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Artist  Statement

I am emboldened with a deep passion for advancing a progressive future in Black America. This profound commitment has led me to develop a hybrid practice that draws from three main disciplines: cinema, visual art, and cultural criticism.

 

My socially-engaged cinema practice critiques institutional authority and broader regimes of power by seeking to expand the expressive possibilities of Blackness on-screen. I often employ myself and other members of marginalized communities as the primary subjects of my work, in order to: uncover new narratives and  decolonize  Black images from  historically  narrow depictions.  My  aim  is  to  actualize  a  model  for  a  Black film grammar that represents the nuances of Black life with social depth that is both poetic and political.

My preoccupation with activating a Black cinema language is bound up in an intense desire to create work that centralizes the social and spiritual dimensions of the Black life-world.  I propose such a visual architecture would possess the cultural specificity and independent spirit found in the literary tradition of the Black Arts Movement, combined with the emotional resonance of Black music rituals.

 

My work in cinema is inseparable from my work as a film scholar. Both modes play an equal role in my insurgent practice. I approach scholarship and cultural criticism in the tradition of Black radical thinkers like James Baldwin and Angela Y. Davis. My film practice combines the role of the artist with the role of  the knowledge  producer  to bring greater value and meaning to intellectual work. My goal as a scholar and critic-at-large is to eliminate the barriers that prevent critical knowledge from reaching marginalized communities. 

Further, my artistic project is, broadly speaking, a love letter to Black America, privileging the Black life-world as a strategy of creative resistance in a manner that critiques and renders legible American social realities. 

The Love Cycle is a collection of feature films set in Chicago that celebrate Black life, depicting stories that chronicle the rituals of Black love. The Love Cycle offers poignant tableaux that push beyond recycled storylines and stereotypes, a cinema: made for Black people, by Black people.

LOVE LIKE WINTER is the first installment of "The Love Cycle" collection of films. LOVE LIKE WINTER was designed to test the boundaries of how minimalism and the depth of simplicity can be used to find inspiration in the everyday moments of Black life. The film offers meditations on the question: “Can we move forward by going back?" A deeply personal work with an eye for the impressionistic, the film centralizes Blackness through a lens imbued with simplicity yet loaded with emotion that embodies the weight and complexities of Black love. 

 

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