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Directed by Jennifer Holness

subjects of desire documentary laurels festivals and awards

Subjects of Desire explores the cultural shift in North American beauty standards towards embracing Black female aesthetics and features while exposing the deliberate and often dangerous portrayals of Black women in the media. From society’s new fixation on the ‘booty’, fuller lips, the dramatic rise of spray tanned skin, ethnic hairstyles, and athletic bodies, some argue that Black women are having a beauty moment.  But others, primarily Black women, argue that traditional Black features and attributes are seen as more desirable when they are on White women.

Told from the POV of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, the film is partially set at the 50th Anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, a beauty pageant that was created as a political protest.

Subjects of Desire is a culturally significant, provocative film that deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind beauty.

Directed by Jennifer Holness

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We are committed to bringing Subjects of Desire into as many classrooms, corporate/professional spaces, and community settings as possible. Because this is a film that requires unpacking in a supportive environment, we have invested considerable time in creating resources and talk-back opportunities to accompany the film.


Stream Subjects of Desire online, tune into a broadcast, or access the film through your library or university. 


Subjects of Desire is a great film ⁠— don’t just take our word for it. Read reviews and browse awards & nominations.