'We Are' Attempts to Reclaim the Women of Color Narrative
Directed by B.B. Araya, “We Are” is a narrative short series of 6 episodes that follow 7 young women of color in Austin, TX. I attended the premiere last month, with cast and crew in attendance, which had also hosted a Q&A with the creators. Below you can watch the first two episodes along with my thoughts on the screening.
A daunting task of not only representing women but also young women of color, “We Are” beautifully portrays characters that are raw, vulnerable, emotional beings, highlighting the very human struggles of chasing dreams and aspirations. More often than not, in big Hollywood films and series, we see women illustrated as overly-simple, two-dimensional characters. The young women in “We Are” overcome struggles with friendships, relationships, career decisions, and mental health. It was refreshing to see female characters written by women that could precisely articulate how it feels to experience life with the unique circumstances that surround being a young black woman in society today. As a young woman myself, I am not oblivious to the struggles that exist while working in the film industry. However, as a white woman, I was unaware of the specific issues that young women of color experience in the film industry.
It was enlightening to stay and experience the Q&A following the screening with the cast and crew. B.B. elaborated on the importance of the cast, crew, sponsors, and contributors consisting of women of color; while collaborating with local companies that have a mission of supporting women of color in the arts. B.B. described the importance of community and supporting each other to overcome oppression: “Community builds freedom, connection builds freedom.” This quote stuck with me because it reveals that in order to move forward and change the industry and society, there needs to be a safe place where people can come together and support each other. Mother archetypes and feminine themes of overcoming obstacles with love are becoming more prevalent in film and television (see: Wonder Woman). Women are rising up together and - in creating a connective community - they are finding the freedom to express their thoughts, dreams, and desires and to experience a new reality where all of these things are heard and respected.
Throughout the six-episode series, “We Are” tugs at your heartstrings while simultaneously opening your eyes to the unique struggles that women of color face in the arts and in life. You can find more episodes of "We Are" every Sunday at youtube.com/issarae.