Artists' Television Access

[email protected]: The Black Woman (screening at Noe Valley Library)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 6:30 pm, Free

Artists’ Television Access (ATA) teams up with San Francisco Public Library to mine the treasures in the Library’s 16mm film archive. Join us for a quarterly screening series of fantastic movies.

The Black Woman (Stan Lathan, 1970), 16mm, 52 minutes

Made for broadcast by PBS predecessor National Educational Television in the last year of its existence, and subsequently distributed in 16mm prints to schools and libraries, this film uses a variety show format to showcase many dimensions of black womanhood in 1970 America. Dance performances, songs by Novella Nelson and Roberta Flack, and a warm interview of Lena Horne by Nikki Giovanni are among the highlights of the program. A Black Journal roving reporter steps out of the studio and into Detroit’s Shrine of the Black Madonna, where Sonia Sanchez delivers a powerful speech from the pulpit.

Stan Lathan pioneered as a black director and would later receive many awards for his work behind the television camera, but here he places the spotlight entirely on the women in front of it. Perhaps the most fascinating component of the film is an informal discussion between six thoughtful, impassioned women from various walks of life. The camera lets us feel as if we’re in a room with lawyer and civil rights activist Jean Fairfax, television personality Joan Harris, writer Vertamae Grosvenor, poet Amina Baraka, actress Marian Etoile Watson, and Martha Davis of the Harlem Drug Fighters. It’s quite a privilege to hear their candid conversations about topics as important today as they were 47 years ago.


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