Basking in the Black Star rays

by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff The BFI’s Black Star Season has been very overwhelming. As someone not used to seeing so many people whom I resemble on screen, it’s been emotional having my experience (and my physicalities) reflected in such glory. In the past month or so I have been able to discover so many beautiful actors,… Read More

“Except for the afro”: The surprising importance of Pam Grier’s hair

  By Varaidzo Jackie Brown sits in a white robe, cherry red nails curled around a coffee mug, as she laments getting older with bondsman Max Cherry. “I bet that, except for possibly an Afro, you look exactly the way you did at 29,” says Max. The line is funny, because we know it’s true.… Read More

Ganja and Hess: Reimagining the possibilities of a black female lead

by Lydia Ogwang Ganja Meda has a problem, or more accurately two: the sole female lead of the sultry, kaleidoscopic Ganja & Hess is walloping against the whims of two troubled men, one a creative and the other a wealthy intellectual, each exhibiting the most loathsome qualities typically attributed to his archetype. As it turns… Read More

Spike Lee: black director, black star?

by Grace Barber-Plentie Whiling away an evening playing a casual game of “which director is the most attractive?” (actors who have also directed notwithstanding, Paul Thomas Anderson and Ryan Coogler are my answers for those who are curious) with friends led me to ponder something – how is it possible that some directors are able to… Read More

Black Masculinity on the Silver Screen

by Marly Pierre-Louis The last time my partner and I went to the cinema it was to see Dope. We have a projector at home and flick between Netflix and torrents, so we’re happy to forego the cost of a sitter and enjoy our home cinema instead of going out. But we loved the trailer… Read More

Fame, Performance and Ritual in Paris is Burning

by Kareem Reid One of the many significant moments in Paris is Burning, Jennie Livingston’s seminal portrait of late 1980s New York, was a montage of New York’s wealthiest going about their daily lives, walking the streets, shopping and appearing to enjoy themselves. It is in these moments where the disparity, the distance travelled from the… Read More

Twenty Years or More From Stardom

By Stephanie Phillips When our modern definition of a rock star is clouded by white, middle class male egos driven need to be the only stars, who else should we look up to? Stephanie Phillips looks at Bessie and Twenty Feet From Stardom to find the black women behind some of rock n roll’s greatest… Read More

Angela Bassett, the genius that defies age

by Rooney Elmi Navigating the tricky “in between” identity of a first-generation American-Muslim roughly translates to exhibiting the daily cultural friction of managing tradition, Western upbringing, and religion in a post 9-11 landscape. For a while, it seemed as though I shared little-to-no commonalities with my parents, and my growing admiration for film converted into… Read More

Boyz N The Hood: Kicking in the door, waving the 4-4

By Zahra Dalilah “Either they don’t know, don’t show or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood” – Darren ‘Doughboy’, Boyz N The Hood Watching Boyz N The Hood in 2016, there is comforting familiarity that sits with me during the film. Drinking in the 90s fades with the optional single skinny plait… Read More

Why do Black Stars Matter?

by Grace Barber-Plentie People have many different methods of self-preservation. For me, one who regularly relies not just on the visual but the aural to keep me going, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly has been one of these very methods. The album, which deals with resistance, activism in the black community also preaches self-love,… Read More