Feature: A Powerful Thang (Zeinabu irene Davis, 1991) + Q&A

Monday, 17 January 2022

17-01-22 A Powerful Thang

Image: A Powerful Thang, Zeinabu irene Davis, 1991

Free-spirited journalist Yasmine and sensitive saxophonist Craig have been seeing each other for about a month and it's been going great. As date night approaches, Yasmine is ready to end her self-imposed celibacy after her son's birth, but Craig wants to take it slow. Sage (and often unasked for!) advice from friends and family members remind them both that “sex is a powerful thang.” Weaving together stop-motion animation, poetry and African dance into a depiction of Black love and desire, A Powerful Thang is a funny, sexy and thoughtful film that still feels so relevant 30 years after its release. 


Zeinabu Irene Davis is an independent filmmaker and full Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego. Zeinabu's work is passionately concerned with the depiction of women of African descent. A selection of her award-winning works includes a biographical documentary of a Los Angeles jazz legend, Trumpetistically Clora Bryant, (2005); drama about a young slave girl for both children and adults, Mother of the River (1996) and an experimental narrative exploring the psycho-spiritual journey of a woman with Cycles (1989). Her dramatic feature film entitled Compensation (1999) features two inter-related love stories that offer a view of Black Deaf culture.   


Grace Barber-Plentie is a film programmer with a focus on highlighting and uplifting films directed by Black women across the diaspora. She currently programmes for BFI Flare and London Film festival, and has programmed work for venues including BFI Southbank, Barbican and The Lexi Cinema.

Monday, 17 January 2022

20:45

A Powerful Thang

A Powerful Thang

Zeinabu irene Davis

57'

1991

United States

This innovative drama, set in Ohio, traces a Black couple’s search for intimacy and friendship. The spirited, African-identified Yasmine (Asma Feyijinmi) is a writer and single mother who has been dating saxophone teacher Craig (John Earl Jelks) for a month. Wishing to end her self-imposed celibacy following her son’s birth, Yasmine has reached a turning point in the relationship—but Craig wants to take it slow. Sage advice from friends and family members remind them, “sex is a powerful thang.”