Taste of “Jamaica y Tamarindo” Chicago Premiere + Q&A w/ director Ebony Bailey
“I made this film as an act of solidarity with Afro-Mexicans and Black communities in Mexico.” —Ebony Bailey
filmfront and Sin Cinta Previa co-present three short films and a live online discussion with the award-winning documentary filmmaker Ebony Bailey and Chicago-based artist and programmer Janelle Miller on Saturday, July 25th. This occasion is the premiere of Bailey's newest film JAMAICA Y TAMARINDO, presented alongside two shorts, including her latest music video ATOLITO CON EL DEDO for the afro-mexican band Aguaje Ensamble and the short documentary LIFE BETWEEN BORDERS (ENTRE FRONTERAS).
Links will be made available via email on July 19th and the films will be viewable through the 25th. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive the links.
This screening is programmed by Jose Luis Benavides as part of the ongoing series Sin Cinta Previa and made possible by the generous support of Propeller Fund. A special thanks to distributor EPF Media for providing the video links.
A dedicated documentarian, Ebony Bailey dives deep into the heart of her interests, her subject position, and the experiences of her community, a peoples often ignored and erased from mainstream history books and media. As a self-identified “Blaxican,” her work considers various anomalies at the heart of anti-blackness in Mexican culture from a place of deep love and respect for her heritage and pride in her identities. In fact, what her work and especially the premiere of her brand new short “Jamaica y Tamarindo” explores is just how Black or afrodescendant Mexican culture is already at its core. Bailey’s work is light, lyrical, humane, and poignant.
"I made this film as a way to reaffirm my own identity as a Black-Mexican-American, or as I like to say, a “Blaxican.” My mother is Mexican-American and my father is African-American. All of my life, my Mexican side was negated because of my Black features. “A Black girl cannot be Mexican,” they would tell me. These words have caused me to reflect on the role that Blackness plays in Mexican identity. What does it mean to be Mexican?
JAMAICA Y TAMARINDO: AFRO TRADITION IN THE HEART OF MEXICO illustrates the existence of African heritage in everyday aspects of Mexican culture. The jamaica hibiscus flower and tamarind are two popular ingredients in Mexico, but many are not aware that these two plants have origins in Africa. Jamaica and tamarind then become a metaphor for the invisibilization of Mexico’s African heritage—in the film we meet Afro-Mexicans from different walks of life who speak about their own identities and experiences. For me, someone who grew up drinking agua de jamaica and eating spicy tamarindo candies, this film has allowed me to share a bit of my experience through the testimonies of other Afro-Mexicans. We aim for this film to serve as a platform of discussion in the global conversation of diversity and inclusion."
Ebony Bailey is a "Blaxican" filmmaker and photographer from Central California whose work explores cultural intersections and diaspora. Her photographs have appeared in NPR, LA Times and Remezcla. Her short documentary, "Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico" screened at film festivals and forums in the US, Mexico, and Europe. In 2018, she was awarded the Samuel L. Coleman scholarship for emerging filmmakers at the Haitian International Film Festival. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in documentary film at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Janelle Ayana Miller is a grandchild of the Great Migration, a Midwestern with Southern inflection. Her practice is rooted within familial and communal aesthetics, looking deeply into bridging self and time as an act of place-making while using modes of collage, found objects, film, food, and photography. Miller has programmed film screenings at filmfront and 6018NORTH.
ATOLITO CON EL DEDO
by Ebony Bailey
2020, digital video, 4:27 min
LIFE BETWEEN BORDERS (Entre Fronteras)
by Ebony Bailey
2017, digital video, 15:18 min
JAMAICA Y TAMARINDO
by Ebony Bailey
2019, digital video, 20 min