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Black Aesthetic Season One: Black Women in Film

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A collective investigation into the multiplicity of Black identities, through the lens of Black indie films. 

• 94 pages

• 25 black & white images

Contributors: Ryanaustin Dennis, Christian Johnson, Anaiis Cisco, Yetunde Olagbaju, Jamal Batts, Malika Imhotep, Jordan Brown, and Leila Weefur

cover: Soleil Summer

isbn; 978-0-9983461-1-3

retail: $12.00

In Black Aesthetic Season One, a new generation of Black artists responds to the deeply influential and often forgotten legacy of 20th century Black film. It is at once a critical companion to independent Black film—and a collection of personal journeys to unlocking essential questions about cinema and the Black aesthetic. 

Growing out of a series of underground screenings Black Aesthetic Season One, is the first in a series and focuses on the imaginative legacy of Black women—as directors, actresses, and subjects—in film. Future books in the series will investigate contemporary Black cinema, African filmmakers, and queerness in Black film. 

Films in the series Drylongso by Cauleen Smith, Short Films by Cecilia Emeke, Bush Mama by Heile Gerima, Ganja and Hess by Bill Gunn, All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story by George C. Stone, Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. by Leslie Harris, She’s Gotta Have It by Spike Lee. 

Excerpt from Christian Johnsons introduction

“We wuz robbed” of our masters. Robbed of a rich tapestry of filmographies that would have informed, if not defined an era of American cinema. The ghosts of their unmade masterpieces haunt me. I feel it in my bones. I see it in the faces of Leslie Harris, Haile Gerima, and Julie Dash as I speak of their films. The weariness. The frustration. It’s in the cadences of their voices and it haunts me… 

An entire generation of filmmakers, myself included, haven’t had the opportunity to engage intellectually, spiritually, and creatively with the cinema of our forefathers and foremothers. As I uncovered the singularly lush history of Black American cinema I grew empowered as an image maker. I no longer felt alone. There had been an aesthetic there all along. An aesthetic that speaks to me intimately and revitalizes me as a storyteller.