Claudia Rankine’s award-winning volume “Citizen: An American Lyric”, is deeply moving. Her work is a composite of poetry, essay and visual art that boldly indicts America’s racial hypocrisy and sheds light on the tenuous relationships that exist between black American’s and this country.

“Citizen in Pictures” , is a five part series of one hour virtual programs, featuring six extraordinary films that visually speak to the themes presented in Ms. Rankine’s book*. Each program will begin with Ms. Rankine herself, reading from her work, followed by the scheduled film screening and ending with a hosted talk back with the filmmaker .

Register to see an individual film or for the whole series and you will receive a link to the program as we get closer to the date of the screening.


The film series is curated by Michelle Materre, founder of Creatively Speaking and Associate Professor of Media Studies and Film at the New School and hosted by Carr Center Resident Artist, Juanita Anderson.

Scheduled Screenings:

July 22: “Black America Again”, by Bradford Young. This short film is the actual music video for renowned musician Common’s 11th studio album by the same name, “Black America Again.” This video is the directorial debut for cinematographer extraordinaire, Bradford Young (Selma, The Arrival), and shares several of the most powerful messages portrayed in Citizen by Claudine Rankine.

July 29: “For Paradise”, by Elizabeth Webb.

My great-grandmother was a black woman known for her exquisite beauty, yet there are no recorded images of her. Her name was Paradise. “For Paradise” is a hybrid documentary that traces the construction of racial identities within a family (my own) where members operate on both sides of the “color line.” The story of Paradise guides me through complicated family histories of migration and racial passing as I navigate the spaces where power can be found in absence and loss.

August 5: “Black Panther” a.k.a. “Off the Pig”, produced and distributed by Third World Newsreel. A compelling document of the Black Panther Party leadership in 1967. This film contains a prison interview with Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton as well as an interview with Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver. It also includes footage of the aftermath of the police assault against the Los Angeles Chapter headquarters and images of the demonstrations to free Huey at Hutton Memorial Park. A recitation of the party’s Ten-Point Platform by co-founder Bobby Seale is one of the highlights. One of Newsreel’s most widely distributed films, it was originally released as “Off the Pig.” This short film features drawings from activist/artist Emory Douglas.

August 12th: “Diasporadical Trilogia”, by Blitz the Ambassador. This series of three short film reflects the musical and visual narrative unique to Blitz’s personal experience. Based on his fourth studio album, “Diasporadical,” these films document his travels amongAccra, Salvador da Bahia and Brooklyn. Blitz explains, “The radical notion that no matter how fragmented the African Diaspora is, the influence of rhythm and spirituality remains largely the same.” Diasporadical offers itself as a study of intersections between the global African experience and the ongoing struggles of its people across geographical divides.

August 19th: “Women’s Work from the Diaspora” – “Charcoal”, by Francesca Andre and “Auntie”, by Lisa Harewood. “Charcoal,” captures the parallel stories of two black women and their lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism, find self-acceptance and ultimately redemption. Despite the vast distances between them, these women both face a barrage of social messages from strangers and loved ones alike. “Auntie”, explores the common occurrence in the Caribbean of a young girl being raised by her “Auntie”. This sometimes relative or close friend steps in as parental surrogate following her mother’s migration to London. This arrangement has its downside as neither child nor caregiver knows when their makeshift family could be torn apart. For some families, the time spent apart can never be recovered. “Auntie” is a story that is at once universal – exploring conflicts of kinship, matriarchy and family – and also particular, in its representations of a Barbadian experience. Each one hour program will begin at 6:30 pm

Each one hour program will begin at 6:30 pm

* Our film series is co-sponsored by Source Booksellers in midtown Detroit. Buy a copy of Ms. Rankine’s book, mention the Carr Center and get 10% off your purchase.

Register to see an individual film or for the whole series and you will receive a link to the program as we get closer to the date of the screening.