I often find myself in passionate discussions with family and friends about the representation of people of color in film, or lack thereof. I love watching movies of all kinds, getting lost inside the world on my screen for a couple of hours, and seeing the stories unfold. I especially love seeing myself in those stories. And when I say myself, I really mean black and brown people that are portrayed as dynamic and full characters rather than the static one-dimensional characters that are common in many Hollywood films. Now, more than ever, Americans are more racially & ethnically diverse than earlier generations. Yet, this great diversity is not equally visible during Hollywood’s Oscar Night.
But who’s looking to Hollywood anyway? In the age of DIY media, entrepreneurship, and Youtube, we don’t need to knock at Hollywood’s door hoping to get a chance to get invited to the party. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a party going on right now filled with emerging artists, storytellers, and advocates choosing to see diverse images on screen. This is why I support AFFRM, the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement, which was created by filmmaker Ava DuVernay and a community of film artists and advocates that were tired of not seeing themselves on the big screen. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” In the similar vein, AFFRM is a supporting movement for storytellers and image makers to create the films that they always wanted to see and share stories that they always wanted to tell.
Since 2011, AFFRM successfully released several black independent films representing different stories from the African Diaspora. Now heading into 2014, AFFRM seeks an even larger community of film lovers to join the movement and support independent black cinema. So here’s a call to action–if you love indie films of any kind, especially films told by black filmmakers, join the movement. I sure did. Affrm Thyself.
Take action at affrmaction.com