My name is Kayla Naomi Watkins and I am a filmmaker from Baltimore with a focus in media education and documentary cinematography. I have been filming since 2009 covering issues that impact Black, brown, poor, and femme people. Autonomous visual representation is one of the key elements of achieving liberation in a world which revolves around the consumption of media. In my work I am visualizing the feeling of being watched, consumed, and repackaged as a Black femme human for others to evaluate without consideration of our inner motivations. My work seeks to go beyond “tolerance” of my humanity into true intra- and inter-communal solidarity. I am filming a world which denies the self determination of people through the use of propaganda and I seek to create alternative, accessible, community centered counter-propaganda. The histories of Black and brown people are oral, visual, kinetic, veiled, and endangered--and I have chosen filmmaking, painting, and media education is my way to interrupt our erasure.
I have filmed/produced/edited/colored films for Women Organized Against Rape, The University Community Collaborative, and Philadelphia Student Union. My documentary footage has been included in films such as Catharine Pancake’s Queer Genius and Gabriela Aurazo’s Baobab Flowers. I am currently an MFA candidate in the Future Faculty Fellowship at Temple University where I am documenting the fight for mandatory consent education in Philadelphia high schools, Black diaspora dance forms, and an oral history of Malcolm X Park. I am researching for a documentary in 2020 about immigration from San Fernando, Trinidad to Baltimore due to the socio-economic conditions of the 1980s.