How Black Women Are Preventing the Erasure of Seattle’s Black Community Through the Arts
by NaKeesa Frazier-Jennings
As a Black woman myself, the term “Black excellence” doesn’t really resonate with me, and to use it to describe Tariqa Waters, a multidisciplinary artist and business owner in Seattle, would be an understatement. Owner and founder of local art gallery Martyr Sauce, what she is doing through her art, her presence, and her commitment to our local community has an importance that cannot be truly captured in words, unless with a word that means something more than excellent. She occupies spaces and represents Black women and Black girls, and does so with grace, generosity, kindness, and color through both her amazing personal style and her larger-than-life art installations!
Returning in-person for the first time in three years, the 20th annual Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF) celebrates opening night at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on April 22, kicking off with a powerful preview of a work-in-progress documentary produced by and featuring members of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party. The festival will run through April 30 and be presented in hybrid format with in-person and online screenings, featuring a curated selection of feature films, performances, and short film program blocks.
This Saturday, Aug. 28, BAZZOOKAFEST will transform Beacon Hill’s Jefferson Park into a free music and film festival featuring a packed all-BIPOC lineup. Musicians include indie folk headliner Kimya Dawson, pop punk artist Haley Graves, alternative rockers King Youngblood, pop singer-songwriter CarLarans, five-piece femme band Razor Clam, dance pop trio Mirrorgloss, and soulful rock band Stereo Sauna. POC members of drag collective BeautyBoiz will perform, and once the music’s over, a screening of short films submitted by BIPOC filmmakers will take place. As if you needed another reason to attend, the event will also feature a pop-up market featuring all Black and POC vendors.
BAZZOOKAFEST is all-ages and open to all. The festival starts at 3 p.m. and goes till about 10 p.m. Masks are required.
How do we sense at this time? With the onslaught of violence against Asian American and Asian Diasporic people, the horrifyingly regular state-sanctioned murders of Black and Brown people (including CHILDREN), and general harm towards those who our society minoritizes, I’ve been feeling numb and guilty in my inability to sense, as well as to post, donate, fight, and make sense of what’s going on. How do we sense well at this time?
Now in its second year rebranded as Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF), LANGSTON’s 18th annual event returns from April 16–26, 2021. Once again held in virtual space, SBFF will showcase 70 short and feature films — more than double last year — that demonstrate the diversity of stories from across the African diaspora.
“I feel the depth and breadth of storytelling that found us, that was submitted to the festival this year is extraordinary,” explains SBFF Director Andrea Stuart-Lehalle, who hints that both COVID-19 and recent racial reckonings have played a key role in shaping those narratives. “I feel like filmmakers are in this very raw and visceral space where their stories and experiences were close to the surface and for many, flowed directly into some powerful storytelling they put on-screen.”
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Morning Update Show — Thursday, April 15
LIVE — Jazmyn Scott | Derrick Chauvin Trail Update | Seattle Black Film Festival | The Soul Pole | #TBT — KYAC Radio
Celebrating the diversity of Black cinematic brilliance, the 17th-annual Seattle Black Film Festival (SBFF) begins Friday, July 10, and runs through Sunday, July 12. Hosted by LANGSTON, a hub for Black arts and culture in the Central District, this year’s festival will be presented online for the first time, in partnership with the independent film screening and music platform, Couch-a-thon. It comes three months after the festival was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Creatives need their works to be shown more than ever and to connect with other filmmakers telling Black stories. We feel the acute need [to show] solidarity and amplify voices,” explains SBFF Director Andrea Stuart-Lehalle. “This is really an important moment for Black creatives, so I’m really happy we found a way to keep our platform going.”