The Revival: Women and the Word 2016
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200,New York, NY, 10001; 212-925-0606
Directed by Sekiya Dorsett
DVD, color, 88 min.
African Americans, Feminism, Gay and Lesbian, Harlem Renaissance, Poetry, Racism, Sexuality, Women’s History
Date Entered: 02/07/2018Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
Literary salons, where like-minded people meet to discuss and exchange ideas have a long tradition in western culture. A defining characteristic of the Harlem Renaissance of the early 20th century, salons provided a safe space for cultural and creative performance and conversation by people of color. Fast-forward nearly 100 years to Brooklyn, New York, where The Revival, a feminist poetry event, takes place. Funded through a Kickstarter campaign; developed and produced by Jade Foster, a queer black woman, the modern day salon brings together poets and musicians who perform powerful individual works before small but supportive audiences. In 2012, five of the Revival artists travel to 8 cities, bringing with them words of oppression and struggle with the purpose of breaking down silences to begin a process of healing.
Traveling from New York to Washington DC, the women meet up with family and friends, while also experiencing both racial and gender intolerance. Part road trip, part community building exercise, the film also features performance pieces by Jade Foster, Be Steadwell, Jonquille Rice, and T’ai Freedom Ford. The combination of live action cinematography and interviews with other feminist artists, scholars, and supporters is both entertaining and thoughtful.