Review: A Powerful Look at Connection for Black Trans Women in 'Walk For Me'
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Film , Reviews

Review: A Powerful Look at Connection for Black Trans Women in 'Walk For Me'

WalkForMe

We all go through moments of transition. These moments are those significant periods in our lives when the core of our beings break free, and our inner self is truly revealed. Once we take those brave steps into the light, there is no going back, or turning away. We must stand bare under the glaring lamp of the general public to be poked, prodded, and whispered about. Perhaps no other group knows these moments of revelation quite like those of the LGBTQ community. From being shoved aside in their cultures, to being thrown away by their own families, moments of revelation can be brutal and crippling. Those who identify as transgender women of color in particular often face a terrible plight. In the past decade alone, over four hundred trans women have been murdered, and their lives and deaths have been overlooked as if they had never existed at all.

In his short film “Walk For Me,” director Elegance Bratton highlights one of the most pivotal moments in a young trans person’s life. Struggling with her identity, Hannah (played by Aaliyah King) retreats into herself, away from her mother, Andrea (played by Yolanda Ross) who is both desperate to connect with her while simultaneously fearful and ashamed of her daughter’s identity. Andrea’s fear and lack of understanding causes her to lash out violently against her child. She also insists on calling Hannah by her birth name Hassan, which continues to erode their already strained relationship.

There have been many films about the LGBTQ experience in the 21st century. Damon Cardasis’ recent coming of age musical drama “Saturday Church,” focuses on a young teenager, who similar to Hannah is trying to define himself, In the face of a hostile familial environment, he desperately grapples with his identity and sexuality. “Walk For Me” stands out, however, because it hones in on one specific moment for Hannah. It is the exact instant that will either lead to final rejection or acceptance from her mother.

Though Hannah’s found solace in the vibrant world of New York City’s Gay Balls, her adoptive mother, Paris Continental (played by Brenda Holder) is still unable to fill the deep void within Hannah that Andrea has left. And yet, “Walk For Me” is more than just a story about approval or lack thereof from others, it’s also about self-acceptance. Bratton turns his lens on the women in the dressing rooms of the Gay balls. As Hannah gazes on in her safe space, she is still unsure and uncertain in her own body; these ballroom icons and legends are unapologetic in their lush feminity. However, for Hannah, this world and the one with her mother seem both unattainable and at times terrifying.

Still what is most masterful about “Walk For Me,” is the collision course that Hannah and Andrea are on. They cannot continue to skirt around one another pretending as if everything between them is OK. A turning point for both of them is coming, and in “Walk For Me,” it shows up quite quickly.

“Walk For Me” has toured the country twice and will play next at Frameline, InsideOut Toronto, and Outfest.

Screening dates:   June 2nd Outfilm Ct, Jun 3rd Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Fest, Jun 16, 19, 21, Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, Jun 28th Out Here Now Kansas City LGBT Film Festival.


Aramide A Tinubu has her Master’s in Film Studies from Columbia University. She wrote her thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger, and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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