17 December 2021

JENN NKIRU

a playgrounds eye candy featuring bold attitudes

With her latest Eye Candy pick, editor Milou van der Walle puts in the spotlight Jenn Nkiru, a director and visual artist focused on the portrayal of blackness in all its forms.

Milou: “It was this one evening when I was watching Ballroom videos when I found out about Jenn Nkiru her film En Vogue’ (shot by Bradford Young and Arthur Jafa). En Vogue is a short documentary that characterizes the Vogue and Ballroom scene of New York. I was extremely intrigued by the way in which the music merged with the movement of the dancers together with the usage of certain shots. When I watch a movie, documentary of music video, feelings are essential. I want for the works that Im watching to capture my feelings and En Vogue’ got me hooked. I really wanted to see and feel more so it didnt take me long to find out the rest of Nkiru’s works.”

“Nkiru is a British-Nigerian director and visual artist. The core of her work is the portrayal of blackness in all kinds of its forms without any limitations, as mentioned in this article on Liquid Blackness. Music and movement are key elements in the stories that Nkiru is telling. Together with a powerful balance between the past, the present and the future. As seen in her film Black Star: Rebirth is Necessary’. Which, according to Nowness, is an unbound and personal exploration of Blackness. An exploration that besides visuals, is led by music from artists such as saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and sound fragments from Jazz composer Sun Ra. 

“While I was watching Black star: Rebirth is Necessary’ I got taken away again by the sharp and quick shots enforced by the use of sound. I was entering a universe I wanted to see and know more of. Thats what I admire so much about Nkiru’s work: she really engages me as a viewer. Her images activate my curiosity and make me want to enlarge my perspective.

The same goes for the documentary Black to TechnoBlack to Techno’ is a documentary that shows us how Techno is originated from Detroits Black community.”

It shows the close relation between Techno music and the industrial nature of Detroit (the sound and the soul of machines). The motive and the storyline of the documentary in combination with the sound and images, are truly breathtaking.  

If you want to know more about Jenn Nkiru’s  work you can check out her website. I also enjoyed the film AS TOLD TO G/D THYSELF that she worked on with The Ummah Chroma collective or The Carters Apeshit video wherefore she was the 2nd unit director.”

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MILOU VAN DER WALLE