Did the BLM Protests Influence the SXSW lineup?
This past year has been a time of extraordinary changes. Following the Black Lives Matter protests, the stories and experiences of women of color seem to have been moved to the foreground of this year’s SXSW.
Will real, lasting cultural and political change come out of the BLM protests? Is the lineup at year’s (digital) SXSW a sign of the start of that change?
Take a look at what’s on offer this year and see for yourself! This list is not comprehensive, but it’s good place to start!
Stacey Abrams is the New York Times bestselling author of Our Time is Now and Lead from the Outside, an entrepreneur, and political leader. After serving as Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia. Over the course of her career, she has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues.
At the critical juncture of the national reckonings on racial and gender equality are women of color, with Black women often the most marginalized and underrepresented. Yet they have remarkable potential to elevate our nation and the world because diversity is key to innovation, and those who have persevered are uniquely suited to excellence. As such, the voices of Black women are crucial in any discussion of the future. This presentation will feature two women from JHU/APL and NASA who have made history in their own right, sharing their inspirational journeys, compelling data illustrating the current status and historic achievements of Black women, thoughts from notable Black women in STEM across the country, and experiences of real hidden figures submitted by attendees and the public.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A NEW ERA
The modern model of activism relies on podcasting to tell the stories. Social media to amplify its message. Show people where to be via Instagram. Describe what’s going on there with Twitter. Explain your ideals on TikTok. These platforms connect audiences and empower activists. In the spring of 2020 during NY’s BLM protests, people who were stuck on a bridge, blockaded on both sides by NYPD, used Twitter to cry for help. AOC saw their tweets and helped them. The democratization of access has transformed activism. How has this happened and how can these tools continue to empower and help turn moments into movements while creating the power to make real change? This panel will explore.
We are in a moment of racial reckoning. And the WNBA has been best positioned to navigate the sensitivities of this moment because they have been here before. In fact, the WNBA’s very existence is political. Women playing professional basketball and demanding equitable investment and working conditions is protest. And so the organization has the audacity to lead a contemporary cultural movement, because of its Blackness and intersectional collectivism, and the unprecedented commodification of its advocacy. Explore in this discussion how the WNBA is a direct challenge to outdated marketing logic that sees outspoken athletes as a brand liability, and how their vocal, clear, and unyielding game plan has given activism a path to follow.
In 1970, the Ad Hoc Women Artists’ Committee (Ad Hoc) protested at the Whitney Museum every Sunday for four months. Their demands? That 50 percent of the artists at their exhibition that year be Black women. Spearheading this protest was author and Ad Hoc member, Michele Wallace. Wallace’s activist group, “Women Students and Artists for Black Liberation” (WSABAL) was central to advancing a need for Black women to be centered and seen at the Whitney but in the arts in general. Fifty-one years later, what has changed for Black feminist creatives in the arts in terms of representation, inclusion, and equity? This panel discussion centers the voices, creativity, power, politics, and resiliency of Black feminist artists across disciplines and from historical and contemporary perspectives.
With recent pushes for racial equality and insecurity fueled by a global pandemic, struggles for power run rampant, exacerbating workplace discrimination inflicted upon some of the most vulnerable professionals—BIPOC womxn. In this session, four experts will discuss the ways by which companies can create immediate and lasting progress by using information and technology to counter the backlash BIPOC womxn professionals will face in this volatile climate, such as (1) insight on why and how discrimination and unconscious bias against BIPOC womxn manifest in workplaces and remote work spaces, (2) effective strategies for changing workplace dynamics to make them more hospitable to BIPOC womxn, and (3) advancements in technology and digital resources that help retain such valuable talent.
