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  • Updated May 25

    everybody watch this clip


    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀tneg.us
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    Arthur Jafa started out as a cameraman for the likes of Charles Burnett and Spike Lee (as well as later on Stanley Kubrick). Already as a cameraman he tried to experiment as much as possible and strived for a new cinematic language freed from the oppressive rules of (white) Western film history. Jafa later mentored fellow 90s Spike cinematographer Malik Hassan Sayeed, who later also shot Belly and worked with Jafa on Eyes Wide Shut - together they would form the production company TNEG.

    Sayeed already worked on music videos for 2Pac and Nas in the 90s, and Jafa and like-minded artist Kahlil Joseph would eventually also find music videos a fitting medium to present their avant-garde ideas to a bigger audience, working with the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z, Solange and Beyonce, and being able to create even more challenging work for avant-garde musicians like Flying Lotus and Shabazz Palaces. Much of this work is available on youtube.

    Still, Jafa and Joseph are house-hold names only in the fine art world so far, with many of their works (like Joseph's short film for Kendrick's gkmc, as well as most of Jafa's non-music video work) being shown only in museums. I think it's time this changes though!! These guys are some of the most brilliant artists working in film today and should be celebrated, and more importantly given money to pursue more projects.

    Also in the early 90s, Julie Dash, Jafa's then-wife, also became the first Black American woman director to get a wide release for a feature film with the highly unconventional independent production Daughters of the Dust, which Jafa also produced and filmed. She later wrote both a novelization and together with bell hooks a book about the making of the film.

    Selected Collective Filmography (italics for shorts):
    1982 Illusions - Julie Dash
    1992 Daughters of the Dust - Julie Dash (produced, shot Arthur Jafa)
    1995 Slowly This - Arthur Jafa
    1996 All About U - Malik Hassan Sayeed
    ⠀⠀⠀All About U by 2Pac
    1999 Tree - Arthur Jafa
    2005 Gold Digger - Malik Hassan Sayeed
    ⠀⠀⠀Gold Digger by Kanye West
    2009 Deshotten 1.0 - Arthur Jafa & Malik Hassan Sayeed
    2010 Belhaven Meridian - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Belhaven Meridian by Shabazz Palaces
    2011 Black Up - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Black Up by Shabazz Palaces
    2011 The Mirror Between Us - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀original music by Flying Lotus
    2013 Until The Quiet Comes - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Until the Quiet Comes by Flying Lotus
    2014 m.A.A.d - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀good kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar
    2013 Wildcat - Kahlil Joseph
    2014 Dreams Are Colder Than Death - Arthur Jafa
    2014 Video Girl - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Video Girl by FKA twigs
    2015 The Reflektor Tapes - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Reflector Tapes by Arcade Fire
    2016 Love is the Message, The Message is Death - Arthur Jafa
    ⠀⠀⠀Ultralight Beam by Kanye West
    2016 4:44 - Arthur Jafa
    ⠀⠀⠀4:44 by Jay Z
    2016 Lemonade (director's cut) - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Lemonade by Beyonce
    2016 Queen Sugar - Ava DuVernay (S2E9, S2E10 dir. Julie Dash)
    2017 Process - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀Process by Sampha
    2017 Music Is My Mistress - Kahlil Joseph
    ⠀⠀⠀starring Kelsey Lu and Shabazz Palaces's Ish
    2017 Apex - Arthur Jafa
    2017 Ms. Hillsonga - Arthur Jafa
    2018 The White Album - Arthur Jafa
    2018 akingdoncomethas - Arthur Jafa
    2019 BLKNWS - Kahlil Joseph
    2020 Wash Us In The Blood - Arthur Jafa
    ⠀⠀⠀Wash Us In The Blood by Kanye West
    2021 Women of the Movement - Gina Prince-Bythewood (S1E4, S1E5 dir. Julie Dash)

