In the wake of its highly successful 2020 Conference, Wind & Fire: Honoring the Divine Feminine and Masculine in Africana Religions, the ADRSA has partnered with the God Box Foundation to keep the community connected.
"The energy was just electric--pun intended," quipped ADRSA Founding Director, Iya Dr. Funlayo E. Wood-Menzies, "Several attendees commented that, in some ways, the online platform provided even more space for person-to-person interaction. We want to keep the connections going, especially as so many of us remain physically disconnected from one another."
Film has been an integral teaching tool in the Association's toolbox since its inception, and this year's film screenings were one of the highlights of the conference weekend. It's new offering, Film Fridays will bring the community together for donation-based screenings of films on African and Diasporic Religions, most by Black filmmakers.
"This year's film selections really impacted me," says Gilbert Kobina Bouhairie, Founder of The God Box Foundation and slated co-host for the new event series. "I was very happy when the ADRSA reached out to us about partnering for this community offering. The fit is so natural given our scopes and I'm really looking forward to what I know will be great films and rich dialogues."
The God Box is a Pan-African Interfaith organization that embraces, celebrates and promotes the spiritual and religious diversity of the Pan African family through interfaith dialogues, charity and community service immersion on the Continent and in Diaspora. They were a featured vendor for this year's conference and provided the grand prize for the conference's annual raffle: a tour of Ghana through its God Box Tours arm.
ADRSA Founding Director, Iya Dr. Funlayo E. Wood-Menzies
The generous prize shocked even the winner herself. "She wrote me back to be sure she had actually won, she couldn't believe it," said Wood-Menzies of prize winner Iya Prof. Verda Olayinka, author of Activating Social Solutions: Essential Keys to Progress and Ifa: Path to Enlightenment, and long-time supporter of the Association. "I assured her that she had! I was so delighted when the wheel spun and her name was drawn out of hundreds. She's supported us since our founding in 2012 so it feels wonderful to be able to pour out this type of blessing on her. Our partnership with the God Box made that happen we really want to model community collaboration and mutual empowerment."
Wood-Menzies, a Harvard-trained scholar of African and Indigenous religions, and Kobina Bouhairie, a Systematic Theologian and PhD candidate at Union Theological Seminary specializing in African/Black Theology, will make a dynamic duo as hosts for the film series. The films will run the gambit from dramas and love stories, like The Studio, to documentaries like Regine Romain's Brooklyn to Benin (screened at this year's conference).
"A part of the ethos of this series is showcasing the richness of Black film-making and the depth of Black stories involving spirit, however they are told," says Wood-Menzies. "I know Brother Gilbert and I and the community are going to have a lot of fun watching and discussing the films. And you know the chats will be live! Talk-back is a part of African epistemology and we fully support and encourage it. Feeling each other's presence as we share an experience is another big part of what this is all about."
Film Fridays kick off Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8 pm est. Join the ADRSA and the God Box by registering here. While registration is free, the Association depends on and appreciates your donations, please donate to the ADRSA here.
Gilbert Kobina Bouhairie, Founder of the God Box Foundation, will co-host Film Fridays,the ADRSA's new community film series