Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Chadwick Boseman Inks 5-Picture Deal w/ Marvel + Studio Chief Talks 'Black Panther' Director Plans Chadwick Boseman Inks 5-Picture Deal w/ Marvel + Studio Chief Talks 'Black Panther' Director Plans Review: 'Drumline: A New Beat' - The Panthers Didn't Need an Encore Review: 'Drumline: A New Beat' - The Panthers Didn't Need an Encore It's Official: Chadwick Boseman Will Be Black Panther + Marvel Sets Release Date for Movie It's Official: Chadwick Boseman Will Be Black Panther + Marvel Sets Release Date for Movie Premiering Tonight: Original Movie 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to 2002 Film). Will You Be Watching? Premiering Tonight: Original Movie 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to 2002 Film). Will You Be Watching? Interview: Nate Parker Talks "Beyond The Lights," Nat Turner Biopic, and Integrity in Hollywood Interview: Nate Parker Talks "Beyond The Lights," Nat Turner Biopic, and Integrity in Hollywood Kevin Hart’s Forgotten Sit-Com ‘The Big House’ Coming to DVD Kevin Hart’s Forgotten Sit-Com ‘The Big House’ Coming to DVD Watch Trailer for Spike Lee-Directed Documentary on Phil Jackson's Triangle Offense (Debuts Tonight) Watch Trailer for Spike Lee-Directed Documentary on Phil Jackson's Triangle Offense (Debuts Tonight) First Look at Common and Tessa Thompson as Civil Rights Activists in 'Selma' First Look at Common and Tessa Thompson as Civil Rights Activists in 'Selma' Exclusive: Award-Winning Playwright Katori Hall to Make Feature Film Directorial Debut w/ 'Hurt Village' Adaptation Exclusive: Award-Winning Playwright Katori Hall to Make Feature Film Directorial Debut w/ 'Hurt Village' Adaptation Interview: Gugu Mbatha-Raw Tells S&A About Becoming a Pop Star in 'Beyond The Lights' Interview: Gugu Mbatha-Raw Tells S&A About Becoming a Pop Star in 'Beyond The Lights' This Sunday, Oct 26, the Cast of 'A Different World' Reunites in Sit-Down w/ Oprah (Watch Clips) This Sunday, Oct 26, the Cast of 'A Different World' Reunites in Sit-Down w/ Oprah (Watch Clips) Does the 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Tease a Black Panther Introduction? Does the 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Tease a Black Panther Introduction? Watch Now: Baseball Phenom Mo'ne Davis Inspires in Spike Lee Doc 'I Throw Like A Girl' Watch Now: Baseball Phenom Mo'ne Davis Inspires in Spike Lee Doc 'I Throw Like A Girl' Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

15th RSFF: ‘Why Do You Have Black Dolls?’ + Why A Film Like This Matters

Shadow and Act By Emmanuel Akitobi | Shadow and Act October 13, 2012 at 2:38PM

The 15th Reel Sisters of The Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, being held this weekend in New York at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, is screening an array of interesting films, including Samantha Knowles’ short film, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?
5
Baiana

The 15th Reel Sisters of The Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, being held this weekend in New York at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, is screening an array of interesting films, including Samantha Knowles’ short film, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?

Why Do You Have Black Dolls? will be screened on Sunday, October, 14, 2012, as part of the Section C: Back Down Memory Lane block @ 5 – 6PM.  The entire festival schedule can be found HERE.

From director Knowles and Selwonk Productions, the film is described as follows:

"Why Do You Have Black Dolls?", is a film inspired by a question asked of an 8-year old girl. It explores the history, the beauty, and the pride that is the black doll. Through its characters, a little-known community of black doll enthusiasts, it reveals that the black doll is more than a plaything; it is a cultural artifact that represents the history of the people it depicts.

At first glance, Why Do You Have Black Dolls? could be  seen as just another film about hobbyists, or specifically, doll enthusiasts.  But a film like this one has the potential to open doors to conversations that yield a greater social impact than originally intended.

Last month on blackwomenofbrazil.com (a blog I’d highly recommend you check out), two posts in particular caught my eye.  One was about a 2010 dramatic short film titled Cores e Botas (Colors & Boots) from director Juliana Vicente, which uses the “Paquitas” phenomenon of the 1980’s as a backdrop for its exploration into the history of racial exclusion in Brazil.

The second article posted on blackwomenofbrazil.com that commanded my attention was one that discussed the recent release of a new Brazilian-themed Barbie doll.  As part of Mattel’s Dolls of The World collection, the 2012 Brazil Barbie is a departure from past Barbie dolls that have been released and intended to represent an image of beauty to millions of little girls in that country.

"So, Mattel is releasing a Baiana edition of the famous Barbie doll collection. This is good news, right? Well, depends on where you live. First of all, for those who don’t know, Baiana (Bahian in English) is the term for a woman from the northeastern state of Bahia.

Baiana also refers to the “baiana do acarajé (baiana of the acarajé)”, which is a woman one sees in the streets of cities like Salvador, Bahia, selling acarajé, the famous fried fritters stuffed with shrimp and vatapá sauce.

The women are usually of African descent and dressed in long, flowing white dresses, head wrap and necklaces. These women have long been representatives of Bahia’s majority black, African-influenced culture for centuries and have been the focus of countless anthropological studies dealing with cuisine, culture and African derived religions." (blackwomenofbrazil.com)

To better understand why the release of this Afro-Brazilian Barbie is significant, one only needs to look at the past Brazilian Barbie dolls released to see how far they’ve come, and how far they still need to go.

Past versions of Mattel's Barbie, that were intended to depict the Brazilian woman, didn't really represent women of color.
Past versions of Mattel's Barbie, that were intended to depict the Brazilian woman, didn't really represent women of color.
The latest version of Barbie Brazil (right) does a much better job at representing the Brazilian woman of color, but is still missing some of the more African features seen in an earlier model of the Baiana Barbie (left).
The latest version of Barbie Brazil (right) does a much better job at representing the Brazilian woman of color, but is still missing some of the more African features seen in an earlier model of the Baiana Barbie (left).

So if you're able to, make your way to the 15th Reel Sisters Film Festival and Lecture Series at LIU this weekend to check out Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, and see why the idea of owning dolls and toys that represent one's own heritage could matter so much to the development of young people of color all over the world.

This article is related to: Short Film, Festivals


Shadow & ActNewsletter