feature: filmmaker carrie hawks talks about her racial perception-based art and docu-memoir black enuf*

January 6, 2016

I’m Carrie Hawks, an artist/designer/filmmaker living in Brooklyn, generally confident with my feminism. The idea that my abilities and tastes should be defined by my gender infuriates me and I squash any resistance. My blackness, however, had been subject to others approval. If someone, specifically a black someone, ever called into question my racial validity, I felt my Black Card crumble, my confidence faded. I loved bands like Depeche Mode and wearing beat up combat boots. Attending a mostly white church, school, and college added to this anxiety. In my art, I address gender and racial identity.

By Carrie Hawks, AFROPUNK contributor

Photo above, “Yellow Number 5”

I created an installation to examine the feelings of being an unwanted entity in my show “this thing that is not my daughter.”

Photo above, “Blondie and La Negrita”

As I came into my queerness and studied printmaking, that exploration manifested in “Hate for Love.”

Photo above, “Hate for Love”

Growing up, a thin definition of blackness was presented, a mainstream idea of hip-hop music and chemically altered hair. I tried enveloping myself in blackness to combat this narrative. I moved to Atlanta for a few years and basked in Afrofuturism, poetry, and natural hair. Arriving at AFROPUNK in 2008, I had never seen so many alternative-looking black folks in one place. I was swimming in a sea of black expression. After years of seeking approval, I’m done.

This past festival, I asked concert goers, “What does it mean to be black enuf?” Answers ranged from Marcus Garvey’s philosophies, humanity’s African origins, to others admitting they didn’t feel black enough either.

I’m working on an animated docu-memoir entitled “black enuf*” The film expands on the idea of blackness and questions what makes the cut. It’s in-progress and I’d love to share the trailer with the community.
Also, to start a discussion of what it even means to be black enuf or risk getting your black card revoked. It’s been a question I wrestled with growing up and listening to alternative music. Also a reason that AFROPUNK is a necessary phenomenon.

black enuf*, examines the expanding black identity through personal journey. It interweaves stories from my great grandmother’s autobiography, interviews of family & friends, and my hand-drawn memories. My tongue and cheek humor makes heavy topics easier to digest. I’ve been working on the project for a few years, receiving a grant from the Jerome Foundation and community support. The Brooklyn Museum hosted an in-progress screening and discussion. The film will be complete in 2016, I hope to spark more conversations as the project continues. Join the mailing list to keep posted.

black enuf* from Carrie Hawks on Vimeo.