Black History Month: Julie Dash

Black History Month: Julie Dash

Welcome back to our series of blogs celebrating Black History Month by highlighting women of color who we think you should know about. Last week, we covered Mary Bowser, and this week we’re moving forward a century or so and talking about Julie Dash.

Born in 1952 in New York City, Dash holds an MFA from UCLA and has worked steadily since the 1990s, mostly in television. If you’ve watched Queen Sugar, or 2002’s The Rosa Parks Story, you’ve seen Dash’s work.

Dash has the distinction of being the first black female filmmaker to have a movie released nationally. Daughters of the Dustreleased in 1991, is the story of an island family, descendants of escaped slaves, living off the Southern coast of the US in 1902 and contemplating a move to the U.S. mainland. The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures; Dash is the only African American woman with a feature film that has been inducted into the National Film Registry.

Sit with that for a minute.

It is, without a doubt, an incredible accomplishment. However, we are eager for the day when that “only” shifts to “first”.

Fun fact for our Beyoncé fans out there – Lemonade was directly influenced by Daughters of the Dust. The scene featuring young women on the beach, where they’re dressed in white gowns, and gathering in front of an island cabin? That’s a direct visual from the movie.

See below for a trailer of the movie, and then we highly recommend heading over to your favorite streaming service and settle in for a fabulous film.

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