(Cadillac brand ambassador and Academy Award-winning actress Regina King)
Black Girl Magic and The Future is Females are reoccurring themes that have become the battle cry for many women of color around the world. That fact was evident this past weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival where the conversation around the progressive women’s agenda took center stage.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we are back stronger than ever,” said Stephanie Taveras-Rance, co-founder of MVAAFF. “And we are thrilled to see that it did not stop filmmakers, producers and storytellers from delivering compelling and thought-provoking content.”
In 2020, Cadillac, a sponsor of MVAAFF, made a commitment to prioritize equity and justice for the Black community. In addition to monetary support for organizations on the ground, they are amplifying the work of audacious Black leaders.
The “Audacity of Blackness” platform advances the cause by accelerating the equity and justice work of audacious Black leaders in different industries. The Audacity campaign has created some impactful content with Black creatives including: Nneka Onuorah, Film Director, and Melissa Butler, CEO of The Lip Bar.
The commitment to blackness within its market is a driving impact according to Juanita Slappy, head of Multicultural Marketing for Cadillac. “At Cadillac, we believe in cultural connections because representation matters.”
MVAAFF’s partnership with General Motors and Cadillac is in direct alignment with these commitments by engaging in the conversation regarding diversity and inclusion of Black female directors during the film festival weekend by hosting the Color of Conversation: Femme Forward with Cadillac ambassador Regina King.
King, noted for making her directorial film debut, in “One Night in Miami” — which premiered on King’s 50th birthday — shows she’s powerful and her creative voice shines through as an actress and director. The film, adapted from Kemp Powers’ stage play, reimagines a night in which four icons meet — Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X — and discuss their roles in much-needed societal change.
King noted that one of the major reasons she felt drawn to this as her directorial debut is because she could see her son and uncles in this story. She stated that it felt like an open love letter to the Black man’s experience. It’s a very diverse move within Hollywood for a Black woman to share Black men’s stories.
However, during the conversation moderated by festival co-founder Rance, King spoke to the importance of Black women in film and in the director’s chair sharing our stories, but not just our stories. “Non-Black people direct our stories; we should be able to do the same.”
On her partnership with Cadillac, King shared that it was an ideal collaboration because of her long-time affinity towards the brand. “Real talk, I have owned Cadillacs forever — I owned the very first Escalade, it was white on white. My family always has Cadillacs, my granddad always drove a Cadillac. They [Cadillac] were always a mark of success — of excellence.”