Terri Simone Francis, author of Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism and associate professor, department of cinematic arts, School of Communication, University of Miami
In her 2021 Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture, Terri Simone Francis reflects on Josephine Baker’s influence within the visual arts and theorizes Baker as both an international cultural figure and an African American film pioneer. Recent restorations of her films of the 1920s and 1930s, like Zou Zou (1934), have allowed her work to be seen in the context of recent cinema and media, indeed almost as recent cinema and media. In Francis’s view, Baker exemplifies what author Toni Morrison called a “rememory”—a remembered memory. Francis’s study of Baker addresses absences and silences in film history, and she draws upon Morrison’s concept of rememory and Baker’s career to reconstruct the global beginnings of Black cinema.