Meet serpentine dancer Loie Fuller! She pioneered modern dance using fabric, cutting-edge lighting technology and her own genius to revolutionize dance. Choreographer Deb Slater tells us about Loie’s lasting impact.
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.
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!
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.
My name is Farrel Levy and I am the lead editor and a director for Look What She did.
I came on board when Look What She Did was not officially launched but was actively germinating in Julie’s and Jill’s minds. I loved the idea of women talking passionately about women who have inspired them and then sharing those stories with the world. The concept became a reality the first day of actually shooting the videos in Julie’s glorious backyard and I did not want to miss it. As I watched those women sit and tell about the women who had moved them, I was captivated by these true stories I was hearing for the first time.
After these first interviews were shot, Julie and I played around with the editing, to try to come up with a signature style that would reflect how Look What She Did would present itself. We aimed to pack in as much as much as we could in a roughly 3 ½ minute video. As these important stories unfolded, we discovered that storytellers’ love for her subject was a compelling element that needed to be felt as well. We decided to make sure their personalities shine through by including their laughter, tone of voice or facial expressions. The backyard setting, and the casual style that runs throughout all the videos, is informal and we wanted the editing style to be loose and informal, too.
I work with a talented bunch of women editors to make these videos happen. Because we work from longer interviews, we have the opportunity to learn that much more about these amazing women. It is a treat, but there is so much really interesting stuff that we have to cut out. It’s always difficult to decide what will be left “on the cutting room floor” because these women have all contributed so much and the women who talk about them are always enthusiastic about sharing their accomplishments. The women doing the talking, all dynamic in their own right, are actually revealing their own values, so each time we edit an interview it is a fascinating revelation about the subject and the person who is on camera. Everyone on our editing team feels proud to be identified with all of these fabulous women.
As a professional television editor I know the power that good stories have over all of us. It is my hope that as viewers engage in our videos, the compelling stories of these real women will play a role in continuing to tilt the cultural landscape in favor of empowered females young and old. Like all great heroines, the women I was learning about that first day of shooting, and continue to learn about as I edit these interviews, are brave, they have a vision, they are smart, they believe in themselves, they persist against all kinds of odds and adversity, they have spunk, they are creative, they are compassionate, and if we pay attention, they can show us the way forward.