Zora Howard – Biracial Hair – poetry, spoken word, race

Poet Zora Howard

Uploaded on Oct 10, 2009
‘Slit my wrists, my blood does not excrete in black and white’ prophesizes 13-year old Zora in her poem entitled ‘Bi-Racial Hair’ which was performed live in front of 1500 of her peers and adult allies at the 2006 Urban Word NYC Teen Poetry Slam.

My short film of the same title, is a satirical look at the racial tension young African American’s experience who are of mixed ethnic backgrounds. Using Zora’s poem as the thread, the film follows her initial comedic rant about the challenges she faces in stylizing her hair to her personal frustrations of being teased about her ethnicity by her African American peers. The film weaves between fictional reanctments, archival footage of the civil rights movement and Zora’s infamous live spoken word performance, Illustrating the struggles youth of mixed color face with identity and social position. Zora’s resolution about proposing a ‘new race’ sheds light on the complexity and depth of the racist wounds our nation still faces 150 years after the abolishment of slavery.

‘Bi-Racial Hair’ was one of five short pitches chosen for WGBH Lab and the National Black Programming Consortium’s ‘Eviction Notice’ Open Call which gave production funding and online feedback to the chosen filmmakers. It was broadcasted on Independent Lens for Black History Month in February 2009 and won a Boston/New England Emmy Award for Outstanding Advanced Media Interactivity

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