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The Hub Entertainment Watch List: In Our Mothers’ Gardens
There is no exact way to determine what a mother-daughter relationship should look like, as everyone’s situations and upbringings are different. However, no matter how complex the relationship is, it is an important aspect of womanhood to examine. Director, Shantrelle P. Lewis, does just that in her film In Our Mothers’ Gardens.
The 82-minute documentary film was released in 2021 and takes a close look at the various relationships between Black mothers and their daughters. Lewis made her directorial debut with the film and incorporated a variety of voices on the matter of mother-daughter relationships. It was distributed through renowned filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s company, Array Rising.
Lewis spoke to Black women from across the globe detailing their personal stories of love, hardship and humor shared with their mothers and grandmothers. However, the film goes beyond just recounting anecdotes to foster a space for “radical self-care” and healing. Viewers were able to hear experiences from Lewis’ own life as well as Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement; Tina Farris, a tour manager whose clients have included The Roots and Chris Rock; and Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas.
The film also provides a slight history and spiritual lesson when hearing from voices such as Dr. Koko Zauditu-Selassie who is a retired professor and Afro-Latina activist, scholar and Yoruba priestess, Dr. Marta Moreno Vega. Dr. Moreno Vega reflected on her grandmother, who was looked to as a spiritual advisor in their community and provided a spiritual rooting for the film. Dr. Zauditu-Selassie’s commentary infused her own experiences with spiritual practices and context on how those experiences were shaped by cultural events of the time
In Our Mothers’ Gardens takes viewers on an emotional yet strangely familiar journey. Although no one story was the same, the stories told by the various speakers were often relatable. It is likely that someone watching will see similar traits in themselves or in some of their own female relatives. Interested viewers can watch the film on Netflix and stay connected through its Instagram page. In addition to her work on In Our Mothers’ Gardens, Lewis is also behind the 2012 film The United States of Hoodoo as well as the 2017 book, “Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style.”