Viewing Black History Month through a creative lens
An artist’s identity and experiences inform — and sometimes even drive — the work they create. By turning their attention to the contemporary Black experience in America, they capture the fundamental narratives that aren’t represented very often in modern media.
One of the creative expressions happening in our city is Milwaukee Film’s Black Lens program, which curates community events and movies during Black History Month that showcase African American society and culture. When I asked Milwaukee Film chief innovation officer Geraud Blanks to describe this year's program, he needed only two words: “ambitious and intentional.”
For this episode of Uniquely Milwaukee, I teamed up with HYFIN’s Kim Shine. And in that spirit, we’re co-writing this week’s post. Kim?
KS: Black Lens is truly a gem within Milwaukee Film and Cream City itself. As you’ll hear me say during our conversation with Geraud, there’s a thirst in this community for celebrations of Black culture and opportunities to champion diversity in general.
Each season, the festival offers new ways to center the Black narrative while inviting those outside our culture (even those within) to explore and respect its beauty and depth. Intentionality is key, and the leaders within Black Lens have become masters at curating a thorough and enjoyable month-long experience.
SF: We attended the second week of the Black History Month program, and you’ll hear our conversation about intimacy, Black love and Afrosexology. You’ll also get a preview of another form of creative expression: the Milwaukee Rep’s Next Narrative Monologue Competition on Feb. 15. For that, we get perspective from the Rep’s chief education and engagement officer, Jenny Toutant, and last year’s winner, Alexandria Woods, on the importance of theater for Black playwrights.