“A prism reflects light into many different colours. And that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to put a Black man through a prism and show you many different expressions. We wanted to show innocence, vulnerability, violence, and all the other unique individual experiences of Black men.”
Guests filled the East London cinema in glamorous attires (per dress code) and spent the afternoon interrogating the nuances that characterise the British Black male experience today. With three different short films, Nathan challenges stereotypical representations, in favour of in-depth introspective portrayals.
In ‘You’re annoying’, Lamar Scarlett humorously portrays Gabriel: a young boy struggling to embrace vulnerability in a romantic relationship. Harder subject matters are explored in ‘A Promise Made’ which deals with a young man’s mental health after losing his best friend in a stabbing, and in ‘Whenever You’re Ready’, starring Nelson Ekaragha, which touches on the taboo subject of sexual assault in men.
An array of activities accompanied the screenings and delved deeper into the theme.
A workshop led by King Cas Adjani posed to the audience the question: “Black boys don’t …’ which prompted responses discussing Black men’s resistance to go to therapy, or Black men’s struggle to say I love you to one another. In response, mental health practitioner Mica Montana facilitated a workshop centred on Black men’s care and wellbeing.
“With my work, I try to make the uncomfortable comfortable,” 28 year old artist Carl Dusu tells GUAP. Dusu’s paintings are spread across the venue and perfectly align with the wider values of Prism of a Black Male: “Black masculinity is so layered. My work explores race, identity, equality, loneliness, depression, toxic masculinity, and I wanted to deal with these topics in a colourful way and ignite a conversation between the viewer and the artist.”
In ‘Give me my flowers’ hands elegantly protrude out of a golden vase and Dusu’s purpose was to explore the lack of acknowledgement for diverse voices in the workplace, after experiencing a racist incident on the job – showcasing yet another layer of the Black male experience.
With food, spoken word by renowned poet Ekay and a panel discussion reacting to the screenings, the evening was an eventful, emotional and impactful occasion.
Impeccably programmed by Film and Impact Producer Chantelle Kaaria Prism of a Black Male shifts the narrative and pushes back against the perception of Black men as a monolith group.
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