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We carry a lot of psychological baggage from childhood that many of us don’t even know we are carrying and this plays out in our relationships

When embarking on my documentary feature film LOOKING FOR LOVE, I was struck by the absence of documentary films on the subject.

Documentary offers an opportunity for real people to talk frankly about love and relationships without feeling threatened by the camera. This is what I tried to do in the film with particular focus around black British voices speaking – no holds barred.

I talk to a range of people including comedians and psychotherapists to provide layers of understanding around modern day relationships, how we negotiate our emotional spaces and how does this impact on our sexual and other relationships? These are fundamental questions about our lives that we rarely engage with.

The Importance of Representing ‘Black Love’ on Screen

Black love is hardly portrayed at all in the UK media. If we see black couples there is never any tenderness or intimacy. There are virtually no character portrayals that reflect our sensibilities or ones we can empathise with. Unfortunately black love is not on the agenda of mainstream media.

I have experienced this with my previous film The Story of Lover’s Rock which portrays a different more loving image of black young people in the 70s and 8O’s. It was one of the most successful documentaries at the UK box office at the time of release but TV wasn’t interested. I even had resistance in the cinemas with the film poster of a black couple embracing. Yet had it been a poster of guns and sex then there would have been no difficulty. It’s the same with LOOKING FOR LOVE.

Highlighting Our Need for Self-Love

We are a community in need of love more than any other. The impact of enslavement and African colonialism is still affecting our mindset and our sense of self.

How come  some women are using bleaching cream to make themselves lighter? This lack of self- love and low self esteem feeds into every aspects of our lives. It feeds into inter-racial dynamics, black on black violence, sexual and domestic abuse against women. We carry a lot of psychological baggage from childhood that many of us don’t even know we are carrying and this plays out in our relationships.

Time & Judgement

Capturing footage for Looking for Love in London

Looking for love image speed dating

Making the cut: working with editor Folasade Oyeleye

Looking for love image speed dating

Speed dating couple

The Q&A from my screening at the BFI is available to watch (see below)

Menelik-Shabazz

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