Tiana Reid is a writer, editor, and PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her writing has been published in Art in America, Bookforum, The Paris Review, T Magazine, Vice, Vulture, and elsewhere. She is also an editor at The New Inquiry and Pinko. (December 2019)
Two black households, not alike in dignity, in fair Louisiana, where we lay our scene: the Metoyers, “high yellow” Catholics, propertied Creoles with a good-looking son; and the Mathises, darker-skinned, poor, Baptist churchgoers with an equally good-looking daughter. In the newly restored Cane River, directed by Horace B. Jenkins and first released in 1982, boy meets girl and they fall in love, but not without the intrusion of history.
I often get tired of talking (especially to my mother—sorry mom!!) but three times a week, over FaceTime, my mother and I do a workout she found online, something she calls “Lisa’s Lungetime Special.” It’s a way to be together without relying on conversation, which so often falls flat. I’ve also very occasionally done some strength training videos, and have been attending livestreamed yoga classes near daily. Now daily life seems to require confronting an entanglement of mind and body that I have long avoided.
Gender is a global concern, touching every shore, at every moment. At the start of the Atlantics, Ada is not exactly recalcitrant, though she’s on her way to mouthing off to her religious parents after they insist, at her fiancé’s family’s request, that she take a “virginity test.” From the start, she’s tainted by the sluts. She’s with the sluts. And because the film encourages us to sympathize with her rebellion against the strictures of this society, the film’s perspective, too, is with the sluts. Ada is coming into a radical understanding that her desires differ from those of her family and friends. She leans into the insults, the warnings, the precarity. Maybe she wants to be an uncooperative woman, maybe she wants to run away from her family, maybe she wants to disappear into Souleiman, maybe she wants to vanish entirely.