Dear Black Child (2021)
Single channel film (5.1 surround sound)
“As within, so without” – Director’s Statement
In French, the translation of “to inhale” is “inspirer”.
As a source of abundant oxygen, which is an essential life-giving and creating force, I’m fascinated by the idea of the Forest as a source of inspiration, insofar that the act of “breathing-in” is one of inspiring the cells with life (in reference to some of the musings of Olympian Free diver Julie Gautier). When our cells are filled with life, we can begin to imagine transcending a state of existence, into states of living and thriving. Simultaneously, the French for exhale is “expirer” – breathing out that which no longer serves; that which has expired.
I wanted to represent the forest and reclaim it as a site from which joy and healing can be central for Black people. The forest has played this role for us throughout history, across the globe, but is paired with the duality of being a violent and unsafe space, sometimes a space for the practise of nefarious activities, and even a space to, and through which, we have fled to escape or hide out of desperation.
It was therefore important to connect with the divinity of the space as a restorative force, and offer a joyful and beautiful narrative, that is often eclipsed by negative narratives. In Dear Black Child, the forest permits the celebration and proliferation of joy, which I see as a radical act of healing.
And yet, the experience of joy is not dependent on the forest, the external, but readily accessible to us all to connect with internally, in our own unique ways. Whether as a feeling, emotion, vibration, or even a frequency.
As within, so without.
Authored by: Tobi Onabolu
Produced by: Jess Ajose
Edit & Grade: Nic Wassell
Score & Sound Design: Ejiro “4Stringsz” Sowole-James
Director of Photography: Lola “Lolly” Michaels
Movement Director: Webster
1st Assistant Director: Neneh Kumar
1st AC / Focus Pull: Agata Morwaska
Gaffer: Joe Nkadi
DIT / Camera Assistant: Lorissa Paige
Stills Photography: Karis Beaumont
Set Designer: Tejumola “Butler” Adenuga
Set Assistant: Gabrielle Oke
Costume Designer: Seyon Amosu
Costume Assistant: Sephora Camocotelo
Hair & Make Up: Danielle Aleshea Mason
Food Design: Victor Okunowo
Runner: Junior Oduwole
Commissioned by: Rooted by Design