Leeway Transformation Award
Neighborhood: North Philadelphia
Discipline: Media Arts ,Visual Arts
tiona.m. is a media artist whose mission is to make the invisible, visible and humanize her subjects. She believes that her work as a filmmaker and visual artist can inspire various communities by affirming their existence in contemporary society. She considers her work “black social realism” and aims to fight the hyper-realistic imagery that can lead to the silencing of marginalized communities. tiona.m. began her career apprenticing on music video sets, and as a freelancer working with various production companies and non-profit organizations. She has held positions from camera operator to editor to motion graphic animator, which earned her a strong reputation and has allowed her to handle the production of documentary projects on her own. Her point of view as a Black lesbian woman comes from her unique perspective as someone who has experienced painful moments of oppression. In black./womyn.: conversations with lesbians of African descent, tiona.m. provides a platform for Black lesbians to speak for themselves and to confront the hyper-sexualized image of the Black lesbian. Her film strengthens the overall voice of the community by forcing the viewer to listen as the women speak for themselves. black./womyn. was awarded the Audience Award for Best Documentary by the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2008. tiona.m.’s other films include Strange. Black. Nostalgia. (2004), which explores family history and the legacy of poverty, segregation, and racism, among African Americans from the 1940s through the 1970s; and hanae.michelle.&.qrescent. (2006), which chronicles a mother and her two daughters as all three enter university-level studies at different stages of their educational and professional lives. tiona.m. continues to develop and create films on progressive topics with the hope of directing a feature-length project in the near future.
Photo Credit: Rachelle Lee Smith (ACG '06)