“As Told By Us” is a dynamic new visual anthology celebrating the vastness of Black narratives in cinema, featuring over 20 rising and established Black filmmakers, curated and presented by media platforms For Africans By Africans (FABA), Melanin Unscripted (MU), and Afriquette. The line-up includes the work of prominent and rising directors like Akinola Davies Jr. and Black is King co-director Dafe Oboro as well as award winning short films like Bone Shaker by Ghanaian filmmaker Nuotama Bodomo, Besida by Nigerian twin filmmakers Chuko and Arie Esiri, Rise in Light by Amarachi Nwosu and many more.
Afriquette and FABA teamed up with Melanin Unscripted to further boost the program’s social impact through its Rise in Light initiative which promotes equal access to vital resources for Black youth through initiatives surrounding artists for relief.
“MU is excited to be partnering with Afriquette and FABA on this monumental moment for young Black visual creators,” said MU founder Amarachi Nwosu. “It is the moment we no longer wait for mainstream media to validate our stories, but instead begin to understand the power of community and collaboration.”
When Amplify Africa spoke with the “As Told By Us” team, they told us that their goal was to “create a space for the global Black community to congregate and celebrate our existence and multiplicity through the films we curated.” “As Told By Us” is a two-day event, with two volumes screening via livestream on October 16th and October 18th. It will showcase engaging, cross-cultural perspectives with the purpose of allowing viewers to meditate on the vastness of Black identity, while reimagining better realities for Black people globally.
“The events that have occurred in 2020 alone have been revelatory of the global perception of Black communities. It's disheartening to see that the world pays attention to Black lives and experiences mostly when it involves tragic situations,” the team told us, “in the heat of these situations, our lives, our social feeds are constantly being bombarded with dehumanizing content that takes a mental toll on us everyday.” When we asked the ‘As Told By Us’ team what their inspiration was, they simply said, “to serve as a reminder to Black people that our stories, our experiences and our lives matter too and should be highlighted and celebrated.” Seeing the different narratives of Black experiences around the world reinforces the idea that we are dynamic and we can exist beyond these tragic narratives.
The importance of telling our own stories is not lost on us. “Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe said it best quoting this proverb, ‘until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter,’” the “As Told By Us Team” said, “there is no one better to tell their own stories than the ones who have lived it.” Black people being at the forefront of our own stories allows for a more authentic representation of the Black experience. The storyteller has to have a deep connection to the story they are trying to tell, it makes them less likely to compromise on the values of a story and it helps the audience resonate more with it.
Photo: Film stills from Rise in Light, A Ti De and Black to Life
When it came to selecting which films to showcase, some questions the team considered were; Did it speak to the Black experience? Were Black people at the forefront of this project, either taking on influential roles behind the scenes or playing as major characters in the story? What other forms of visual media do we rarely see Black stories told with? The selected films explore many relevant themes to the Black experience including but not limited to; identity, self discovery, love, family, lifestyle, art, and religion in the context of Blackness.
“We hope to amplify the voices of Black creators doing the work to make sure Black narratives are well represented and we hope our audience leaves this viewing with a renewed sense of self-affirmation, knowing that they are not alone in their experiences and being conscious of the numerous intersections of Black identity.”
Trust us, this is not an event you want to miss so be sure to visit their website where you can purchase a virtual film screening ticket for only $10 that will grant you virtual admission to access ALL live screenings on October 16 & 18.