I'm blessed to be a woman in these times when so many women before me have resisted to overturn age discrimination and racist beauty standards that left so many of us out of range.
You'd be correct to expect this story of a young Renaissance woman's fantasy trip, to live like her iconic Black American idols, to be sexy and to weave in Josephine Baker. The novel's heroine goes to Paris in search of Baldwin and finds jazz, interracial love and the freelance hustler life...
46 years ago, a moving picture testified to sexual assault against a woman. It moved all around the world, in fact. Only, the world called it “art.” Not much has changed since. This most visible example of a public rape frames sexual assault’s most misunderstood and excused forms: coerced consent, false pretenses and pressure as permission. And people can still buy and sell this sexual assault on film to this day. Why?
This Black woman onscreen had to buy her freedom to agency and complexity for a high price. That price was her child's life. Such is depicted in a spate of films now depending upon a Black woman losing a child violently with no one held accountable.
Beah Richards and Bette Davis illuminate the essential if fraught alliance between Black women who serviced White men and White women who benefited from it all in the obscure 80's HBO movie "As Summers Die."
A 16-year old woman of color received what female slaves may have if they refused their master's sexual advances: death sentences at worst, and more tortured lives at best.
Bolivians of African descent introduced Jensen to Saya music, an old artform which was a universal language in the Spanish-speaking land of their political and labor oppressors. Jensen’s film documents Saya music of today.