Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Kimberlee Renee of @reelsistas on Women of Color in Film

What is the state of women of Color in film? Listen to this informative interview with Kimberly Renee as we discuss this and other topics: Link 
You can also find all about Kimberly and her organizations via the below links.

Voice Interview -  Link
Her website -
Her podcast: Cinema in Noir -
Her Twitter - @reelsistas
An organization advocating for women of color in film -
Twitter account advocating for women of color in film and stage -
Part I
Thelonious: Thank you for joining Thelonious Legend blogspot.  Today we hosting Kimberly Renee of Reelsistas and Co-host of @CinemaInNoir.  Mrs. Renee for our listeners who are not familiar with reelsistas or @CinemaInNoir can you provide some background?
Kimberly: Yes and thank your for having me.  reelsistas is a website that I started that is a celebration of women of color in film and television both in front and behind the camera. From there I met my co-host of @CinemaNoir which is a podcast on blogtalk radio and we talk about film from a black female perspective.
Thelonious: That's great. What lead you down this path? Were you just always just a lover of movies? Or was there moment of inspiration... a catalyst that lead you down this path?
Kimberly: I've always been a huge fan of film and television. And I love to read, and other art forms like the written word. And once I was in Barns and Nobles looking through biographies and I noticed how many there were of Marilyn Monroe and I didn't see any of the legendary black actresses that I like such as Dororthy Dandgrige, Lena Horne. I felt like there was a void there for people who wanted to celebrate these wonderful actresses of color that we have so I started the blog and I've done it online for about six or seven years now.
Thelonious: So your primary mission to bring more visibility to women of color in front and behind the camera?
Kimberly: yes that' all I want to do
Thelonious: Currently in the literature world there was or is a hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks that went Viral because there was a lack of diversity for children of color or rather there were no books with main characters of colors.  Is there anything like that on the film side?  And if not how would you institute or start it?
Kimberly: A while back there was a hashtag #hirethesewomen that was trying to bring awareness to women who write and direct but weren't being heard or seen on the big screen. Other than that I blog about it, write it, and about tweet about it. I think it's very important to have representation of women color and all women in general. Women buy a lot of movies tickets and I don't think we are fairly represented in the films we are seeing.
Thelonious: Is there a scenario where we can vote with our dollars to support women of color in front and behind the camera?
Kimberly: There are a lot of organizations that try to do that. Hire these women hashtag bitchpack which is an organization that tries to champion women of color in film women in film, and they champion women in film they've always been a champion of black women in film.
Thelonious: What are the challenges you notice unique to women of color as they attempt to break in Film TV industry.
Kimberly: There are a lot women of color who are independent film makers and have to go through the process of making it on their own and are doing great work out there. But as far studio producing films by women of color or featuring women of color there t0o few and they are far in between. The biggest problem we have is representation meaning getting studios to recognize that there is power in women of color being on the big screen or behind the camera
Thelonious:  And somone who has leveraged that power quite well has been Tyler Perry.  Do you find that Tyler Perry's success in film has helped or hindered other independent film makers are trying to do?
Kimberly: His success has been great for him and he has made a lot of money and he has put a lot of black actresses on the screen, but I feel he has very specific vision of how he sees black women but not there is an array that needs to shown but I feel there needs to be more diversity women of color so that there is not monolithic image of black women that sometimes you get with his work.
Thelonious: Can you name  one or two women of color in the film industry that are listeners should be aware?
Kimberly: Christine Swanson who produced and directed All About You, Tina Mabry,who did Mississippi Damned, Dee Rees who directed and wrote Pariah and of course Ava DuVernay who founded the firm AFFRM

End of Part I