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February 25, 2013

Arthur Jafa, Artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer

The realization of a black cinema is as central to American culture in the 21st century as was black music to the 20th century. What does this statement imply and what might it entail? What is black? What is cinema? What constitutes American culture in the 21st century? What was American culture in the 20th century and how did black music function in relation to it? Jafa explores the socio-economic context, emergence, and evolution of black cinema and music in the 20th and 21st centuries as culture, commerce, and ideological artifact.

Arthur Jafa is the director of Slowly This (1995), Tree (1999), and Deshotten 1.0 (2009). His cinematographic work includes Daughters of the Dust (1991)for which he won the cinematography award at Sundance Film Festival in 1992; John Akomfrah’s Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993); and Crooklyn (1994), directed by Spike Lee. His writing on black cultural politics has appeared in various publications such as Black Popular Culture and Everything But the Burden.