The Film Blog: Discovering Blackness in Tokyo with Amarachi Nwosu

Tokyo

For those who don’t know, Amarachi Nwosu, otherwise known as Amaraworldwide on Twitter is a pretty outspoken, if somewhat misguided photographer and social commentator. Nwosu’s big calling card is her often leftist stance on social issues, especially as regarding race and colorism. She’s become of the biggest links between traditional western youth oriented media and alternative Nigerian subculture, and is best known here for her photoset on Nigerian skate group, WafflesNCream on western alt. magazine High Snobiety. 

But it turns out she’s been hiding another side of herself from us. She is also a documentary film maker and she is about to take plunge with her new documentary, Black in Tokyo. Fitting right in with her explorations of race in traditionally homogenous societies, Nwosu journeys to Japan to discover what it is like for Africans in a country with no history of slavery against Africans and how the differences in culture between Japan and the countries from which her five subjects have emigrated have helped shape their perceptions of Japan and how the Japanese perceive them. I am particularly interested in how Nwosu distills this very complex and multi-layered idea into documentary’s ten minute run time, and what documentary techniques she adopts to adequately tell her story.

From the film’s trailer, we can already surmise that one of the big pushes of the film is going to be the conflict between adopting the traditions of the Japanese while holding on to your culture, and of course, the pervasive influence of hip-hop and African-American pop culture, and how it has come to define life for young Japanese millennials.

For now though, I’ll leave you with the Black In Tokyo trailer. The film opens in at the Bowery gallery, New York City on November the 16th.

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