Black Mother

75 mins.
Directed by Khalik Allah

Director Khalik Allah in person. Free to Amherst Cinema Members.

Khalik Allah freely alternates between photography and cinema, traveling the streets, creating portraits that tremble with life.

In BLACK MOTHER, Allah explores his mother's home country, Jamaica, and invokes its beautiful, resilient, and rebellious spirit. Constructed out of a series of fleeting yet indelible interactions with the country's residents, BLACK MOTHER is a dazzling audio-visual symphony that speaks to the island's current state: its relationship with pain, outsiders, child rearing, colorism, sex work, nature, God.

As he builds relationships with strangers, Allah reconnects with his grandfather William Case, whose wisdom and blessings are woven into the film's intricate soundscape. BLACK MOTHER is rooted in deep-seated, ground-level observation, and yet it also reaches for the sky, offering prayers that rattle the soul with their compassion and conviction.

Khalik Allah (b. 1985) is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker whose work has been described as "street opera" - simultaneously visceral, hauntingly beautiful and penetrative.

Khalik's passion for photography was sparked when he began photographing members of the Wu-Tang Clan with a camera he borrowed from his dad. Real and raw, his profoundly personal work goes beyond street photography. His eye for daring portraiture and bold aesthetics takes us into an entire world.

While the people he photographs on the corner of 125th and Lexington Avenue in Harlem have been his central inspiration, his work also extends to documentary film with FIELD NIGGAS, a chronicle of summer of nights spent at the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. The film takes its name from Malcolm X’s famous lecture, “Message to the Grassroots.” Khalik shoots with a manual, analogue film camera, as photography and film-making form a venn diagram in his work.

His book of photography, Souls On The Concrete, was recently published by the University of Texas Press.