News

"Am I Too African To Be American? Too American To Be African?" Asks This First-Generation Filmmaker

Nadia Sasso makes her directorial debut with 'Am I,' a documentary exploring complex identity politics of young Africans living in America.


Is there such thing as cultural limbo? According to a new documentary film, Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African?the short answer is yes.

Directed and produced by first-time filmmaker Nadia SassoAm I: The Film explores the complex identity formations of young African women who live in America and West Africa and identify bi-culturally. At the center of this conversation are seven womenincluding Awkward Black Girl star and creator Issa Raeall of whom share how they wrestle with concepts of race, complexion, gender, and heritage among other issues.

“I created Am I: The Film as a way to not only explore how immigrants and their offspring engage with the issue of bicultural identity politics on the American and African landscapes, but to create a dialogue between the generations," Sasso revealed in a press release. "Cultural dualism is a reality that affects everyone, from our President of the United States, Barack Obama to everyday citizens like myself.”

Sasso didn't have to go far in search of inspiration for the film, considering she was born in America to Sierra Leonean parents. However, her shared multicultural background didn't necessarily give her an "in" with the film's cast. As Sasso revealed in an email interview with Okayafrica, some women were more forthcoming than others during their initial interviews. "I definitely had to build a good rapport with each individual before diving into deep questions," she says.

A successful Kickstarter campaign launched in 2014 helped Sasso to bring Am I: The Film, her graduate school thesis at the time, to life. Moving forward, she plans on creating a curated Am I website that not only relates to the issues addressed in the film, but also centers on music, videos, texts and fashion.

Am I: The Film will be shown in the following cities through a series of pop-up screenings:

September 24 in Ithaca, New York (Cornell University)

October 1 in Lewisburg, PA (Bucknell University)

October 15 in New York City (Private Screening/ Limited public seats)

October 22 in Washington, DC (Private Screening at Foundry Lofts/ Limited public seats)

Visit the film's website for screening updates. Viewing is also available now on the website for a $10 donation. To join the conversation, check out Am I: The Film on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Watch Focalistic & Vigro Deep’s New Music Video For ‘Ke Star’

The 'Lockdown Level 1 anthem' has come to life through fire visuals.