Posted December 19, 2018
A film by Ayoka “Ayo” Chenzira, an alumna of the Literature, Media, and Communication PhD program in Digital Media (2014) has been placed on the National Film Registry. The Librarian of Congress selected Chenzira’s Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People along with 24 other films for 2018, including Orson Welles The Lady from Shanghai and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. The Registry showcases “the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.”
Turner Classic Movies interviewed Chenzira on December 12 during a screening of Hair Piece as part of an evening dedicated to the 2018 selections.
Chenzira is an independent African-American producer, director, animator, writer, and experimental film and transmedia storyteller. She was among the earliest African-American woman animators and black experimental filmmakers, and the first African-American to earn a PhD in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The 10-minute Hair Piece (1984) is “a satirical short film incorporating mixed media and animation to describe the emotional connection of black women and their hair. Chenzira says the film was inspired by the question, ‘Why is kinky hair seen as broken?’”
The recipient of numerous prestigious awards, the film has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum and others, and is considered by many as essential for discussions of racism, African-American cinema, and empowerment.
One of the first African-Americans to teach film production in higher education, Chenzira is a professor of Women Studies, Film and Video at Spelman College.
Congratulations Dr. Chenzira!
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