‘Eve’s Bayou’ & The Role of The Storyteller In The Black Family
I’m happy to finally publish and show off to world now: This is a series of videographic essays planned, created and executed by me as part of my work as an recipient of the 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Creative Promise Fellowship.
It is a series I titled: # FUBU For Us By Us: Depictions of Black Girls and Women On Film By Black Women
A series of videographic essays on films featuring Black girls and Black women centered in narratives by directors who are women identifying as Black and/or belong to the African Diaspora.
Black girlhood. Black womanhood. Black sisterhood. Black families. Black struggles. Black hopes and dreams. All through the lenses of Black, female film makers and storytellers.
Video essays will include synopses; stand out moments, significant themes in regards to Blackness and femininity and other elements like cinematography and acting. Ultimately it is to serve as a primer on Black women filmmakers & storytellers you should know.
Because Eve’s Bayou is an incredible film, it’s one of my faves. It doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Neither does Kasi Lemmons, its director.
Eve is a significant narrator and her portrayal brings new meaning on screen. Michele Beverly who wrote the academic paper titled “The Lost World: Spirituality And Mysticism In Eve’s Bayou observed that “What would simply be considered narration in the classic Hollywood formula; has tremendous cultural significance when looking at the film through the lens of African tradition. Eve’s role is more than simply a narrator, but is more appropriately described as a griot (gree-oh), which is a West African word meaning storyteller, but also one who shapes the history of her people in her mind and passes it on.”
To consider Eve’s role as storyteller, as narrator is to consider a fuller understanding of Indigenous and well as African tribes — of the importance of people in the roles of Eve and to place them as leaders of their communities. Eve is ever more important as it is revealed that she, too, is gifted with the visions as a clairvoyant like her aunt. Both Black women.
This series of videographic essays is planned created and executed by me, as part of my work as an recipient of the 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Creative Promise Fellowship. This is the first video, Eve’s Bayou (1997) directed by Kasi Lemmons.
Read more about this film, this series and my work in a thread on Twitter here.