View a recording of this event.

Join us for a screening and discussion with acclaimed filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa. Jafa's work in TNEG film studio (the studio he runs with co-creators Elissa Blount Moorhead and Malik Sayeed) seeks to create a black cinema that equals the “power, beauty and alienation of black music.” Against the contemporary backdrop of the painful insight brought to our nation’s attention by Black Lives Matter, Jafa’s work continues the enduring effort to establish a restorative aesthetic horizon, one capable of rendering the full complexity of black lives. The event will showcase three of Jafa's most recent film shorts: “Dreams are Colder than Death,” “Love is the Message,” and “Apex.” The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring three members of Columbia University’s Practicing Refusal Working Group: Christina Sharpe, Reina Gossett and Tavia Nyongo.

The event is sponsored jointly by the Barnard Center for Research on Women in conjunction with the Practicing Refusal Working Group, and the International Center for Photography’s Center for Visual Culture.


Arthur Jafa was born 1960 in Tupelo, Mississippi, and is best known for his work as a director and cinematographer, working on such films as “Crooklyn” (1994), “Seven Songs for Malcolm X” (1993), and “Daughters of the Dust” (1991). Jafa directed the films “Deshotten 1.0” (2009), “Tree” (1999), and “Slowly This” (1995). In addition to his work on films, Jafa has also published essays on black cultural politics in Black Popular Culture (1992) and Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture (2003) and speaks frequently on the complexities of a black aesthetic as well as the potentialities of black cinema. Jafa studied at Howard University, Washington DC, and his work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001); Media City, Seoul (2000); Black Box, CCAC Institute, Oakland (2000); Artists Space, New York (1999); Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (1999); and Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (1999).

Reina Gossett is an activist, writer, and filmmaker.  Along with Sasha Wortzel, Reina wrote, directed and produced “Happy Birthday, Marsha!,” a short film about legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson starring Independent Spirit Award winner Mya Taylor.

As the 2014-2016 Activist-in-Residence at Barnard College’s Center for Research on Women Reina produced and directed “No One Is Disposable,” a series of cross media platform teaching tools used to spotlight the ways oppressed people are fighting back, surviving and building strong communities in the face of enormous violence. She is currently working on the short animated film “The Personal Things” about iconic black trans activist Miss Major.

Tavia Nyong’o is Professor of American Studies and Theatre Studies at Yale University, where he teaches courses in aesthetic and affect theory, cultural studies and cultural history, and black and queer studies. He writes on art, popular music, politics, culture, and theory. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies.

Christina Sharpe is an associate professor at Tufts University in the department of English and the programs in Africana, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her second book, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, will be published by Duke University Press in November 2016. Her first book, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects was published in 2010, is also by Duke University Press. She is currently working on a critical introduction to the Collected Poems of Dionne Brand and two monographs: Thinking Juxtapositionally and Refusing Necrotopia

Event Hashtags


TOP IMAGE: Arthur Jafa, "Dreams are Colder than Death" (video still), 2013. © Arthur Jafa