Film

'Daughters of the Dust,' the Seminal Film That Hugely Inspired Beyoncé's Lemonade, is Back in Cinemas

Julie Dash's 1991 film ‘Daughters of the Dust’ made history in 1991 as the first wide release by a black woman filmmaker.

When Daughters of the Dust debuted in 1991 it made history as the first feature film directed by a black woman filmmaker to be distributed theatrically in the United States. 25 years after its historic release, the movie re-emerged in the pop-cultural landscape thanks in large part to Beyoncé.


Even if you aren’t familiar with the name, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize the film’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous Southern gothic aesthetic as re-imagined in the Lemonade visual album (and in the recent standalone music video for “All Night”).

Writer, director, producer Julie Dash’s seminal work, a deeply poetic, sumptuous piece set in 1902 on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina, tells the story of a multi-generational family in the Gullah community—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions—as they struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to mainland America.

The film had its premiere at Sundance 1991, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and walked away with the festival’s Cinematography Award. (You may know the film’s prolific cinematographer, Arthur Jafa, from his work on Solange’s A Seat at the Table music videos.)

When the world went full Lemonade mode back in April, a new generation became exposed to Dash’s groundbreaking portrayal of black women at the turn of the 20th century. It was around that time that Cohen Media Group revealed its plans to release a 25th anniversary restoration of Daughters of the Dust—in conjunction with UCLA and with a proper color grading overseen by Jafa—beginning with a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival followed by a full theatrical run in November.

The 25th anniversary restoration opened at New York City’s Film Forum on the 18th of November (it's still playing there) before heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto last Friday. It opens in a ton more theaters throughout North America as of today. Check out the full list of screenings below.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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Stogie T Enlists Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and More, for ‘The Empire of Sheep’ Deluxe Edition

Stream the deluxe version of Stogie T's EP 'The Empire of Sheep' featuring Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and more.

Stogie T just shared a deluxe version of his 2019 EP The Empire of Sheep titled EP The Empire of Sheep (Deluxe Unmasked). The project comes with three new songs. "All You Do Is Talk" features fellow South African rappers Nasty C, Boity and Nadia Nakai. New York lyricist appears on "Bad Luck" while one of Stogie T's favorite collaborators Ziyon appears on "The Making."

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"Kata" single cover.

Listen to Tekno's New Single 'Kata'

The Nigerian artist and producer returns with a melodic banger just in time for the weekend.

Nigerian artist Tekno is back with his second single of the year, "Kata."

The heavyweight artist and producer delivers a melodic track that sees him singing about his devotion to his lover over drum-filled production from Phantom. The track features subdued vocals from. the artist, and a beat that's easy to move along to. The song follows the track 'Beh Beh' which he released earlier this year.

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