Writing

 
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Club Des Femmes -
Grace Barber-Plentie on RIDDLES OF THE SPHINX

The lure of Laura Mulvey first drew me in like it does most: by discovering her seminal text “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” [PDF here] (although in all honesty, the name may have been on my radar thanks to a brilliant and underrated joke made in Parks and Recreation). However it wasn’t until I was studying film at university that I was made aware of the full power of Mulvey’s words – and most importantly that not only is she an iconic essayist, but also a filmmaker, having directed films alongside her husband, fellow film theorist Peter Wollen. Read More

 

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i-D - 
The Conflict of Loving Sex and the City If You're Not a Straight White Woman

Like many 20-something-year-old fans of the show, my first interaction with Sex and the City was being forbidden to watch it. “Your mum’s watching Sex and the City,” my dad would shout at me -- the sultry salsa theme-tune followed by the swift closing of the living room door. In the years that followed I caught glimpses every so often. The episode where Carrie wants to smoke weed after she’s been dumped via a post-it note the first episode I watched in full. Read More

 

CRACK Magazine - 
Lean On Pete Review

What is it that draws British directors to American odysseys? Is it the iconography of the wild west? Certainly, Lean on Pete, Andrew Haigh's third film following Weekend and 45 Years, is visually captivating from start to finish, detailing the relationships between Charley (Charlie Plummer), his father (Travis Fimmel) and most importantly the titular horse with whom he embarks on a cross-country journey when tragedy strikes. 

 

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The Quietus -
To Make You Think, To Make You Dance: Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer

I’ve been obsessed with Janelle Monáe ever since I saw a photo of her in Vogue, more than 10 years ago. She had an old Hollywood glamour mixed with something new and out of this world; she was an android in a glittery black-and-white tux with her hair pinned high in a quiff. At the time, I didn't quite understand what it was about her that was so captivating - did I want to be her or be with her? (Spoiler alert: bisexuality.) Read More

 

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gal-dem
Grace Jones documentary is a "bright exclamation point" to the icon's career

The life of the chanteuse is never something that’s easily captured on film — just take the recent examples of Whitney: Can I Be Me and Amy, films that focused much more on the lows rather than the highs of their subjects’ lives. So it’s an absolute joy – and about time – to see a film that celebrates and shows a female musician in her own words (and a black female musician at that), in the form of Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. Read More

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gal-dem zine 2 - Home
salt. - A Journey Through Slavery

Imagine packing up your bags and travelling across the country and on to Africa and the Caribbean in search of a feeling or a place you're not sure you'll find.

 

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Refinery 29 -
The Incredible Jessica James is a Breath of Fresh Air to the "Quarter-Life Crisis" Genre

Perhaps the most ironic thing about Netflix’s most recent film, The Incredible Jessica James, is how un-incredible it actually is. The film tells the story of a young woman in her mid-20s, played by Jessica Williams, living in New York and Trying To Figure It All Out. Read More

 

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Refinery 29 -
It's Been 10 Years Since Hairspray Came Out - Why Don't People Love it Like I Do?

The 21st century, for better or worse, has become the era of the remake. Got a film or TV show from a bygone era that’s gathering dust, or something so beloved in the public eye that it’s always been seen as untouchable? Hey, let’s revamp it and stick Kevin Hart in it. Read More

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Sight and Sound Online - Rewind Fast Forward: On Sandi Hughes' Radical Film Archive

What is it that we want when we go to the cinema, turn on the television, or go to YouTube to entertain ourselves? Read more

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Another Gaze - 
"I wanted to make a film that makes you feel like you're in the middle of the storm": An Interview with Shakedown director Leilah Weinraub

People warned me that my first Berlinale would be surreal, but nobody prepared me for the experience of sitting down to interview the director of one of my favourite films of the festival with a side of complimentary mini bratwursts. The director in question is Leilah Weinraub, whose documentary Shakedown (2018) spans ten years of Shakedown parties in just over an hour.  Read More

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The Stage -
Moormaid Review

Marion Bott’s play Moormaid begins as a tense romance and turns to a furiously political tale of brotherhood, before becoming a story of resolution that ironically never feels fully resolved. Read More

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Goethe Insitut-
Various Berlinale reviews

In February 2018, I was invited to attend Berlinale on behalf of Goethe Institut London. I reviewed the films Isle of Dogs and Maya/Matangi/M.I.A as well as writing summaries of films about black women at the festival, including films such as Shakedown, Tranny Fag and Madeline's Madeline. Read More

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Sight and Sound -
I Put a Spell On You: Rungano Nyoni Interview

In I Am Not a Witch, the Zambia-set feature debut of Rungano Nyoni, eight-year-old Shula (played by first time actress Maggie Mulubwa, who was discovered by Nyoni during an arduous casting process) is offered a unique, disturbing choice - declare herself a witch and be cast off into a witch camp, or be turned into a goat. 

