SUPPORT BLACK ARTIVISTS: Jasmine Shanise
Happy New Year!
This year The Black Artivist Collective will be utilizing its blog to highlight black artivists who are raising funds to create and/or complete their work. As an artist, I understand how difficult it can be to raise money for projects. I hope that this platform will help bring important black artwork of all disciplines to fruition.
The first artist and project that we are highlighting is a short film entitled, Unraptured. Written, produced and starring Jasmine Shanise, this project is about a woman who falls madly in love with a man and has to deal with his illusions of love, as well as her own. Recently, Unrpatured reached its funding goal BUT I still encourage you to check out their campaign page and donate. I know from experience that you can always use more money because something always comes up. Let us make sure that this project has more than enough!
Here is my interview with Jasmine Shanise.
Is black love revolutionary? If so, why?
Black love is VERY MUCH a revolutionary act. Between the gender wars orchestrated to decimate the black community, the government pushing for black woman singledom and dependence on the system, incarceration and death of the black man at the hands to police to the images of black men and women paired with non black counterparts in the media. Black love is not a part of the narrative that is being praised and shared so to see it is revolutionary. It is, for lack of a better term, an F YOU to institutions that have been designed to keep us down and the people who aim to keep us down. Black Love is a literal uprising. We are stronger because of black love and in turn we raise the next generation to carry the torch that ensures that we as a people will not be erased. That starts with Black love.
On your campaign page, you say that the story was inspired by Anita Baker’s, “Caught Up in the Rapture.” How did this song lead to the conception of your script?
THAT SONG FOLLOWED ME EVERYWHERE!!!! When I heard it in the Panama City Beach Airport terminal, I knew it was a message. Let me start by saying, my original idea for this film was a comedy about a woman left behind by her family in the rapture. I thought of things in the film that could lend itself to that part of the story to signify a rapture had happened. In that script, we saw an Anita Baker vinyl record of “Caught Up…” in the bathroom. While writing this script, I meditated on the words of the song: “I'm caught up in the rapture of love. Nothing else can compare, when I feel the magic of you” and it changed or specified rather, the intention of the script. It gave me the specificity I needed to tell a truthful story about being “raptured” (falling madly and deeply in love). Instead of a what if situation, it took me to the magic that I have felt falling in love. And I have words for that for days! I asked my husband to play around with tempo and pitch of the song and we found dark fantasy within the music. It went from love to a sort of haunting. The song literally shaped this script from top to bottom.
You also beautifully and transparently talk about how personal this project is to you. How has this project helped you heal thus far?
It helped me in so many ways!!! I am a happily married woman but I found myself still hidden in parts of my relationship. Sitting still in the pandemic and being in a place of quiet and reflection will help reveal things to you. As I stated before this started off as a comedy but it evolved into the fantasy of what happens when you fall in love and you wake to find yourself IN his body. What does that look like, what secrets does he withhold? What do you do when you find out who he really is? Do you run….can you run? Or will you remain locked behind his door, forever tied, forever connected? From writing this I realized that because I didn’t receive closure from some situations…I was still stuck in that place, at that time. It’s hard to give from places that you have lost but also I have the free will to free myself. This process has lent itself to my personal freedom.
Do you believe that art has power? How do you hope that your film will empower it’s audience?
Art has the power to change the world. It is one of the most powerful and influential tools we have. In our work we can uplift, give hope to, give visibility to, be the author of change, but it can also bring about sadness, death and destruction. We have to be cognizant of our messages because they truly influence the masses. My hope for “UnRaptued” is that someone frees themselves from that door they have been behind that binds them to dead situations.It is my hope that they watch and be inspired to reclaim their life and their value. This goes beyond relationships, it’s everything in life. And to me the coolest thing about this movie is that everyone is Adira. Everyone is Monica. Everyone is Wood. At different times and different phases of their life we have been the protagonist, the antagonist as well as the enabler. I want us to walk in our truths, process it, grieve when we need to but move forward because we must!
What is artivism to you?
Artivism to me is telling OUR stories, specifically of the black American plightthrough our actual artist lens. It is knucking the proposed societal norms toartistically give our sides of our story by any means necessary. We are fighting oppression and injustice, through our words, our bodies and our projects. Artivism is necessary for our advancement.
Learn more about this project here: