The shocking story of Phoolan Devi, the Bandit Queen, who started as an abused child bride, became a notorious criminal fugitive and eventually was elected to India’s Parliament. Though she was assassinated in 2001 the legend of the Bandit Queen lives on. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Neetu Badhan-Smith, tells the story of this powerful female avenger. Be advised, video includes mention of sexual assault.
Co-founder and Lead Editor, Farrel Levy, organized a shoot with girls from Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music Magnet in Los Angeles. Academy director, Marlene Zuccaro had been excited about the work of Look What She Did and felt that many of her students would be as well. She found girls who were interested in doing the research and who were comfortable being on camera. Marlene worked with them to refine their presentations before the day of the shoot.
Four students spoke about Barbara Johns, Lorraine Hansberry, Katy Jurado and Gwendolyn Brooks. Another student acted as Director of Photography.
This was our second venture into filming with high school students and it was another success. The students enjoyed themselves and reaffirmed the need for sharing stories of female role models.
Madam C.J. Walker was born into slavery as Sarah Breedlove, but became the first self-made female millionaire in the US, creating a beauty empire that helped African-American women celebrate their natural beauty. Using her influence to push for anti-lynching laws before the Civil Rights Movement, she also became a model entrepreneur. Listen to writer Wendy Calhoun tell Madam C.J.’s story.
As part of our Women’s History Month campaign, our Executive Director and Associate Producer traveled to Washington, D.C. for a friendraising event hosted by Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP and their Women’s Initiative.
We started the night with our overview video and then showed the audience Felicity Huffman on Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Renée Threatte on Ruby Bridges. Both videos moved the audience and were a great foundation for a discussion about facing life and the working world as a woman.
Advisory Circle member Kathleen Abernathy moderated a robust discussion with Molly Smith (Artistic Director of Arena Stage) and Maureen Ohlhausen (Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission) about the obstacles they faced in their careers and what they do to help other women.
Thanks to Kathleen Abernathy and Board Member Mame Hunt for initiating this exciting event. We’re thankful to Wilkinson Barker Knauer for hosting and look forward to doing it again next year!
Photos: Mark Van Bergh Photography
This month we’re proud to offer this interview with the beautiful and brilliant poet Jane Hirshfield. I met Jane through the Philosophical Club in San Francisco, a meeting place for artists and scientists convened by Lucia Jacobs (both artist and scientist). I am always impressed with Jane’s comments at these gatherings— both scholarly and humanist, an irresistible combination. I know you will enjoy her insightful interview and I hope it will inspire you to read Jane’s work as well as that of her subject, Ono no Komachi. We have so much to learn from the women who came before us. From Komachi: Wash the cheater’s book and his lies will fade away…
Award-winning poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield tells us about ancient Japanese poet Ono no Komachi, a woman whose work feels so contemporary that it speaks to Jane as if it is her own experience. Komachi is one of the very few women in the Japanese Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry. She wrote brilliantly with a mastery of language that made her a legend in her own time… and for the next two millennia. Jane Hirshfield brings to life the work of this astonishing woman.
We celebrated Women’s History Month at The Ebell of Los Angeles– LA’s oldest women’s club– this past March in an event co-hosted by Cynthia Comsky and Mikki Brisk. It was a delightful and inspiring evening where we showed several of our videos and had storytellers Jill Klein, Sylvie Drake Jurras and Renée Threatte (via FaceTime) on hand to talk about their astonishing women subjects.
Anytime we gather people to view and discuss our videos, we come away empowered and energized. People were fascinated by Queen Hatshepsut, “Her Majesty the King,” deeply moved by the bravery of Ruby Bridges, astonished by the impact of Clara Shortridge Foltz and intrigued by the ingenuity of Mrs. H. W. R. Strong, the founder of The Ebell.
The evening ended on a joyous note with women in the audience telling us about women they know who have been left out of history.
A special than you to Meredyth Deighton, Julia Soto, Tina Tangalakis and all the staff at The Ebell for their work and support. We look forward to celebrating more amazing women with the amazing women at The Ebell in the future!
Photos: Boone Studios and Ebell of Los Angeles
Last weekend’s powerful #OurLivesMatter marches and speeches remind us all of the determination of young activists. Our latest video spotlights another young activist— six year old Ruby Bridges who stood up to virulent racism and persevered. Actor/writer Reneé Threatte recounts the emotional story of this little girl who integrated a New Orleans elementary school in the midst of hatred and violence. Renée opens up about what Ruby’s story means to her and what we can all learn from this child’s courage.
And, we are delighted to announce we reached 97% of our goal this past weekend! Thank you to EVERYONE who donated. Your support means so much to us as it allows us to continue to tell these amazing stories. We’re extending the fundraiser for a few days because donations are still coming in and we are certain to reach 100% of the goal soon.
Hi! I’m Courtney, co-founder and producing director of Look What SHE Did! Here’s a video of me being scrappy during last year’s Ebell Women’s Club shoot! I’m so proud to be building this organization with an incredible team of creative, industrious women. I love how we all seem to be at our best when we’re getting our hands dirty and figuring things out as we go. That can-do spirit fuels our organization and the lives of so many of the incredible women we’ve learned about over the years through our project. Help us keep growing and inspiring: DONATE!
What a day! We kicked off our Women’s History Month celebration and fundraising campaign on February 25 with a lunch featuring Felicity Huffman and our storyteller Khanisha Foster. Guess who else showed up: William H. Macy! So much fun. It was an energized, inspiring afternoon focused on our theme #TellHerStory. We challenged everyone in the room to Tell the Story of an amazing woman who inspires you during Women’s History Month. Will you join us? Hit the DONATE button at the top of the page, and watch Felicity Huffman’s video on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Photos by Sevdije Kastrati and Rose Shulman-Litwin
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a bisexual Mexican nun, writer, inventor and more who became controversial for her 17th Century feminism. Playwright Jesse Bliss tells Sor Juana’s story and explains why it gives her hope for women today.
If you like the video, please DONATE to help us bring you more powerful stories.