So, last Sunday, jus a few days ago,I chose to go out and watch some films being screened at the AGO by the first Canadian Black Film Festival. As I said in an earlier post, I was late, and missed most of the first screening, which was apparently the best, it was also the only one mainly featuring continental afrikan perspectives. So it was ironic how this Afrikan daughta missed Africa’s daughters, a doc about 2 Ugandan girls and their journey to fulfill their big dream(s),

I did get to watch 2 full features and 2 short videos….all shot from different, yet intricately, connected black/afrikan perspectives. I got drawn to and identified intimately with one feature….the one about da kink in my hair and trey anthony’s journey with her co-actors and dynamic sistas over the past 7 years. It was the only feature that gave me hope for my future….where I got to see womyn reclaiming their power and re/learning how to bond, grow, share, and work together.

The first full length feature had to do with a bunch of sistas, but I had to restrain myself from leaving the theatre (en at one point early in the screening, couldn’t take it and went outside for a cigarette, in protest of what I felt to be brain washing/misleading subject matter)……..this film was also supposed to be about black women looking for and finding love….but these sistas apparently couldn’t get what they wanted, and all of them were trying to find their fulfillment in the Lord. ……this flick probably had the most deceiving title of all documentaries I have ever seen….though to be fair to the directors, they placed a blatant sign about it’s imposed ideologies in the title….right there with the sword…but still I protested.

This is not what I thought I was going to watch. …..but, in all fairness, I hadn’t read the program, my pal T. read edited descriptions of the films that we were going to see, or I didn’t pay attention to what s/he was saying….either way, I didn’t realise this was going to be a film about black Christian singles, woulda asked for my money back, but I got more than my money’s worth with Trey Anthony…so I guess maybe the festival coulda worked for many groups within our community….there was supposed to be something for everyone….maybe next year I’ll submit one of my own documentaries…maybe I’ll give a revamped production of the q werd….instead of juxtasposing it in relation to the L word….I could place it in conversation with soulmates instead.

Instead of bette, we could put another version of (real/live) Vanessa, director of Petra Alexandra Inc. – the sista who was a lesbian B.C……and then married a brotha (who turns out to be) on the down low, and finds her solace in god and the Christian holy bible….I know at least 26 other sistas who would give another version of reconciling their sexuality and spirituality, starting with trey.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t have asked for my money back…I was grateful for watching soulmates. It provoked me, inspired me to continue writing my own stories, filling the margins with my own images of love and natural/mystic beauty.

And really, if I am to be genuinely anti-oppressive, then I have to concede that religion is a personal belief, and as destructive and harmful Christianity has been to our own indigenous afrikan cultures…..if we were on a level playing field, we should be able to follow our own god/desse/s…..Jehovah, Jah, Ra, Allah(t), Yemoja, Asiis, Ngai, Were, Maat, Mami Wota, Idemile, Quetzacoatl or Sin…we should be able to give each other space to fill in the gaps with the symbols we feel are for us…

but….. It’s not a level playing field…and too many afrikans are holding on to Christianity, as if it’s the last bastion of our tradition, when there’s nothing these that reflects our memories, xcept it’s roots…and that’s the only part of that religion I’m interested in…it’s antecedents….because unlike Islam, it’s not a simple reversal, not a blanket revision, but a composite of contesting and evolving religions…a historical site full of collected documents and revised dates…the truth is in the palimpsest. In the remnants of great goddess…in the songs of Solomon, genesis & the book of ruth…it is in the new (testament) and the old….it is the dregs of herstory….the ancient concept of the trinity, and the holy spirit….it is (the virgin) maria.

If I am to be truthful, I’ve only come to appreciate the space for reflection that the film Soulmates provided, now that I’m a few days away from it’s watching. I felt dis/avowed in that film. I felt like Vanessa let me down, she was the only sista who came out about having any sort of sexual desire for other womyn….we’re supposed to assume that all the others are straight…mostly because most of them talk about their desire to get married to a man, about their hurts over black men rejecting them, about dating men ‘outside’ of their own race…..and not to mention, the statistics…they made it clear where I was..non/existent (not with god) invisible… the only thing ‘queer’ was the ‘alarming’ number of men who slept with other brothers on the down low, while also sleeping with women….this statistic was profiled right before the one about AIDS…..right before the comment about AIDS being a black disease….what could have the potential to be a radical subversion of stereotypes about gay men was instead a trumpet call of homophobic justifications for the reasons gay/lesbian=bad for our community.

I found it convenient for the film’s message that the only sista who talked about an experience with a brother on the down low, was also the only one who came out as having had same sex desire…although technically, she didn’t talk about her desire….only that she took on a lesbian identity, BEFORE CHRIST, that was then, and we are supposed to (want to) believe that now that she’s with the Lord, that is her past……ofcourse she would be a good judge if any to talk about the horrors of queer/nes…..the brothas was so smooth, he said all the right things, he proposed marriage in 2 months, and on their wedding night, well he didn’t even wanna see her body…….this was probably the most hilarious part of the film for me. Hilarious because I found relief in the fact that at least one person in the film talked about her lived experiences with queerness, acknowledged that it existed in her life and in her community…

But the power of particularity is such that my reading of the film is entirely my own……I don’t think the director intended to highlight Vanessa’s story (the one who was a lesbian BC) as a point of identification for black queers. But I got to take what I can, and if knowledge is objective, then there’s alot to be learned from the material…in the silence, in the fantasies of the womyn interviewed, in their achievements, in their loss, through the journey of their hopes and dreams.

What I chose to do was sit with it, I chose to concentrate on something else, an come Monday morning, after writing my critical summary of the duties of the body towards the sexual impulse (a critical chapter in one of Emmanuel kant’s books), I was much more thankful of the previous depiction of Christianity I had taken in. At least that one tried to show the particular experiences of new afrikans trying to make themselves whole and share love. At least, I made a choice to stay and watch the film…with Kant, I had no choice, this was the required reading for the essay due by me evening class. So I read it, and wrote a critical summary, in protest of his white/patriarchal/western ideologies….

I decided to write this critical review of Sunday, after having to listen to more about what our Christian forefathers devised as moral conducts for society….after reading Kant, I had to go through Aquinas, one of most influential catholic thinkers…..fucked up and repressed..if you want just 2 words….but this ain’y my school papers, so I can write about who I please…

And I’d much rather share what I enjoyed, like watching the journey of trey en her sista crew in da kink in my hair. At least that screening had people I know, womyn that had taught me and changed me for the betta…like d’bi young.anitak afrika. Loving warrior. Sistas that I considered role models, like trey Anthony…..that gave me hope in my future….that reminded me to share my words and make space for myself despite all limitations and obstacles…..

These were the womyn I identified with, that I kept in my treasure chest of the magic of possibilities. But you gotta see the documentary yourself, watch the TV series even, if you’re in Toronto, go to their productions….secrets of a black boy is currently running, and go to the anitafrika! Dub theatre @ 62 fraser avenue…..

this revolushun is live, it’s on the streets and in our homes.

it’s in this matrix and in the villages….

spread the word, it’s all afrikan people’s movements for liberation.

it is me. it is (in) my words.

it is you reading this. it is your response.

it is NOT silent.