A New Short Film Reflects on Black Identity in Sierra Leone

‘In Praise of Still Boys’ is the latest work from Julianknxx.

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Fashion
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Poet and Creative Director Julianknxx brings together poetry, music and stunning visuals for a short film that examines his childhood growing up in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Entitled In Praise of Still Boys, this visual poem revisits Julianknxx’s birthplace on the West African coast, as a part of his role as Creative Director at London-based brand LABRUM, who recently worked with National Sports Authority Sierra Leone (NSASL).

Taking us on a journey inside the places he grew up, In Praise of Still Boys is shown through the eyes of the young boys currently growing up next to the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The film also draws on inspiration from the 2016 play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, which inspired the film Moonlight, and this 1982 quote about Kenya from Richard Pryor: “So I went to the motherland; it was so beautiful. Just seeing black people in charge of everything. I’m talking about from the wino to the President. It was black. Blue-black. Original black. The kind of black where you go, “Black!”.

Growing up in Freetown until the age of nine, the poet and his family were forced to flee the country to escape the violence of the Sierra Leone civil war. Beginning with words from his mother, this visual poem also takes us back through Julianknxx’s past by using Krio, an English-based creole spoken mainly in Sierra Leone.

By embracing the imperfections to his own history, Julianknxx is able to explore how his upbringing and experiences have both shaped and informed him in the past and present.

You can watch the film above. This is a part of a larger exhibition that’s set to show at 180 The Strand early next year. You can keep up-to-date with this via Julianknxx’s Instagram account, as well as by following LABRUM.

In other news, Greg Lauren deconstructs Americana for Summer 2021 collection.

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