In 2015, Cannes Film Festival screened and re-released a digitally restored version of Ousmane Sembene’s first feature film from 1966 – Black Girl. Black Girls single-handedly opened the way for African cinema in the West.
Diounna is a girl from Senegal. Diounna is stylish, classy, sophisticated and a woman on a mission to help her family have a better life. That opportunity presents itself when she is invited by her mistress to leave Dakar and move to France. However, the “glamourous life” Diounna envisioned becomes a cruel form of modern-day slavery. Diounna’s dreams are never realized and depression becomes her daily existence.
While African-Americans here in the America were fighting for equal “civil” rights, our brothers and sisters across the ocean were fighting undercover modern-day slavery. How could this be allowed to happen and why? Who thought this was a good idea and why was this considered Ok?Why were white people so fascinated by people of color in terms of our women and how we cook, but then afraid to go to Africa for fear of being caught up in a “civil war”?
Not much has changed, only now the fascination is with our style and our music.
Yes, I was fascinated and infuriated at such behavior. When will folks learn that we are ALL HUMAN BEINGS!!!! We are not property to be coveted and bragged about. We have families, feelings and want the best for our loved ones like anyone else.
Can we really say that this behavior has changed much from 1969 to 2016? Yes and No…the answer is totally subjective depending on who you are and what your experience in life has turned out to be.
Black Girl recently screened at BAMcinematek during May in New York and can now be streamed online via YouTube and purchased on DVD.