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Friday, 11 November 2016

Strolling - A Documentary Series by Cecile Emeke

Image Source: www.strollingseries.com


Cecile Emeke's documentary series "Strolling" strives to "connect the scattered and untold stories of the Black/African diaspora". What began in the United Kingdom has since branched out to France, The Netherlands, Jamaica, Italy and The United States. This potent, innovative series covers a wide range of topics including (but not limited to) the varying ways in which racism is manifested and perpetrated in different countries, the impact of colonialism, issues related to mental health, homophobia and sexuality identity, gender inequality, immigration and religion.  

Below are some of the episodes that I found to be extremely powerful conversations:

Strolling, Episode 5 (UK)
[Re: stereotypes in film and television] "If a person wants to write a script about a woman that gets mugged, I suppose it's really easy to just paint a picture of a tall, black guy with a hoodie. It's just easy, innit? Because I think people are lazy. Imagination just seems to be very difficult for some people." 


Flâner, Episode 4 (FRANCE)
"Being a black woman studying beauty and aesthetics is difficult. I am the only black girl in my school. I remember when they first started to teach us about colours to put on our face. Certain colours wouldn't look good on my skin. I looked like a clown and felt like this is problematic. France is so diverse, we have colonised so many countries in West Africa, the West Indies etc. How are you not going to have a class about people of colour?"

"If you tell people 'Come to Paris', they're going to be like wow, that's really cool! What they don't know is that all around this city [Paris] are the projects, le périphérique!...I went [to a rental agency] and my mum asked for an apartment downtown [in Paris proper, not the projects] and the lady [estate agent/realtor] looked at her like 'Are you serious, where are you going to find the money to pay for that?' And you're like [in surprise] 'What? Is it because I'm black?' She [the estate agent] was like ' Well, you need to look in that neighbourhood, that neighbourhood, that neighbourhood"; all of which were housing projects. 2014 France, in the country of the human rights; it's kind of ridiculous."


Flâner, Episode 3
"There's a publisher and a bookstore in Paris in The Latin Quarter named Présence Africaine and this is where these writers of la négritude were published, where they used to hang out. There's a lot of this history [of the Négritude Movement] that happened in Paris, that you can see if you want to see it and that you don't see if you don't want to see it."


Passeggiando, Episode 1 (ITALY)
"By the time you turn 18 if you were born and raised here [in Italy] to foreign parents, by the time you turn 18 you have 12 months before you turn 19 to apply for Italian citizenship. So you don't get it directly, you need to ask for it. Since the first day to the 18th year, you have to prove that your residence was here in Italy. If one week, one month is missing you're not getting the Italian citizenship; because that is what happened to me. You are considered a foreigner, basically...They do everything to delay the acceptance of me being an Italian citizen."

"We [Afro-Italians] are a reality, you can't deny us."


Strolling, Episode 3 (USA) {American living in Belgium}
"A lot of people know about zwarte (black) piet but not a lot of people know about this group called 'les noirauds'...They are called 'les noirauds' because they chose blackface as a way to be invisible. As nobles they didn't want people to know they were from the nobility, so they put on blackface...and restaurants inform you that they're engaged with it because they have a poster of them on their restaurant; and that happens every Spring here." 


Wandelen, Episode 2 (NETHERLANDS)
"'You're not like them.' It's kind of strange when someone says 'You're not like them'. Who is this person you're talking about? Have you actually met a Muslim? Or is it always on TV?"


Wandelen, Episode 3
"[Modelling] agencies have been telling me that they already have one of me, 'a model like you, with your size and your hair and your curves'. That's so strange, because almost every modelling agency has like 10 white girls with blonde hair. How can you already have one of me? Just one coloured girl? It's unacceptable."


Remember, these are just a few of my favourite episodes of the Strolling Series. There are several more episodes from across the globe for you to see; all equally compelling, eye-opening insights into the complexities of the African diaspora. Definitely worth the watch.

Image Source: www.strollingseries.com

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