Watch what being a Black Christian woman means to a young person
This blog post features a video made by SAP member Imani for Faith Counts. Below, Imani shares her vision for the video and how it depicts what it means to be a Black Christian woman.
The video, Things Hoped For, was born out of the beautiful, yet sometimes painful, nuance of being a Black Christian woman who is rooted in faith and community. For me, there was no way to approach the prompt of a persistent hope and faith without using a communal and intersectional lens. A lens that affirms Blackness. A lens that honors the imago dei present in Black women. A lens that drives us towards combating systemic injustice.
Thus, everything about this video was intentionally designed to highlight the rich perspectives and experiences within the Black community. I co-created the video with Nathaniel Jenkins, a talented Black man whose insights and creative direction formed a sensory experience for our viewers. We also chose to converse with our friend, Natoy Fowler-Rowe, a Jamaican Black woman, because of how she embodies our belief that our faith is bolstered by that of others.
At the beginning of the video, we focus on an earring with the ‘Imani’ symbol. Imani is Swahili and Arabic for faith. We designed our Imani-based opening to draw our audience into an Afrocentric view of faith. The ears and necks that accompanied the earring belonged to Black women of various complexions, sizes, and hair texture to counter notions of colorism – a system privileging White (feminine) beauty standards that permeates any culture distorted by colonialism. With our Afrocentric view, we wanted to illuminate different Black woman bodies, with the understanding that they are all beautiful.
Black leaders centered on liberation are not merely fighting for freedom for Blacks in their specific faith tradition but the liberation of all Black people. To show this, we also incorporated the African American Policy Forum’s Say Her Name message to honor and illuminate the Black women who have lost their lives to oppressive acts of violence. We also wanted to challenge our viewership to consider how Malcolm X’s quote on the state of Black women still rings true 60 years later. Including the words of Malcolm X, a Muslim, demonstrates the interconnectedness of the Black community despite various faith traditions.
Our intentionality and creativity in designing this short film reflected that of God’s. Black woman theologian Evelyn L. Parker stated, “I know God loves me, because God created me.” I know God created me, a human being, in an intentional act of love. When we as humans live in the fullness of our humanity, this is an act of reverence to the God who created us. Yet, there is so much beauty in humanity that society denigrates on the basis of racial and gender identities. Things Hoped For is a video combating injustice while affirming Black womanhood in a creative and intentional act of worship.