Here’s Ava DuVernay’s new short titled Say Yes. It beautiful. It’s breathtaking. It’s a portrait of love. But not just romantic love, which is obvious, as the story centers around a marriage proposal. I see cultural love here. I see a love of food, dance, music and art. I see love of shared time spent together and love of shared and divergent styles, aesthetics, and expressions. I see love of friendship. I see love of family. I see love of beauty. I see love of life. I see Black love, which to me is more than heterosexual romantic love, though it includes that too. Black love is nuance. Black love is individuality and cultural collectivity.
So we have to talk about the camera work. Exquisite. We have to talk about the clothing, and shoes (wow, when Kali walks at 5:55, yasss please send me those shoes!) and makeup. We have to talk about how Ava and her team understands that when music (in addition to the visuals, of course) is doing the communicating (as there is no spoken script) the synchrony between the music and the visuals are critical. They get this. It’s…magic. It’s perfect.
The pacing of this short is brilliant. A film under 8 minutes yet it feels like it is perfectly paced and not rushed. This reveals the brilliance of a good director, and that’s Ava. She leads us very slowly yet not too slowly to that pivotal moment of the kiss from 5:58-6:21. You know it’s coming and when it does you can’t help but feel the excitement of their love. Kali Hawk and Lance Gross truly shine here. It also was cool to see glimpses of Issa Rae and Lorraine Toussaint among those at the party.
Alas, there’s also another love that I see here. I see Ava DuVernay’s love for Black people. Her respect. Her kindness. Her connection to her own people. She loves us in a way that truthfully is scarce in mainstream art though it thrives among many Black women who create compelling portraits of Black life in a variety of mediums, mainstream attention or not.
I appreciate that Ava reflects who we actually are. There’s honesty in her work. There’s integrity. There’s still spontaneity and creativity as well. Honesty is not diametrically opposed to creativity.
So please watch, enjoy and share this film with everyone and continue to uplift and support Ava’s brilliant work. Doing so means we’re ultimately uplifting and supporting ourselves. <3
Related Posts: my thoughts on Ava DuVernay’s short The Door, my thoughts on Ava DuVernay’s film I Will Follow