Is There a Reason a Black Woman is in the Kitchen? Or, Black Women Re-Claiming Black Women's Images

By O. Funmilayo Makarah
January 1, 1994

Screening program notes from Scratching the Belly of the Beast catalogue, 1994

Black women film and video makers remain under-appreciated. Images put forth by mainstream media consistently present Black women as prostitutes or the cooks and caretakers of whites. This portrayal is largely incommensurate with Black women's lives, as well as with the work produced by Black women, which in Los Angeles has been substantial and multi-faceted.

Black women independent film/videomakers consistently present Black life and culture in the many hues and complexities that mainstream media invariably overlooks. This tradition was perhaps solidified in L.A. In the 1970s when Alile Sharon Larkin, Jackie Frazier, Julie Dash, Barbara McCullough, Denise Bean, Pamela Jones, Storme Bright, Carroll Parrot Blue, Myown Hymer, Mildred Richards, Carolyn Goodwin, Melvonna Ballenger, Vel Frances Young, Anita Addison, and I were students in the UCLA Film Department. The phenomenal output during these years prompted Clyde Taylor, Professor of Literature and Film at Tufts University, to dub the movement that grew from these and other Black UCLA filmmakers (including Charles Burnett, Haile Gerima, Larry Clark, Jama Fanaka, Billy Woodberry, John Reir, and Ben Caldwell) "the L.A. Rebellion."

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