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Femininity and masculinity among black Brits explored

QUESTIONING SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS: The promotional poster for the documentary

THE LATEST chapter of the burgeoning career of Daina Anderson, Birmingham business development consultant cum filmmaker, will be opened in the shape of a two-part documentary that will premiere at famed city arts venue, the Mac (Midlands Arts Centre) on November 7.

Black: An Exploration of the Black Male and Female Identities – directed and produced by Anderson – explores some of the complex aspects surrounding black masculinity and femininity in western society, through the ideas and confessions of black British thought leaders, academics, professionals and activists.

The first episode, Man Up, explores the question “What is a man?” by unpacking preconceptions and misconceptions that exist around masculinity among black men.

Episode two, Strong, discusses the idea of a black woman being strong and asks whether it is reality or fallacy. Anderson will also serve as event host: the premieres will be followed by a live Q&A session with some of the films’ contributors.

It will also give members of the paying audience an opportunity to engage with the contributors, and network. Black will be the second independent release from Anderson’s production company, Open Lens Productions.

Her motivation for taking on potentially controversial subject matter? The “honest conversations with black men and women that revealed more than the stereotypical norms that tend to feed many of the social issues that arise around black culture”.

She continued: “I think that among black men and women
there is an unquestioned understanding about how we are supposed to be and behave in western society. However, I do believe that not questioning the social constructs that surround our culture in a society like Britain can have detrimental effects.

"Not just on us as individuals, but also in the structure of our families, relationally with other cultures and ultimately on the generations to follow.

“During my conversations with the phenomenal men and women in these films, what became apparent to me is that in order for black men, women, boys and girls to fully self-actualise we really need to begin to unlearn some of the ideas that have not only been imparted onto us by society but also those that we have put onto ourselves.”

Youth activist Nathan Dennis, CEO of First Class Legacy, is among the contributors. He features in the first episode, and details part of his eventful journey from adolescence to manhood.

He told the media: “For me, I am very passionate about inspiring men. I want to live the change I want to see in society, which is why I invest so heavily into my personal and family development.

“I believe this film has really succeeded in capturing real and relatable thoughts from men that can inspire others to make the changes they want to see in society too.”

Black is a marked departure from Open Lens Production’s debut release, last year’s Aspire to Africa: Opening the Doors to A World of Education, which documented the efforts of a
local charity to improve the quality of life and education for Tanzanian children through physical activity and sport.

For more information on Black, visit macbirmingham.co.uk/whats-on.

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