On my quest to bring you the highest quality, British talent of the big and small screen, it became rapidly apparent that there was a dire struggle (to say the least) within the UK Film industry to project the talent derived from that of people of colour, and even harder to come by – women of colour.
Be it in front of, or behind the lens, it was shocking the lack of representation of women that seemed to exist. How predictable then that women behind the camera are makeup artists, stylists and hairdressers, yet the front-header roles that appear on the posters and trailers of film, such as directors and or producers, lay heavily on the shoulders of men. Is there an assumption that women are unable to take on leading roles in productions or be in control of their own creative projects? Surely us women – and in particular of colour, are out there somewhere?
As I shifted through the catalogue of media provided by the UK, it became apparent that we do exist, maybe in small numbers, but our presence filters through the glaze.
Women of colour are raising their soulful voice in productions more and more in the independent circuit and making a much-needed stamp. The likes of Destiny Ekaragha, Aysha Scott, Michaela Coel and Cecile Emeke are just a few of the beauties rising from the ashes of a drought headed by the Caucasian male; each in their own way presenting alternative narratives from the rigid Hollywood gaze.
With these gems my heart warms to the promise that women of colour are not hiding, but rather stomping loud and proud on the territory that they live on.
Pushing through the barriers of funding (the lack of), gender and race and are presenting quality to the table.
Laurelle Jones, Festival Coordinator
Update (Aug 2020) : see what Laurelle is doing now with her web series Hidden Secrets.
Don’t forget the technicians, we are here. I feel very strongly that women of colour in the technical areas are like black swans. We exist even if no-one acknowledges that!
Thank you Judi for your comment. What is in front of the camera is equally as important as what is behind the camera. As you’ve indicated, technicians of all persuasions are an important part of the decision-making process when trying to reach a semblance of equality, opportunity and diversity of story-telling.