Nadia Marie’s documentary Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to African has been screening all over the world. The film, which touches on the cultural identity of West African women, has been taking the film world by storm and sparking a lot of conversations. Recently, the film was screened at Cinemapolis in Ithaca, NY and was met with a lot of feedback. Below is a response from someone who viewed the film.
In my opinion the documentary, Am I Too African to be American? Am I Too American to be African? (2015), paints a vivid picture from the point of a view young women in a quest for identity, neither here nor their, caught up in a whirlwind of identity politics. Through this documentary work, the narratives of women are put at the forefront with their stories being told in a way and at a length not seen before. Each of the women demonstrated intricacies and complexities of identity that existed within their own bodies. The women’s identities had a fluid nature about them, however on the subject of men and being in a relationship something interesting happened. What surprised me the most was that even though there seemed to be warring identities inside of the women, those warring identities seemed to sign a truce when the topic of men came up. Despite the “contradictions” and “paradoxes” that might exist when it comes to choosing a man, it seemed as though many of the women agreed that they wanted certain solid, firm characteristics, traits and/or values they wanted from a man. During the segment on dating, it almost seemed as if each women’s identities start to crystallize when they begin to start talking about relationships and dating. All in all, the documentary, Am I Too African to be American? Am I Too American to be African? (2015), is one I would recommend to friends who wish to know more about identity, finding oneself and learning more about what it means to have a heritage in one place and have another history in another place across the sea. Maybe ones home is Africa and one’s history is there? Or perhaps it is America and ones history here? Or perhaps it is the distance we must travel to find the answers to that history. Maybe it is the sea that is history.
Jeremiah Grant. Class of 2017. Africana Studies. World Economic Forum Global Shaper & Cornell Daily Sun Colimmnist