‘Homecoming’ was filmed to provide visual context to themes presented at Consciously Kyah’s ‘Seeping’ as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival 2018, presented by Critical Mass.
Artist, Creative Director and Show Producer, Consciously Kyah explores themes of Blackness, once again; a common thread that weaves her work across mediums together. Honing in on the fragmented relationship between Black men and Black women in this instance.
Named after Kanye West’s homonymous track– ‘Homecoming’, this short film uses pop-culture references to envelope and sugar coat messages that might be considered ‘a hard pill to swallow’.
‘Homecoming’ the visual, is a ritualistic summoning of Black men to return home.
Paying homage to the practices that we’ve adopted to care for ourselves as Black women, the ritual begins with braiding hair. An Earth-old tradition in which we touch, we connect, we are gentle but firm; we protect. Protect our hair from the harsh, calloused hands of those who do not (know how to) love us. Protect the strength we cast through textured strands–in preparation for whatever our undertaking of the moment.
Black women have long sat and shared a pot of tea, in mourning and glee, in silence, and so too noise frequencies that only our ears can be tuned to. We heal when we are together. Heal from a world that has exerted itself to ensure we find no solace in anything, especially not each other. But we are both spider, and web. We create homes, build bridges and provide context for life itself– the passageway to this existence. As time unravels, these practices have become tradition, ritual, vices and means of survival.
A table is set, with markers of time sprawled across the mahogany wood.
We see stems of cotton that speak to ancestry and an era of great turmoil. Of death, destruction of culture, and the beginning of our fragmented families. Like jagged rocks you could tear skin on our broken homes.
You see tea leaves and honey. Warm honey has long been a remedy for illness, discomfort and broken hearts, too. For skin, for scalp, for cough, for taste. And if you cannot swallow nor digest your reality, life serves you lumps of sugar and they catch in your throat, we serve warm honey in hot tea to wash it all down in lieu of hugs and words that we have all heard before.
Rose petals to soften the blow of smoke in your throat. To soothe skin in hot water baths. To remind us that our thorns serve us more than our petals, and the world is terrified that we might learn this, teach this, become this.
Lastly, lemons pour from a bowl and fall as they may, weaving through the delicate decor of tradition. A pop-culture reference to Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ to mark this current era.
We transitioned from cotton stems, to lemons set loose, keeping our heads above water with the few saving graces we had. Our acts of survival passed down from cotton baring hands are now tradition become trend.
The reference to Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ is made painstakingly obvious with the inclusion of tea cups, and an eerie synchronised stirring.
Black women have long served hard truths in teacups. Traditions fuelled by lacerations, and we no longer desire to complete the patchwork of healing by ourselves.
As they draw in through their lips, the tea settles down their throats and they lean back into comfort and familiarity.
So salient, so notable– you, Black men, are all so different. Yet we know you all like anthems, or our own cycles, almost as if...we raised you.
The ritual continues on sand, shore, and so too sea. Paying homage to Yemaya briefly.
As time appears to be coming to a close, with the night sky approaching, the waves roll in like a sheet that seeks it’s dweller.
We’re left with a possibility for many endings. For the first time in the short film we see a glimpse of emotion and, like a perfect serve from Serena, the ball is now in your court.
With special thanks to the carefully selected labels that made this all possible:
With special thanks to the artists that cameoed:
With special thanks to the crew that made this project all that it was:
Shot & Directed by Ivy Mutuku
Creative Direction & Styling by Consciously Kyah