 

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Dazed and Confused -
FRAN LOBO's War is a Feminist Dream Produced by Women

FRAN LOBO is a one of a kind. The London-based singer songwriter is currently carving out a niche of her own, creating music that all at once manages to be ethereal, empowering and perfect for a sing-along, and conjuring up comparisons to artists as diverse as PJ Harvey, Grimes and Rage Against the Machine. It’s no surprise then, that an artist who is impossible to categorise and put in a box has created a music video that spans influences across film, music, dance and beyond. Read More

 

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gal-dem -
Did Everyone Love Master of None More Than I Did?

There’s nothing more discomforting than finding that your opinions on an important piece of pop culture are very different from the zeitgeist. Considering that 2017 started with the shocking revelation that people actually think that La La Land was a) a good film and b) better than Moonlight should have been warning enough. But still, I wasn’t expecting to get to the end of season two of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None and find that my views on it were a little different from the glowing reactions from many of my peers on social media. Read More

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BFI - 
Why Dee Rees Pariah is more than just the "female Moonlight"

The lights are dim; the stage illuminated by a single bright spotlight. A body writhes around a pole – sexual but dominant and in control of the gazes focused upon it. The music kicks in, sickly sweet and teasing, with those all-too-familiar lyrics you’ve heard a million times in the schoolyard: “All you ladies pop your pussy like this/Shake your body, don’t stop, don’t miss/Just do it, do it, do it, do it, do it.” Read More

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gal-dem - 
What Makes a Womanist Film?

The above opens Alice Walker’s book of essays, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, and much like most of the author’s work, is a quiet, understated revelation. Read More

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Dazed and Confused - 
Why does Cannes Film Festival exclude Black Directors?

What’s the first thing that you think of when you think about Cannes Film Festival? Glitz, glamour, red carpets and sun? Or, if you’re more cinematically inclined, maybe you’re eagerly refreshing Twitter for the duration of the festival, waiting to find out what the great masterpieces to grace our screens in 2017/18 are going to be. Read More

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gal-dem -
Interview - Sorta Kinda Maybe Yeah

Have you ever longed to see yourselves and your friends on-screen? Have you ever thought that the stories you usually tell anecdotally down the pub as well as the wild “what if” scenarios that run through your head at 3am would make fantastic viewing? Read more

 

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Little White Lies - On the Measured Anger of James Baldwin and Kendrick Lamar

While it has been showered with a great many (much deserved) compliments and labels, one word that could never be used to describe Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro is ‘conventional’. Read more

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Polyester Zine - Romantic Comedy University

Romantic comedies are given a hard rep. Read more

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Polyester Zine - 200 Cigarettes is the Best Trashy NYE Film Ever

Forgive me for being controversial but I’ve gotta start with a statement – New Year’s Eve is the worst. Read more

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Media Diversified - Spike Lee: Black Director, Black Star?

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 elevate themselves to the level of Hollywood stars? Read more

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gal-dem Zine (posted on i-d) - How Music Videos Helped Me Fill In the Blanks of my Black Girlhood

The early 2000s were an odd time to grow up. Read more

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The F-Word -Interview with Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood is one of the US film industry’s most solid presences, making insightful and moving films that touch upon the many facets of black life.  Read more

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BFI - 6 Films to Watch Before You Watch Moonlight

Every year when awards season rolls around, the nominations are dominated by films dedicated to the lives and deeds of white men and women. Read more

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BFI - Why 1992 - 2002 Was the Golden Age of the Black Romantic Comedy

There is joy to be found in the formulaic nature of the romantic comedy. Read more

gal-dem - American Honey review

Displacement is a dangerous thing. There’s no feeling worse than not feeling at home in your own home, or worse, your own body. As someone of mixed heritage I’ve constantly felt displaced in a world where getting “where you from”-ed is a common conversation starter. Read more

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Bitch Flicks - Endearing Interracial Romance in Flirting

It’s easy to assume as soon as a film starts with a pining white boy’s voiceover, that we’re in for the same tired story that we’ve seen a million times. Read more

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The F-Word - Dear White People Review

If we’re lucky, it happens about once a year. Read more

 

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BFI - In Praise of Don Cheadle in Boogie Nights

Black masculinity is something that’s easily misrepresented in cinema.  Read more

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gal-dem - A United Kingdom Review

The characters and scenarios in Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom are like ghosts – they’re long gone, long dead, and yet there is still a resonance and urgency to them that keeps pushing through to our subconscious, never letting us quite forget. Read more

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Media Diversified - Why Do Black Stars Matter?

People have many different methods of self-preservation. Read more

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Bechdel Test Fest's Girls Gotta Eat Zine - Gender and Gators in Beasts of the Southern Wild

Like any good-willed film made by a white director about non-white people, the reputation of Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by friendly white man Benh Zeitlin, now flits between lazy racist stereotypes and a truthful depiction of Hurricane Katrina. Purchase here

 

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The Guardian - Clip Joint: Girl Bands

Women in music-centric films don’t always have to be groupies, thankfully. Read more