What I said when I realized I shouldn’t say

I’ve been writing this one post for two days; I have spent up to 8 hours on it and come up with nothing much because I don’t believe-just yet- that knowledge gives me standpoint. For 2 days, in about 8 hours, I tried to analyze all the complex positions of the camera, lighting cues and sitting vs standing positions of the character to create this complex way of looking at the gaze of the director through his camera lens. However, by the 8th hour, which is right now, I had to delete every other thing I came up with.


Simply because I am one Nigerian woman who lived in Nigeria for 18 years trying to write about the story four pained African American women. Though shown in 1996, this story runs through the beginning of history. This is not a call for an online lecture about how I should feel because I am not assuming it is the right or only way to feel, all I know is that I feel this way.

I have watched the movie “set it off” twice; 10 years ago and 4 days ago. 10 years ago, I was half convinced that Beyonce might be God and power rangers took over during her sick days. Today(literally), everything has changed. The anger of a black woman could have easily looked like this.

When you come from a place where every habit/norm, including racism, is included in the invisible (or rather nonexistent) book of culture, African American women begin to look like exactly what that picture shows. I mean how is anyone supposed to really doubt it when your family draws the picture and the movies & music videos coming from the holy grail (i.e Hollywood) laminate those pictures and hang them on my TV screen.

However, it is important to remember that 10 years ago, everything was different, even my name. Fast forward, and African American women as shown in the cartoon above actually look more like Stoney.Stoney walks away from Nate Andrews' house

Set it off is a classic for me because it put me in so many positions: Because I cried I felt like I knew exactly how they felt but looking more at the complexity of each character and each scene and each shot, I finally got it.

Don’t get me wrong, my view is important, Patricia Hill Collins said;

“Each group speaks from its own standpoint and shares its own partial, situated knowledge. But because each group perceives its own truth as partial, its knowledge is unfinished. Each group becomes better able to consider other groups’ standpoints without relinquishing the uniqueness of its own standpoint or suppressing other groups’ partial perspectives.”(Patricia Hill Collins in ‘Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination’ from her book Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment,)

But, my looking is unhelpful. My knowledge on Althusser, Lacan and Grosz are not yet enough for me to create that thesis that starts and ends all or any analysis. The power to start or end this conversation is not mine(yet) but it is important.

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