Michael Che continues his quest to find a safe space for unarmed Black men. Pt 2.
(Pt 1 set)
Happy Birthday Gene Kelly! (August 23, 1912 -
February 2, 1996)
"There is a strange sort of reasoning in Hollywood that musicals are less worthy of Academy consideration than dramas. It’s a form of snobbism, the same sort that perpetuates the idea that drama is more deserving of Awards than comedy."
- Gene Kelly
Cecile Emeke’s ‘Strolling’ Series Documents and Gives A Voice to Diasporan Youth in the UK.
Armed with the objective of removing the veil of invisibility cast upon young black voices and faces, Strolling is a multimedia series created by filmmaker Cecile Emeke that sees her walking through the streets of London with other young black individuals discussing any and everything that concerns their daily realities. Strolling was birthed from Emeke’s everyday conversations with friends and acquaintances that often found her sentiments about issues relating to life as a young diasporan African in the UK being echoed, inspiring the filmmaker in her to document these interactions.
Whilst the series adopts a one-way casual form of dialogue, the importance of this project is not in any way diminished by the nature of the conversation. Rather, the messages embedded in these videos are all the more amplified by this form of broadcast, and the visual communicative platform allows the audiences to engage with the individuals without interrupting their agency or representation of themselves.
As Emeke says:
"Growing up in London I was not reflected anywhere, not fully. I think most of us tried to grasp on to images of African-American culture, and we tried to cling on to our identities from the Caribbean and Africa. We’d wave our Jamaica flags at carnival and watch reruns of fresh prince but ultimately nothing reflected us. We didn’t exist.
Part of the aim of erasure is to alienate you and therefore silence you. Strolling is the complete and utter rejection of this implicit call to silence and the self-destructive assimilation required for survival.”
In this video, Abraham strolls through Hackney with Emeke as he chats to her (and us) about everything from male feminists, patriarchy, crying, to “great” Britain, reparations for Africa, Palestine, Boko Haram, hair and more.
The full playlist is embedded above.
The De Havana Nightclub in Juba was established by “Cuban Jubans” (South Sudanese refugees who have returned home after being sent to live in Cuba during the 1980’s to escape war and receive a proper education). It was built in tribute to Cuban culture and as a place for locals to congregate, dance (to salsa music) and chat (in spanish) making it a strange but very interesting cross-cultural space. You can read more about “Cuban Jubans” from the original article: Cuban Jubans Bring Latino Spirit to South Sudan which is two years old but it came as a surprise to me since I was completely unaware of this!