Through A Lens Darkly

This is a oldie but goodie I wrote for the legendary Amsterdam News.

THROUGHLENSD_Shareable_01A-copy_t580Every photo tells a story. But in a world of Instagram and Pinterest, we tend to look at a photo for its face value. That’s what Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and The Emergence of a People resonates.The film takes an intimate look at the progression of a people through a series of still photos.

This documentary is first of its kind to explore the role of photography in African American culture. The film takes its audience on a journey and depicts the African American experience in America from slavery to the present. “This is something to be passed down to the next generation, a passing of the baton that will include their stories and their photographs,” said film maker Thomas Allen Harris, at a screening last week at the City College Campus.

Harris uses his film as a medium to reintroduce professional and images from various family photo albums to shape the identity of Blacks and display our aspirations. Professional photos shot by photographers such as Roy DeCarva and Anthony Barboza among others appeared throughout the film. While these men used the camera as their tool to tell not only Black history but also American history, they are seldom recognized in main stream American.

Black women also played a huge role in the game of photography. Vera Jackson and Louise E. Jefferson helped raise African American awareness in media. They were also responsible for capturing some of America’s greatest talents from Dorothy Dandridge to Jackie Robinson.

Harris explains the entire project took 10 years to complete and he raised $150,000 to support the project. He felt a responsibility to complete the film despite the long haul. “I’m a finisher…and I have an amazing team, there were a lot of people who were counting on this project.”

The film maker noted that some of the images made him upset, and he was angry when he started making the film. “I had to learn to forgive and go to a real deep place of compassion, he said. I had to remember who I made this film for. I made this film for young people of color, and I don’t want to communicate just anger to them.”

Harris is working to get this film into high schools and grammar schools. He is passionate about educating the next generations on their history. Currently, Thomas is working on a narrative feature about an immigrant woman and her family. To keep up with Harris and learn more about Through A Lens Darkly visit http://www.1world1family.me.

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Is it Wednesday yet? I just found my woman crush!

I have been under at ton of rocks because I had no idea this beauty with a VOICE even existed.  For those who don’t know Kelela is a vocalist hailing from Washington, DC of Ethiopian descent.  The jazz inspired singer-song writer gained notoriety with the debut of her 2013 mix tape Cut 4 Me.  The DMV native is back to give us new material, and a blazing hot video for her new single “A Message”.

As the visual for “A Messagebegins we are introduced to a topless Kelela.  She is featured in metallic coated skin, and piercing eyes that stare directly into the camera. The background is nightly black, making it impossible for you to be distracted or take your eyes off the songstress.  To a slow tempo, Kelela lifts her head, and expands her lips just enough to push out the words “You’re so clear to me, I can see right through you, when you look at me your someone else.” Kelela then transitions into this animated psychedelic character, who aides her in singing of the lyrics. The most salient part of the vid is a scene where Kelela amputates and says deuces to her long luscious locs.

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Kelela is  true talent and definitely an artist to look out for.  Not only is Kelela’s sound unique, her music is soulful yet edgy and will yank emotions from your soul.  Kelela’s  tunes take you on a journey back to the 90’s ,but yet are current. The up and coming EP Hallucinogen, is set to be released May 5 and is a reflection of  the various phases that can occur in a relationship. “A Message” is the first track being released from the project. Kelela is currently touring through Europe, but you can keep up with her on Facebook by searching Kelela.

Check out the link to her masterpiece of a video below.