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By now, every American should know — and worship — the name Bree Newsome.
Newsome is the thirty-year-old African-American activist who courageously scaled a thirty-foot flagpole outside the South Carolina State House this past week to detach the Confederate flag.
Unsurprisingly, Newsome's heroic efforts have already intersected the worlds of art and activism. In a mere matter of days, Newsome's mission has drawn the attention and admiration of some of our most influential filmmakers: Michael Moore has offered to cover her bail and legal fees, and Ava DuVernay is already brainstorming her superhero origin story.
But DuVernay might have some sizeable competition in telling Newsome's story from the subject herself. In addition to being the risk-taking freedom fighter our country so desperately needs, Newsome is also an up-and-coming filmmaker/artist with a small but impressive list of credentials to her name.
A recent alumnus of the prestigious Film and TV department at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Newsome's 2010 award-winning short film Wake is a startling, suggestive, horror-tinged story about a yearning, inhibited spinster who tries to conjure a love following her father's suspicious death. Rooted in magical, period-specific folklore, Wake is assured and attractive enough to recall the films of Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou). And, best of all, it's available to watch right now!
Another worthy watch is this 2014 video of Newsome speaking rousingly about the importance of art and activism, as well as the dearth of black voices in the science fiction and horror genres, during the Octavia E. Butler Celebration of Arts and Activism at Spelman College.
Newsome also happens to be a skilled musician and the lead singer of her very own funk band, Powerhouse. Check out Newsome's solo track "#StayStrong," which was inspired by her experiences fighting for voting rights in South Carolina.
And like any self-respecting resident of earth, Newsome is a Beyoncé fan. Watch Powerhouse perform the Queen's "Crazy in Love" below.
There's no better time than the present to familiarize yourself with this burgeoning creative mind, who also happens to be an authentic, modern-day American heroine in the midst of her climb to the top.