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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Movie camp for Black girls keeps it reel
Utilizes media for empowerment
Published Saturday, March 27, 2021
by Ashley Mahoney

Jimmeka Anderson helped Keepin’ it REEL, a film camp to empower Black girls to and learn about the movie industry.

Keepin’ it REEL: Black Girls Film Camp will teach how to utilize media for liberation.

Jimmeka Anderson, founder of media literacy non-profit I AM not the MEdia Inc. and filmmaker Keema Mingo are part of a team of 20 Black women collaborating on a camp designed to help Black girls in grades 9-12 feel empowered to define what Black girlhood means for them, while also learning about the film industry.

Ten girls will be accepted into the free virtual program, which is presented through the Urban Education Collaborative at UNCC, Film Studies Department, Women + Girls Research Alliance and I AM not the MEdia, Inc., and Mingo Studios, Mingo’s company. Applications may be submitted through March 31. Keepin’ It REEL runs April 24-May 22 from 10 a.m.-1p.m. each Saturday.

Anderson and Mingo created the concept for the camp prior to COVID-19, with the initial intent of hosting the camp last summer in person. However, the pandemic pushed it to the spring of 2021 and to a virtual format.

“We want to build, and we want to give back,” Mingo said.

Said Anderson, a Ph.D student in UNC Charlotte’s curriculum and instruction urban education program: “I am always trying to think of what can I do with you, specifically historically marginalized youth, where they can utilize media as a tool for liberation?”

Mingo and Anderson pulled together their skillsets to create the camp. The intention is to help Black girls feel empowered to tell their own stories while challenging them to flex their creative muscles.

“The theme of the camp is focused on Black girlhood and looking at triumph over trauma, because so many of our stories in the media have focused on trauma,” Anderson said. “We are allowing them the space to define Black girlhood for themselves, when it comes to identity, hair [and] language.”

Attendees will also explore joy and what makes them happy, as well as how to craft and share those stories.

“I am just looking forward to being able to commune with all of these amazing Black women who have come on board to help us see this through to fruition and to really invest in these young girls,” Mingo said. “I am excited to meet these young girls and to really connect with that generation—young girls who want to be poured into. They want to share their stories. They want to be vulnerable, and they want to have a space where they can do that and learn from generations before them.”

Keepin’ it REEL includes speakers and awards. Each student will work with her own professional team to create a short film and a virtual community film screening will take place on May 22.  

For more information and to apply: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfvSQk1HLCaTphELPeuAm2tAuZJ2gf_14OwLDpSL5ahAFun-w/viewform


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