsstand may appear insignificant, but it is symbolic of a history that is still unfolding, where black and brown women in particular experience a unique form of normalized sexual exploitation and violence, one that is colored by sexism and racism.  It is symbolic of a history where black women go missing and so does the media coverage about their disappearance. A history where black women have been viewed as “unrapable,” where joking about sexual violence in song lyrics is  interpreted as “funny” or “shocking,” but ultimately accepted as pure entertainment by audiences and journalists alike.

It is also a history where men and women have recognized our value and worth and fought to resist this, break the silence and heal themselves and each other.

Then and Now

bell hooks and other scholars have argued that the dehumanization of black and brown men and women’s bodies has been used to justify and reinforce the oppression of black and brown people. In Black Sexual Politics, author Patricia Hill Collins explains:

“For both women and men, Western social thought associates Blackness with an imagined uncivilized, wild sexuality and uses this association as one lynchpin of racial difference. Whether depicted as “freaks” of nature or as being the essence of nature itself, savage, untamed sexuality characterizes Western representations of women and men of African descent.”

It is this narrative that helps explain why it was once acceptable for a black woman named Saartjie Baartman aka the “Hottentot Venus” to be caged, scrutinized and demonized at European Freak Shows. And it is this narrative that helps explain why newsstands like the one above exist all over NYC.

So what do we do with this newsstand, this  symbol?

I wonder how Saartjie Baartman would answer that question.

Let me suggest that we notice it, seek to understand its implications and impact and talk about it.  And then– if we care– we can act.

To all of those arguments that blame women and black women specifically for choosing to objectify themselves (you know, the whole “well she CHOSE to be in that video, magazine, party flyer, etc.”) this newsstand illuminates a reality that those arguments often overlook. Rather than simply blaming women who make those choices, we should be asking in what context are women making those choices?

And for the black women who adamantly distinguish themselves from “those women” and argue that they are not affected by these representations,  I want to know what they think of this newsstand as a symbol. Is there still a disconnect? Or is there a reason to pay attention?

I am curious about the action steps outlined by Black and Brown News which asserts the following:

New York City newsstands are licensed by city government and they are also bound to law. According to New York Penal Code Penal Law Sections:

245.10 Public display of offensive sexual material is defined as showing of the female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a full opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple.

245.11 And a person is guilty of public display of offensive sexual material when he with knowledge of its character and content he displays or permits to be displayed in or on any window, showcase, newsstand, display rack, wall, door, billboard, display board, viewing screen, moving picture screen, marquee or similar place, in such manner that the display is easily visible from or in any: public street, sidewalk or thoroughfare; transportation facility; or any place accessible to members of the public without fee or other limit or condition of admission such as a minimum age requirement.

If you notice or think that a newsstand is in violation, please take the time to contact the appropriate authorities.

Apparently it is possible to report violations to NYC City Officials who can hold vendors accountable.  Of course as BBN has mentioned, enforcement has been an issue.

Let’s keep this conversation going. What are your thoughts? Is this an opportunity for dialogue? action? Where do we take this?

Posted in FAAN Mail | 24 Comments

Our Streets Too: Philly joins the Anti-Street Harassment Day

Yesterday was the First Annual International Anti-Street Harassment Day. In Philadelphia, nearly twenty of us gathered to speak out against street harassment and engage our community. Ten of us went to 52nd Street and seven of us met at Rittenhouse Square.

Holly Kearl, author of the book Stop Street Harassment : Making Public Spaces Safe for Women and Girls, is the woman behind all of this. Her call to action mobilized women and men in cities across the world yesterday, to speak out and demand an end to street harassment.

When I heard about this, I figured many of my girlfriends (and some male friends) would be down for the cause. Street harassment is something we talk about. Many of us notice or encounter it on a regular basis. In fact, this is what inspired me to make the film Walking Home. For many of us, street harassment is something we have been conditioned to “get used to.”

Despite this normalization, we recognized the value in coming together on this day, to speak out in solidarity and say STOP. We want to feel SAFE. We want to feel comfortable in our neighborhoods and beyond.

Our first meeting was in a West Philadelphia community center. There were six of us and we had lots of ideas and less than thirty days to organize. After this meeting, we struggled to meet face to face and communicated mostly online. There were four things we agreed upon as a group, however:

1. We wanted to exude positivity and a love for community.

2.  We wanted to engage people in conversations.

3. We wanted to connect street harassment of women and girls to the harassment of LGBT folks, men of color who are harassed by the cops and others who often feel vulnerable, uncomfortable or unsafe in public spaces due to harassment.

