Black Stories: Real Fiction


Black Stories: Real Fiction focuses on and celebrates the cultural impact of Black storytelling. For far too long, we have been bombarded with false narratives, limiting beliefs and tired ideas about the Black experience. This series will serve as another opportunity to absorb stories told with and by real Blackness; it’s a chance to not only witness the smoothness of Black culture, but also the brilliance that can emerge from our trauma.

We kick the series off with the documentary, NasTime is Illmatic.
Illmatic album is known as one of the most transformative moments in hip-hop. Nas said he wanted to use his voice in Illmatic as proof that he was “here.” There is a unique power in receiving stories from the hearts of those who lived the experiences; rarely have Black people been given the platform to exercise that power.

The Black Thoughts Shorts Block will feature three important stories (Black 14, Southside Forever: A Portrait of Black Chicago, and A Love Song for Latasha) retold with the truth and delicacy they deserve.

Last, but certainly not least, we commemorate the late and great Petey Greene in the Don Cheadle lead biopic, Talk to Me.

Black Stories will once again share a theme with the Indie Grits Labs (IGL) fellowship program. This is the fifth year that IGL has invited community fellows to explore a given theme through a series of artist-led educational workshops, public forums, exhibitions, and project development sessions. The year, Indie Grits Labs is focusing on current News and Media Literacy issues facing our local Southern communities. 


Feb 05

Nas: Time is Illmatic

Time Is Illmatic is a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of Nas' 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the socio-political outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America.

This film was curated by Tamika “Mika” Gadsden, Indie Grits Fellow, and will be presented with Benny Starr, artist, intellectual and activist, as part of our series, Black Stories: Real Fiction.

Feb 12

Black Thoughts Shorts Block

Black 14
Directed by Darius Clark Monroe | 2018. USA. 15 mins.
// An archival social study examining white pathology and cognitive dissonance via media coverage of a 1969 racial protest at the University of Wyoming.

Southside Forever: A Motion Picture of Black Chicago
Directed by Rodney Lucas | 2018. USA. 9 mins.
// In a compassionate documentary on one district’s battle against violent crime, director Rodney Lucas illustrates life and death in his hometown of Chicago. Featuring the voices of community champions and activists -- a South Side Chicago native comments, “this project is a reclamation of black narrativization."

A Love Song For Latasha
Directed by Sophia Nahli Allison | 2019. USA. 19 mins.
// This magical short is a dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present to reimagine a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.

Directed by Kahlil Joseph | 2020. USA. 10mins.
// Kahlil Joseph's mesmerizing news-creation machine is a soulful and rousing intervention into the current epidemic news addiction powered by the "news-industrial complex."

Curated by Gavin McIntyre, Indie Grits Fellow, as part of our series, Black Stories: Real Fiction.

Feb 19

Talk To Me (2007)

Outspoken ex-convict Ralph "Petey" Greene (Don Cheadle) talks his way onto the air at a white-owned radio station in 1960s Washington, D.C. Fueled by the new music and social upheaval of the times, he courts controversy while becoming the voice of the black movement.

Curated by Sherri Belton, Indie Grits Fellow and The Grain Radio Coordinator
Part of our Black Stories: Real Fiction series.