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Rocks Q&A: Female unity on the big screen

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Rocks is a British coming-of-age drama film, which was released in April 10th of this year and directed by Sarah Gavron. The film stars Bukky Bakray as Olushola, nicknamed "Rocks", a Black British teenage girl in East London whose single mother abandons her and her younger brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu), forcing them to fend for themselves.

After being among the individuals that were a part of the Zoom Q&A session with Sarah Gavron, Maya Maffioli (editor) and Jessica Straker (casting assistant) of Rocks the movie, I am definitely looking forward to the release of Rocks. There are many things mentioned in the Q&A session that built my anticipation of the film. From the involvement of women working on and in the movie being ‘75%’ as said by Sarah Gavron, the main characters being all young women and predominantly ethnic minorities from London, the use of amazing british artists in the soundtrack, and the freedom that was given to these young individuals when creating this movie only sparks excitement.

Sarah mentioned how Theresa Ikoko, one of the writers, presented the Rocks narrative and how they all worked with the young girls in developing the narrative to what it is now. Allowing the young girls to have an influence on the narrative, which may be opposite to what these young girls experience, and giving these young women such power over something as great as a movie will not only build their confidence, but shows them that they can also see a future in film if they choose to. It’s great to know that the importance of female empowerment and friendships is not only shown in the movie but practiced in reality too.

Witnessing a lead that counters the stereotypical leads that conform to european standards of beauty makes me, a young black woman, proud, as well as seen. Many forms of media tend to present a lighter skinned black female over a darker skinned black female. The main character being dark skin is a tick in my books not only for representation, but for showing Bukky Bakray (Rocks) and many girls like her that there is a space for them on tv and behind the scenes if they chose it.

Now the soundtrack is one of the most important things about a film, especially if it is a film based in East London, Hackney. The songs have to make those from these places or near them feel like their area and identity is truly shown. The young girls were said to have been asked about songs they listen to and that they would recommend. The freedom and control given to these young girls to fully show who they are and where they are from really amazes me. At the very moment when the soundtrack was mentioned as a question from the audience, I honestly did not know what to expect. The excitement for this movie escalated and was shown in the zoom call as I sprung up and gasped at the mention of KOKOROKO, Little Simz, Ray BLK and many more british artists being a part of the film. Now I cannot wait to truly see how they placed such artists, that are truly underrated, in each scene.

Understanding the process of how the film was made and how Jessica and many others got the girls other opportunities in film, despite the end of production, shows how the female empowerment and friendship that is presented in the film can become a reality. By exposing these young girls to many opportunities, they, as well as the audience, can take away many important points after watching this film. I honestly cannot wait (as said for the second time) to watch this film, knowing that the content created is also practiced behind the scenes, which is an encouragement in itself to watch the film.

Trailer can be accessed HERE

AUTHOR: Olamide Taiwo

My name is Olamide Taiwo and I’m 18. I have always loved to write whether it be poetry, reviews, essays etc. Becoming a blogger allows me to write and publish issues that I see and go through. So I hope the readers hold on because this will be a pleasant but bumpy ride.😊

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