Malika Imhotep on blk wimmin breathing in New Life Quarterly

09 Mar, 2020

Malika Imhotep on blk wimmin breathing in New Life Quarterly

Malika Imhotep dedicates a piece to Nia Wilson, Kayla Moore and Atatiana Jefferson, black women who have been killed by police brutality. In this essay, "blk wimmin breathing," Imhotep analyzes how director Barry Jenkins and author James Baldwin value the lives of black women.

It is equal parts film analysis, historical purview, social commentary and poetry as Imhotep talks about the "love that is breathed into Barry Jenkins' Beale Street."

An excerpt from the essay:

I invest my curiosity in an exploration of the quiet quality of breath and the ways in which Jenkins’ focus on black women breathing, and on breath itself, return Baldwin’s gift (that is, the novel itself) to the black feminists who inspired it, offering an occasion for mindful cinematic intimacy with and between black women.

What does it mean to watch black women breathe on screen? What possibilities of catharsis are opened up for black (and particularly black femme) viewers when they are invited to sit in the dark and train their eyes on images of black women inhaling and exhaling—before, between, and throughout the difficult telling of our stories?

Read the entire feature here.