In direct dialogue with the poststructuralist, deconstructive work preceding it, black independent filmmaking and criticism added an anti-essentialist politics of race, nation, and ethnicity to these earlier traditions that had typically sought far and wide for an “other” from outside the Anglo-European context. Instead, one could be black and British without contradiction, or black and gay, or Asian and feminist.
Mobilizing a formal vocabulary based on postmodern hybridity, creolization, and appropriation, they pushed past the deconstructing of binaries and instead offered a building up of alternative identities, histories, and aesthetics mixed through complexity, contradiction, and contingency. “The more we assert our own identities as historically marginalized groups, the more we expose the tyranny of a so-called center,” explains Pratibha Parmar. Departing from a realist practice, they blended narrative, documentary, and experimental forms artfully linking rather than colliding elements. The personal, sexual, and political grounded this work to the lived experiences of diverse black people who were as different from each other as they were from the norm.