Dreams are Colder than Death: Screening & Talk with Arthur Jafa

Arthur Jafa, Christina Sharpe, Reina Gossett & Tavia Nyong'o

Join us for a screening and discussion with acclaimed filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa. Jafa’s work in TNEG Film Studio (the studio he runs together with co-creators Elissa Blount Moorhead and Malik Sayeed) seeks to create a black cinema that equals the “power, beauty and alienation of black music.” Against the contemporary backdrop of the painful insights brought to our nation’s attention by Black Lives Matter, Jafa’s work continues the enduring effort to establish a restorative aesthetic horizon, one capable of rendering the full complexity of black lives. The event will showcase three of Jafa’s most recent film: Dreams are Colder than Death, Love is the Message, and Apex. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring three members of BCRW’s Practicing Refusal Working Group: Christina Sharpe, Reina Gossett and Tavia Nyong’o.

Arthur Jafa, Dreams are Colder Than Death

About the Speakers

Arthur Jafa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in Clarksdale. He studied Architecture and Film at Howard University from 1978 to 1982. He is a principal member, along with Malik Hassan Sayeed and Elisa Blount Moorhead, of TNEG™, a film company. He has directed numerous films: Slowly This (1995), Smile (1997), Black Millenium (1999), Tree (2000), Yellowjacket (2001), Deshotten 1.0 (2009), and Dreams Are Colder Than Death (2014), selected for the 2014 New York Film Festival. His cinematography includes: Daughters of the Dust directed by Julie Dash (1991), winner of the cinematography award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival; Seven Songs for Malcolm X directed by John Akomfrah (1993); Crooklyn directed by Spike Lee (1994); A Litany for Survival: Audre Lorde directed by Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson (1995); Conakry Kas directed by Manthia Diawara (2005); Meet the Eye directed by Aida Ruilova (2009); Shadows of Liberty directed by Jean-Philippe Tremblay (2012); The Start Up directed by Salim Akil (2014); and In the Morning directed by Nefertite Nguvu (2014). His writing has been published in various publications such as Black Popular Culture, edited by Gina Dent (1992), and Everything But the Burden, edited by Greg Tate (2003).

Christina Sharpe is an associate professor at Tufts University in the department of English and the programs in Africana, American, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently working on a book called In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Her first book Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects was published in 2010 by Duke University Press.

Reina Gossett is a trans activist & artist, working as membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Reina’s work has been featured in Barnard College’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, as well as Captive Genders: Trans Embodiement & The Prison Industrial Complex, Post Post Script Press and Randy Magazine. She recently wrote, directed and produced Happy Birthday Marsha!, a short film about legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson.

Tavia Nyong’o is a cultural critic and an Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. He writes on art, music, politics, culture, and theory. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies. He is completing a study of fabulation in black aesthetics and embarking on another on queer wildness.


The event is sponsored jointly by the Barnard Center for Research on Women in conjunction with the Practicing Refusal Working Group, and the International Center of Photography’s Center for Visual Culture.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is preferred but not required.