Big Ideas presented by Scotia Wealth Management // Subjects of Desire

Live Q&A on May 6, 7pm ET

No Longer Available

Film Info
Country Listing:Canada
Premiere Status:Canadian Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2021
Accessibility:Closed Captions
Program Category:Special Presentations
Film Subjects:Hot Picks
Popular Culture
Race & Racism
Women & Women's Stories
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Jennifer Holness
Producer(s):Jennifer Holness
Sudz Sutherland
Executive Producer(s):Jane Jankovic
Writer(s):Jennifer Holness
Editor(s):Lawrence Jackman
Cinematography:Iris Ng
Ricardo Diaz
Sound:Tim Lue
Edward O'Connor
Jeffrey Reyes
Richard Gott


Closed Captions Icon  Streaming with closed captions

Big Ideas presented by Scotia Wealth Management: Hear from notable subjects and experts on issues featured in the film.

Big Ideas Q&A
Jully Black (singer, songwriter and international recording artist) and Cheryl Thompson (author and assistant professor, School of Creative Industries, Ryerson University) join director Jennifer Holness for a timely, thought-provoking discussion about the cultural shift in beauty standards towards embracing Black aesthetics and features, and how this impacts our understanding of race, power and the construction of beauty. Hosted by arts journalist, broadcaster and producer Garvia Bailey.
Watch recorded Q&A >>

About the film
Since 1968, the Miss Black America beauty pageant has been celebrating and upholding the philosophy "Black is Beautiful." Capturing the 50th anniversary edition of this once-revolutionary event, the film dives deeper and deconstructs the contemporary meaning of the phrase. It looks at how shifting global beauty standards are moving towards embracing Black aesthetics, but, as one of the contestants points out, on the backs of Black women. Why is it that the same Black features are more desirable when they're on the body of a white woman? In the face of this contradiction, today's Miss Black America contestants embrace all the different variations of what it means to be a Black woman in North America. Featuring interviews with India Arie, Amanda Parris and Rachel Dolezal, Subjects of Desire offers a much-needed deconstruction of the intersection of race and the power of beauty. Aisha Jamal

Film co-presented with Women in Film and Television Toronto

Big Ideas presented by
Scotia Wealth Management logo



With support from
City of Toronto logo




  • That Shelf"Skillfully unpacks how these uneven scales have had a devastating impact on Black women"
  • POV Magazine - INTERVIEW with director Jennifer Holness 
  • - Jennifer Holness Explores Black Power in Beauty in New Documentary
  • She Does the City"An eye-opening and fascinating experience"
  • VarietyINTERVIEW with director Jennifer Holness
  • NOW Magazine"An ode to Black women that brings to light the systemic forces they fight against every day"

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