TGRG were drafted into look after press for the 2022 ABFF Global London x S.O.U.L. Fest and had the privilege of welcoming young women from the organisation, Milk Honey Bees. Milk Honey Bees is an expressive safe space that allows young women and girls flourish and take ownership of H.E.R (Healing, Empowerment and Resilience) through 1:1 sessions and creative group projects. We’re proud to share this guest post from writer Gishan Akanga who reviewed the opening film, On the Come Up, the directorial debut of Black American actress Sanaa Lathan. Do follow the work of Milk Honey Bees and dive into this review of the film!
WORDS BY GISHAN AKANGA
Storytelling. Something that the Black community is very well acquainted with. Used as a method of bridging the gap between people. S.O.U.L Fest is used as a means of establishing connections throughout the Black community, and that is what it is really all about.
S.O.U.L Fest is an annual event aimed at empowering black artists and exhibiting film and TV material produced by and about people of African descent. On Friday 16th July, in cooperation with the American Black Film Festival Global, S.O.U.L Fest returned for its fourth time for a premiere of Sanaa Lathan’s directorial debut film On The Come Up at B.F.I Southbank. The movie serves as a type of ode, if you will, directly to Hip Hop.
Through this collaboration comes a slew of exclusive premieres of short films, panel discussions, feature films and much more.
The movie centers on Bri, a budding rapper who is young and a little naive and experiences her own share of highs and lows. Although she rightly deserves to be accepted by right of blood, she finds it challenging to thrive due to a number of issues.
Throughout the film, we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster to which nearly everyone watching can relate. Bri is trying to fit in, despite the fact she is already severely marginalised in society due to the colour of our skin – which is an element that is heavily touched upon during her experiences at school. The film takes us on a journey that the vast majority of Black Girls can identify with. Just wanting to do the best for yourself and your family, but constantly encountering difficulties in other areas of your life that have a significant impact on how clear your path to your end goal is.
For many, music is a release. A release of all feelings. Ranging from the pent up anger and frustration in your life – to the happiness and thankfulness. The bottom line is, where music is released, is more or less your happy place. Your safe space. That is one element of the movie which really resonated with me as I continued watching. How important it is, to have that safe space to get to. Why it is so vital for black girls to even have access to spaces as such.
At Milk Honey Bees, our ethos is centered all around creating that safe space that allows young women to flourish and take ownership of H.E.R (Healing, Empowerment and Resilience) through sessions and also projects. The significance of teaching every Black girl that she is worthy of that space cannot be overstated.
We owe it to ourselves and to one another to be grateful for organisations like Milk Honey Bees, ABFF, and S.O.U.L Fest, which all work together to empower the Black community and ensure that our voices and stories are never silenced. For our creative development to never be overlooked or stifled. It is clear that Black creatives and Black people from all over the world are here to stay, and how lovely it was to be a part of such history.