Film Review

Jezebel, Mammy and Sapphire

‘Subjects of Desire’ exposes negative imagery of Black women

Jeffrey Kass
Published in
6 min readNov 18, 2021

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Art from the film Subjects of Desire shows a number of beautiful black women with their fists up.

I hadn’t been to a movie theater since Just Mercy during the 2019 holiday season. COVID-19 hit in 2020, and even though I’m basically back to normal now with three jabs in my left arm, I think most of us have been busier reconnecting in spaces we can talk rather than sitting silently together in theaters.

Still, it had been so long since I saw a movie on the big screen that I was excited when a friend asked if I wanted to see a film at the Denver Film Festival. After perusing the list of so many interesting films featured, I settled on Subjects of Desire.

Now I’m not one to watch movie trailers or read long summaries. Nowadays trailers are so long you almost feel like you’ve already seen the entire movie. Reminds me of Seth Rogan’s film, Sausage Party, where literally the only two funny scenes were previewed in every promotional ad. I like to be surprised when I go to the movies. To go in with a clear mind and a fresh outlook. To not form opinions about the film before it starts.

All I knew about Subjects of Desire was that it had a theme around race and won lots of awards.

It turns out the film may be one of the most necessary documentaries of our time. The long-awaited medicine society, both Black and white, desperately needs.

Many of us wander our way through this thing called life not understanding or even being aware of how we act and react toward others. The reason is rather simple, too. When we fill our hearts and minds with images from television, movies, advertisements, magazines and social media, and then we have few or no people in our personal spaces to counter those oftentimes false images — those very images often dictate how we unconsciously feel about and interact with others.

But it’s worse than that. Those images also impact how people view themselves. If you’re blonde, white, have blue eyes and are pretty, you’ve been taught on screens your whole life that you’re the epitome of beautiful. So…

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Jeffrey Kass
Momentum

A Medium Top Writer on Racism, Diversity, Education, History and Parenting | Speaker | Award-Winning Author | Latest Book: Black Batwoman V. White Jesus | Dad