What is it about?

The article is about African-directed films set in Harlem and the increase in screenings of African movies in the neighborhood since the start of the twenty-first century.

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Why is it important?

The increased presence and circulation of African movies in the famed, historically black neighborhood of Harlem is the direct result of mass migration of French-speaking West Africans to the neighborhood since the 1980s and the current black renaissance in which cultural production on or by black people are gaining more visibility. Also, African movies in Harlem speak to a larger context of historical and contemporary exchanges and encounters between Africa and the diaspora.


As a college professor and founding director of the "Harlem African Animation Festival" living and working in Harlem since 2015, I have witnessed firsthand the growing cultural and economic influence of African immigrant communities in the neighborhood, which is further detailed in my book "Africans in Harlem: An Untold New York Story" (2022). I am initially from Burkina Faso, West Africa, an active member of the African community in Harlem.

Boukary Sawadogo
City University of New York City College of New York

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This page is a summary of: Presence and exhibition of African film in Harlem, Journal of African Cinemas, December 2020, Intellect, DOI: 10.1386/jac_00034_1.
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