This essay and accompanying conversation examine the works of filmmaker and scholar Zeinabu irene Davis, whose work centers Black women, engaging their histories and contemporary stories, and thus representing their agency and complex personhood. Davis acknowledges Third Cinema and African/Afro diasporic influences in shaping her style of storytelling and in evolving her fierce Black aesthetic that disrupts the normativity of the dominant white gaze in mainstream media. These choices signify Davis’s ethos and priorities as a filmmaker, a documentarian, a womanist, and a community organizer who humanizes and celebrates her characters on-screen.

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