HAYTI! The Hippest Black Film Festival in the South Just Got Better!

By Leslie Cunningham, filmmaker and TRIBES Team

If you haven’t noticed, Durham’s Hayti Heritage Film Festival (HHFF) is bringing something fresh and new this year and Bull city film lovers are taking notice! I’m a longtime fan of the annual festival which is one of the longest-running Black film festivals in the country.

I’m damn sure proud of radioman Marc Lee, who dedicated his talents to making the festival happen year after year during Black History Month. Since I’ve been making film, Lee has definitely supported my work. In fact, my first documentary MI, A Different Kind of Girl, premiered at HHFF in 2012.  I remember when my female subject started taping up her breasts and transforming into a male on-screen and several of the festival goers got up quickly and walked out! A few minutes later, the audio got really low and we couldn’t hear parts of the film. I was mortified! Still, Lee invited me back again in 2014 to screen a work-in-progress of my current doc Jig Show | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana; and again in 2015 to premiere my experimental short doc, Funding Aumont Whitaker.  We also did a Q&A with the film subject and the packed house at the Hayti just loved it! If I haven’t said it enough, Thank you Marc Lee for helping me to kick-start my filmmaking career!

SDF’s Lana Garland taking HHFF to new heights

Lana Garland – Filmmaker and SDF Program Director

HHFF just got LIT! Lana Garland, a filmmaker and program director at the Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) has taken over the festival’s programming and planning for 2018 and the film lineup is popping with an array of classic Black cinema, cutting-edge docs, fictional shorts and features, and an opening night reception! This year’s 24th season goes down February 15th-17th and is sponsored by SDF, Flourishing Films, Be Connected and a few other heavy-hitters helping Garland to make this a phenomenal festival year! The must-watch films are Stefon Bristol’s sci-fi short, See You Yesterday, executive produced by Spike Lee and Isaac Green’s Beyond All.  My dude Ricky Kelly, a really amazing filmmaker in Durham,  is also screening his new doc Black Beach/White Beach, check out the trailer at the topI can’t wait to see it and I am so proud to be a part of Durham’s film community! Checkout the lineup of films and come out and support the Hayti Film FestivalSee you in the audience!


INSPIRING BEAUTY: Ebony Fashion Fair Runway Show, Raleigh, NC

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Inspiring Beauty: Ebony Fashion Fair Celebrating 50 Years! October 2017. Photos taken by Emanuel Cole Photography. Visit the NC Museum of Art to learn more- http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibition/inspiring_beauty_50_years_of_ebony_fashion_fair

Feature Event: PURPLE FREEDOM: BREAKING THE CYCLE RETURNS Saturday Nov 4th, Durham, NC

Purchase Tickets Here.

Back by popular demand Saturday November 4th, 2017 StandUp-SpeakOut of North Carolina, A Healing Through Arts Production Presents Purple FREEDOM: Breaking the Cycle. Purple Freedom: Breaking the Cycle is a poetic monologue highlighting the long-term impact of generational abuse with an emphasis on teen dating violence, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and mental illness. The event is a fundraising event for SUSO-NC’s operating program budget. All proceeds will support SUSO-NC’s programs and services. Not advised for children under 10 years of age.

Purple FREEDOM: Breaking the Cycle

“She stood in silence too afraid to walk away, too afraid to speak and too afraid to leave. She knew that any word she would utter at this moment would leave her black and blue and she was tired. Tired of crying. Tired of fighting, Tired of living in the walls of shame, guilt, and fear. These days it seemed God didn’t hear her silent cries, so she sat there taking verbal hit after hit after hit until her body and mind became numbed to it”.

Tamika Green always dreamed of her Happily Ever After, beautiful home, good husband, smart and healthy children, and a life she could be proud of. On the the outside looking in Tamika has it all, she has a loving husband who is a successful business owner, active father, good looking,charming, and God-fearing man. She has her handsome son, they call him “the ladies man” he’s athletic, popular, makes good grades, and destine for a spot with the NBA. She has a good job, great friends, and a life her friends say they envy. But behind the pictured perfect life, beautiful home, beautiful family, and her Godly demeanor , Tamika has learned to mask the deep rooted secrets that hold her captive in an abusive passive aggressive prison. Her fight for freedom will lead her down a journey of generational abuse connected through cycles of trauma and revolving doors of pain. Her faith will be tested, her life will be threatened, and her world will come crumbling down on her. The life she once knew will all seem like a dream, but Tamika will soon learn in order to break free she has to dig deep and uproot the core of the pain. Breaking the cycle will not be easy, but healing is necessary for FREEDOM.

