Lost fragment in January: Black Girl in Paris

Black Girl in Paris is a modern Odyssey written by Shay Youngblood. The book wends its way around the mythology of Paris as a city that has called out to African-American artists. Like three major figures before her, let us think of Langston Hughes who contributed to Harlem Renaissance, of James Baldwin, novelist, social critic and spiritual son of Countee Cullen, and Richard Wright born in Mississippi; Youngblood’s heroine leaves her home, in the American South, nurturing a dream of finding artistic emancipation in the City of Light. She metamorphoses, experiments freely, inhabiting different incarnations – artist’s model, poet’s helper, au pair, teacher, thief, and lover – to keep body and soul together, to stay afloat, heal the wounds of her broken heart, discover her sexual self, and, finally, to wrestle her dreams of becoming a writer into reality. Her work has inspired an eponym jazzy short film, written and directed by Kiandra Parks. The movie Black Girl in Paris tells the story of Eden (Tracey Heggins), an admirer of Jane Seberg and Josephine Baker, who comes to France in search of inspiration to write her first novel. Her naiveté and desire for adventure leads her on an unexpected journey of self-discovery and uninhibited sexual freedom. Down on her luck she meets Luce (Zaraah Abrahams), a street prostitute who quickly takes Eden under her wing. Since this work was pretty much lost and not distributed after its festival tour, I can only offer you this official reel cut in lieu of trailer. A personal research should lead you to a full version that I can’t link here.

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