-SEAN DUKES ’24
‘Embodying Black Hollywood means living every day with the knowledge that what you do matters’
I’ve been ruminating recently on the two sides of stardom. Global recognition is always promised, along with cameras that always flash, a crowd that is always following, and consistent comments and criticisms. There exists a sense of pride for what you represent, but also a deep fear that you might not be doing this thing exactly right, and whether you truly belong.
I imagine that this is a piece of what it feels like to be a member of Black Hollywood. There are so many people we look to as pioneers because of what they have represented for the Black community in a world where Black people were never supposed to be stars. Even today, along with every stride and progression, there is always the reminder that they can only make moves that continue to operate within a broken system. When I think of this in addition to the glamorized lifestyle we see in the media, I think about the weight that our stars carry with them every day.
The implications of this two-sidedness have wide-reaching effects. This disillusionment we see in Black Hollywood pervades through the cracks of every part of society, even threatening the way you and I see ourselves. Instead of owning who we are as pioneers and leaders, we often shrink back, being told that it is never okay to shine too brightly or make too much noise.
But this week, I want to challenge us to see ourselves as partakers of Black Hollywood without this sense of disillusionment. Instead, step onto the red carpet with the highest amount of pride. We are each stars in our own right. We shine on the people around us in big and little ways, and continue to pave paths by daring to be the most authentic versions of ourselves. Embodying Black Hollywood means living every day with the knowledge that what you do matters. This week (and every week), keep your head up and look to the stars that have come before you as reminders that in a dark world, we always illuminate.
shot and edited by Mariam Cosmos and Onyekaorise Chigbogwu
directed by Josephine White
models— Sean Dukes, Haben Fessehazion, Freda Ganiyu, Jackson Gordwin, Faris Haghamed