StandUp~SpeakOut of North Carolina (SUSO-NC) a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides advocacy and therapeutic support through Art Therapy for children and teens who are victims or witnesses of domestic violence and or sexual abuse. For More Information or to become a sponsor of this event please email info@susonc.org. We have a sponsorship packet available to meet your budget. Inquire today. Visit http://www.susonc.org.

Purchase tickets here.

Feature Artist: Stefflon Don

Stefflon Don

Rap with wicked, dancehall-inspired wordplay


(bbc.co.uk) – It’s this conviction that has earned Stefflon Don, aka Stephanie Allen, a reputation as an emphatically real MC. Her inventive rhymes and wordplay have already caught the attention of rap and grime fans alike, proving that this bilingual mum-of-one and self-described “girl with the blue hair” is a force to be reckoned with.

Steff attributes her straight-talking attitude to her diverse upbringing. After moving to Holland aged five, she enjoyed a liberal childhood in a richly multicultural environment. Eight years later, she returned to the UK with a view of the bigger picture: that there was a world outside of London. Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5NrB84dPnSZ5LdwGxYSM0Kk/stefflon-don

Spill: Stirring the Evolution and Freedom of Black Women Unleashed

Spill: Stirring the Evolution and Freedom of Black Women Unleashed

By Patricia Corbett

On January 20, 2017, I was invited to a gathering of women at Duke University to hear Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Dr. Hortense Spillers engage in a conversation based on Dr. Gumbs book, Spill. Hosted by the Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies department, the timing was both brilliant and serendipitous. Receiving this invitation of the date of the 45th presidential inauguration was most welcomed and indeed highly anticipated. It is a rare treat to be a part of a discussion about a book and then to witness it reimagined as a performance piece. The discussion entitled, Spill: Black Feminist and Fugitivity in Conversation and Performance, was the antidote to an otherwise challenge to one’s intelligence and sensibility to watch the news of the day unfold. The poignant dialogue about intimacy, practice, and protest became a perfect prelude to the first performance of Spill by SpiritHouse, a local Durham theater company.

The Spill performance was robust and sometimes schizophrenic. Black women unabashedly ‘spilling’ emotion everywhere. The play managed to capture the reality of the black woman’s burden, pain, confusion, and her transcendent ability to claim herself amid the madness both self-inflicted and inflicted upon her. The performance was so intriguing that I wanted to know more about the incantations and the revelatory mix of words that created rifts of struggle and freedom that push back against a society that diminishes the value of black women.

I sent Dr. Gumbs the following questions and knew once I began reading Spill, that I would want to explore more of her 21st century black feminist terrain. For now, a brief Q/A with Dr. Alexis Gumbs based on her discussion, “Spill: Black Feminist and Fugitivity”, the SpiritHouse performance, and her new book, Spill: scenes of black feminist fugitivity.

How is Spill and act of intimacy, practice, and protest?

Spill came out of my desire to be with the archive of Black women’s literary and the critical work of Hortense Spillers, one of the Black feminist theorists who has influenced me the most as a scholar.  I wrote it as a daily practice of being with the tradition that produced me without having to explain it or sell it right away.  I wrote the passages in Spill early in the morning, like about 4 or 5am which is before my fear wakes up (my fear wakes up at about 8am most days).   So yes.  It is intimate because I wrote it from a vulnerable place, and because it addresses intimate violence.  It is practice because it was my daily practice for more than a year, and now it shapes my ongoing practice of activating Black feminist brilliance in public with my communities.  And it’s protest because Black women’s freedom requires a completely transformed world.  Everything must change. Read more in TRIBES Spring 2017 Issue 37. 

Feature Event: That’s The Joint, 5/8, Pinhook, Durham, NC

The UGC presents “That’s the Joint”, Monday nights at The Pinhook! Join us as we take the traditional Monday night “open mic” to a whole new level. Comedy, live music, MCs, producers, talent showcase….I’m giving you a chance to show off! I’m excited about this one y’all!
For ALL submissions, please email: respecttheculture7@gmail.com. Venue Information: The Pinhook, 117 W. Main St., Durham, NC, 27701. www.thepinhook.com.