    Selection of Films Shot by Arthur Jafa and Malik Hassan Sayeed:
    1983 My Brother's Wedding - Charles Burnett (Jafa - Assistant)
    1992 Daughters of the Dust - Julie Dash (Jafa - DOP)
    1992 Malcolm X - Spike Lee (Jafa - Operator)
    1993 Seven Songs for Malcolm X - John Akomfrah (Jafa - DOP)
    1994 Crooklyn - Spike Lee (Jafa - DOP)
    1994 The Darker Side of Black - Isaac Julien (Jafa - DOP)
    1995 A Litany for Survival - Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson (Jafa - DOP)
    1995 Clockers - Spike Lee (Sayeed - DOP)
    1997 Gattaca - Andrew Niccol (Sayeed - Assistant)
    1998 He Got Game - Spike Lee (Sayeed - DOP)
    1998 Belly - Hype Williams (Sayeed - DOP)
    1999 Eyes Wide Shut (Sayeed - DOP, Jafa - Operator)
    2000 Rouch in Reverse - Manthia Diawara (Jafa - Operator)
    2003 The Blues - created by Martin Scorsese (Jafa - Operator)
    2013 Wildcat - Kahlil Joseph (Sayeed - DOP)
    2014 Selma - Ava DuVernay (Jafa - Operator)
    2014 In The Morning - Nefertite Nguvu (Jafa - Operator)
    2016 Cranes in The Sky - Solange (Jafa - DOP)
    2016 Don't Touch My Hair - Solange (Jafa - DOP)
    2020 Black is King - Beyoncé (Sayeed - Assistant)

    Selection of Writings by Arthur Jafa:
    1992 Black Visual Intonation
    2015 My Black Death

    Essential Interviews & Articles:
    Arthur Jafa's Radical Alienation
    newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/21/arthur-jafas-radical-alienation
    The Black Excellence of Kahlil Joseph
    newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/06/the-black-excellence-of-kahlil-joseph
    Kahlil Joseph Is Challenging Representations of Black Life in America
    surfacemag.com/articles/kahlil-joseph-challenging-black-life
    Conversation with Julie Dash
    mubi.com/notebook/posts/without-living-in-the-folds-of-our-wounds-a-conversation-with-julie-dash
    Arthur Jafa and the Future of Black Cinema
    interviewmagazine.com/art/arthur-jafa
    Art and the Idea of Black Film
    flash---art.com/article/art-and-the-idea-of-black-film-a-conversation
    Rewriting Hollywood History in Julie Dash’s Illusions
    sensesofcinema.com/2009/feature-articles/illusions-julie-dash

    Talks:

  • See also my thread for Terence Nance and The Umma Chroma, who tap into a similar avant-garde style
    ktt2.com/hbos-random-acts-of-flyness-thread-4-free-on-youtube-this-friday-71354

  • Feb 23
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    2 replies

    I've been lowkey obsessed with Arthur Jafa and Kahlil Joseph the last two months or so, been meaning to make a thread for a while. Still in time for Black History Month!

    @Soupvillain @marcusg @DwindlingSun @Yolko @PapiPedro @John_cassavetes (feel free to quote more ppl who might be interested)

  • yolk 🪐
    Feb 23
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    1 reply
    beflygelt

    I've been lowkey obsessed with Arthur Jafa and Kahlil Joseph the last two months or so, been meaning to make a thread for a while. Still in time for Black History Month!

    @Soupvillain @marcusg @DwindlingSun @Yolko @PapiPedro @John_cassavetes (feel free to quote more ppl who might be interested)

    Funny you mention i saw the Until the Quiet Comes film not too long ago, incredible

  • Feb 23
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    2 replies

    The 4:44 video always been crazy good

  • Feb 23
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    1 reply
    yolk

    Funny you mention i saw the Until the Quiet Comes film not too long ago, incredible

    Remembered you're a big Flylo fan highkey one of my fav mv's oat floors me every time. So glad I got two of those t-shirts back in the day the white one is heavily worn out lol but I still love it, lowkey still hope they print them again some time tho

    Only today found out Joseph was originally the sole director of Lemonade and Bey only decided to get other people to make parts again later. Joseph cut was only shown in museums and seems impossible to find online tho

  • Feb 23

    In gonna look at this when I get a break at work

  • yolk 🪐
    Feb 23
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    1 reply
    beflygelt

    Remembered you're a big Flylo fan highkey one of my fav mv's oat floors me every time. So glad I got two of those t-shirts back in the day the white one is heavily worn out lol but I still love it, lowkey still hope they print them again some time tho

    Only today found out Joseph was originally the sole director of Lemonade and Bey only decided to get other people to make parts again later. Joseph cut was only shown in museums and seems impossible to find online tho

    Damn i wonder of itll pop up eventually
    Meant to check out some of his other stuff, where should i start?

