Upon my arrival, I was blessed to be able to circumvent the red carpet hoopla and general public waiting lines. As I began to take my seat, thoughts of what I was about to witness took a backseat to the day’s earlier event —Spike Lee’s pop-up shop at his 40 Acres office in the Republic of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I was able to get facetime with the celebrated filmmaker before the hype of ABFF would turn everything into critiques and noise, and never once did I mention that I would be seeing him and his project later that evening. If I did, I think my fiancÃ©e would have pulled me away from reacting like a chicken with its head cut off.
Others began to take their seats, as I ran into friends and former colleagues alike. Miles Marshall Lewis from EBONY Magazine was excited to see what Spike Lee was about to present. Rakiya Mays from The Shadow League (and one of my favorite past publications, The Ave) was not too far off in the distance. We were all beholden to the spirit that Lee was going to break another barrier in filmmaking, and create a clamor for more high-level creativity. After a brief and heartfelt introduction from Jeff Friday, the picture started and the roller coaster ride began.
“Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” stars Stephen Tyrone Williams and Zaraah Abrahams in an atmospheric love story revolving around their addiction to blood. The picture is full of stark and beautiful imagery, as Spike Lee and his team turned Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts into a jazzy and vibrant playground for his performers. While I sat there watching the film, the players all managed to keep an element of vulnerability and savagery throughout the film’s progress.
Read about “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” scintillating highlights on the next page…