When you gather a bunch of artists together, you’re bound to come across some pretty cool ensembles. The BSFF was no different. Check out what folks wore and what they had to say about BlackStar.

Importance of the Festival

Adepero Oduye, Actress/Director [Pariah, Steel Magnolias] Festival Film: To Be Free
“I’m so excited and happy to be around artists. It’s everything that life is supposed to be, creating and collaborating and supporting each other. I’m thankful to be here, and I’m thankful to Maori and everyone else.”


Walé Oyéjidé, Creative Director of Ikire’ Jones Design
“Black Star is important because it’s the validation for those of us who are creative, seeing that our stories are valued and welcomed and understood by a community. It’s also inspiring to see top level work done by people who look like us.”

Leah Byrd, Festival Film: Hot and Bothered
“It’s pretty magical. I’ve been stressed working on [web series, Hot and Bothered] every day. And to see people watch the first two episodes and come up to me to say they enjoy it makes me feel motivated to go back home and work on the rest.”


Norman & Shayna Bayard, Festival Goers
Norman: “It’s inspiring and uplifting. You see the artist as one who is supposed to spark change in people, one who’s supposed to spark revolution. We saw the film on Pan-Africanism and it’s difficult to walk away from that with a smile. In that film, you see all our freedom fighters and the orchestrated efforts to undermine what they did. Looking at that film reminded me that it’s important for us to commit to some trans-personal other, something that goes above and beyond individual ideology.”
Shayna: “I’m having a great time. We come every year. I wish that we could go to every film because every single film touches you in some way. It helps you to know what you’re doing right and what you might be doing wrong.”


Kima Baffour, Costume Designer [Phantasmagoria, AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange]
“I was just saying, I’m so tired of being the only Black girl in a space and if other Black girls knew there’s space for them, it would be so much better. To see all these Black faces and see all these people doing the same thing you’re doing goes against all the myths we were told: “Only one can do this.” A whole production team can be Black and there’s nothing wrong with that.”


Highlights of BlackStar


Meredith Edlow, Festival Goer
“I love the panel discussions. I went to the cultural organizing panel and the distribution panel. Great panels with great information and insight into the industry. I really loved the Philadelphia Vignette Bike Story by Bryan Green. Great job to Maori and the entire crew.”


Bryan Oliver Green, Festival Film: Philadelphia Bicycle Vignette Story
“The Lossless exhibit and the work of Sosena Solomon. I was there for the opening reception and knew I’d have to come back at a later time where there was less distraction because I knew that was a piece that would engulf me.”


Alexis Walker, Festival Goer
I saw someone from my Girl Scout troop I haven’t seen in 16 years, and we’re grown women at a festival together in a whole nother city. … There’s no word for what this is to a creative person, to a woman of color; a word past inspiring is where this lands.”



BlackStar In One Word

Malkia Lydia, Festival Goer



(l-r) Annia Jasper, Carla Jasper, Brittany Jeter – Festival Goers

“Black-as-hell” “Powerful” “Beautiful”


Ifanyi Bell, Festival Goer



Tatiana Bacchus, Charles Woods – Festival Goers

“Incendiary” “Family”


Betty Leacraft, Festival Goer


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BGN’s Senior Editor, Pitches: C R Sparrow wants desperately to throw off the shackles of wage slavery and live a life of leisure. Unfortunately, she hasn’t quite figured out how to turn her encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek Deep Space Nine or deftness at playing Bioware RPGs on the easiest setting into a fortune. She’s still working on it though. Sci-fi/Fantasy blerd with a strong affinity for binging television shows and having lots of feelings about them.