FEMINIST FRIDAY: HBO’s Documentary About The Death Of Sandra Bland Is A Must-See

Welcome to another Feminist Friday! That time of the week where we gather around our screens to watch a handful of our fave videos of the moment, videos that are usually centered around intersectional feminism in some way. This week we’re sharing trailers to 3 films that show nuanced, complex and powerful portrayals of black women in America.

The first is a heartbreaking but must-see documentary on HBO called ‘Say Her Name: The Life And Death of Sandra Bland’ which pulls back the curtain on one of the most explosive stories that became an integral part of the Black Lives Matter movement over the past few years.

As described by HBO, in 2015, Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old black woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, Sandra was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Though ruled a suicide, her death sparked allegations of racially-motivated police murder and Sandra became a poster child for activists nationwide, leaving millions to question, “What really happened to Sandra Bland?”

Ten days after Sandra’s death, filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner began working closely with the family’s legal team, tracking the two-year battle between Sandra’s aggrieved family and Texas authorities. With disturbing, never-before-told details about the case, the film is punctuated by Sandra’s own passionate and moving commentary.

Approximately 30 “Sandy Speaks” video blogs, which Sandra created herself, allowed the filmmakers to get to know Sandra Bland in a deeply personal way. Via these videos, Sandy herself emerges as a central voice in ‘Say Her Name’ — an empowered, enlightened woman of color whose sharp, humorous, charismatic remarks address subjects from educating kids about black history to police brutality to the importance of natural hair.

‘Say Her Name’ takes viewers deep inside a story that galvanized activists across the country. Watch the clip below which gives you an idea of what to expect. The documentary is available on HBO on Tuesday December 4.

The second trailer is for the forthcoming feature documentary ‘Life Without Basketball‘ which follows the story of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who broke records and barriers on her way to become the first Division I basketball player to play wearing hijab. When a controversial ruling ends her chances at playing professionally, she re-examines her faith and identity as a Muslim American.

Bilqis’ story starts off as a heartbreaking story of a dream deferred, but ultimately a victorious one. She refuses to give up who she is for her career, thereby losing sight of her goal during a prime period when she should have been able to move into a pro-career. But she turned her frustrations, tears and heartbreak into activism: coaching and mentoring young woman to pursue their passions.

The film premiered at DOC NYC and the filmmakers are now gearing up for a festival run in 2019, with the hopes of securing distribution in order to get this important story out to a wide audience. ‘Life Without Basketball’ started off as a short film which was then turned into the feature that was produced by Lebron James’s Uninterrupted digital platform along with Great Big Story and CNN Films. Watch the trailer below, share, and show your support for Bilqis:

Our final trailer this week is for the new drama ‘Jinn‘, the debut feature film from writer-director Nijla Mu’min that shows what the future of the female gaze in Hollywood looks like: a story centered on a woman of color, directed and written by a woman of color, and offering a nuanced view into the life of a young woman whose identity has all too often been ignored when it comes to storytelling on the big screen.

Summer is a 17-year old carefree black girl from California, whose world is turned upside down when her mother, a popular meteorologist, abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person, prompting Summer to reevaluate her identity.

But, while Summer initially resists Islam, she eventually becomes drawn to its teachings, particularly around the “Jinn,” supernatural beings who occupy a parallel world and have free will, like humans. Summer soon realizes that the religion is more complex than she thought, and that people interpret it in different ways. Yet, Summer’s need to be free and untethered to any one way of being clashes with her mother’s strict interpretation of the faith and causes a growing rift between them.

If you are looking for a film that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of character tropes and coming-of-age narratives, look no further than ‘Jinn’.

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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: All The Girl Power Goodness In Little Mix's New Album LM5 - GirlTalkHQ

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