I remember being super excited when Lou came and told me what I would be receiving. I was like this is amazing but to be perfectly honest, I did not know what the hell it meant. So I began to research the organization and there came my awareness. I had no idea of the struggles, the under recognition, the lack of support of minority filmmakers in the industry. Thus, the lack of PROPER representation of who we are as a people.
I then realized, I have been an ambassador. There are so many films that I have refused to watch because of the stereotypes that some of these films continue to perpetuate and because of the psychological enslavement and self hate that they often impose on our children. I’m tired of the films that are easily funded because they portray us as playing the role of a mammy, the struggling oppressed slave, the angry black women or the crack whore the streets. For years, I have been asking where are the films that remind us of how great we are. Where are the films that teach our children that we are some of the greatest inventors, scientists, leaders and scholars - Mothers, wives and beautiful children. Where are the films that portray our beauty, our strength, our love, and humanity. Where are the films that I can see mySELF. And after doing my research, it finally connected. These films ARE out there. They are often created by very talented minority women filmmakers, who are way too often rejected in the industry with the excuse that ‘films like that won't sell’. The film industry is an industry that plays an intricate role in molding the perception of our children and of society. And at a time where we are fighting for #BlackLivesMatter and #MinorityLivesMatter, it is important that we, the minority, have PROPER representation in film.
So I commend those like Terra Renee, a filmmaker and director, who has broken boundaries in the industry. As the Founder of African American Women In Cinema Organization, Terra is not just creating awareness, she is creating solutions.
I am proud to be a part of an organization that seeks to empower talented minority women of color, by providing them with a platform to showcase their work in an industry that has shunned them for years. Now, it is up to us, the consumers, to CONSUME them. Let us spend our movie ticket dollars on independent minority filmmakers and create a demand so that hollywood will have no choice but to recognize talented Minority Women of Color Film Makers as just…. Talented Filmmakers.
This is more than just an award to me. This ambassadorship is a calling to utilize my platform to continue to execute the mission of empowering minority women of color all over the world. And I stand before everyone to say …… My Name is Mushiya… and I accept.