Published on Friday April 27th, 2018 by Afrocks
Interview With Naomi Grant, Film Director & Co-Founder At Look At My Black Beauty
We caught up with Naomi ahead of her UK tour screening her latest short film ‘Future First’
Hello Naomi, first of all let us just say what an inspiring young woman you are! That was our first thought when we first got in touch with you. The first thing we love to do is to ask you to introduce yourself in 5 words?
A dreamer with mad ambition.
That’s a cool one! Ok so tell us: how did you start making/producing short films/documentaries?
I started last year, my debut documentary was 50 Shades of Melanin which was a look on colourism in the UK. I had been sitting on the idea for the documentary for a while, and one day I just decided to make it happen. I always ask myself, “who am I if I don’t try?” So I applied for funding from O2 Think Big, and reached out to participants, and made it happen.
How do we become film producer? What advice would you give to young black girls and boys who are interested in this space?
The best advice I would give is to just go out and make a film. Start with what you have, don’t think you need the best camera to do so, use your phone! One of my first films was recorded on a phone, and edited on windows moviemaker!
“Our mission is to redefine images of black and brown people in the media”
You are also co-founder of LAMBB… what does it stand for and why have you created it?
LAMBB stands for Look At My Black Beauty. I came up with the name with my sister a few years ago. We created it because we saw an underrepresentation of girls like us in the media.
Can you tell us more about LAMBB’s mission and vision?
Our mission is to redefine images of black and brown people in the media. There is a rigid image of the black woman that has been perpetuated throughout years in the media, and it is important to show young girls that we are mutlifacted, and we don’t have to subscribe to eurocentric beauty ideals.
How do you see LAMBB in 5 years?
In 5 years I see LAMBB as an established company, a household name that people would refer to when they are looking for true and authentic representation.
You have recently released the short film ‘Future First’, can you give us an overview of it?
Future First is an artistic interpretation of a black girls response to cornrows being renamed as ‘boxer braids’. The anchor point of the film is cultural appropriation but it expands much wider than that – it isn’t about taking a stance as a victim, it is about reclaiming our place and not being afraid to take up space.
Screenings has already kicked off and you will be touring soon…what audience do you want to reach? and what is the message you want to deliver?
We have screened to a room full of black girls and women, to a room full of white men and women. I want everyone to see this film, so a dialogue can be created around cultural appropriation and female empowerment.
“[…] black hair is very potent for a black woman and throughout history we have had to fight for our hair to just exist in its natural state. There is definitely something deeper rooted in our hair.”
Our CEO Herve said that ‘Future First’ almost feels like a mystical experience, there is definitely something magical about it, the voices, the soundtrack and the images… is there a spiritual dimension in afro hair?
Thank you! I would definitely say so – if you think about our roots, our ancestors, black hair is very potent for a black woman and throughout history we have had to fight for our hair to just exist in its natural state. There is definitely something deeper rooted in our hair.
While we are on the subject: What’s your favourite hairstyle you like to rock?
I really love Fulani Braids!
And what do you look for in a stylist?
Someone who understands natural hair, and is careful and gentle with my hair.
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self about our hair?
Don’t straighten it so much! Embrace what God gave you, He made you with big curly, frizzy hair for a reason.
It’s been amazing chatting to you Naomi. Our last question is a special one: If you had to write your autobiography what would you call it? And why?
It will be called By God’s grace alone because there has been times where I wanted to give everything up, and just follow the path laid out for a teenager, but His belief in me kept me going.
Check out LAMBB’s website: https://lookatmyblackbeauty.com/
Look at Future first short movie on Youtube