Wednesdays at I.C.E has become THE place to be for the Afro Sistahs, a group of young African-Australian women developing and producing a short form web series.
This is not a refugee or war or rape story the media often showcases. In this series, the themes are love, identity, courtship rituals, friendship and daily experiences of racism. The tone is humorous, political, sassy and smart, with splashes of quirkiness and vulnerability in the characters, all based in Sydney.
The web series aims to share the unique experiences of strong and beautiful black women with a desire to break stereotypes and who are quite often voiceless to tell their own story.
The producers are a great mix of talent including emerging film director, Hawanatu Bangura, who has been involved in previous I.C.E./Screen Cultures Programs. Bangura has produced and directed a number of short films and is currently part of Screen Australia’s Ones To Watch initiative.
Hearing from other members of Afro Sistahs it’s clear there are exciting things on the horizon to come out of the project.
“It’s been a privilege to work collectively with these women over the past few months. We as women of colour are important, our individualism is valid and our voices must be heard!”
“The West African saying- when women gather, great things will. Joining with this great group, new sisters, with a diverse range of ideas and skills with a shared vision has been a highlight of my year.”
“Over the past few months, we have been honing our skills in this unique setting. It’s amazing to be surrounded by the next generation of film makers, actors and writers – the goal is to be heard and ready to break barriers.”
“The act of writing our own narrative and telling our stories for ourselves is something that I hope more of us do. There’s power in determining how you’re seen and understood and the political act of redefining what it means to be a black woman in Australia is what I’m about.”
“I think a project like this is much needed for black culture in Australia. Thanks to the Internet we are fortunate enough to have access to black series from the continent, Europe and the Americas. However nothing is from Australia. We have an amazing opportunity to tell our story our way.”
“As a person of colour in Australia and who happens to be of an African decent, I am yet to see many positive representations of myself and my community in the creative arts. As an artist however, I simply want to show Australia, we all have single stories. Afro Sistahs implements that and make you laugh your pants off at the same time.”
Afro Sistahs are a group of like-minded ladies who while striving to strengthen our African identity also want to develop avenues for our creative juices to flow. The web series is an opportunity to foster more visibility for women of colour in Australia.
Mumbi Hinga Gatimu
Words: The Afro Sistahs & Barry Gamba
Image: Hawanatu Bangura