Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am: ‘Navigating a White Male World Was Not Threatening; It Wasn’t Even Interesting’

Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am / Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Toni Morrison’s work has always been deemed as rich and poetic, perhaps an extension of her very own life.


Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, looks to be a uniquely intimate look into Morrison, as it was directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who has been Morrison’s friend for over 35 years.

From the official press release:

From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ‘70s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own work. Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed novels, including The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University. In addition to Ms. Morrison, the documentary features interviews with Angela Davis, Hilton Als, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, Farah Griffin, and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel Beloved into a feature film.

At 88 years old (87 at the time her interviews were shot), Morrison’s poetic narration will add an interesting aspect as she explores her rich life as a mother who steadfastly refuses to live through a white man’s gaze. And certainly not under it.

“You have to be a little tough and rely on yourself ... and tell people no,” Morrison muses in a clip touching on pay disparities within gender and race, exclusively released to The Root. If those ain’t some wise words to digest and take into your everyday life—especially as a black woman—I don’t know what are.

Morrison also reflects on her experience in publishing, where she noticed the men were making more than her once raises were being doled out. “I am head of household, just like you,” she recalled saying to her boss, whom she confronted on the issue.

“Yes, I got the raise,” she concludes. A queen.

Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am releases in theaters June 21.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



I’m so looking forward to this. I love her work. It ain’t rapid reading, but it’s well worth it.