Alfreda’s Cinema Presents
A Powerful Thang

Director: Zeinabu irene Davis
USA / 1991 / 57 min

Q&A with Zeinabu Irene Davis, Asma Feyijinmi, John Earl Jelks and professor/author, Christina Baker

Last streamed on Sun, Sep 26

The scarcity of healthy Black love stories in film makes the achievement of A Powerful Thang all the more remarkable. Zeinabu Irene Davis’s Midwest-set adult drama, a tender, intimate work which wholeheartedly embraces the pleasures of romantic love, was released 30 years ago. Previously and since there have been only a handful of Black American films to platform sex as a sacred bond—it’s the “powerful thang” of the title—and fewer still made with such nuance and style. Davis stokes the chemistry between two Black characters, writer Yasmine (Asma Feyijinmi) and saxophone teacher Craig (John Earl Jelks), with appealing humor and honesty, producing a film that should be received as a revelation for generations who’ve seen (Black) love treated as an afterthought.

Programmed by Melissa Lyde as part of Alfreda’s Cinema, this 30th-anniversary screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and LA Rebellion alum, Zeinabu Irene Davis, star, Asma Feyinijmi, and professor/author, Christina Baker, who will guide us in finding a deeper understanding of why Black cinema is nearly devoid of Black filmic romances without the scars of being Black in America.