What if Spike Lee was a woman? Can you imagine the nerves he would touch with poignantly compelling stories from the soul of a conscious Black woman? Meet Stacey Muhammad: part Spike Lee, part Sista Souljah, part Cornel West. 100% real. 100% powerfully beautiful.
Please introduce yourself. What do you do?
Independent Filmmaker, Documentarian
Dedicated to the freedom and liberation of the minds, hearts and lives of Original People around the globe. Doing my part to make this happen through the powerful medium of film and media.
How did you get started on your creative path? What did you do prior?
I started out in film with an interest in writing screenplays. I participated in just about every filmmakers workshop that was offered in the Washington, DC area, which is where I lived at the time. The class / workshop that greatly affected every part of my being, not just as a filmmaker, was the directing and screenwriting classes with Prof. Haile Gerima of Sankofa / Howard University. He is a brilliant man who cares so much about the truth that it's impossible to be in his presence and not have your consciousness altered and expanded in significant ways. His classes were further confirmation for me, that compromise was not an option. I knew that I would be a filmmaker dedicated to using this medium to spread truth and speak to the unique needs of Original People without pathologizing and further stereotyping them / us. After his classes, I made my first documentary film, “A Glimpse of Heaven, the Legacy of the Million Man March.”
My journey to become a filmmaker hasn't been separate from my spiritual journey and walk toward becoming who God intended for me to be. After a spiritual workshop at the ASCEND Spiritual Flight Academy, I was encouraged to move back to New York and immediately step into my calling. I moved to New York to attend the Digital Filmmaking Academy and continue with this work. I started working with various hip hop artists in the NY area, did the I AM SEAN BELL and OUT OF OUR RIGHT MINDS film, and here I am.
I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak
TRAILER FOR OUT OF OUR RIGHT MINDS, TRAUMA, DEPRESSION AND THE BLACK WOMAN currently being screened nationwide
Prior to film...well, I started out as a dancer. I studied with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater here in NY, years ago. I was always into community activism and worked with a number of non profits in the Washington, DC area as a graphic designer / journalist prior to getting into film.
Do you feel more connected to your authentic self through the work you do?
Absolutely. What I do has been a journey back to my authentic self. There is no separation. The work is my life. My life is the work. I'm healing and growing by being a contribution and vessel.
What advice can you give to those who what to follow in your footsteps for their career path?
I'm hesitant to refer to what I'm doing as a “career”. It feels more like a calling, like a state of being. So, in truth, I couldn't give much advice to someone who sees being a filmmaker as their career path of choice. What I can say to people who believe that they were put on the planet to do something impactful, whether they are intimately familiar with this truth, or if it's something that's a new discovery for them; my advice would be, to understand that there is no such thing as entertainment. EVERYTHING in media and (particularly “Hollywood”) has a purpose and a plan attached to it. We believe that films are being made to entertain us, when in fact they are being made to distract us. We've got to start viewing the mediums of artistic expression as what they are, tools (weapons) used to build or destroy and avenues to inculcate masses of people with certain ideas. Black filmmakers get to use these mediums to tell the truth and to provide avenues for healing for our people. This is a spiritual journey and experience, that is native to us if we connect to our authentic selves. So, I would say, be in integrity, live your word, tell the truth unapologetically and learn as much about this craft as you can; perfect it, go to film school, or take workshops, get on a set, talk to people, ask questions, don't pretend like you know things that you don't know, ask for help and be willing to sit next to people and learn everything you need to learn in order to make the most visually beautiful, technically perfected, truthful and bold films that you possibly can.
What projects are on the horizon?
Next project is a feature length documentary titled “FOR COLORED BOYS, the rainbow ISN'T Enough”. It is slated to be released in May 2001. I'm more excited about this project than anything else I've done thus far. The film is based upon the CRESS THEORY OF COLOR- CONFRONTATION AND RACISM, coined and taught by Master Teacher, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing. It's time to give our brothers a voice. They are being lynched, criminalized, and disregarded. Until black women become CLEAR on WHY this is happening to our men, we will continue to “unwillingly and unintentionally” participate in the lynching, pathologizing and destruction of black men. They are NOT responsible for our collective pain and suffering and we are not responsible for theirs. I'm hopeful this documentary will, at least, shed some light on what's going on and the ways in which healing can take place.
How can one support your work?
PLEASE donate, support and reach out...it's appreciated more than you can possibly imagine.