There are many media representation that shows the white community to be the face of mental illness stereotypically. Does this thing not occur in the black community? What is even Mental Health? How do I even know if I have it? With my MA Project, I would like to narrow my focus to films and Black women and our dealings with mental health, in our community, within our relationships, and our culture. You have shows like Girls that have a character like Hanah Horvath, who has OCD. Characters like Carrie in Homeland, Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, and one of my favorite classic films about mental illness, Girl Interrupted, who show white women in a mental hospital getting treatment for their mental health. When it comes to black shows and films, there is a lack of black women protagonists who represented as having mental health issues. For me, I saw this as a problem but yet an opportunity to create a film for Black Women who can relate to these stories of battling with their mental health.
With this project, I will address the different aspects of mental health, how there is a lack of resources, lack of information, a misunderstanding on what mental health is within Black women and cultural competency. I will also address the stoic stereotype portrayed in Black women of being healthy and resilient and how this portrayal discourages black women from seeing themselves having everyday struggles. I recently purchased a book Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength and the author Chanequa Walker Barnes had quoted ” it makes people think that the myth of a strong Black Women is something that they really ought to live into…”. Which is something that I have never thought of before?
Right now I am learning more about mental health for myself and this project, and I am seeking black women and young ladies to interview from different generations, different social classes, different sexualities, etc., and who would be open for me to turn their stories into my three main characters in my film. I have a goal to start writing my script, planning my storyboard, and hold casting this semester! I am also looking for some recent studies, research articles, documentaries, good books, and podcasts to obtain more information on Mental Health. So if you come across anything, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!