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, performance, 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 an alternative cinema with a distinctly Black film grammar that represents the nuances of Black life with social depth that is both poetic and political.
In that sense, my preoccupation with activating a Black cinema language is bound up in an intense desire to create work that centralizes the cultural, social, and spiritual dimensions of Black-American life, while utilizing technology, light, and narratology to amplify aestheticism and Black interiority. I propose that a distinctly Black film grammar should possess the cultural specificity and independent spirit found in the literary tradition of the Black Arts Movement, coupled with the power and 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.
That said, my overall artistic project is (in many ways) a love letter to Black America, offering fresh iconography (from inside my generation) that pushes beyond the limits of well-worn archetypes. By choosing to privilege the Black-life-world, my work honors a lineage of politically-Black perspectives that function as strategies of creative resistance in a manner that serves to critique and render legible American social realities.