There are few things I find more irking than the removal of black women – sans Rosa Parks and Angela Davis – from the mainstream narrative of major freedom movements. We learn about influential leaders during Black History Month and Women’s History Month, but usually the protagonist isn’t a black woman, unless her first name is Harriet or Sojourner. It takes A Taste of Power-esque books and decades-past-relevant research to uncover these hidden stories of courage and inspiration. I imagine this consistent shunning of foundational women grinds Nev Nnaji’s gears as well.
The celebrated filmmaker and owner of Yello Kat Productions is highlighting the marginalization of black women in the Black Power and Feminist movements in “Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights.” The feature-length documentary aims to highlight obscured women in the past and present while also pushing cultural understanding of the importance of black women’s input and sacrifices in such movements.
Clutch highlighted this project in 2011, when Nnaji was still in pre-production and seeking funding for the documentary. Though she didn’t achieve her goal of raising $20,000, Shadow & Act reports the Nigerian-schooled filmmaker remained steadfast and earned additional monies to finish the documentary. It’s taken two years, but “Reflections Unheard” Nnaji is finally preparing for a run through film festivals and nationwide screenings.
“Reflections Unheard” will premiere on April 24 at the Smith College Conference Center in Northampton, MA. A subsequent screening is scheduled for May 16 at the Museum of Women’s Resistance (MOWRE) in Brooklyn, New York. Nnaji plans to host other screenings, which will be posted on Yello Kat’s website as they are confirmed.
Yello Kat Productions firmly believes “film and photography are amongst the most powerful mediums of communication; anyone who is privileged enough to possess a camera and share their work with the world has a great responsibility to be genuine and authentic.” I hope “Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights” is the first in a series of documentaries capturing these intersectional stories of lived experiences.