If there is one thing that has surprised me about life on the other side of the degree, it is the extent to which I am able to leverage certain creative projects into brand building ventures and opportunities. Zora has become a launch pad for several hustles. I’ve been honored to speak on panels with legends- Joan Morgan, Elizabeth Mendez Berry, Esther Armah; I’ve produced an event for one of New York’s biggest Hip Hop showcases, The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. But don’t get it twisted, I’m not a chick who refuses to ground her hustle in a firm academic reality and background.
My hustles are birthed out of my academic prowess. Yes, I am a total book nerd. More importantly, I am learning how to make my prowess work in my favor. It’s a matter of refinement and mastery, not a desire to become a phenom. Just check the article written by The Skinny Black Girl, Attack of the Hustlers. Not everyone knows the difference.
So when a documentary I directed was accepted into the 1st Annual Sisterhood Summit sponsored by Aiesha Turman and the good ladies of The Black Girl Project, I was elated because for two years, my co-directors( shout out to Zora contributor Maame Yaa) and I had no idea how to share, what began as an academic project, with others. Sure, my grandma and papa held their own obligatory screening but I wanted other women, men, thinkers, bookworms, hip hop heads, lovers, and students to see the work that I hold so dear to my heart.
I had prided myself on the ability to channel the hustle yet for two years I sat on this film, allowing such a creative piece to fade to black – part fear, part laziness.
so says she collages the narratives of five different black women experiencing Ghana together. For the young women in this film, their time spent in Ghana becomes a platform to question and reflect, judge and reconsider, express and create. Their encounters with past and present, placement and displacement, home and homelessness narrate their Diaspora, using a language of curiosity and candidness.
The Sisterhood Summit represented the perfect outlet for such a film as it was tailored for women of color, specifically young women of color. Over 20 workshops participants facilitated session on social justice, sexuality, entreprenuership, and even college readiness. However, positioning so says she as a conversation around identity invites new voices into the dialogue that aren’t necesarily the voices of women of color. For, we all grapple with the complexity of culture, class, race, and language.
That fact eluded me in the time following the completetion of the documentary. Perhaps, I was still overwhelmed by my own reaction to Ghana. Or maybe, my brain had been fried via my struggle with Final Cut Pro (and believe me, it was a struggle). Whatever the reason, it wasn’t until I revisited the film in preparation for the summit, the memories of the Accra and the relationship that I share with the women featured in the documentary that I fully realized how vital this film is to my brand, my hustle, and my story.