  • Marble

    The 4:44 video always been crazy good

    it's crazy how much talent Jay got for those 4:44 vids, Safdies too title track was always the standout to me tho. One of the best examples of Jafa's collage style.

    Highly recommend you check out "Love is the Message, the Message is Death" too, for which he used ULB (without licensing lol, but Kanye was later quoted as saying "it brought me back to life" and then hired him for Wash Us In The Blood). There used to be a yt upload but it was deleted, you can only find ppl filming museum walls now... you can follow me for a pm tho

  • yolk

    Damn i wonder of itll pop up eventually
    Meant to check out some of his other stuff, where should i start?

    UTQC already was the perfect primer tbh I'd say just check out his other music videos, the ones for Shabazz Palaces in particular. The short film for Kendrick is also a good introduction to his more experimental work. There's links in the filmography in op

  • Feb 23

    Appreciate this

  • In

  • Feb 23
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    1 reply

    Didn't know Athur worked on Eyes Wide Shut

  • Feb 23
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    KWL

    Didn't know Athur worked on Eyes Wide Shut

    Kubrick was terrified of flying and shot EWS in England in front of greenscreens (which imo helps make it even more dreamy), Sayeed was the DOP and Jafa the operator of all the New York footage.

    From the newyorker piece:

    One Saturday afternoon, when Jafa was ten, their parents dropped them off at the white people’s theatre on the other side of town to see Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The theatre was empty except for a few white couples, who left before the intermission. “The lights go down, the movie begins, and it’s like being buried alive,” Jafa wrote, in a 2015 essay called “My Black Death.” “Even now, I’m still searching for an art experience capable of matching the effect this film had on me.” ...
    ⠀⠀⠀

    There was a coda to the experience. In the mid-nineties, when Jafa was working as a cinematographer, Kubrick hired him to be a second-unit cameraman for “Eyes Wide Shut.” Kubrick shot most of the film in England, but it was set in New York, and Jafa spent a lot of time filming locations there. “We were constantly shooting things over and over, because Kubrick kept sending notes saying would we try it again three degrees to the left, or three degrees to the right,” Jafa recalled. “He called many times a day, and occasionally the assistant director would say, ‘Stanley’s on the phone, he wants to say hi,’ and I would say, ‘Not now, I’m shooting.’ ” In 1999, returning from Europe to attend the film’s New York première, Jafa saw a newspaper headline: “stanley kubrick dies at 70.” “Stanley Kubrick was one of my heroes,” he said. “There was so much I wanted to say to him, and I’d had this fantasy that when we finished shooting we’d be able to have a proper conversation. I went to the première and got very depressed, trying to figure out why I had never spoken to him.”

  • Feb 23
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    1 reply

    Great thread

  • Feb 23
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    1 reply

    These dudes really inspire me creatively

  • in

  • Feb 23
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    Dope thread op! I've been putting people on to the Killing in the Name video ever since the other thread

  • PapiPedro
    · edited

    Dope thread op! I've been putting people on to the Killing in the Name video ever since the other thread

    ayy that one is big fire

    Very much in that spirit I just uploaded and added to op a clip from BLKNWS which I couldn't believe wasn't available anywhere online, it's so damn relevant and universally true... Jafa is fkn brilliant, highly recommend all those talks in op too

    s/o again to @Soupvillain for making me aware of that piece in the first place!

  • Feb 23
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    1 reply
    beflygelt

    I've been lowkey obsessed with Arthur Jafa and Kahlil Joseph the last two months or so, been meaning to make a thread for a while. Still in time for Black History Month!

    @Soupvillain @marcusg @DwindlingSun @Yolko @PapiPedro @John_cassavetes (feel free to quote more ppl who might be interested)

    In! Stoked to look through this thread

  • Rx Marcus

    In! Stoked to look through this thread

    So much to dig enjoy! I think you like me might find Jafa's interviews just as fascinating as his work too. Let me know what you think

  • Feb 24
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    1 reply

    appreciate this thread beyond words

  • lamzy dlx

    appreciate this thread beyond words

    appreciate this post

  • Feb 24
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    Nice thread, king.
    I'ma return to this and look into all of this info you provided
    Never looked into them before, but seeing the Kendrick, Cranes in the sky, 4:44, Kubrick, spike lee links and the first vid in OP

  • In asf glad you finally made this @op

    🙏🏾 Witnessing history!!!

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