the beloved black body

What a rare pleasure seeing Zimbabwean actress, playwright, and Hedgebrook sister Danai Gurira on Law & Order last Friday, opposite S. Epatha Merkerson. I love seeing beautiful, powerful black women command the screen. Especially Gurira, with her chocolate-chocolate skin and close-cropped fro, in a love triangle gone deadly. I do not look anything like her, but at least seeing her allows me to envision an image of myself as beloved on the small (or silver) screen.

Blessedly, I once had the opportunity to see myself this way, shot on 16mm film in a classroom exercise @ NYU on the visual caress. I leaned against a telephone pole on Lafayette Street, wearing a black skirt slit up to the thigh and a wispy floral blouse, my dreadlocks tumbling around my shoulders. The camera started at my feet and tilted up -- tracing my legs, negotiating around the curve of my behind, the softness of my chest, and my face gazing off into the sun.

There is something breathtaking in the image of a black body beloved.

So too watching Gurira, whose presence lit up the screen fresh off a successful run of her new play, Eclipsed, at Yale Repertory Theater. Wish I could have seen the show, but I know a gathering of beloved black women -- Zainab Jah and Adepero Oduye among them -- lit up the stage then too. Soldiering on in an ongoing struggle to claim and reclaim the black body.

3 comments:

{ Inner Emigre } | December 16, 2009 at 9:20 PM said...

"There is something breathtaking in the image of a black body beloved."

I would even add sacred...especially, in this context, if she is commanding the screen...in full authority of her disposition.

share that NYU footage lady!

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this Daughter's geography of yours is home to my imagination and future hopes.

I look forward to reading your work & lending both eye & ear to ya audiovisual talents.

but i dunno know about the Sci-Fi affinity :)

{ Mista Jaycee } | December 19, 2009 at 1:38 PM said...

I totally agree! BE sure to stop by my blog! For the record I love the Black Body in all it's variations! God is truly amazing!

{ Earth Mama } | July 6, 2010 at 9:20 PM said...

African royalty. That's all I have to say.

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