Film Series Emphasizes Black Female Agency

Shane Shuma ’22, Staff Writer

The Popel Shaw Center (PSC) is celebrating Black History Month with a film series centering on black womanhood and agency in films. The series is an extension of the Kaleidoscope of Excellence program that began last fall, that focused on women of color in art, activism and in academics, and how they impact society in different ways. 

The series comes as “the college’s own campus studies have revealed women of color, particularly Latinx and African American women are often struggling to find a sense of community and connection,” said to Dr. Vincent Stephens, Director of the Popel Shaw Center.

The selection of films was chosen based on genre, themes and content. The planning process began last summer as the PSC coordinated the speakers and events for the spring semester. The PSC also consulted scholars, faculty and departments on campus to help determine which films would be most appropriate.

The film series began last Friday with a showing of The Color Purple. The showing was co-sponsored by MOB.  Sakina Hobbs-Jones ’20, an Africana studies and sociology double major, led a discussion about the film after the showing. 

Hobbs-Jones said the film is important because it “depicts agency, which we discussed in our discussion following the movie. And the agency that a lot of movies don’t depict when black women are actresses in movies.” 

Naj Thompson ’22, who attended the event, said, “the movie does a good job depicting how households used to be ran, and unspeakable things that went on in families that no-one knew about.” 

Other film screenings which are a part of the series include: If Beale Street Could Talk, shown Feb. 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 at the Carlisle Theatre, was co-sponsored by the Africana studies, American studies, and English department; Eve’s Bayou, shown Feb 4.;  Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise will be shown on Feb. 11.;  Cocote will be shown Feb. 18 and is co-sponsored by the Spanish and Portuguese departments; and Free Angela will be shown on Feb. 25.

An earlier version of this article misspelled “Naj Thompson” to “Naji Thompson” and stated that her class year was 2019, when it is actually 2022. The article now reflects these changes.