Session #4 – screening & Q&A

REBIRTH IS NECESSARY is a dreamlike art film centred on Blackness past, present and future by Jenn Nkiru.

Short film and Q&A with the director
09 January 2018 – 6.30 pm

@MESH Cinema Room

2nd Floor Trumpet On Keyes, 21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.


Jenn Nkiru:
I was thinking of so much whilst making REBIRTH IS NECESSARY. It’s the summation of my loaded feelings and questions over the last few years.

I was thinking of Black people — the Black experience is my constant.
I had so many images, texts, sounds I was collecting and taking in privately in my quiet space, constantly like food. It was food for me in fact.
I was musing on the idea of Black universality and a centralisation of Blackness: the possibility of being able to focus on rarely seen aspects of Black life and experiences and it still be full of humanity and universally felt by all.

Creating this piece felt like therapy. It’s where I got to reconcile my worlds: the material and the spiritual, the human and divine. It’s jazz, its Black magic in motion. I hope it can be a source of inspiration, affirmation and therapy to others as it has been to me — especially the Black diaspora.


The Film:
REBIRTH IS NECESSARY is a dreamlike video-art film exploring the magic and dynamism of Blackness past, present and future through Jazz, Hip-Hop, Afrofuturism, African Cosmologies and contemporary Black popular culture.
This film explores the magic and dynamism of Blackness in a realm where time and space are altered.

The now, the past & the future are rethought and reordered to create something soulful and mindbendingly visceral.
Unfolding through the gaze of Jenn Nkiru, it is an audio – visual feast which pulls on broad yet unique sound and visual references to push the story forward.

The soundtrack features music and sounds from James Baldwin, Sun Ra, Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Rotary Connection, Pharaoh Sanders and Shafiq Husayn.
It also includes quotes and moments from Alice Coltrane, Audre Lorde, Kwame Nkrumah, Sun Ra and James Baldwin.


Jenn Nkiru is a visionary artist and director from and based in Peckham, London.
An MFA in Film graduate of Howard University, her first film EN VOGUE shot by Bradford Young & Arthur Jafa screened internationally to critical success.

Previous credits include a documentary series for Redbull and a campaign for photographer Rankin where he selected Nkiru as one of 20 of the “industry’s top directors and most creative talent”.  Additional credits include short films for the BFI, Condenast, Channel 4 and the Tate. Her most recent credit is REBIRTH IS NECESSARY, a dreamlike art film centred on Blackness past, present and future premiered on Sept 20th 2017.