4. We wanted to contribute to this effort inside, outside and online.

The outside piece was important because we wanted to reclaim public space. But there were some things we thought we could do better inside, like a performance that could bring attention to street harassment and our action before March 20th. This idea manifested at Pirate Radio Live at the Blockley Pourhouse in the form of spoken word and reflection. As for online, we wanted to utilize social media to raise awareness and promote dialogue.  Digital media would be our tool to document and share our process.

Mission Accomplished!

At some point during the brainstorm process, I learned of some work that my friend Iresha, activist and founder of Summer for the Sistas, has been doing. On a sunny weekend you may spot Iresha chalking sidewalks with empowering quotes near bus stops and train stops, i.e. “We can’t afford to be spectators while our lives deteriorate. We have to truly love our people and work to make that love stronger.”–Assata Shakur.

After talking with Iresha, we decided to add chalking to our list as a way to get our message out and start dialogue. It worked.  These messages on the ground combined with the signs in our hands and the drumming, drew people in and created opportunities for some important conversations.

After nearly two hours of community engagement, all of us gathered yesterday in Rittenhouse Sq to debrief our experience. In this twenty minute debrief session, we shared and documented our high and low points of the day.   I’ll share a few of them below along with a video that documented our efforts on March 20:

High Points:

  • A mother explaining to her young daughters what the Rittenhouse Team was doing, before signing her name to the Anti-Street Harassment Petition (which was chalked on the ground).
  • Young fathers articulating concern for their daughters.
  • Women telling their stories; some of them mentioned that they usually don’t talk about street harassment.
  • The team at 52nd street brought a drum. This drumming created good energy within our team and in the space. It drew people towards us and made our outreach less confrontational. (Thanks, Manchilde!)
    Chalking at 52nd Street
  • Two men joined us– yes, a small number, but their presence was felt and appreciated.
  • There were lots of people at 52nd St– some folks suggested we come back on a Saturday, when there will be even more people. That got us thinking that this is something we can/should continue.

Low Points:

  • Some people were dismissive, sarcastic, uninterested and plain mean, particularly at Rittenhouse. The Rittenhouse team worked through this, but it was frustrating at times.
  • Police officers tried to interrupt and intimidate us, especially at 52nd Street. First we were reprimanded for chalking the sidewalks, then for loitering. Once the officer understood that we were doing a peaceful protest and were not a flash mob, he allowed us to stay. He let us know that he does not tolerate street harassment and if any of US are ever harassed we should call him personally and he will lock these men up. ???!!! As you can imagine, this led to a longer conversation about our goals, the role of law enforcement and the disconnect.
  • Ironically at Rittenhouse, it was some bystanders who reprimanded us for chalking the sidewalks, saying it was disrespectful vandalism.

As Holly Kearl has explained “…March 20 was a starting point for action and dialogue for many people, and a continuing point for many more.” How awesome it is that HollaBack is launching a chapter in Philly this April?

Let us continue to come together, speak out and engage our community.

These are our streets too.

(See here for an article in the Atlanta Post written by one woman who explains why she joined us.)

Posted in FAAN Mail, Street Harassment Activism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Walking Home: A response to street harassment

Directed by Nuala Cabral

“Beautiful! Walk On!” -Ursula Rucker

This is an experimental piece about women ritually facing street harassment as they walk home. Shot in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, it mixes 16mm film, video, poetry and music in an effort to honor and reclaim our humanity in the public sphere. This is for the walkers, talkers and those who say nothing.

Interviews about Walking Home:

Interview with Holly Kearl, author of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women.

Takin’ It  To The Streets, Bitch Magazine Interview

Educator, Filmmaker, and Activist Nuala Cabral Takes On Street Harassment, Witness.Org

Media Maker Salon Interview with Professor and Media Justice advocate Bianca Laureano, who recently used Walking Home in her college classroom.

Walking Home was recently featured in Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concertin the Scholar and Feminist Online, a journal published by the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

See responses from fellow bloggers Tokumbo of NYC,  Reza of Rhode Island (RezaRitesRi.com) and a piece by Bianca Laureano on Reality Check that considers the use of “Walking Home” for educational purposes.

What audiences are saying:

“… it made me feel uncomfortable (in a really effective, good way).”

“This short has a very large impact. It said a million words in four minutes.”

“Walking Home is wonderful. Reclaiming our space one step at a time.”

