With huge blockbuster movies featuring people of colour like Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time hitting theatres this year, director Sharon Lewis thinks that now is the perfect time for her science-fiction fantasy drama set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. Brown Girl Begins was 15 years in the making but with it’s consciously diverse cast, themes of feminism, poverty and (literal) black girl magic, this is a movie for 2018 audiences.
“It’s [the year] 2049 and it’s not like Blade Runner 2049,” Lewis told Your Morning, “Our 2049 actually has a lot of people of colour. I love Blade Runner, but this world is Toronto, it’s multicultural Toronto. All the wealthy have fled and left the poor to fend on their own. And this young Caribbean-Canadian woman rises up, calls on her ancestors and leads her community into salvation.”
— Brown Girl Begins (@BrownGirlBegins) February 5, 2018
“Feminism is in the zeitgeist right now, the whole idea of shadism, racism, people seem to be talking about it,” Lewis continued, “So maybe we’re ready to see a young Canadian, Caribbean Black woman lead us. I feel like we might be ready to see that.”
Lewis was inspired to make the film after reading Nalo Hopkinson’s novel, Brown Girl in the Ring. The movie is a prequel to the book and tells the story of Ti-Jeanne as she comes of age in a world that is predisposed to ignore black and female voices. On their website, the creators of Brown Girl Begins outline exactly why they think this is the perfect cultural moment for their movie.
“We know that it is important to give voice to women, and want to ensure that the stories of women are heard, believed and prioritized,” the statement reads, “Women are speaking out, confronting their past and leaving their fears behind, while empowering other women all in the same breath.”
— Brown Girl Begins (@BrownGirlBegins) July 7, 2017
They add that Ti-Jeanne’s story is not meant to be an epic Wonder Woman tale, but “a small story about the frustration of trying to find your voice in a world that doesn’t prioritize a young poor black teenager’s voice.” If you want to support that voice, consider purchasing one of the movie’s “The Future is HERe” shirts. Wear it to next year’s Women’s March.
You definitely won’t regret adding Brown Girl Begins to your Black History Month viewing list. It will be playing in select theatres across Canada this month with a Special Event night (including musical performances) at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto on February 24.