As the form of intellectual property creation and consumption changes, as story-tellers, we must adapt and proactively utilize curation as a part of authorship of a narrative. Especially when curation has now become an AI-algorithm used by streamers. Algorithms seem to feed us what we already like and exclude the narratives of other ideologies from our play-cue – ultimately dividing communities, dividing us. This is one of the greatest problems of our time that can be solved by content creators if the measurement of “Bridging Cultures” is taken into account while developing and producing IPs. Join us as we discuss the way our decisions impact both our work and our audiences, how each of these talented professionals approaches this in their work, and what they hope to see for the future
Subjects of Desire (Canada) Director/Screenwriter: Jennifer Holness, Producers: Jennifer Holness, Sudz Sutherland
Subjects of Desire is a thought provoking film that examines the cultural shift in beauty standards towards embracing (or appropriating) Black aesthetics and features, deconstructing what we understand about race and the power behind beauty. (World Premiere)
Director: Natalie Morales, Screenwriters: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Producer: Mel Eslyn
A Spanish teacher and her student develop an unexpected friendship. Cast List: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry, Christine Quesada (North American)
Director: Edson Jean, Screenwriters: Edson Jean, Joshua Jean-Baptiste, Producers: Fabiola Rodriguez, Mark Pulaski
Ludi, a hardworking and exhausted nurse, battles coworkers, clients and one impatient bus driver to learn her self worth as she chases the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Cast List: Shein Mompremier, Alan Myles Heyman, Madelin Marchant, Success St. Fleur Jr., Kerline Alce, Plus Pierre, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Farah Larrieux (Texas Premiere)
Fruits of Labor
Director: Emily Cohen Ibañez, Screenwriters: Ashley Solis Pavon, Emily Cohen Ibañez Producer: Emily Cohen Ibañez
A Mexican-American teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school, when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. (World Premiere)
Director: Andrea Nevins, Producers: Ross Dinerstein, Rebecca Evans, Carolina Groppa
Hysterical is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Featuring Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger and more. Available on FX in 2021. (World Premiere)
Director: Garrett Zevgetis, Producers: Chico Colvard, Jeff Consiglio, Ariana Garfinkel
An explosive viral video shows a white policeman throwing a Black teenager from her school desk. One woman uproots her life to help the girl, face the officer, and dismantle the system behind the “Assault at Spring Valley.” (World Premiere)
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Directors: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, Screenwriter: Jeffery Robinson, Producers: Jeffery Robinson, Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
ACLU lawyer Jeffery Robinson’s shattering talk on the history of U.S. anti-Black racism is interwoven with archival footage, interviews and Robinson’s story, exploring the legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. (World Premiere)
Director: Floyd Russ, Screenwriters: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Floyd Russ, Vilma Vega, Producers: Kara Durrett, Floyd Russ, Corey Waters, Andy Coverdale
Ayar, a first-generation American Latina, returns home to reunite with her daughter. But when her mother, Renata, refuses to let her see her due to Covid, Ayar is confronted by the many roles she’s been forced to play, including the role in this film. Cast List: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Vilma Vega, Henry Foster Brown, Simon Haycock, Calliah Sophie Estrada, Pete Pano, Briza Covarrubias, Ceasar Hartman, Jay Lawrence Kiman, Frances Fuches (World Premiere)
Directors: Jeremy Ungar, Ivaylo Getov, Screenwriters: Agustín Rexach Martín, Ivaylo Getov, Jeremy Ungar, Producer: Robin Miller Ungar
When the Vocal Vidas, an all-female Cuban quartet, are invited to play their first show in the US, a simple concert becomes a journey across physical and ideological borders – affirming the connective power of music, even in the most uncertain times. (World Premiere)
Executive Order (Brazil)
Director: Lázaro Ramos, Screenwriters: Lusa Silvestre, Lázaro Ramos, Aldri Anunciação, Elísio Lopes Jr, Producers: Daniel Filho, Tania Rocha
In a dystopian near future in Brazil, an authoritarian government orders all citizens of African descent to move to Africa – creating chaos, protests, and an underground resistance movement that inspires the nation. Cast List: Alfred Enoch, Taís Araújo, Seu Jorge, Adriana Esteves, Renata Sorrah, Mariana Xavier, Pablo Sanábio (Texas Premiere)
Directors: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim, Screenwriters: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo, Phillip Kaminiak, Producer: Phillip Kaminiak
Luchadoras portrays the courageous female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its high murder rate against women – who in the ring and in their daily lives fight to redefine the image of what it means to be a woman in Mexico. (World Premiere)
Bantú Mama (Dominican Republic)
Director: Ivan Herrera, Screenwriters: Clarisse Albrecht, Ivan Herrera, Producers: Ivan Herrera, Nicolas LaMadrid, Franmiris Lombert
An Afropean woman escapes after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She is sheltered by a group of minors, in a dangerous district of Santo Domingo. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she will see her destiny change inexorably. Cast List: Clarisse Albrecht, Scarlett Reyes, Arturo Perez, Euris Javiel, Donis Taveras, Jarold Santos (World Premiere)
National Geographic’s GENIUS is an Emmy-winning anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, exploring their extraordinary achievements along with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The third season will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius, incomparable career and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. She will be portrayed by Oscar-nominated Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” “The Color Purple”) and Emmy-winning Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) will play Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin. Our acclaimed panelists will explore the craft and care that goes into honoring her legacy and bringing her story to life.