“…your work brought to the forefront of my mind for the first time in many years that hurt, that anger which was never addressed and never healed. It really moved me, exactly what great art does.”

“This piece is dynamic -that exasperated “here we go…” resonates deeply in all our female brains…”

”I felt my blood pressure rise and my body tense as I watched the film and re-lived so many of those same moments captured in the film.  By the end, I just wanted to scream… I think had I seen this when I was younger, I would have been able to identify harrassment (sic) and not hold myself responsible for how others reacted to me.  I think it’s a great tool for lots of people, but especially young women of color.”

Posted in My Video Work, Street Harassment Activism | 3 Comments

Lil girls talk back to Lil Wayne

In 10 years, will Lil Wayne join Jay Z and come to regret his misogynistic lyrics?

Lots of people are talking about the “Open Letter to Lil’ Wayne,” a song written by two 9 and 10 year old girls known as Watoto From The Nile who call out the rapper on his misogynistic lyrics and disrespect towards women. Check out the video:

The description under the video reads:

Letter to Lil Wayne” is a candid evidence of official from Watoto From The Nile. Growing bushed and fed up with the unceasing humiliation of Negroid women exclusive of Hip Hop music, they vocalise their  views and opinions on this melodic track.

Constructive Criticism, Backlash and Impact

The Crunk Feminist Collective offered some insightful questions and thoughts about the video. They point out some contradictions and points of confusion, while acknowledging that one text cannot cover all points and that there is power in little black girls speaking up!

Often when individual artists are criticized, there is a flood of defensive backlash from the artist and his/her fans. Reading the youtube comments will give you a taste of it.  A quote from feminist Robin Morgan puts these moments (backlash and all) in perspective for me: “It’s not about blame, but about responsibility; not about guilt, but about change.”

Lil Wayne may or may not take responsibility or change– but the truth is, this Open Letter asks this of all of us. By talking back, Watoto From The Nile remind us that we all have a role to play in this picture– if we indeed love our people, and specifically our women and girls.

A Media Literacy Moment!

As an advocate for media literacy (the ability to access, analyze and create media) I appreciate that this song raises critical questions about authors, audiences, responsibility and representation. For example:

  • Should authors be responsible for the messages they disseminate?
  • Do these representations and messages matter?
  • How do different audiences interpret these messages and representations?
  • Who benefits from these messages? Who is harmed?
  • Why are these messages so dominant?
  • What is the role of parents?
  • What enabled these girls to talk back in this form?
  • What does it mean for us to re-represent ourselves when we are unsatisfied with the ways others represent us?

Many of these questions can be applied to so many texts– which is important, because clearly Lil Wayne is only one rapper, and part of a larger issue.  While the girls focus on Wayne, this song creates an opportunity for us to acknowledge and challenge an industry and society that constantly reinforces misogyny (hatred towards women).

What questions do you have? And how do you think this video can be used to incite change?

Posted in FAAN Mail | Leave a comment

Revisiting Women and Hip Hop

I’m thinking about revisiting a film I started in 2003 about women of color and hip hop. The short documentary “Who’s That Girl” also known as “Reflections on Women of Color and Hip Hop” engaged hip hop fans in a critical inquiry around the messages and representations of women of color in hip hop. You can see a trailer here:

Since 2003 a bit has changed in my life. Last year I received my Masters degree in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media from Temple University. I chose this program to delve into the world of media literacy, an interest sparked by the making of this film. Ironically, this education left me with more questions than answers. Along with these questions I’ve developed a sense of urgency in regards to representations of women in the media, since much has not changed. To revisit this documentary means to confront those unanswered questions in forward moving ways.

Through education, the process of making this film and personal research, I’ve developed an understanding of the problems, the barriers, the dilemmas. At this point, I am interested in making a film that shifts focus to the solutions, necessary actions, the change-making. If I do tackle this film again, I will draw from some of the old footage, but my goal is not to simply make a case for change (this has been done), but to show what kind of change is needed and to suggest how we can get there.

Past Screenings:
Langston Hughes Film Festival, Seattle, 2004
B Girls Be Festival, Minneapolis, 2005
H2Ed Summit and H2O International Film Festival, NYC, 2005
Urban Literary Film Festival, North Carolina, 2005
Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2006
Her Voice, Her View Film Festival, NYC, 2006
Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival, 2006
Toni Cade Bombara Conference, Atlanta, 2007
Black Women’s Arts Film Festival, Philadelphia, 2009

Posted in My Video Work | Leave a comment