Saturday, April 26, 2008

Halie Gerima, Sankofa, and Poetry Slam

Sorry for not posting but once this week. I had a deadline for one of my faithful readers of this blog. Faithful reader, your essay is in the mail.

My poetry students at Howard University had the option of doing a final project or writing a final essay. Of course, they did the project. So just imagine how surprised I was when one of the students secured a space at Sankofa on Georgia Avenue to perform poetry and hold an open mike. And since we were in the space of a filmmaker, the performance was also filmed.

I had been meaning to get over to Sankofa since I met Halie Gerima at an NEH summer seminar in Black film at Central Florida University in 2000. Not only do I like Gerima's films, but he was the only filmmaker and film scholar at the NEH seminar who spent time with scholars from outside of film studies. Despite my limited knowledge in black independent films at the time, Gerima was approachable, accessible and engaging, and responded to my questions without the least bit of arrogance or condescension. Other scholars and I sat in a Caribbean restaurant somewhere in Orlando and ate and talked for a few hours with Gerima.

I am pleased that I finally made it over to Gerima's space. Sankofa is the type of space that I imagine myself having one day: a room full of books, films, good food, and excellent smoothies. The food is fresh and unprocessed. I heard that the coffee is wonderful too. So when I am on campus this Wednesday, I'll drop in for an afternoon coffee.

When you are in DC, drop by Sankofa at 2714 Georgia Avenue. Also, if you are unfamiliar with Gerima's films, see below and please check them out. If you can't find copies of the films, or other African American and African films, contact Sankofa at (202) 234-4755 or (800) 524-3895.


1. Adwa (1999)
... aka Adua (Italy)
2. Sankofa (1993)

3. After Winter: Sterling Brown (1985)
4. Ashes and Embers (1982)

5. Bush Mama (1979)
6. Wilmington 10 -- U.S.A. 10,000 (1979)
7. Mirt Sost Shi Amit (1975)
... aka Harvest: 3,000 Years
8. Child of Resistance (1972)
9. Hour Glass (1971)


1. The Cutting Horse (2002) (executive producer)

2. Through the Door of No Return (1997) (producer)
3. Sankofa (1993) (producer)

4. Ashes and Embers (1982) (producer)

5. Bush Mama (1979) (producer)


1. Sankofa (1993) (writer)

2. Ashes and Embers (1982) (writer)

3. Bush Mama (1979) (writer)
4. Mirt Sost Shi Amit (1975) (writer)
... aka Harvest: 3,000 Years


1. Through the Door of No Return (1997)
2. Sankofa (1993)

3. Bush Mama (1979)


1. 500 Years Later (2005) (special thanks)


1. The Healing Passage: Voices from the Water (2005) .... Himself
2. Casting for Glinda (2001) (V) .... Himself

3. Ouaga (1989) (TV)
... aka Ouaga: African Cinema Now! (UK)


Judy said...

I would love to have heard the reading by your student!
Thanks for the film info. I will definitely check them out!

E. said...

Peace Michele,

You know, Sankofa is one of my favorite films. I mean, it changed my life and the way I view some of the communal and family dynamics that used to confuse me so greatly.

Gotta check this place out when I'm next out there.

Quick question about the list....

What does "self" mean?

M. L. Simms said...

"Self?" Have I written that somewhere? Let's chat off the list, E.