FEMINIST FRIDAY: Jay-Z Reimagines An America Founded By A Diverse Matriarchy In ‘Family Feud’

Welcome to another Feminist Friday! That part of our weekly schedule where we take a break from regular programming and share a handful of our fave feminist videos we are loving at the moment. This week it’s all about the female gaze and the matriarchy. Literally.

Our first video is Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’, which has become a viral sensation for its cinematic short film shown before the actual track featuring Queen Bey. In this short, we get to see an imagined futuristic world where the American Constitution was rewritten by a group of diverse Founding Mothers in the year 2050. These women include Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Niecy Nash, Mindy Kaling (who shared the above image of the women on her Instagram account), Constance Wu, Rashida Jones and more hashing out new terms that strive for a far more equal and inclusive world. Perhaps it is the kind of solution we need in real life to heal such divisions in our country right now. We can only hope…

“The worst of us doesn’t define us. Our commitment to these ideals run deep in my blood, nothing can change that. My beloved ancestor was one of the chief architects of the Confessional Papers, and one of America’s Founding Mothers. She and a group of women from all walks of life revised the Constitution over 444 years ago. At a time, mind you, when some thought that ‘making America great’ meant making us afraid of each other,” recites the narration in the clip.

This Matriarchal perspective was shaped by a true matriarchy behind the scenes also, as it was directed by Ava DuVernay. Jay-Z and Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy is also featured in the video, and is written into the story of a new America led by a multi-racial, female-driven leadership, where she is depicted as one of the aforementioned “chief architects” as an adult, played by ‘This Is Us’ actress Susan Kelechi Watson.

“America is a family, and the whole family should be free. It’s like I remember my father saying when I was a little girl: nobody wins when the family feuds,” she says in the video. Watch the 7 minute epic below:

Speaking of political divisions in America right now, as the country fights a number of battles centered around a President who was elected on a campaign message of bigotry and fear, there are multiple issues to be tackled at once. Arguably, the most heinous news story he is known for is the unearthing of an old ‘Access Hollywood’ “hot mic” tape where he admitted to host Billy Bush that he likes to grab women by the, ahem, genitals. And of course over the past 2 years we saw an endless amount of vile sexism streaming from his mouth on the campaign trail, which has continued into his time in the White House through direct rhetoric, insinuation as well as regressive policies.

On the heels of a wave of men in power having to publicly apologize about years of sexual misconduct in the workplace and abusing their powerful positions to take advantage of women, the current President of the United States is a glaring omission from this movement.

It’s not like women are about to see a 180 turn from Donald Trump anytime soon, but the badass Liz Plank, host of Vox’s ‘Divided States of Women’ web series, decided to make a supercut video imagining what an apology from him would actually look like, by using actual footage of the bragger-in-chief himself.

“Given that President Trump has admitted himself that he never asks for forgiveness, even though his sexist behavior makes women feel harmed on a daily basis, we decided to do it for him — using his own words,” said Liz in an explainer about the video.

And finally, rounding out this matriarchal edition of Feminist Friday, we are featuring a trailer from first-time Palestinian filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud, whose film ‘In Between’ is causing a stir of controversy in the Arab world. ‘In Between’ follows the lives of three strong, independent minded Israeli-Palestinian women who find themselves “in between” the free and unfettered lives they’re aspiring to lead and the restrictions imposed on them by their country and families.

The Palestinian women share a Tel Aviv apartment who struggle to find work, love, and freedom from their strict environments. Laila (Mouna Hawa), a fearless lawyer with a taste for miniskirts, cigarettes, handsome men, and recreational drugs, is the leader of the trio. Her friend Salma (Sana Jammelieh), a DJ, works in Israeli-run restaurants and bars, where she deals with regular racism. Nour (Shaden Kanboura), a student who wears the veil, has just moved in from the ultrareligious village of Umm al-Fahm. Amid her roommates’ joyous carelessness, she strives to maintain the respectable behavior required by her fiancé, who pressures her to abandon her career aspirations and marry him.

They live in an Israeli city, in a world run by men. In an attempt to liberate themselves they run into barriers. Laila’s new lover criticizes her for her bold behavior, partying habits, and chain-smoking; Salma falls in love with a woman; Nour is raped by her fiancé and breaks off the engagement. The idea of a liberated woman in parts of the Middle East is still a huge taboo, and as a result, Maysaloun has already received death threats for her film, and some Islamists even issues a “fatwa” against her.

In an interview with Vulture about the core themes of ‘In Between’, Maysaloun says she began writing the story at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, and was also inspired by a number of Arab feminists around the world including Palestinian-American Women’s March founder and activist Linda Sarsour. Although the story is set in one particular location, its themes are universal, she says.

“Cinema is powerful when you can make the personal universal for people to connect with. I’m telling a particular story that represents authentic stories for women in the region, but these issues are the same everywhere else in the world. Everything is political. The air you breathe is political. Feminism is political. When we say we want to change the system and we want women to rule — this is very political. The movie says there needs to be a change, and change is political,” she said. Watch the trailer below, and check local listings for screenings near you.

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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY - Three Female Artists Providing Our #Resistance Anthems Right Now - GirlTalkHQ

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