African Diaspora Film Club | HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE
Join us on Zoom for today’s program:
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Museum of the African Diaspora and Black Public Media present
African Diaspora Film Club at MoAD
Join us for our monthly series, The African Diaspora Film Club. Modeled after our African Book Club, we will meet once a month to discuss a film that we have all viewed in advance of the discussion. The conversation will be moderated by Cornelius Moore, co-director of California Newsreel and film series curator at MoAD. We will be choosing a selection of films, some previously screened at MoAD. You may have already seen it, or this may be your first introduction. In either case, join us on the second Sunday of the month for a lively discussion of the film.
This month’s selection is HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE (Yoruba Richen, 2020, 113 minutes). You will receive instructions to join via zoom after you sign up here. Look for an email from MoAD after you sign up, if you don’t receive it in your inbox, look in your spam or junk mail.
We will not be screening the film. Please view the film on your own in advance of the discussion. HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE will be available for you to screen on your own January 18 – February 16, 2021 on PBS AMERICAN MASTERS.
Director Yoruba Richen will join us for the discussion.
HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process. The film, which is slated to premiere in early 2021 on PBS and on documentaryChannel in Canada, features interviews and archival performances with all six women, as well as original conversations with contemporary artists influenced by them, including Alicia Keys, an executive producer on the project, Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson and other luminaries, as well as family members, including Horne’s daughter Gail Lumet Buckley.
Based on the book “How It Feels To Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement” by Ruth Feldstein, the film tells the story of how these six pioneering women broke through in an entertainment industry hell-bent on keeping them out and situates their activism as precursors to contemporary movements like #TimesUp, #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter. Award-winning director Yoruba Richen (The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, POV: Promised Land, Independent Lens: The New Black) examines the impact these trailblazing entertainers had on reshaping the narrative of Black female identity in Hollywood through their art and political activism while advocating for social change. The film highlights how each woman — singer, dancer and actress Lena Horne; jazz vocalist, songwriter and actress Abbey Lincoln; Tony-winning actress, singer and model Diahann Carroll; jazz, blues and folk singer Nina Simone; actress and model Cicely Tyson; and actress Pam Grier — harnessed their celebrity to advance the civil rights movement.
Yoruba Richen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op Doc, Frontline Digital, New York Magazine’s website -The Cut, The Atlantic and Field of Vision. Her film, How it Feels To Be Free, premiered on PBS’s American Masters in January of 2021. Her other recent films include, The New York Times Presents: The Killing of Breonna Taylor which premiered on FX and Hulu and The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show which was broadcast on MSNBC and is streaming on Peacock. Her previous film, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel and was nominated for an EMMY. Her films, The New Black and Promised Land won multiple festival awards before airing on PBS’s Independent Lens and P.O.V. Yoruba won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was a Sundance Producers Fellow. She is the 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and a Guggenheim Fellow. Yoruba is the founding director of the Documentary Program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
Yoruba Richen will also be a guest on MoAD’s BLATANT: A Forum for Art, Joy and Rage on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
The African Diaspora Film Club is presented in partnership with Black Public Media
Black Public Media (BPM), formerly known as National Black Programming Consortium develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience. Our mission is to commit to a fully realized expression of democracy and we accomplish this by supporting diverse voices through training, education, and investment in visionary content makers.
For 40 years, BPM has addressed the needs of unserved and underserved audiences. BPM continues to address historical, contemporary, and systemic challenges that traditionally impede the development and distribution of black stories.