Legendary Filmmaker Julie Dash has graced us with a genius & creativity story once again with her latest project ” Travel Notes Of A Geechee Girl”! Many are probably thinking what is a Geechee girl? Geechee or Gallah are black people living in the Lowcountry region of Georgia and South Carolina, who have preserved their links to Africa arguably more than any other African-American group. Julie is a Geechee Girl herself ,as she had shown us, in her ground breaking film “Daughters of The Dust” but this latest film isn’t about Julie at all.
Travel Notes of A Geechee Girl is a new documentary feature film that chronicles the extraordinary life and multi-faceted career of self-proclaimed Geechee Girl, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. Personally I had never heard of Vertamee but as I watched the Crowdfund campaign video (below) realization soon came on why this woman story resonated with me and is vital to be told! The film will trace her journey and madcap adventures from the Lowcountry of South Carolina to Europe and many other places. Vertamae was a Chef,Writer ,Actress and Activist story is one of a fearless, creative and imaginative woman who has dared to cross multiple boundaries and live her life out loud!
Born April 4, 1937 in Hampton County, South Carolina, Vertamae was strongly influenced by her Gullah Geechee community. She was also determined to follow her imagination and creativity beyond the Lowcountry. At the age of 10, Vertamae Smart moved with her family to Philadelphia. Although her existence was largely sheltered, she established friendships with the future poet Larry Neal, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles H. Fuller. There, she also met the up-and coming musician, Nina Simone, who encouraged her move to Paris. Her story is a treasure trove of adventures, encounters and experiences with some of the most influential artists, writers, actors, and musical performers of the Twentieth Century. Vertamae’s basic knowledge of food preparation and Gullah culinary traditions served her well as she would go on to cross the Atlantic multiple times, in a journey that has taken her across five major cultural movements:
Beat Literary Movement
Black Power Movement
Black Arts Movement
New Black Cinema
Food as Cultural Memory
The project must raise 55k in the next month to complete this paramount project. Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl is relevant today because it speaks to the women who want to live their lives vibrantly and for people to understand these women and even learn from them! The Story also revolves around universal themes such as Food, Travel, Writing so its relatable for really everyone.