Julie Dash Tells the Story Behind the Making of ‘Daughters of the Dust’

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Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust—which follows three generations of Gullah women in South Carolina as they prepare to head North—was a major Sundance hit in 1991, and is particularly notable for being the first indie by a Black woman to gain a general theatrical release. In the over 30 years since its release, though, the film has only grown in power and meaning, even providing inspiration for Beyoncé’s Lemonade; recently, Vogue sat down with Dash to discuss the ongoing cultural significance of Daughters of the Dust.

“I was very excited by the opportunity to depict African-American women, or women from the African diaspora, in a way that was different from what I was seeing on television at the time or what I saw in blaxploitation films,” says Dash, adding, “I always felt that the stories of others were told with such elegance and grace, and our stories were just kind of brutal. I was determined to reimagine how we are on the screen, in historical drama as well as contemporary life, in a way that showed respect for my family and for the community from which I came.”

To hear Dash discuss her film’s costuming, visual references to Gullah culture, collaboration with the film’s production designer Kerry James Marshall and more, watch the full video below:

Director: Courtney Yates @courtsyy
DP: Rachel Batashvili @rachelbatashvili
Editor: Tajah Smith @tajahmsmith
Producer: Nicola Pardy
Associate Producer: Qieara Lesesne
Entertainment Director, Vogue: Sergio Kletnoy
Post-Production Supervisor: Marco Glinbizzi
Filmed on Location: The Mark Hotel

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