Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê | Dir. Carolina Moraes-liu | 20min | Brazil | 2010 | Portuguese with English Subtitles
Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê follows three women competing to be the carnival queen of Ilê Aiyê, a prominent and controversial Afro-Brazilian group with an all-black membership. The selection is based on Afro-centric notions of beauty, in counterpoint to prevailing standards of beauty in Brazil, a country famous for slim supermodels and plastic surgery. Contestants for the title of Ebony Goddess dress in flowing African-style garments, gracefully performing traditional Afro-Brazilian dances to songs praising the beauty of black women.
The Other Side of the Water | Dir: Jeremy Robins and Magali Damas | DVD | 52min | USA, Haiti | 2010 | English and Haitian Creole (with English subtitles)
Part carnival, part vodou ceremony, and part grassroots protest, Haitian “Rara” is one of the most breathtaking and contested forms of music in the Americas. The Other Side of the Water follows a group of young immigrants who take this ancient music from the hills of Haiti and reinvent it on the streets of Brooklyn. The documentary tells the story of an unlikely band that comes to speak for a larger community, and a music that manages to create a new meaning of home in the Diaspora.