When it comes to diversity and representation in the film industry, it’s no secret that no matter the stage or the prestige, we still have far to go. That’s exactly why this year Diversity in Cannes is unveiling its Dear Cannes, Do Better: A Celebration of Black Women in Film campaign during this year’s 75th annual Cannes Film Festival, which is dedicated to “dismantling the patriarchy, embracing inclusion and selecting more black women to compete in competition.”
Per a press release sent to The Root, the campaign is spearheaded by Diversity in Cannes founder and entertainment publicist Yolonda Brinkley in collaboration with Cheryl Polote-Williamson, editor-in-chief of Cheryl Magazine, Filmmaker Wendy Eley Jackson and Karine Barclais, founder of Pavillon Afriques.
The digital social media campaign is an opportunity for established and emerging black women in film to amplify their authentic voices during the Cannes Film Festival, where they’ve been ignored for the past 75 years. A celebration of Black women in film will take place Wednesday, May 25 with an invitation-only breakfast and will extend into the Marché du Film at Pavillon Afriques and the Cannes Short Film Corner. It will also include the world premiere of The Invitation, a short film commemorating 75 years of The Links, Incorporated, the world’s most formidable organization for Black women changemakers, directed by Wendy Eley Jackson.
“After a year of working with our production teams and reflecting on the vast examples of how African-American experiences have been captured in film, we are honored to demonstrate our commitment to creators of color by taking a stand with Diversity in Cannes”, said Cheryl P. Williamson, Co-Founder of Williamson Media Group. “With this body of work, we aim to provide Black women in film with an honorable professional foundation to amplify their voices, create space for their stories and illuminate a path to a sustainable career in film.”
Added Brinkley, “In 75 years, the Cannes Film Festival has selected only one Black woman director in competition. With the plethora of talented Black female voices sounding off at other global film festivals, awareness is no longer an acceptable excuse for the gross underrepresentation of Black women directors in competition. As they celebrate their jubilee as the world’s most prestigious film festival and welcome their first female president, I believe change is inevitable. In the interim, delay is denial, and I welcome the opportunity to align with Cheryl Polote-Williamson to celebrate Black women in film, at the 75th Festival de Cannes.”