chapter  2
12 Pages

Conjurin’ Up an Image: African American Healing Women in the Films of Julie Dash and Kasi Lemmons

WithKameelah Martin

This chapter seeks to place the genres of film and literature in conversation with each other to explore the representation of the conjure woman figure in the popular imagination. It considers the films of Julie Dash and Kasi Lemmons, whose work reflects the lives and physicality of conjure women as African American female filmmakers conceive them. The films Daughters of the Dustand Eve's Bayou are woman-centered and highlight conjuring communities. Dash and Lemmons–two black, female, independent filmmakers– prove themselves committed to ideals of challenging and reappropriating the image of the conjure woman in an overtly conscious way. The images of conjure women presented in these films are critical to the process of reappropriation because they challenge popular belief, but most importantly because these images were created by black women for other black women. Dash and Lemmons reflect conjure women who are not unlike their own mothers, grandmothers, and in Lemmons's case, her aunt.