Ain’t Funny © 2014 by Lili Bernard
Inspired by Frantz Fanon’s book Black Skin, White Masks, Ain’t Funny is an examination of Black consciousness as seen through a concerned mother’s eyes and her son’s burgeoning manhood.
The Black male youth (my 16 year old son Rafael) asserts his identity, while struggling with society’s attempt to label, dilute and destroy it. He navigates through the layers of his identity, combating racism and stereotypes, with his strength, diligence, resilience, joy, frustration, anger and compassion.
The trope of this videoart piece is the syncretism, resulting from colonialism, of the African religion known as Palo in Cuba (referenced by the Congolese Nkisi-like nail fetish watermelon and whitened face) and Catholicism (referenced by the Passion of Christ and the tabernacle).
The work is dedicated to two women who were lynched along with their children: Mary Turner (1918 Georgia) who’s 8 month old fetus was gouged out of her belly and stomped to death by the mob as she hung upside down burnt and shot, and Laura Nelson (1919 Oklahoma) who was “swung” from a bridge alongside her 14 year old son L.D. Nelson, made famous by widely distributed souvenir postcards of their lynching.
The Legacy of Christopher Columbus, A Short Account in Technicolor © 2011 Lili Bernard
” . . . amazingly rich, compelling, and dynamic work.” — John Ramirez, Executive Director, Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival
Description: A brief videoart dramatization of Bartolomé de Las Casas’ testimonial account of the Spanish Conquest of the New World. All quotes taken from the book A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Written in 1545 by BARTOLOME DE LAS CASAS.
Film Synopsis: A brief dramatization of Bartolomé de Las Casas’ testimonial account of the Spanish Conquest of the New World. This was an exercise for me and my children in remembering the slaughter which our indigenous Caribbean ancestors endured. My father’s grandmother, Clemencia Figueroa, had Siboney ancestry (native tribe of Eastern Cuba). Her grandmother was pure Siboney. Clemencia died a victim of Cuba’s War of Independence from Spain. It was also an exercise in memory for the lead actress in the film, Dolann Adams, who is more than half Native American — Choctaw and Blackfoot on her dad’s side and Cherokee and Apache on her mom’s side. This work also commemorates the early presence of enslaved Africans on the island of Cuba, my birth place, and their mixing with the indigenous people, upon their escape. Christopher Columbus initiated the importation of enslaved Africans on to the island of Cuba in 1512. Therefore, some of the indigenous people slaughtered in the genocide were also part African. The video is codified with imagery of Afro-Caribbean religion and folklore.
Afro-Cuban Batás Drums solo composed and performed by MELENA. Filmed on location in Los Angeles and Malibu, California. Running Time: 6:51 mins
WARNING: Viewer discretion advised. Some scenes contain graphic reenactments of genocide, including dismemberment.
CAST: DOLANN MARIE ADAMS as Siboney Mother, ZION BERNARD FERGUSON as Siboney Baby Girl, JOSHUA BERNARD FERGUSON as Native Boy 1, URIEL BERNARD FERGUSON as Native Boy 2, ELIAS BERNARD FERGUSON as Native Girl and Elegua, ISAIAH BERNARD FERGUSON as Native Boy 3, RAFAEL BERNARD FERGUSON as Native Teenage Boy, CASEY HUGHES as the Conquistador, RUBEN HORNILLO RODRIGUEZ as the voice of Bartolomé de Las Casa, LILI BERNARD introductory narration, MICKEY BERNARD FERGUSON as the Wolf.
World Premiere Screening: 2011 Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival, Official Selection, Program 10 Featured Short, Sunday, May 15, 2011, 6:00 pm, Regency Academy 6 Cinemas, Pasadena, CaliforniaFilm Festival Website: http://www.reelrasquache.org/